In March 2017 the National Manufacturers Council of the VBRA Commercial the Commercial Vehicle division of the National Body Repair Association made a commitment to research the possibility of a Trailblazer Apprenticeship for the Vehicle Bodybuilding Industry.

For over 20 years there has been little provision for this industry, with employers being forced to compromise by using the existing engineering framework for any apprentice training.

Please note the new standards only apply to England, Scotland & Wales continue to use the existing frameworks.

With the imminent arrival of new Trailblazer Standard’s, it was an opportunity to develop a specific standard for the bodybuilding industry, for the past two years the special projects manager of the VBRA Gerry Braddock, has diligently researched this issue to find a solution.

With the help and guidance of some very positive and training providers this all lead to a proposal that was put before the Institute for Apprentices, our Relationship Manager guided us through the minefield that led to many setbacks and disappointments, it became apparent that we would have to compromise and use existing new standards.

The facts are simple when developing a new Trailblazer Standard, you cannot include anything that already exists in any other standard.

This led us to follow the development of several new standards by other groups which were more appropriate.

We had to wait until early 2019 before we had the present choice of three standards, all based on Engineering training.

The standards we can adopt are;

  • ST0457, Engineering Tech Level 3, Funding £27,000 per apprentice
  • ST0432, Engineering Fitter Level 3, Funding £21,000 per apprentice
  • ST0607, Metal Fabricator Level 3, Funding £27,000 per apprentice

They are all based on delivering a versatile skilled apprentice that who is completely at home in the workshops of their employers.

We realise that the use of these standards is a compromise, but this is the way with the new standards for all.

The next problem is finding training providers who are prepared to deliver these new standards, not all training providers or colleges are prepared to deliver.

It is important that any employer discusses their requirements with their chosen training provider.

We now have a workable solution that enables all the Vehicle Bodybuilders in our industry to recruit and train new apprentices and pull down their own Levy money. We would welcome any bodybuilder who contacts the VBRA to try and guide and advise on the next steps.

An example of the Training providers who are committed to deliver these new standards are;

  • Hull Training, Hull City Council, Contact George Machin
  • SETA Training, Stockport, Contact Dave Bradbury
  • Training 2000, Harwood Road, Blackburn, Contact David Tolen

We await the commitment of other training providers, but without the commitment of Employers this is difficult.

We would welcome any training provider who wishes to be involved and all Employers who wish to employ apprentices now and in the future.

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