Innovative Partnership Delivers Apprenticeship for Greater Manchester’s Green Energy Sector

Oct 17, 2023 | Green Skills/Jobs

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An innovative collaboration between education, industry and specialist skills providers has created a groundbreaking apprenticeship that will help to solve the skills challenges experienced by the green energy sector across Greater Manchester.

The ‘Practitioner in Pipelines for Hydrogen and Utilities’ Apprenticeship, which has welcomed its first cohort of apprentices, has been devised through a strategic partnership between IACS Training and Education, the training subsidiary of IACS Ltd; Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, a leading apprenticeship provider; and TWI, one of the world’s leading authorities on safety assurance through engineering, materials and joining technologies.

Derived from the Construction Support Technician apprenticeship standard, The ‘Practitioner in Pipelines for Hydrogen and Utilities’ Apprenticeship integrates pipeline inspection with a comprehensive ‘safety module’, which includes the world’s very first Ofqual accredited qualification in hydrogen awareness. Bespoke course features also includes welding, coating and painting inspection and non-destructive testing.

Jo Taylor, Executive Director Apprenticeships, Business Development and Future Skills at Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, says: “This project has been months in the making and is an amazing example of collaboration between an employer and provider. This apprenticeship will address a skills need in the green energy sector, leading to highly skilled, high paid green jobs for the people of Greater Manchester.We are planning to recruit our next cohort in November this year – so watch this space!”

Taking place over a 16-month term, the apprenticeship will be supported by Hydrogen Safe, the specialist safety training provider and TWI, the BGAS-CSWIP certification course tutor that will be responsible for delivering the courses and examination.

The starting on a basic salary of £28,000 a year, the apprentice will also be able to achieve performance-related salary incentive uplifts as they gain the individual certifications awarded by TWI. On successful completion of the apprenticeship, each apprentice will be offered a permanent role with IACS Ltd.

James Baker, Director at IACS Training & Education, part of IACS Ltd, added:Our single focus is to develop highly skilled tradesmen and women who will be able to confidently contribute to the green energy sector. So, we are delighted to welcome our first group of 11 apprentices, who are embarking on a wonderful journey through a programme that has been created specifically for the role they have chosen as their career.

“This employer-led initiative marks a significant investment by our business as we aim to meet with local and worldwide demand for our highly skilled personnel. We are operating at a time of huge investment in the infrastructure for utilities, principally here in the UK, but also globally as nations around the world look to extend and upgrade their energy supply chains. It also demonstrates to our industry our commitment to people and excellence.

“Together with Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, TWI and Hydrogen Safe, we are supporting a new generation of pipeline inspectors, whilst equipping our apprentices with the green skills they will require to have a long and fulfilling career.”

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO at Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, comments: “This pioneering training partnership is a brilliant example of how collaborative innovation can make such an impact. By bringing together diverse knowledge, skills, resource and experience, we have been able to innovate and solve a skills challenge and pursue a shared opportunity.”

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