Solutions 4 Polymers (S4P) and G&A Moulding Technology have teamed up to create a brand new level three vocational qualification which they say will fill the gap for a nationally recognised, technically focussed polymer qualification.
Whilst there are a now a full suite of QCF Polymer competence qualifications available through PAA\VQ-SET, S4P says employers felt that these needed to be complimented by a knowledge qualification with greater in-depth technical understanding of polymer processing.
To fill this gap S4P and G&A, supported by The College of West Anglia and the Awarding Organisation, PAA\VQ-SET, have collaborated to produce a new level three technical qualification.
The new qualification, called PAA\VQ-SET Level 3 Diploma in Polymer Manufacturing Technologies (QCF), has now been formally accredited by the regulator Ofqual and S4P says it has been welcomed by employers as being exactly what is required.
Andy Barnard of S4P commented: “The qualification was developed following consultation with companies across the UK and has been two years in the making; it has been devised based on what employers want and need, to establish the technical abilities of employees who have responsibilities for ensuring processes are set up and perform to the highest standards.”
John Goff of G&A added: “Formalised recognition for people who undertake technical hands on roles is long overdue. It is widely known that both S4P and G&A provide technical training at this level, but none of the programmes carried any formal recognition. There are higher level qualifications available which probably cater for about 10 percent of the polymer workforce, but what industry has wanted is something for the remaining 90 percent”.
The qualification can be achieved as a stand-alone qualification and has also been added as a Knowledge Qualification to the Polymer Advanced Apprenticeship Framework. All the major polymer processes are covered and additional processes can be added to it should the need arise.
Toolroom Manager, Mark Russell from Hypro EU Ltd (Pentair Flow Technologies), has welcomed the qualification, commenting: “for some time we had been looking to take on a new apprentice, but we never felt that the content available was suitable for someone at technician level, so we contacted S4PL with our concerns and this new qualification is exactly what we required and has already started to reap us benefits from the knowledge that our apprentice has gained in the pilot. The added benefit is that it can also be delivered on-site which for us significantly reduced the internal costs of our apprentice.”
Neil Skyba of Polymermedics said the training provided by G&A previously has delivered a massive benefit to the productivity of the business, adding that the introduction of the qualification supported by a funding stream would allow the business to up-skill more of its employees in the future.