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Apprentice Exchange Helps ABC Members Manage Their Brick Apprentices Training And Education

The Association of Brickwork Contractors (ABC) has launched the Apprentice Exchange to help Members manage their apprentices' training and education.

Developed in collaboration with CITB-ConstructionSkills, this highly innovative web-based solution facilitates the meeting of continuous training objectives – both on and off the job – by matching apprentices’ training needs with contract availability. At all stages in the process, the welfare of the apprentice remains paramount. The ABC recognises training and education as fundamental to ensuring brick continues to define and shape Britain’s urban landscape. Taking on an apprentice commits any employer to providing a broad range of on-the-job training.

"Apprentice training can be a management nightmare because employers cannot guarantee to provide the right training opportunities exactly when the syllabus expects," comments Geoff Irvine, Chairman of the ABC. "With the Exchange we can quickly identify any training opportunities available through other company’s contracts and easily match apprentices to contracts."

By logging into the Exchange, Members can register an apprentice, entering information on availability dates and a report on his/her current level of training. Training levels are defined using the latest recommended module descriptions from the CITB’s Occupational Working Group for Trowel Occupations. Registering triggers an email to the apprentice’s managing agency so the latest agency report can also be uploaded. Currently, the Exchange recognises two managing agencies: the CITB and NESCOT College in Epsom; each has its own reporting structure. Members also register contracts in the Exchange and when apprentice training can be accommodated. Clicking a button alongside a contract immediately generates a list of suitable apprentices with the contact details of their Work Recorders, enabling Members to immediately fill vacancies. Work recorders conduct all negotiations concerning any potential apprentice transfer; if a transfer is agreed, the recorder currently responsible for that apprentice initiates the transfer process. Initiating a transfer also informs the relevant managing agency to ensure the apprentice’s college training continues uninterrupted. To comply with the Data Protection Act, apprentices registered with the Exchange can also log on to check that the details held online about them are all correct, and to find out what contracts could be available to them in the future.

"No other trade association in the construction industry offers anything similar to the ABC’s Apprentice Exchange," notes Stephen Crosswell, CITB-ConstructionSkills General Manager for English Regions. "We believe this development is a major advance in apprentice management." The CITB Construction Skills, the Brick Development Association and the Better Brickwork Alliance support the Association of Brickwork Contractors’ focus on quality, employment, health and safety, and training and education. Membership is open to all brickwork contractors and subcontractors who use brick extensively and who subscribe to these objectives.

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