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National Apprenticeship Week 2023: BCAS helps apprentices develop skills for life

10 February 2023

It is exactly one year since the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) announced that its first candidate had been enrolled on the new Compressed Air and Vacuum Technician (CAVT) apprenticeship.

Now, as this year’s National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, the Society is proud to announce that a further 11 candidates have commenced their training in the past year, with more in the registration process.

The apprenticeship was first launched in 2021 in response to demand from BCAS members for a dedicated, industry-approved course to help develop the skills required for the compressed air and vacuum service sector. 

Compressed air is used extensively across multiple sectors, and while there were many general engineering and technical opportunities available, there was no dedicated course designed for the specific needs of the industry.

Working with its members and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Education (IfATE), the BCAS Training and Development Committee was instrumental in the development of the new apprenticeship. 

It recognises the vital importance of developing the specific engineering skills required in the compressed air and vacuum industry, helping to release funding to develop the engineers of the future.

During the three-year apprenticeship, candidates will learn how to commission compressed air and/or vacuum equipment and their associated systems, alongside service and maintenance, fault diagnosis, repair and system optimisation.

Members have commented that the application process with Semester Learning and Development (Semester), the first provider in the UK to run the apprenticeship, is very straightforward, with the ability to log in and check their trainee’s progress at any time.

One such apprentice to be benefitting from the scheme is Jack Richardson, from HAC Compressed Air, a BCAS member.  His manager, Martin Garner commented: “Jack started with us back in June last year. I made the decision to look for an apprentice after finding it hard to recruit engineers. I spoke to the BCAS team about the scheme and was introduced to Scott Margison from Semester, who talked me through the sign-up process.
“Jack has been undertaking theory and college work side since around October last year, with the ongoing support of myself, the HAC Compressed Air engineer team, mentor Daron Siddall and his tutor.
“All in all, I would truly recommend the course and cannot praise the advice and help from BCAS and Semester enough!”

Vanda Jones, Executive Director at BCAS added: "Our apprenticeship scheme is now going from strength to strength, and we are delighted to be playing our part in developing the young engineers of the future. 

“I encourage all employers in our industry to consider the recruitment of apprentices into this standard and helping to plug the engineering skills gap, while giving young people the chance to gain valuable qualifications.”

To learn more about the CAVT apprenticeship and to view the full occupational standard, click here.

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