The new trailblazer apprenticeship scheme will replace the current plant mechanic framework apprenticeship that is being phased out in 2020.
The approval follows work by the employer-led trailblazer working group supported by the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA).
The group made first bid to develop a trailblazer apprenticeship for construction equipment mechanics three years ago but the IfATE perceived that it overlapped with a similar scheme designed for the agricultural sectors and so turned it down. Since then, the CPA’s working group has done more work on developing the construction plant industry’s own version.
It is envisaged that work on the Level 2 trailblazer apprenticeship for construction equipment mechanics will be completed in spring 2020 and will coincide with the withdrawal of funding for the current plant mechanic framework apprenticeship next year.
The trailblazer working group was chaired by Ed Hudson from Liebherr GB and Rob Allen from Clee Hill Plant. They said: "We are delighted that after having our bids continually rejected over the last three years, that our latest bid for a Level 2 apprenticeship has been finally approved by the Institute, who have now recognised the uniqueness of our construction equipment mechanic occupation in comparison to other trailblazers designed for the rural, heavy goods vehicle, public service vehicle and lift truck sectors.”
They added: “There is still much work to do and we also need to start the process of making a submission for a Level 3 technician occupation as well but we, the joint chairs, would like thank the input of CPA to help get us this far and to the support and perseverance of the working group from which we can work now collectively to bring this project through to fruition.”
In another development, the employer-led working group for the construction plant operative trailblazer apprenticeship, led by Flannery Plant Hire, has been told that its standard, the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) required for the occupation, has also been approved by the IfATE. It is hoped that final approval will be granted by the end of the year.