After lengthy discussions with course providers and employers, CEDA has launched the first ever Catering Equipment Service and Installation Technician Apprenticeship, which will be provided in partnership with registered apprenticeship provider, ECTA.
The apprenticeship, which is funded by the government, will last for a period of 30 months for each cohort of apprentices.
It has been developed to cover knowledge and skills including electrical competence, basic plumbing, health and safety issues, relevant regulations, ACS accreditations and fault finding procedures, as well as behavioural requirements such as customer care and communication. As the course is being offered on a block release basis, apprentices only need to attend the Stockport training centre for 1 week every 8 weeks.
Any employer in the catering equipment or related industries is able to make use of the course and need not be a CEDA member to become involved.
The apprenticeship’s introduction comes as the demand for highly trained maintenance technicians grows, with catering equipment becoming ever more sophisticated and catering operators both increasingly understanding the need for regular preventive maintenance and demanding quick repair response times.
Peter Kay, CEDA technical support advisor, commented: “CEDA has long recognised the need for an apprenticeship for service and installation technicians. However, historically, apprenticeships were driven by academics and based on formal qualifications and whilst ACS gas accreditations are a legal requirement, they are not classed as qualifications.
“CEDA also considered all the available electrical qualifications but found that they were designed for installers of electrical systems and did not deliver the skills and knowledge required by a catering equipment technician. CEDA even looked at developing a suitable qualification but the cost was prohibitive.”
He further explained: “Fortunately the government recognised that many other industries were in a similar situation and changed the apprenticeship system in 2014 to one of apprenticeship standards which could be developed by employers to meet their industry’s needs. In 2018 CEDA encouraged its members to form a Trailblazer Group to develop a standard and with the help of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Further Education, the standard was approved and published in July 2019.”
As apprenticeships are the responsibility of the devolved nations, the standard is only available in England. However, government funding is still available for any apprentice who works at least 50% of their time in England, irrespective of their employer’s location. There are a number of apprentices in the first cohort who work for Welsh employers.
The first cohort of 15 apprentices begins their training course later this month; future cohorts will start in the coming months. CEDA is therefore encouraging all employers who wish to take part to contact the organisation for more information.
Adam Mason, CEDA director general, summed up: “This is a momentous thing for the industry as for so long the development of a sector-specific apprenticeship standard has been talked about.
“Huge thanks to those organisations that took an active role on the Trailblazer Group, chaired by Kirstin Hatherley. This is a piece of work that CEDA has facilitated but it is very much those members who gave of their time, knowledge and expertise for a greater good, who deserve absolute praise. I can’t wait to meet the first cohort of apprentices later this month and I am thrilled that we are able to deliver this for the industry.”