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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Changing the way employers train

The Maudslay Initiative, a project led by the Occupational Standards Council for Engineering (OSCEng), could transform the way in which engineering and manufacturing industries train, develop and manage their workforces.

Jon Ward, technical director of The Maudslay Initiative, and Tim Feest, executive director of the OSCEng, began the project three years ago and are both convinced that the concept of the Initiative will be attractive to employers because it will provide clear incentives and rewards for ensuring that their workforce is adequately trained and competent.

The essence of the Initiative is to create a working situation that links certified competence in the workforce with the ‘risk’ and ‘scale of consequence’ associated with the product or asset.

For example, bolted connections to a high-pressure pipeline in a chemical process plant would be seen as a risky situation with severe consequences; if there was a fault with the connection it could result in substantial damages, injuries, loss of life and impact on the environment.

Employees involved in bolting assemblies in pipeline projects, from the design and installation to operation and maintenance, would, therefore, have to be supervised by someone with a high-level of professional competence. This will be based on a mentoring scheme designed to develop the skills, abilities and competence of the employee.  

Mr Ward believes The Maudslay Initiative will help address skills shortages and provide a greater incentive for professionals to develop their own portfolios of competence. He said: ‘Initially, the project will cover mainly those who are involved in the fitting, inspection, examination and integrity of bolted joins and assemblies. However, we anticipate that the concept and principles which underpin the Initiative will be adopted in a wider range of engineering and manufacturing applications.’

It is proposed that a number of sector-specific ‘Maudslay Groups’, comprising largely employer representatives, will be created. Each group will address the issues of competence and consequence requirements for its particular sector and will, by mutual agreement, determine the level of competency needed for anyone working on a job.

An independent, voluntary database of competence is also planned in which details, such as academic achievements, experience and professional certification, will be recorded.

With support from the Sector Skills Development Agency and ProSkills, pilot projects have already started in some engineering and manufacturing sectors, including quarrying. These will be used to identify the practical issues of implementing The Maudslay Initiative.

‘This is the start of what will be a major undertaking,’ said Mr Feest. ‘It will take between five and 10 years for the Initiative to become fully established across the major sectors of engineering and manufacturing in the UK.’

The Maudslay Initiative, Shieling House, Invincible Road, Farnborough, GU14 7QU; tel: (01252) 371022; fax: (01252) 371099; email: [email protected]

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