Home / ADCAS News / ADCAS set to unveil new Trailblazer apprenticeship


ADCAS – the Association of Ductwork Contractors and Allied Services – is assisting in implementing a new apprenticeship standard as part of the Government’s Trailblazer initiative.

What is trailblazer?

In 2013, the Government proposed a series of changes to apprenticeships, outlining the key points in a report entitled ‘The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Implementation Plan’.

Trailblazer was introduced in order to make apprenticeships more relevant, ensuring that competencies are tested more rigorously and that grading is introduced for assessments in order to better evaluate performance levels.

This new initiative is designed to give employers the responsibility for standards and assessment, equipping apprentices with the skills that they will need to progress.

In developing a Trailblazer standard, a group of employers work together to design and develop an apprenticeship that is suitable for both large and small organisations within their sector.

How did ADCAS get involved?

 Working with the Building and Engineering Services Association (BESA), ADCAS contacted key ductwork contractors to form a committee and deliver the three stages required to meet the standard:

  • Development of Standard
  • Development of Assessment Plan
  • Implementation

The first official committee meeting was held on 18th March 2015 and since then there have been 11 further meetings.

George Humphreys, Managing Director of Hotchkiss and member of the ADCAS Executive Committee, was voted Chair for the Ductwork Erectors Working Group and led the development process.

Representatives from MW Hargreaves Ltd, Boyd & Co (Metal Workers) Ltd, C Caswell Engineering Services Ltd, E Poppleton & Son Ltd and BESA were all present on the committee and together the group completed Stages 1 and 2 and had their assessment plans approved by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in September 2016.

George Humphreys comments: “For many years the apprenticeship system was the backbone of employment for most engineering companies and as a former apprentice myself I can vouch for the quality of training that was given.

“Recently it has been more difficult to attract school leavers into the construction industry and it is hoped that the Trailblazer initiative will help to kick start a new generation of apprentices. There is a lot of work to be done but both my fellow committee members and I welcome the opportunity to get involved.”


 The new apprenticeship will offer two levels:

  • Installer – Equivalent to NVQ Level 2
  • Craftsperson – Equivalent to NVQ Level 3

The implementation process is now well under way and with the help of BESA Training, Quinn Training and South Thames College, the new apprenticeship will be in place next year.

As well as encouraging best practice across the industry, the standard will allow ductwork erectors to reach full competency and develop the transferrable skills required to progress to the very highest level.

















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