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NOTE FROM EAL MD Welcome to the Spring issue of InTouch. EAL had a successful and busy year in 2014, and the first months of this year indicate that this trend is likely to continue. We have been working at the heart of the Trailblazer groups to ensure that the sectors we serve continue to benefit from high quality qualifications within the new standards (page 5). New qualifications have been launched for engineering (below), schools and UTCs (page 3), and electrotechnical (page 5). The Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) unveiled the results of their second annual Industry Apprentice Survey (page 3), and they have been promoting the ‘Closer to Industry with EAL’ pledge (page 4). The STEM Alliance is ensuring STEM teaching is in line with business needs and expectations (page 6). Finally, we constantly get great feedback for our External Verifier (EV) service, so we decided to profile one of our EVs, Mick Turner, in this issue (page 7). Warm regards Julia Chippendale

NEW ENGINEERING VRQ QUALIFICATIONS EAL is launching its latest suite of leading engineering qualifications in time to be included in 2015/16 curriculum planning.

EAL INTOUCH Spring 2015

The exciting new qualifications, covering Levels 1-3, have been designed specifically in response to customer feedback, ensuring that they meet the needs of customers, employers and learners. The qualifications benefit from new and improved units, materials and assessments. However, some of the core elements remain unchanged, so there will be no

changes to curriculum delivery for Centres already offering older versions of these qualifications. The qualifications come fully equipped with innovative materials, which support e-learning and e-portfolios, work with mobile devices and VLEs, and help teaching staff with delivery. To find out more, visit


‘CLASS ACTION’ BOOSTS SKILLS LEARNING EAL qualifications announced after apprentice survey’s ‘catastrophic’ findings New vocational qualifications for school pupils – that will count towards league table positions – can help break down the barriers between education and industry and provide more pathways to work.

The EAL initiative will ensure that many more young people get the chance to weigh up their options – and take a qualification at school which will help enable them to start a rewarding career in a skilled job. The Key Stage 4 and 5 qualifications in engineering, plumbing and electrical work, are equivalent to GCSEs and A Levels. From 2017 the results of this new suite of qualifications will be included in school league tables. Julia Chippendale, Managing Director of EAL said: ‘This new raft of qualifications marks a significant moment in our efforts to link industry and education. “The skills gap is a manifestation of a hiatus between the economic needs of our nation and those that prepare our young people to meet them.” The qualifications follow the biggest ever survey of industry apprentices, which revealed a continued catastrophic failure of EAL INTOUCH Spring 2015

schools and colleges to provide adequate advice on apprenticeships and other vocational opportunities.

A spokesperson for the IAC said: “Careers advice remains in a critical condition – and must be revived without delay.

The survey, conducted by the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) found that forty five per cent of the thirteen hundred respondents received inadequate or no information about apprenticeships from their schools or colleges.

“With industry crying out for hundreds of thousands of skilled workers to fulfil orders and promote growth, a record national debt to pay off – and nearly a million young people out of work – this is nothing short of a national emergency.

Fifty six per cent of respondents had to find out the vital information required to pursue an apprenticeship for themselves. A mere seven per cent of those that became an apprentice were encouraged to do so by a careers advisor or teacher.

“We know only too well how rewarding embarking on an apprenticeship can be – it is pitiful that only 7 per cent of us were told of this by a careers advisor. It should be noted that of this 7 per cent - only a fraction of careers advisors were proactive in passing on the information.

The verdict on careers advice is marginally worse than that registered in last year’s survey.

“We need to promote change today and not tomorrow.”

Despite the lack of appropriate positive advice, ninety eight per cent of apprentices were happy with their career choice.



EAL offers great value for money with transparent pricing and no hidden fees. PAGE 03

EAL ENCOURAGES SCHOOLS TO MOVE CLOSER TO INDUSTRY Castell Alun High School in Flintshire has become the first in the UK to be recognised for being ‘Closer to Industry’ by signing a pledge to offer impartial careers advice and promote vocational education as an equal route to university. To mark the occasion the school was presented with a plaque by Julia Chippendale, Managing Director of EAL and Gavin Jones, Early Careers Programmes Manager at Airbus in Broughton after students got a chance to quiz three Airbus apprentices about their experiences in industry.

EAL launched the Closer to Industry pledge following a survey by the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) it funds. Made up of young apprentices from across the country, the IAC survey found a serious lack of careers guidance when it comes to apprenticeship opportunities. Castell Alun High School has strong links with Airbus. Headteacher Graham Hughes began his career as an engineering apprentice at Airbus before moving into education and he is passionate about promoting apprenticeships as equal to the academic route. “We do a lot of work in the school to ensure that our students are aware of all the options available to them” he said. “A dedicated learning coach, after school clubs and building personal relationships with employers are key to ensuring our students have the best chance to make the most of their future.” Julia Chippendale said the school was a shining example of what could and should be done. She is urging all schools to sign the pledge and give students proper advice as to what is on offer. “Too often we hear stories of academic snobbery where young people are actively discouraged from taking apprenticeships or not even told about them,” she said. “We are also working with the IAC and the Engineering Council to devise a wider strategy to ensure industry and education work more effectively together, creating clear guidance for employers and schools when it comes to careers information.” Gavin Jones, Early Careers Programmes Manager at Airbus in Broughton said: “Attitudes are changing, but even with a brand as big as Airbus offering the career opportunities we have available, we still find it hard to convince people that apprenticeships are not just a second choice to university.”

EAL INTOUCH Spring 2015

CLOSER TO INDUSTRY WITH EAL PLEDGE EAL is inviting schools and University Technical Colleges (UTCs) across the country to sign up to the pledge to offer impartial careers advice, promote the vocational route and work with employers to reveal the potential of industry careers to young people. By signing the pledge schools/UTCs will agree to: • provide unbiased careers advice and promote apprenticeships and the vocational route as equal to the academic route into higher education • invite industry apprentices to visit their school to share their personal experiences with students and talk about careers in industry • work with local employers to offer their students a chance to experience work in modern day industry through careers fairs, work experience and visits. Schools and UTCs which sign the pledge will also be able to display the badge WE’RE CLOSER TO INDUSTRY WITH EAL on their website and literature. For more information visit




Apprenticeships are being reformed across England by Trailblazer development groups to meet the needs of the future economy for years to come.

EAL has retained its reputation as an awarding organisation with its finger firmly on the pulse of the electrotechnical sector.

More than one thousand employers from sectors ranging from aerospace to nuclear and from fashion to the armed forces, are shaping the future vocational pathways by designing new apprenticeships that meet the skills needs of their industries.

In January, EAL was one of the first to offer a new qualification for the third amendment of the IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition:

The new standards will replace existing frameworks, with the aim being that all new apprenticeship starts from 2017/18 will be on the new standards.


DID YOU KNOW: EAL offers the widest

choice of industry qualifications and awards.

Julia Chippendale, Managing Director, EAL said: “EAL has always worked closely with employers to ensure its qualifications meet their needs and the needs of learners. The government’s apprenticeship reforms, spearheaded by the Trailblazer scheme, are taking this policy national. This is helping to cement apprenticeships’ key role in the economic future of the country.” EAL has been at the heart of the Trailblazer work for key industry sectors since the reforms were announced. To help EAL Centres keep up to date with the latest developments, EAL has published a dedicated Trailblazer section on their website, with the latest information and news about Trailblazers. Visit to find out more.


EAL Level 3 Award in Requirements for Electrical Installations BS 7671: 2008 (2015) (QCF) 601/5321/0.

The third amendment comes into force in July 2015, with EAL offering the new qualification since January in order to ensure that our Centres are at the forefront of developments in the sector. The award gives learners an understanding of the application of the IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition. It provides a facility for individuals working in the electrotechnical sector to enhance their knowledge of the requirements for electrical installations. Kevin Sparrow, Product Specialist at EAL said: “This qualification will help EAL Centres ensure a smooth transition into the new requirements. We released the qualification in January to allow our customers as much time as possible to prepare for the new amendment that comes into force in July.”

To help the electrotechnical sector embrace the changes brought about by the third amendment, EAL and NICEIC hosted a joint webinar to explain the new standard and qualification. If you missed the live broadcast you can see the recording on EAL’s website: PAGE 05

BRINGING TOGETHER FURTHER EDUCATION AND INDUSTRY TO DELIVER STEM EXCELLENCE We all know the significant contribution the STEM industries make to the UK economy. Indeed, recent figures show there is the potential for this contribution to be much higher in the future, but skills shortages pose a real threat to achieving this ambition. Improving the quantity and quality of new STEM recruits at all levels is vital, which means ensuring STEM teaching is in line with business needs and expectations. The STEM Alliance is taking an innovative approach to addressing this challenge by bringing together further education and industry to develop a higher level of competence, confidence and collaboration in STEM teaching and learning. It is only by striving to achieve STEM teaching excellence that we can hope to inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians and technicians and equip them with the skills they need to succeed. The STEM Alliance is leading on a wide range of initiatives with exciting opportunities for both employers and teaching practitioners to get involved, including:

The STEM Exchange An online register where forward-thinking employers from across the country sign up to offer Continuing Professional Development opportunities to local FE practitioners. Whatever form this might take – from bite-sized work shadowing to attending a company induction – the objective is to align teaching with the needs of industry.

Share a teaching resource The STEM Alliance is inviting post-16 teachers, tutors and trainers to share their best practice teaching resources covering any STEM-related subject – from engineering and construction, to healthcare, hair and beauty. By sharing a resource they will: • gain national recognition among peers and industry

This is a unique opportunity for employers to: • ensure STEM teaching keeps pace with advances in modern industry • increase the supply of talented individuals with the skills to meet business needs

• demonstrate their passion and commitment to STEM teaching excellence • be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad mini. Financial support may also available to support resource development.

• influence policy decision making. For more information and to sign up visit

EAL INTOUCH Spring 2015

For more information and to share a teaching resource visit




EAL is the only awarding organisation to offer full time, specialist External Verifiers, dedicated to providing expert support to our Centres.


Building long-term partnerships and relationships is key to EAL’s business – and that is exactly what the company’s External Verifiers (EVs) do. Mick Turner has vast experience in industry and education, knowledge which helps ensure he and his colleagues are one step ahead of the competition as an EV for EAL. On leaving school, Mick began a mechanical engineering apprenticeship in Ipswich with Ransomes and Rapier Limited – a major manufacturer of heavy industrial equipment for the railway and construction industry. After serving his apprenticeship, he graduated to the tool room and spent 17 years with the company, leaving to join a startup business. “It was a big change for me,” said Mick. “I went from heavy industry into optoelectronic EAL INTOUCH Spring 2015

component manufacturing with BT&D Technologies Limited, also in Ipswich. I learnt so much as a leader of the development team dealing in implementing World Class Manufacturing techniques.” Mick then became a Mechanical Training Instructor at Saxon Training, Ipswich, a former EITB Training Centre, before being promoted to Youth Training Manager. He moved on to WS Training Limited gaining further qualifications and experience as he went, then onto West Suffolk College as Senior Work Based Learning Co-ordinator and Lead IV for Engineering and Automotive. “It all gave me a great grounding for my current EV role,” said Mick who has been with EAL since 2007. “When I started, my geographical area was predominately based in East Anglia, but now it can be

anywhere – from the larger cities to the most rural of areas – in supporting our Centres and learners.’’ “We are in a unique position as full time, permanent EVs. It is something our competitors do not offer. This helps us to build long-term partnerships, trust and mutual respect with our customers, creating the personal touch and familiarity that we all like. Dealing with people we know and nurturing new relationships is what gives me job satisfaction.” Outside of work Mick enjoys putting his practical skills to use – building and developing his own kit car as well as refurbishing the 200 year old Suffolk home where he lives, with his wife of 36 years. The couple enjoy the outdoor life, travelling in their motor home, cycling, walking and an annual skiing holiday.

As for the future, he sees constant change in our industry as a challenge, but believes that EAL is very well placed to make the most of the opportunities which arise. “I enjoy having the autonomy and responsibility in advising and guiding our Centres, to help them develop and deliver our qualifications to the right standards,” he said. “We have to respond to changes by introducing new or replacement qualifications, in meeting the employers’ needs at all times.’’ “EAL is valued by our customers and business partners. We receive positive feedback from our customers, but we need to constantly improve our offering to stay ahead of our competitors.”



EAL’s Managing Director, Julia Chippendale, takes stock and highlights the challenges and opportunities of 2015. I am proud to be leading EAL with such a great team in place – a team which can help us drive the business forward and ensure we are Closer to Industry than ever before. We can look forward with confidence to 2015 as work undertaken in the past 18 months comes to fruition. Last year had many highlights, but I have chosen three of the most significant as we plan to further develop our products and services. Trailblazers: EAL has always worked closely with employers to ensure its qualifications meet their needs and the needs of learners. The government’s apprenticeship reforms are taking this policy national, spearheaded by the Trailblazer scheme. Trailblazers are seeing employers, EAL and professional institutes working together to set new standards for apprenticeships, increasing the value of the vocational pathway, ensuring learners are getting a better deal from their education and the best possible start to their careers. Rail: EAL has worked closely with the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) and employers to devise flexible, robust qualifications to address the skills issue in rail. For example fourteen young people began their training last September as the country’s first OLEC based (Overhead Line Equipment Construction) apprentices – just one of the initiatives putting us on track to be the leading awarding body for the rail industry.


IAC: the Industry Apprentice Council, formed and funded by EAL, is really making its mark with its young members winning awards and proving to be fantastic ambassadors. The results of the second survey of apprentices across industry have now been published, giving everyone food for thought as what needs to be done to ensure vocational qualifications are on an equal footing to degrees.


with EAL you can add as many qualifications as you like to your Centre remit free of charge.

Over the coming months I want EAL to be recognised above all other awarding organisations as the one delivering the most relevant qualifications, in-tune with industry and our customers – the employers, training providers and our learners. I look forward to working with you to ensure this happens.

EAL Awards



To find out more about EAL qualifications and services please contact our Customer Services Team on: +44 (0)1923 652400

EAL InTouch - Spring Edition  

Spring 2015 edition of EAL's InTouch magazine

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