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Vital Skills Training to deliver new rail qualification

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Vital Skills Training, a division of Vital Services Group, has become one of the first companies in the UK to deliver the new City & Guilds qualifications in rail engineering.

Vital will be offering learners the opportunity to study for City & Guilds certificates and diplomas as well as following the new apprenticeships which have been developed by GoSkills and the National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering.

The ‘Apprenticeship to Fellowship’ scheme was launched publicly last month by the academy during a conference at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers where Vital Skills Training was represented by Operations Manager Lawrence Dobie.

He said: “Vital Skills Training is now offering the new City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Rail Engineering which is competence-based and formed of bite-sized chunks with the framework having been redesigned in line with the recent Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act.”

Speaking at the recent IMechE conference, John Hayes MP, the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, said:

“I am determined to widen and deepen our country’s skills base by breaking down barriers between vocational learning and higher education.

“By opening up the route to higher qualifications to more young engineers, including via advanced and higher apprenticeships, employers, engineering institutions and the Engineering Council will build a world-beating rail sector.”

Mr Dobie continued: “Vital Skills Training echoes the comments made by John Hayes. Vital has created a whole division to address the importance of training in the rail sector.

“Traditionally, engineering institutes have imposed entry requirements based on academic qualifications which could discriminate against people who have the potential to rise to the top in the industry but who have gone down a vocational route rather than staying in education.

“I can’t have been alone in noting that one of the key players at the conference, Colin Walton [chairman of Bombardier Transportation UK], started in the industry as an apprentice aged 15.”

Vital will be taking learners -who may be mature people returning to work or making a career change as well as the young – through the City & Guilds Intermediate Apprenticeship in Rail Engineering (Track) over 12 months, and will also work closely with the National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering in recruiting students.

When students have acquired core qualifications and progressed to a Level 3 course, Vital may encourage them to specialise in some of the company’s fields of excellence which include signaling, telecommunications and electrification of plant.

The Vital programme should be distinguished from placement programmes or day release at colleges since all of the tuition takes place in the company’s dedicated classrooms and is given by its own training staff.

Speaking about the qualification, Chris Kirk, Head of Apprenticeships at City & Guilds said: “We are delighted to be working with Vital Skills Training and Vital Services Group to help deliver their ‘Apprenticeship to Fellowship scheme’.

City & Guilds is committed to inspiring people of all ages to discover their talent, unlock their potential and achieve their career aspirations – something the Vital Skills programme will undoubtedly enable.

“Vocational qualifications and Apprenticeships are integral to building a more proficient and sustainable economy. In February, City & Guilds launched Million Extra – our mission to help ensure one million people start an Apprenticeship by summer 2013.

“To achieve our mission, we need more employers to engage in Apprenticeships, and Vital Services Group is setting an exceptional example.”



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