Babcock Appledore to receive new unionlearn Quality Award

Shipbuilding firm Babcock Appledore in North Devon are to become the first to receive the new updated unionlearn Apprenticeship Quality Award on Thursday (22 January). The Quality Award recognises the company's implementation of a high quality apprenticeship programme.

Marine Fabricator apprentices at Babcock Appledore
Marine Fabricator apprentices at Babcock Appledore

The new revised Apprenticeship Quality Award is only awarded to organisations that can demonstration their apprenticeship programmes meet the rigorous high quality standards.

Will Bowden, Training Officer with Babcock International Group, explained that the traditional way skilled people are brought into the shipbuilding industry is through the apprenticeship route. An important part of their programme is how they've implemented a quality traineeship programme to feed into their apprenticeships.

"These opportunities for young people will continue as a well-proven method to provide the workforce required for increasingly complex build projects as well as the pipeline for talent that will supply the technicians, designers and managers that will take the industry forward.

"At Babcock Appledore, we want to make the transition from school to industry via apprenticeships seamless by the introduction of Traineeships. We have for some years engaged with both primary and secondary schools to provide an awareness of what heavy engineering looks like.

"However, young people are still unsure as to whether a career in engineering is for them; this is reflected in the average age of applicants to the apprenticeship scheme, often people over the age of 23 who have jobbed around and come to realise the exciting opportunities that exist in marine engineering, this however is often too late to utilise government funding streams for apprenticeships."

The Babcock Appledore scheme has been designed around the TUC Charter for Traineeships. Babcock Appledore are working with Petroc College of Further Education to provide the Traineeships that are designed to deliver the functional skills required for eligibility to apply for a Babcock Apprenticeship and valuable work experience over an eight-week period.

Will Bowden added:

"A young person can now make an informed decision as to whether a career in shipbuilding is for them. Working alongside experienced craftspersons, the trainees will see first-hand a ship under construction and that craftsperson will also give valuable insight into the trainee's suitability to the trade.

"With Petroc providing the underpinning technical knowledge and functional skills coupled with our skilled workforce, with the support of Trade Union representatives, who will be involved at the outset, we believe that this partnership will be the perfect introduction to one of our nation's proudest industries."

Tom Wilson, unionlearn director, said:

"I am delighted to see Babcock Appledore are the first to receive the new updated Apprenticeship Quality Award for its outstanding apprenticeship programmes. Unionlearn is working closely with employers and providers, not only to encourage workplace learning, but also to champion quality apprenticeships. Working with employers, unions and colleges, we can play a large part in raising the quality of apprenticeships and making them accessible for all."