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‘Master Craftsperson’ qualification in development

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Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.56.19IN AN ATTEMPT to boost higher level skills in advanced manufacturing and engineering, the Welsh Government is urging employers to adopt a brand new qualification. 

Employer-led skills expert Semta and College Wales have been appointed by the Welsh government to plan the development of a Master Craftsperson qualification, which will contribute to improving performance in advanced manufacturing and engineering, a sector essential for Wales’ prosperity.

Apprenticeship frameworks across the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors in Wales are developed and issued by Semta, who began to undertake a survey of employers on Monday, July 11, to help influence the qualification. Upon the survey’s conclusion, the Welsh government will receive recommendations from Semta with the hope of running a pilot in the autumn. If it succeeds, the initiative could be rolled out across the UK.

Since the Middle Ages, the title Master Craftsman has been in use in Europe. Those wishing to earn the title began by serving a formal apprenticeship to a Master, gaining experience through a Journeyman period and concluding with a final assessment before earning the accolade. The skills required to earn the medieval decoration are not that different from those involved in the process of becoming a European Master Craftsperson today.

Semta represents around 6,000 employers in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector in Wales. Chief Executive of Semta, Ann Watson, 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.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

In European countries driven by demand from employers, customers and legislation, there is a significant take up of the Master Craftsperson qualification. In Germany there is a legal framework around the requirement to obtain the qualification for employers and leaders, and in 2010/11, the qualification was earned by 93,357 German people.

During the same period of time, Austria trained 3,536 for the qualification. A legal framework similar to that in Germany exists in Switzerland, and in 2009, 14,852 people qualified.

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

“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,” Ann Watson added.

For more information about the programme, employers should contact Paul Morgan, Sector Development Specialist for Wales via email at paul.morgan@semta.org.uk or call Customer Services on 0845 643 9001.

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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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