BITA and FLTA reaffirm value of forklift apprenticeships
Following the shocking revelations of the 'The Great Apprentice Scandal' shown on the BBC on the 2nd of April 2012, the British Industrial Truck Assocation (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Assocation (FLTA) have reaffirmed the value of apprenticeships in the materials handling sector.
The BBC Panorama programme uncovered evidence of private training providers offering apprenticeships involving little or no work experience and inadequate training. Such an approach short-changes both the government, which provides funding, and crucially the young people who signed up to the apprenticeships.
The contrast between the type of apprenticeships featured by Panorama and the courses which the forklift truck industry has been instrumental in developing could not be greater. Forklift Truck apprentices, sponsored by leading employers in the industry such as Linde, Barloworld and Jungheinrich, receive high-quality vocational training, both on placement and in the classroom, equipping them to pursue a career all the way to management level.
FLTA Chairman, Martyn Fletcher, said: "We were deeply saddened by much of what we saw on Panorama last night, and we hope young people are not put off all apprenticeships as a result. An IMI accredited Fork Lift Truck apprenticeship, no matter where in the UK it is delivered, will take a minimum of three years with scope for a further fourth year of advanced training. We, like BITA, are now even talking about a potential fifth year of training. Apprentices spend the majority of their time on work placements with the sponsoring employer. Underpinning technical knowledge is taught at appropriate colleges."
BITA members have invested significantly in the BITA Academy, a dedicated, branded apprenticeship training facility operated in conjunction with City of Bristol College. The BITA Academy offers both a three-year Higher Apprenticeship qualification including an exclusive quality assured certificate, and an Advanced Level Apprenticeship qualification, achieved during a fourth year of study, which leads to a Diploma in FLT Maintenance & Repair (both awards are accredited by IMI Awards). Additionally, graduates are also accredited as Engineering Technicians by the Society of Operations Engineers.
The FLTA continues to work closely with North Warwickshire & Hinckley College (NWHC) and Remit Training, which also offer apprenticeships leading to the same IMI Awards accredited qualifications offered by the BITA Academy.
As forklift truck sales continue to rise in the UK, the sector needs to attract high-quality apprentices to secure continued availability of qualified engineers. With current economic data, including March figures from Markit (the global financial information company) and Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, showing continued growth in the manufacturing sector, despite near stagnation across many other sectors, the forklift industry is well-placed to continue to grow.
The forklift industry continues to work together to greatly enhance employment opportunities for graduates of the apprenticeship scheme and maximise the opportunities for retaining newly-skilled people within the sector.