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For the last 20 years, DCET Training has been the specialist in electrical training across Devon and Cornwall.

Our programme includes continued professional development courses for skilled and experienced workers, electrical Apprenticeship training and more recently Traineeships.  

DCET, which is now part of The Focus Training Group, is a one-stop shop for all electrical training needs. Our provision has been developed in response to feedback from employers that young people are leaving college and other providers without having gained or developed the skills and knowledge needed for a career in this sector. In 2015 DCET Training opened a new training centre in Bristol, in response to employers’ feedback about the lack of specialist skills amongst young people in this areaand indeed about the lack of a good quality professional development courses on offer locally. 

Bristol has a wide range of electrical companies, from large contractors to SMEs and sole traders. Many of these organisations are contacted with speculative applications from young people who are keen to work in the electrical sector, and some asked for support to implement an apprenticeship recruitment process. 

DCET Training work with many employers and offer a recruitment process solution for them. This includes developing a Traineeship programme, if appropriate, to the employer and applicant needs. The Traineeship programme we developed and delivered last summer has been nationally identified and recognised by NIACE as a beacon of good practice for delivering sector specific traineeships and upheld by BIS as a model of good practice. 

Our Traineeship was entirely tailored to the electrical sector. Trainees took part in an eight week programme, made up of classroom and working on site experience. Tutors used real life examples to contextualise their teaching and give trainees a good understanding of the types of work they would be undertaking. On site, trainees were given a flavour of the working environment that electricians are required to work in. This included a new build housing site, a commercial building which was being refurbished, and an old brewery which was being converted into luxury flats. This gave trainees a taste of the varied and complex nature of the electrical trade.

At the end of the scheme, twelve trainees were offered electrical apprenticeships with local companies. They progressed onto the Level 3 Electrical Trailblazer Apprenticeship programme, a new Government streamlined structure to Apprenticeships benefiting both employers and employees. The thirteenth member decided to join a full time college course, so a 100% destination success! Additionally both girls in the group progressed onto the Electrical Trailblazer, with one of them, Ruby Mitchell, becoming an ambassador with the NICEIC national ‘Jobs for Girls’ campaign. Ruby has since been nominated and was a finalist in the Women in Business Awards 2016, in the category of Female Apprentice of the Year, with the Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle.

During September last year, following lengthy implementation and lead time of electrical trailblazing, the new apprenticeship standards were ready for delivery. We took the initiative and started delivering the new framework immediately. It transpires that we are the only provider offering the Electrical Trailblazer Apprenticeship in the whole of the UK! A rather large feather in our cap, when you consider all of the Further Education Colleges, Training Providers etc. nationally, there must be in the excess of three hundred other providers!

It’s worth bearing in mind that Electrical Contractors, some nationally known and recognised, along with colleges and other training providers have been sitting on the Trailblazing standards and implementation committee for the last two-three years planning and preparing the award and yet none of them took the plunge when it was ready for delivery.

While it may have been easier for us to sit back and wait for the current qualification to expire we took the decision to run with it. We believe this demonstrates our responsiveness to change in the industry, one of DCET’s key strengths. 

The huge pleasure in all of this is that none of this would have been at all possible without the support of employers. We share the credit for this success with them equally because without an employer there would have been no trailblazing apprentice. As a new player in a busy marketplace we consistently punch well above our weight compared to the big players delivering apprenticeships. However, we believe it is quality of provision and our adaptability which makes us a forerunner. We know employers want a better service and we want to give them it.

In amongst all of this, we went onto break own recruitment targets and our instant popularity and continued growth has resulted in further expansion.  We outgrew our training facility far quicker than we had original anticipated. In January we took on a new lease for a far bigger building on the north side of Bristol, with excellent links and the anticipation of the brand new Metrobus system operational from 2017 and on our doorstep. We have spent the last couple of months refurbishing our new building and we moved our apprentices in at the start of March. It is hoped this new facility will become ‘home’ for some years to come, as the space lends itself for modification and extension as we continue to grow the business.

We are holding an Open Day on 12th April and have extended our ‘open door policy’ to local businesses and contractors alike. We have worked tremendously hard to turn the former windscreen repair unit into a functional training facility – we hope everyone will agree! We look forward to meeting and welcoming new friends and colleagues at our Bradley Stoke, Bristol site. Do look out for us too on 5th July at the South West Skills Show at the University of the West of England.

 

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