Since October 2014, the Federation of Engine Remanufacturing (FER) board members and staff from our training partners Qualitrain have been conducting a series of interviews with FER members around the UK. The purpose of this TNA (Training Needs Analysis) exercise was to get to the heart of what our industry needs to protect and develop its key skills.
Aided by the FER Board, Qualitrain’s senior team were directed to a wide range of FER members of different sizes and interests.
“We needed to be sure,” said the FER’s Mike Knowles that the responses obtained represented the views of the entire membership, despite its not being possible to visit every member individually. Accordingly we chose members from the South, Midlands and North, from 3 staff to 500, with specialisms ranging from small scale crank grinding to large scale rail engine remanufacturing. Ironically, despite the wide variety, much of the response was very consistent.”
“It’s been a pleasure for our team to meet so many FER members over the last few months,” said Qualitrain’s Richard Bates, “and we now have the sort of detailed information which is vital if we are to develop training resources that are an accurate reflection of real needs.
“There is no point creating an FER training package that is ‘off the shelf’ – members have already found that college courses and traditional apprenticeships are too generalised and don’t contain sufficient material that is specific to engine re-manufacturing. We are determined not to fall into this trap and we’ve travelled from Newcastle to Devon and from Essex to West Yorkshire to make sure we get it right.”
Watch This Space!
Now that the information has been gathered and considered, the FER board and Qualitrain are developing what will be the new FER training scheme. The programme is likely to include:
- The creation of online training resources specifically geared to the needs of FER members
- The provision by Qualitrain of a centrally-located training facility (in Derby) for off-site training
- The development of FER-specific ‘Core Engineering Competency’ packages (which would get around the problem of off the shelf training being too general)
- The development of FER-specific Business Improvement Training, to help members improve quality, cut cost and increase turnaround and profitability.
Qualitrain has already been able to source funding for training from a variety of UK providers, and is currently working with the Science, Engineering, Manufacturing and Technologies Alliance to create the first Scottish Business Improvement Training apprenticeship.