Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1060-1064)|
7 OCTOBER 2008
Q1060 Albert Owen: With you being
more of an international group, talking about your European partners,
is there a differential between the UK and the rest of Europe
that you have noticed?
Mr Griffiths: They do not have
the same literacy and numeracy issues when they join the apprenticeship.
Mr Fleming: One point I would
like to make is that as an organisation we are trying to use wider
and wider deployment of structure programmes. As Gary has said,
we are now looking at the Level 2 programme for our semi-skilled
population. We have adult apprenticeships. The reason we are using
these frameworks is so we can give people assessment and support
in these types of activities. We have on-site through Deeside
College local initiatives so if somebody does have basic skill
needs we have support mechanisms. At the moment, as an employer,
it is very, very difficult to get individuals to own up to those
deficiencies, so we are trying to use the programmes to identify
Mr Griffiths: As per the Welsh
Assembly initiative that anybody who is on a funded programme
needs to have a basic skills assessment, we incorporate that into
our apprenticeships both for our adults and our new entry apprentices
as well. That is how we support the individuals who need it.
Q1061 Mark Williams: Specifically
in your brief you talk at length about the concerns you have over
the qualification system and the change in the NVQ procedures.
In response to Ms Griffiths' question you asked for clarity. Are
you getting clarity from the Welsh Assembly Government on the
issue of NVQs? In Scotland they are quite clear on it. It seems
from your brief you are unclear as to which route the Assembly
is going to take.
Mr Griffiths: I think that is
still the case. They have not communicated to us the direction
that they propose to take with regards to the qualification. We
work closely with the Assembly and we have very good relationships
with people within the Department but they have not actually announced
as yet the direction they are going to be taking with regards
to the qualification structure.
Q1062 Mark Williams: What route would
you like them to take?
Mr Griffiths: I would like them
to work together with England to ensure we have got something
we can use across both sites. I do not see the advantage of us
going down an independent route as Scotland has decided. However,
there are still some issues around what is being proposed and
I would like employers to be able to input into that debate, for
instance if the proposal to get rid of NVQs needs to be reviewed
and there needs to be a change in the policy around that across
both England and Wales.
Q1063 Mark Williams: In a Welsh context,
and I appreciate you have said you want some parity, how much
of an input do you have in that balance between vocation versus
academic outcomes in the NVQs? How much input do you have in the
specifics, or do you envisage having in the specifics of the balance
between academic versus vocational?
Mr Griffiths: From an employers'
point of view I think that the vocational element of the programme
is something that we need to have and it needs to be supported
academically through the academic programmes as well. We need
to have a vocational route that will measure people's competence
that we will be able to underpin with an academic qualification
as well. Our concern is that if they get rid of the NVQs then
we are not going to be able to use that and there will not be
a consistent approach by all engineering employers. This is something
that is a UK concern and SEMTA are lobbying hard on our behalf
Q1064 Mark Williams: Any indication
when the Assembly are going to have an outcome on this?
Mr Griffiths: I am not aware,
Mr Fleming: No.
Chairman: Could I thank you on behalf
of the Committee for your evidence, firstly for the very interesting
points you were making about apprenticeships and the low level
of understanding about what you are doing. The Select Committee
on Universities, Innovation and Skills are currently undertaking
pre-legislative scrutiny on a draft Apprenticeship Bill. We undertake
to pass on to that Committee the evidence you have given, but
you may also wish to submit some evidence yourself. We will arrange
for you to be given the contact details for that Committee. If
you feel that there are some points that we have not covered we
would be very pleased to receive a supplementary memorandum from
you. Thank you very much.