The mechanical handling sector is set to benefit from a new apprenticeship that will help to meet the demand for valuable skills in powered access engineering. North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has become one of the first training providers in the UK to offer the Lift Truck and Powered Access technician apprenticeship.

Apprentices from a variety of businesses including Access Engineering, Versalift, Mainline Group, 1 Up Access, Horizon Platforms, CTE UK Ltd, Southern Platforms and GT Access will develop skills in the service, repair and maintenance of lift trucks and powered access vehicles widely used in industries including logistics, manufacturing, construction, and engineering.

Supporting the launch of the new apprenticeship standard, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) attended the apprentices’ first session at the college’s MIRA Technology Institute (MTI) campus which is dedicated to providing skills for the automotive sector. IPAF promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide.

Peter Douglas, IPAF’s CEO and MD said, “It’s fantastic to meet these apprentices just starting out on their road to become fully qualified engineers specialising in mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). This is something our industry has been crying out for and is an excellent step both to recognising and certifying existing talent and attracting bright new people into a career in powered access. I’d like to compliment NWSLC for rolling out provision to support these apprenticeship places; already the next two cohorts of apprenticeships to begin in autumn of this year seem on course to be fully subscribed.”

The lift truck and powered access apprenticeship, which leads to a Level 3 qualification, will support apprentices from across the UK to attend college for two weeks every ten weeks on a block release basis. Classroom-based theory will be studied at the MTI with practical workshop sessions taking place at the college’s specialist Harrowbrook Campus in Hinckley.

Katy Urwin, Director for Apprenticeships at NWSLC said, “We are delighted to mark the launch of this new apprenticeship standard which is critically important to the mechanical handling industry and marks a step change in the type and quality of skills delivery that businesses can expect. The apprenticeship has been specifically designed in collaboration with employers in the powered access space and we are delighted to be the one of the first colleges in the UK to roll it out from today.”

NWSLC has already received a positive response from industry partners on its plans to offer the new apprenticeship and expects to commence its second intake from September 2021.

Katy Urwin added, “There has never been a better time to invest in apprenticeships as organisations can currently benefit from grants of up to £4,000 for training an apprentice. Employers that take on a new apprentice of any age by September 2021 will benefit from a £3,000 payment in addition to the £1,000 already provided for organisations that recruit apprentices aged 16 to 18, or those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

“Colleges are at the leading edge of helping to reenergise the post-pandemic economy and at NWSLC, we already work with more than 1,000 national, regional, and local businesses across a wide range of sectors including more than 400 organisations operating apprenticeship programmes.

“The lift truck and powered access apprenticeship is designed for engineers at all stages of their skills development and the college is on hand to help with recruitment to vacancies in this area. Through its launch we hope to introduce skilled and work-ready individuals to businesses across the UK.”

Funding to train existing employees or new recruits can be accessed through the Apprenticeship Levy or Levy Transfer Scheme.

Businesses that are interested in finding out more should call 0330 058 3000 or email

North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College are Silver members of the Skills and Education Group. To find out more about our membership and how it could benefit your organisation, visit our Membership page.

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