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Tresham College Link

Vital Skills Training, part of the Vital Services Group, and Tresham college of Further and Higher Education in northamptonshire have signed an agreement to provide a higher level qualification in rail engineering. Writes Lawrence Dobie, education and training director Vital Services Group

The NVQ Level 3 course will initially be offered to 16 apprentices who will receive practical training as well as classroom-based tuition. Vital’s education and training director Lawrence Dobie, Tresham’s managing director and deputy principal Rachel Kay and College principal and chief executive Stuart Wesselby signed the agreement at the college recently during National Apprenticeship Week 2013.

Says Mr Dobie, ‘We’re delighted to have this opportunity to work with Tresham College, which already offers a strong grounding in rail engineering through its NVQ Level 2 courses. Our aim is to boost that offering by providing a higher level qualification that will provide apprentices with a more in-depth experience.’

More specialised training

Apprentices on the course will initially receive practical training at Vital’s Leicester base while still attending the college for classroom sessions. However, Vital is currently in talks with Corby Council to identify a permanent site in the town.

The Level 3 qualification will be the desired skill level required on the Midland Mainline, which runs through the area. Mr Dobie said that although the Level 3 programme would focus on track to begin with, this provision would be expanded once Vital established a permanent base in the area.

This would also allow the delivery of more specialised training at Level 3 in signalling, electrification and telecommunications, all skills that will be in demand to support the development of the Midland mainline.

Says Rachel Kay, Tresham’s managing director, ‘This is an ideal partnership for all concerned. Both parties are committed to providing opportunities for people from all backgrounds and giving them the support they need to achieve their career goals.

‘This new programme gives our students a chance not just to earn while they learn, but also to enter a vibrant industry where there is a huge demand for suitably qualified staff. We’re confident that this will be a long and successful partnership that will offer young people an exciting and viable career path.’

Vital and Tresham College are both members of the National Skills Academy in Rail Engineering (NSARE), which last year inspected Vital and made it one of six companies in the UK to achieve an outstanding grade. It was praised in particular for its commitment to diversity and equal opportunities. The rail apprenticeship programme is seen as just the start of Vital’s relationship with the area.

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