Employers in the explosives sector have come together to develop new Apprenticeship frameworks in England and Wales that will provide structured training for workers in this safety-critical industry.

These frameworks, the first of their kind for the Explosives sector, have already generated a high level of interest from a range of organisations including Ministry of Defence establishments and commercial businesses.

The explosives sector is one of the UK’s most security-conscious and complex industries. Over the last decade this relatively small but significant sector has seen a shift away from traditional military ownership to private sector ownership. This market shift has revealed gaps in competence and health and safety which have all contributed to a need for improved skills development.

The new Apprenticeship frameworks consist of both learning and practical experience with a strong emphasis on explosives safety that will equip apprentices with the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to become competent members of the workforce. It has also been endorsed by Institute of Explosives Engineers (IExpE).

Alan Morley, President of IExpE said:

“I hope that this apprenticeship scheme will encourage young people to enter the explosives industry for a full, demanding and challenging career.  I also hope that the scheme will be spread to all explosives companies in due course.”

The frameworks, developed by employers working with Cogent SSC, are designed for those looking at taking Apprenticeships at level 2 and level 3, with focused and relevant pathways for specific training needs. The level 2 pathway includes explosives operations and munitions clearance and the  level 3 pathway explosives supervision and defence range safety supervision.

Denise Clarke, Managing Director, Homeland Security Qualifications, helped to develop the apprenticeship. She said:

“We are delighted that the creation of the Apprenticeship and its supporting qualifications have generated such interest and we look forward to working with the sector to meet the challenges posed by this dynamic and strategically important industry.”

Ian Beresford, Engineering & Technical Director at QinetiQ UK, was also part of the development. He added:

“Having the opportunity to contribute to the explosive apprenticeship framework has been important to ensure the right skills are taught and we will begin to use it ourselves in the near future. Providing career opportunities is vital to all business and is important that industry take the initiative to invest in the next generation.”

Apprenticeships are heavily supported by Government and industry as an extremely effective way of developing the future workforce and helping businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

For more information about the explosives apprenticeships email Ian Lockhart or call 01925 515 200

Editorial courtesy of  K Connor, Cogent Sector Skills Council