For many years now the rubber manufacturing industry in the UK has suffered from the poor availability of technical courses which can be used for the career development of personnel coming into the industry. The demise of courses specialising in rubber technology at technical colleges and polytechnics such as Burton and Trowbridge, combined with a reduction in the size of the rubber industry, has resulted in little formal training apart from short courses. The reasons why this should have happened are numerous, but it is clear that at the regional level any formal course run annually will struggle to achieve the requirements of the new intake. Clearly our industry no longer has the critical mass to support it. On the other hand it is also clear that across the country there is still a strong need within the industry for training to a common standard.
In an attempt to reverse this position as a matter of urgency, a group of like-minded industrialists, representative organisations and academics in 2014 formed a working party, Elastomer Training Action Group (ELTAG), with the intention of generating a range of courses with content that is to an approved quality and accreditation. The Director of BRPPA coordinates the activities of ELTAG.
Ultimately there is a need to re-create a coherent learning pathway in rubber technology that will stretch from NVQ level 2 through to first degree and beyond. But this will take time and in the first place we need to concentrate our resources on the level at which there is the greatest need, building on what we already have. At the same time we have to recognise two essential realities:
In May 2016 ELTAG invited companies in the rubber manufacturing industry to register their interest in sending employees on a course in rubber technology at BTEC level 3 based on a course already run out of South Leicestershire College in 2014-2016. There was a strong response to this invitation and as a result the following arrangements are being set up:
Although all places have now been booked for 2016/2017, we are setting up a reserve list in case of possible drop-outs. If you wish any of your staff to be placed on this list please let BRPPA know on: firstname.lastname@example.org
ELTAG will be continuing to work on improving training provision in the industry, which will become ever more important against the background of the new apprenticeship levy system and the need to address the impact of the UK’s prospective exit from the EU. If you wish to register an expression of interest in placing any of your staff on a course along the lines of the above for the year 2017/2018 please let BRPPA know.
ELTAG would also welcome wider participation in its work. If you are interested also please let BRPPA know. If you have any queries or suggestions please do get in touch.
ELTAG Document can be downloaded here.