• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

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Bishop Auckland College students test their skills during Open Doors visit to TICA

TICA1webTICA trainee tutor/assessor Ashley McDowell demonstrates the art of cutting and shaping thermal insulation to students from Bishop Auckland College

Students from Bishop Auckland College had an opportunity to test their practical skills while gaining an insight into the thermal insulation sector during a visit to TICA’s national training centre.

Twenty students toured the Thermal Insulation Contractors Association facility in Darlington over two days as part of the Build UK Open Doors initiative, designed to highlight the wealth of career options within the construction industry.

During their visits, the students, who are taking courses in painting and decorating, construction skills, and bricklaying, were briefed by TICA instructors, and spoke with Level 3 apprentices attending the centre from across the UK.

(Front L-R): TICA’s delivery team lead Michael Tait, apprentice Thomas Farnworth, head of learning Helen Anderson,  and trainee tutor/assessor Ashley McDowell, with Bishop Auckland College students at the association’s national training centre in Darlington

They were also given an opportunity to cut and shape thermal insulation and fit it to the test rigs used by TICA apprentices as part of their training.

Helen Anderson, the trade association’s head of learning, said: “Thermal insulation is not something that readily springs to mind when considering a career in construction.

“However, there is huge demand from employers for skilled apprentices being fuelled by a rise in construction projects and a shift towards improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.”

Michelle Andelin, head of school for construction at Bishop Auckland College, said: “Previously our students have visited construction sites as part of the Open Doors initiative, but this year we wanted to highlight different career pathways available within the sector.

“Our students listened to the experiences of former and current TICA apprentices, the opportunities available, as well as picking up a few practical skills.”

Luke Picken, 17, from Bishop Auckland, who is on a bricklaying course, added: “I enjoyed my visit to TICA. It was interesting because thermal insulation was something that was completely new to me and something that I had never considered.”

Student Luke Picken fits thermal insulation to a test rig, watched by TICA trainee tutor/assessor Ashley McDowell

TICA, which last year moved from an annual to quarterly intake for its Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships in thermal insulation, is currently training a record 130 apprentices, up from an average 60 to 80 per year.

It involves a mix of on the job training, supported by block release workshop-based learning, allowing apprentices to gain the technical knowledge and practical experience to gain a nationally recognised qualification relevant to the thermal insulation industry.

In November TICA received an Ofsted ‘good’ rating in all five areas inspected: overall effectiveness, quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, and apprenticeships.