Member firms are being encouraged to embrace the options for in-work training to support and certify MEWP technicians via the Roadmap that was developed by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), as the first wave of candidates complete their level 2 and level 3 NVQs under the scheme.
Richard Whiting, IPAF’s UK & Ireland Market General Manager, who led on developing the IPAF Roadmap, comments: “It is positive that, just as the UK Government announces major backing for in-work training and support for upskilling and retraining, many of IPAF’s member firms are already taking advantage of these defined routes to certifying and training their employees in service technician and engineering roles.
“We are pleased that in conjunction with our member firm and recognised training provider Learning for Hire, the first candidates have now completed their NVQs and are certified as service technicians. They now have a number of options open to them to continue training and are a step further along the route to IPAF Competent Assessed Person (CAP) status. We urge all our member firms to consider how they might be able to support their employees in this way through training and upskilling in the workplace.”
Paul Robertson, Director, Learning for Hire (LfH), comments: “Acquiring and keeping good technicians and mechanics has never been more of a challenge than right now. Based on recent research in the UK, we need to bring in nearly 600 new machinery technicians per year. That is a huge number for our relatively small industry, especially when the appeal seems limited or unheard of.
“Employers that engage with regional colleges to establish apprenticeship schemes work well, but this alone will not fill the current skills shortage. IPAF Service Technician training is another route for people already in the powered access industry to upskill and get qualified.
“There is a huge number of workshop staff that have come from other related trades such as vehicles, construction plant, electrical and other mechanical backgrounds. They perhaps start as 'check and test' or PDI Technicians and then pick it up along the way with a mixture of in-house training, mentoring and learning by their mistakes.
“Our range of modular training courses written specifically for the powered access industry gets back to basics and leads to nationally recognised Level 2 and Level 3 NVQ qualifications. Those qualifying have the ideal grounding to enable them to diagnose faults, carry out servicing and undertake more complex repairs requiring an understanding of how things work and engineering principles, such as structural designs, electrics, engines, hydraulic systems, safety and safe working principles.”
Jake Howard from Speedy Powered Access is among the first candidates to complete the six-day course to attain his Level 2 NVQ and is now on course for his Level 3 NVQ. He explains why he’s found the IPAF Roadmap so useful: “My current job role is a service engineer; I have worked for Speedy Powered Access for two years and three months. The service technician course gave me the knowledge to progress with my NVQ because the instructor, Paul Robertson, was fantastic, and very patient.
“The training helped give me the foundation to build more knowledge on the machinery – in places the Level 2 was difficult, but I’m fortunate enough to work with some top-class qualified engineers, who were more than happy to help. I was put at ease with the final assessment, thanks to Paul.
“I think the Level 3 NVQ in Testing, Inspecting and Thorough Examination will help me massively, as it’s specific to my job role and is vital in what I need for my end game. The qualifications are very important in my career progression, and my long-term aim is to become an IPAF CAP engineer.
“I’d recommend this course to anyone looking to get into this line of work who has little to no prior knowledge, because it breaks down all parts of the job in a way that’s easy to understand. It is challenging, rewarding and interesting.”