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Billington Apprentice in Industry First

BCSA Awarding Alex Shaw with first CRAFT certificate

Left to right:  Jon Wright – Works Supervisor / Responsible Welding Coordinator for Billington, Alex Shaw – Apprentice Fabricator Welder for Billington, Peter Walker – Director of Health, Safety & Training for BCSA, and Darren Kemplay – Group HR Manager for Billington

On the 14th September, Alex Shaw of Billington Structures became the first ever apprentice to be awarded the BCSA CRAFT Structural Steelwork Fabricator Welder Certificate.

CRAFT (Competence Route of Attainment in a Fabrication Trade) is a modular based apprentice training scheme that enables employers to train apprentices to an industry core standard. BCSA have been working on setting up the scheme since 2012 with the goal of developing an industry specific apprenticeship training scheme.

Mark Smith, the CEO of Billington Holdings Plc, stated: “This is an exemplary achievement by Alex and I would like to give my sincere congratulations to him and the rest of the team. Billington’s corporate ethos has always been the development of our workforce, this is evident in the company’s currently employment of eight apprentices at our site in Barnsley. I look forward to seeing Alex develop his career with the company.” 

Peter Walker, BCSA Director of Health, Safety and Training said ‘This CRAFT Structural Steelwork Fabricator-Welder Certificate is the first to be awarded, and I am pleased it has been awarded to Alex as he and Jon have been actively involved in the content of the training modules, and their suggestions have contributed to the design, measuring and monitoring of the CRAFT Apprentice Scheme. Credit also goes to Darren Kemplay, Billington Structures Ltd Group HR Manager for coordinating the successful liaison between those busy working in a production environment and the National Trade Association, BCSA, which enabled the successful piloting of the first CRAFT Structural Steelwork Fabricator-Welder Apprenticeship.’

Darren said that ‘CRAFT quantifies the training we do and allows us to assess progress within a structured program. The formal training means that apprentices achieve an accreditation to prove their work is to the highest industry standards.’

The apprenticeship takes a minimum of two years to complete, offering time to gain hands on experience in the work place. BCSA Registered Validator, Jon Wright (Workshop Supervisor and Responsible Welding Coordinator for Billington Structures) monitored Alex’s training modules and offered mentoring and guidance throughout the apprenticeship –

‘It was particularly interesting for Alex & I to be involved in the development of the course modules, working with the BSCA in ensuring that the course is tailored in such a way that any future candidates will benefit greatly from this course.

In his time at Billingtons Alex has truly excelled. He has already gained a wealth of skills & experience in working on a varied array of projects, many of which include complex Frames & Truss Work.

To be the first in the Country to be awarded this accreditation is true credit to him. I am personally very proud of what Alex has achieved; he is an absolute joy to work with, hardworking, conscientious and a real asset to Billington Structures. There is no doubt in my mind that Alex has a very bright & exciting future ahead of him at Billingtons.’

On receiving the award Alex said: ‘To be the first in the country to have completed the BCSA CRAFT Scheme is a fantastic feeling and achievement. The scheme is a great way for new apprentices to learn and offers a better understanding of what the job involves. I would like to thank Billington for giving me the opportunity to have completed the CRAFT Scheme and especially my mentor Jon Wright for his help and time along the way.’

All at Billington would like to congratulate and thank Alex for his determination and commitment to achieve his CRAFT accreditation.

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