The new Institute for Apprenticeships policy of allowing off-the-job technical qualifications in apprenticeships will be welcomed by the engineering sector, says Semta.

Following a change to the Institute’s guidance, off-the-job technical qualifications, such as technical certificates that show evidence of knowledge, will be allowed to be included in apprenticeship standards if employers are willing to cover the costs of registration and certification.

Ann Watson, Chief Executive of Semta, said: “We very much welcome the Institute’s changes as they begin to reflect the very strong feeling on the importance of qualifications in apprenticeship standards from engineering sector employers. The new rules will make it easier for many employers to structure off-the-job training, which is very helpful.”

Semta says that its latest report shows the breadth of employer support for the inclusion of qualifications in apprenticeships. The Engineering a Qualified Sector report, based on a survey and further in-depth interviews with employers, shows that three quarters of engineering employers would prefer to take on engineers with qualifications. This includes competency-based qualifications, such as NVQs, which involve hands-on learning in a workplace environment.

Ann continued: “I hope that the new Semta report will provide a useful evidence base to the Institute for Apprenticeships and the government as they continue to refine the policy on qualifications.

“I know that engineering employers will continue to be keen to engage – they support the move to an employer-led system and very much welcome the opportunity to develop apprenticeships which reflect their needs.”