A submission was made by an employer-led working group, supported by the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA). Following revisions to the plan, the IfA approved and the working group is now working on the standards and assessment plan for the new plant operator apprenticeship.
The employer-led working group was formed in July 2016 with representatives of construction equipment owners and hirers, as well as demolition and rail contractors. P Flannery Plant Hire and the Hawk Group are acting as the co-chairs and CPA staff are project-managing the apprenticeship process on behalf of the group.
The working group is developing a Level 2 multi-role occupation similar to the current 'framework' apprenticeship, where learning takes place with four machines over a 12-month period to act as the stepping stones into the sector and occupation. The proposed content includes learning on servicing and basic maintenance techniques, as well as marshalling of plant, providing apprentices with an overall understanding of plant operations and supporting activities. Although there is a requirement to have at least 20% of the learning of the job, the majority of learning will be undertaken within the workplace.
The working group further intends to apply to develop a Level 3 specialist plant operator occupation to allow the transfer from Level 2 to Level 3 and provide the skills needed for specialist activities such as rail plant, demolition and tunnelling.
Patrick Flannery, co-chair of the working group, said: "We are very pleased to have finally received approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships after several meetings with them over the last year to come up with an acceptable format. We are now eager to start the development process and design an apprenticeship that meets our industry's needs and entices new people into the industry.”