NVQ for laboratory technical staff in geotechnical engineering

Course Location At place of work in the UK and appropriate training centres
Cost £0
Type of course in situ
Online booking
Course provider First Steps Ltd
Available dates for this course

Please contact First Steps Ltd directly for a current list of course dates

First Steps Ltd., in conjunction with Assessment and Training Services Ltd., are now able to offer an NVQ for LATA ( Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities) to Level 2 and 3, accredited through PAA\VQ-SET.

What does this mean?
The implementation of Eurocode 7 Geotechnical Design directs attention to the acquisition of data derived from both the laboratory and the field, because it will make increasing demands on the way design and analysis is conducted in ground engineering. Design values generated from Characteristic values have to be derived in a demonstrable way and thus Eurocode 7 stretches beyond the designer’s desk down into the laboratories and out into the field. The procedures to be followed are now designated as Normative Test Standards which means they are not voluntary. The Eurocode is not written like the British Standards; the Eurocode says “shall” where the British Standard says “should”.

Now is the time when technical competence of laboratory staff needs to be assured. The NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) is a Government backed nationwide set of approved criteria that are applied to competences displayed in the workplace; ie. in the laboratory and in the field. The laboratory may be UKAS accredited but the laboratory staff remain with no qualification; this can now be changed. They can be qualified like many others who work in laboratories throughout the UK

LATA is a generic qualification that can be applied to all laboratories in industry regardless of whether they are chemical or mechanical; it also applies to those who work in geotechnical laboratories or carrying out geotechnical work.

Level 2 is appropriate for Technical Staff and Level 3 is suitable for technical staff who are also Supervisors.

PAA\VQ-SET stands for the Process Awards Authority Ltd . It was constituted on 1st April 1997 as an independent “Awarding Body” by the major UK Man-Made Fibres businesses (ICI, Courtaulds, Eastman Kodak and DuPont). It was soon joined by the Paper, Refractory and Building Products and related sectors.
In July 2002 the Process Awards Authority Ltd acquired, from the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), its “Vocational Qualifications for Science, Engineering and Technology (VQSET)” courses. The CIA was an official “Awarding Body” that provided approval for training to the Petro-Chemical, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Science and Metrology sectors.
The amalgamation of the two Awarding bodies owned by the Process Awards Authority Ltd now trades under the joint name of “PAA\VQ-SET”.
PAA\VQ-SET is a company limited by guarantee and is committed to provide accreditation of unique and specialised qualifications for the processing and manufacturing sectors. PAA\VQ-SET operates in close partnerships with these businesses to provide valued qualifications for their skilled workforce.
Assessment and Training Services Ltd., (for brevity called hereafter ATS Ltd) is one of a number of Centres that operate under PAA\VQ-SET and through which the NVQ system of awards is provided and administered throughout the UK. It is run by Len Wilkinson who is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and based in Thorpe Willoughby in North Yorkshire. Len is a geotechnical man who worked in the geotechnical laboratories for the Royal School of Military Engineering and established the NVQ’s for the Royal Engineers. ATS Ltd., has a team of fully qualified staff who cover the whole of the country.

How does this work?
This system removes the administrative record keeping necessary with an NVQ from both the candidate and his or her employer. There are 3 steps to take.

Step1. Agree that a member or a number of members of staff will be forwarded for an NVQ and that training will be provided where necessary so that the qualification can be gained.

Step 2. Contact First Steps with details of the candidate(s);
Levels required.
Context of the award – laboratory &/or site.
Names of potential candidates.
Name of contact person.
Contact details.
Geographical location of the place of work.

Step 3. First Steps will initiate the steps needed for the candidate to be reviewed by ATS Ltd. A quote will be supplied to the Company contact based on the information supplied

What happens then?
There are potentially 5 phases in the process.

Phase 1. The candidate will be visited for an induction to the NVQ and his or her need for training, if any, will be assessed, on the job.

Phase 2. If training is required a plan of training will be designed and the candidate will be expected to complete this to the best of their ability. First Steps will be able to provide the practical training required if necessary, at the place of work if needs be or at its training centres.

Phase 3. The training will then be completed; this will cover aspects of Health and Safety and other statutory regulations (ie those laid down by Parliament) and any organisational safety requirements in addition to the method of testing and the reasons for those methods being what they are.

Phase 4. Assessments will then be conducted of the candidate’s knowledge and performance at the place of work over a period to allow the candidate to demonstrate competence to a national standard. If the candidate is found lacking in some particular area this will be pointed out and a date for re- assessment arranged; you cannot “Fail” an NVQ but most employers will expect an NVQ to have been acquired within 12 months, and the system provided by ATS Ltd is geared to deliver this; its assessors will guide and direct the candidate.

Phase 5. The outcomes of the assessments are evaluated; these will be observations made at the workplace, portfolios of work completed by the candidate but compiled by the assessor, and other forms of evidence of competence. When satisfactory the NVQ can be awarded.

What do you get?
You are awarded a certificate that says you have been assessed to have achieved a standard of work that equates to a Level 2 or 3 NVQ. This is a national certificate and it belongs to the person to whom it is awarded. It travels with him or her should they leave the place of work where it was gained.

What about the speciality in which it is gained?
This does not appear on the certificate however a parallel and second certificate can be provided by the Centre (ATS Ltd.) which does specify the skills for which you gained the award; employees of companies who are members of the AGS will probably obtain their second certificate endorsed by the AGS. The NVQ certificate and the portfolio of evidence that the assessor has collected become the property of the candidate.

How much does this cost?
There is no fixed price because each NVQ is a personal award. If an experienced operator is assessed to need no training, and can be assessed directly and can produce a portfolio of evidence to support the existence of the required competences, they can be awarded their NVQ with little further work. Each assessment costs money and so the more assessments there are the more expensive the NVQ will become. Numbers of candidates also plays a part in defining costs; if more than one can be assessed at any one visit of an assessor then obviously the cost per candidate goes down.

When does this start?
Now! As from 1st December 2007

Who should I contact?
Dr Christine Butenuth on 0207 736 6889 or info@firststeps.eu.uk

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Ranelagh Gardens
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Telephone: 0207 736 6889