As most know, there is a national drive to increase the number of apprenticeships. What many don’t know is that at the vanguard of this change is a local business whose leader now needs local support - Linsey Temple, CEO of Gloucestershire Engineering Training (GET) - an alumna of LEAD and GOLD and a GAIN delegate.

Linsey knows the meaning of change as she has led the transformation of GET - a new Board was formed, new premises were found and moved into, sales trebled as they worked with a record numbers of engineering apprenticeships and a new brand identity was launched.

Linsey and GET are a breath of fresh air in the world of apprenticeships and in manufacturing and engineering in particular and are an example to everyone of what can be achieved in a very short period of time.

Not content with the excellent progress GET has made and as apprenticeships go through major reform, Linsey has identified an opportunity to train and develop engineering apprentices operating within the demanding standards of the Food & Drinks industry.

Working with National Skills Academy, Linsey has become a member of a ‘Trailblazer’ group for the Food & Drink sector. These Trailblazer groups, made up of employers within a sector, are developing new apprenticeship standards to ensure provision is more cost effective and specific to meet employer demands. What has become clear is that there are not the providers around the country who have the knowledge and skills capabilities or resources to deliver these new standards when they come in next year.

The National Skills Academy have offered GET the opportunity to become a Centre of Excellence for engineering apprenticeship delivery in the Food & Drinks sector. There will only be a few of these across the UK and as the National Skills Academy are very selective, it is quite a coup for Gloucestershire to have one of its own companies chosen to be such a provider.

The majority of training is already offered at GET but there is a requirement to replicate a typical work environment in the Food & Drinks sector. GET thus require more facilities either extending their current building, taking over a new facility and/or working with local employers in their place of work.

Linsey and GET are deep in negotiation with a number of the county’s institutions and employers to find a solution. Progress is slow. In parallel, business leaders within engineering firms are largely unaware of the imminent changes in apprenticeships.

Now is the time to support GET.

I believe this is a potential Game Changer for the county to broaden its approach in a key sector and to ensure staff within the engineering firms that service the Food & Drinks sector have the necessary skills as their business leaders themselves deal with succession planning in their companies.    

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