Welsh Government appoints Enginuity to explore new qualification to boost economy.

Welsh employers are being urged to become masters of their own destiny by building and adopting a new qualification to drive higher level skills in advanced manufacturing and engineering.

The Welsh Government has enlisted employer-led skills expert Enginuity and College Wales to draw up plans to develop a Master Craftsperson qualification to help drive performance in the sector which is vital to the country’s prosperity.

The Enginuity Group (which EAL is part of) is responsible for developing and issuing apprenticeship frameworks in Wales across the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors. From today (Monday July 11) it is undertaking a survey of employers to help shape the qualification before making recommendations to the Welsh Government with a view to running a pilot in the autumn which, if successful, could be rolled out across the UK.

The title Master Craftsman has been used in Europe since medieval times when earning this accolade involved a similar process to become a European Master Craftsperson today. The ancient process starting with serving a formal apprenticeship to a Master, moving through a Journeyman period to gain experience and finally an assessment and step up to Master Craftsman.

Ann Watson, chief executive of Enginuity , which represents circa 6,000 employers in the Welsh advanced manufacturing and engineering sector, said: “While the work was agreed prior to the European referendum, the decision to leave has made home grown skills even more important.

“Master Craftsperson is a holistic qualification which shows the candidate not only has the technical abilities but the coaching, mentoring and managerial skills to drive a business forward,” she said.
“Over the next few weeks we will be asking employers for their input. We want them to tell us their needs and help to build the qualification they want to enhance higher level skills.

“Master Craftsperson is a means of ensuring managers and mentors are positively influencing young people who are the future of the companies with skills that are fit-for-purpose in highly competitive marketplaces.”

There is a significant take up of the Master Craftsperson framework in European countries driven by legislation or demand from employers and customers. For example; in Germany, where there is a legal framework around the requirement to obtain the Master Craftsperson designation for employers and leaders, in 2010/11, 93,357 people obtained the qualification. Switzerland has a similar legal framework and, in 2009, 14,852 people qualified and Austria trained 3,536 in 2010/11.

Research has shown that in each of the countries that have adopted a legal framework for the accreditation of Master Craftsperson the following areas of competence must be proven; sector specific occupational competence (knowledge, understanding and vocational skills), management (HR, finance, economics, etc.), skills transfer (coaching, mentoring, teaching etc.) and a provable minimum period of experience, post qualification, within the required role.

Watson added: “We face a future outside the European Union, albeit hopefully with strong trade links and relationships maintained, but this is an opportunity for Wales to lead the way in developing a new qualification to suit its needs and benefit the wider UK economy, as has happened in countries which have adopted their own Master Craftsperson frameworks.”

Employers who want to find out more about the programme should contact Paul Morgan, Sector Development Specialist for Wales via email [email protected] or call Customer Services on 0845 643 9001

Click here to complete the survey. (It closes on 22 July at 17.00).