New apprenticeships for Auto-glazing sector

With the advancement of vehicle glass demanding ever more technical skills, the automotive glazing repair and replacement industry has received a shot in the arm from the Government with its approval for the development of a new Trailblazer Apprenticeship.

Recognising that auto-glazing is a highly specialised area within the wider automotive arena, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has rubber-stamped a joint bid from a number of leading vehicle glazing employers to develop a new apprenticeship standard for the next generation of Automotive Glazing Technician apprentices. The Trailblazers programme aims to ensure that every apprentice in England is enrolled on schemes designed and approved by employers.

Coming under Phase 5 of the Apprenticeship Trailblazers programme, in which businesses work together to determine new training standards applicable to their market, the automotive glazing Trailblazer group will be co-ordinated by Essex Glass and Windscreens (EGW), which has been established for over 20 years. In partnership with nine other businesses, representing more than 90% of all employees in the UK vehicle glazing sector, EGW will be responsible for delivering the framework for a brand new Level 3 Apprenticeship in Automotive Glazing, which would take apprentices a minimum of 18 months to achieve.

In addition to Essex Glass and Windscreens, the Trailblazer group for Automotive Glazing currently includes the following employers: AA Auto Windshields; Autoglass; Auto Windscreens; Advanced Windscreens; CCS Windscreens; Jay and Rob’s Windscreens; The Windscreen Company and 1st Choice Windscreens.

The continual evolution of the windscreen, rear screen and door glass, has given rise to the introduction of ‘smart glass,’ whereby the glass is an integral part of the vehicle’s structural strength and electronics. A variety of sensors within the glass mean that many vehicles now require system re-calibration post repair, which is safety critical.  Such sophisticated technologies demand complex fitting procedures and a high level of expertise with tools and materials specific to automotive glazing.

Maria Charlton, director of Essex Glass and Windscreens said:

‘Vehicle glazing is a technology in its own right, which is increasing in sophistication. Our industry is delighted that the Government has recognised the uniqueness of our sector and the role it plays in the economy. From our discussions with the insurance sector, it is our understanding that insurers will soon demand certification of re-calibration of windscreens post replacement, for the purpose of processing a claim. This will need to have been carried out by a fully qualified technician. The development of a brand new apprenticeship, is therefore, extremely timely and we look forward to delivering a framework with our industry partners, which collectively employ some 90% of all automotive glazing technicians in the UK.’

The Minister for Skills, Nick Boles said:

‘Businesses must have their say in training tomorrow’s workforce. Giving employers like Essex Glass and Windscreens the power to design apprenticeships means apprentices graduate with the skills they need for the job they want and businesses get the talent they need to grow.  Young people on these programmes will have the opportunity to learn sought-after skills and enjoy a great start to a working life.’