Industry hails apprenticeship trailblazers scheme

The plumbing and heating industry has welcomed the Government’s announcement about new apprenticeship trailblazers for plumbing, as part of the third phase of its successful Trailblazers scheme.

EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry, is working alongside employers, trade associations, training providers and professional institutes to develop an apprenticeship framework for plumbing and domestic heating technicians, based on the standards drawn up by employers with the support of SummitSkills – the standard setting organisation for the building services engineering sector.

EAL product specialist Jason Marsland said: “It is a great opportunity for employers within the plumbing sector to define standards and skills for the plumbing apprentices of today and the future. EAL is proud to be a part of this Trailblazer programme.”

Managing director of EAL, Julia Chippendale, said: “EAL has always worked closely with employers to ensure its qualifications meet their needs and the needs of learners.  The government’s apprenticeship reforms are taking this policy national, spearheaded by the Trailblazer scheme. This is helping to cement apprenticeships’ key role in the economic future of the country.”

She continued: “Trailblazers are seeing employers, awarding organisations and professional institutes working together to set new standards for apprenticeships meet skills needs, increasing the value of the vocational pathway, ensuring learners are getting a better deal from their education and the best possible start to their careers.”

The new Trailblazer standard for plumbing will include:

  • Apprenticeship duration
  • job role profile
  • entry requirements and expected behaviours
  • technical skills and knowledge requirements
  • a description of the learning and training phases
  • assessment requirements
  • employer sign off procedures
  • external recognition by professional institutions.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:  “I congratulate EAL for the key role it is playing in developing new top-quality apprenticeships. Through the trailblazers initiative employer groups, in collaboration with their industry partners, will give people the skills they need to thrive and our businesses need to compete.”

Launched in October 2013, the Trailblazers initiative aims to ensure that every apprentice in England is enrolled on a scheme that has been designed and approved by employers. More than 300 apprentices have now started on approved standards since September 2014 in the automotive and energy and utilities sectors with further starts planned soon.

For the latest on Trailblazers visit  or log on to  and visit the Standards and Development page


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