Employer Skills Programme (ESP)
In 2013, the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) published “Lifting Off – Implementing the Strategic Vision for UK Aerospace”. It set out the strategic objectives to be met for the UK to maintain its position as the number 1 in Europe and 2nd largest Aerospace market in the world.
As Mark Stewart Chair of the AGP Skills Working Group (SWG) and General Manager and HR Director explains “to enable this goal to be achieved skills and skills development was put at the heart of these objectives alongside Technology and improving the Supply Chain.” In response to this challenge, the Aerospace Industrial Partnership was formed to tender for the Employer Skills Programme contract (or EOP contract as it was known by BIS). This was awarded and signed in November 2014 and the projects started soon after. The projects were classed under 5 work streams and reflected the priorities identified in Lifting Off.
- Develop and pilot Master level specialist skills training courses (Specialist Skills) – for Landing Gear, Fatigue & Damage Tolerance, Fuel Systems, Systems Engineering, Design & Analysis and Manufacturing Process and Control of Composites.
- Engage with young people and education providers to promote the Aerospace sector (Early Careers) – to engage with young people through work experience, Traineeship, Apprenticeship and Graduate Intern programmes and with schools through Teacher Training programmes.
- Develop 11 Trailblazer standards
- Develop and promote project management skills (Project Management) – identified as a particular weakness in a sector that requires strong project management capabilities.
- Capture and document critical skills (Knowledge Management) – an aging employee profile means that critical skills must be captured so they are not lost to employers and the sector
At September 2015, formal notice was received that the contract would be finished early.
The EOP contract has been a success.
The Specialist Skills courses were developed and piloted with at least one cohort of learners.
The Project Management work stream engaged with 6 employers from whom 22 employees underwent training. Even during the short time of the pilot, 2 employers particularly made significant improvements in their Project Management capability.
The 11 Apprenticeship standards identified by the Aerospace and Aviation employer groups were all developed with the Assessment Plans currently going through the BIS approval process.
The Early Careers work stream was more mixed with some good results in engaging schools, pupils, teachers and graduates but some disappointing results in Apprenticeships, although new employers were engaged who hadn’t worked with these programmes before and relationships with Further Education colleges were enhanced. There was also support from the Regional Aerospace Alliances on this work stream who promoted the programme to their members while also looking at the Infrastructure in their areas.
The Knowledge Management work stream (work stream 5) engaged with 152 employees to either capture specific knowledge or to train colleagues on how to effectively capture knowledge. A Toolkit has also been developed that will be available across the Aerospace sector.