A leading industry-approved training course that prepares school leavers for careers in engineering construction will go ahead this year despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on hands-on learning.

The Introduction to Engineering Construction (ITEC) Programme gives young people basic engineering skills, a recognised knowledge qualification and health and safety training. And to support learners impacted by the pandemic, the ECITB will provide ITEC students with a training allowance payment of £100 per week over the duration of the course. This has been introduced to support the 2020 cohort of ITEC learners who in previous years could have had part-time jobs; the introduction of a full-time condensed programme will lessen the opportunity for any part-time work.

Chris Claydon, ECITB Chief Executive, said: “The ECITB ITEC delivers an excellent foundation for a career in engineering construction and in recent years graduates have been coveted by major industry employers. I’m delighted that we have been able to work with training providers to ensure there will be a 2020 cohort.

“As the industry starts to recover, it is vital that we bring in fresh young talent with a grounding in critical craft skills such as welding and pipefitting. These skills were in high demand before the crisis and will continue to be sought after by industry employers, making the ITECs a hugely valuable asset to our industry.”

In 2020, the ITEC, which normally lasts 42 weeks, will be delivered in 32 weeks as a full-time condensed programme that focuses on specific skills shortages in particular regions of the UK.

Provision has been made for some learners to follow a discipline-focused programme this year; for example, 12 learners in the North East will learn welding skills and knowledge rather than general engineering training.

Undertaking training in a safe, socially-distanced environment is of paramount importance. Training providers delivering the course this year were required to show they could deliver safe classroom and workshop spaces and use digital technology for virtual delivery of the knowledge elements of the programme.

Eight training providers have been awarded contracts to deliver the course to a cohort of 98 learners who will follow programmes tailored to welding and pipefitting disciplines or general engineering starting in September.

The 2020 ITEC will be delivered by:

  • GEN2 (Workington)
  • The Engineering College (Birkenhead)
  • NETA (Stockton-on-Tees)
  • North Lynsey College (Doncaster)
  • Plymouth College
  • Weston-S-Mare College
  • Yeovil College
  • Bridgewater & Taunton College