A UNIQUE industry-backed organisation has completed the latest expansion phase to its national training centre following a £500,000 re-development.
Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA), formed to represent organisations within the industrial and commercial insulation industry, is the sole provider of thermal insulation apprenticeships in the UK.
The six-month build, at TICA’s headquarters in Darlington, has increased the centre’s floor space by 30 per cent creating additional workshops, specialist asbestos training rooms, enhanced classroom provision, new kitchen and toilet facilities and recycling and storage areas.
The centre, funded through TICA membership contributions and voluntary member levies, provides customised training for thermal insulation apprentices, in addition to the delivery of NVQ qualifications and competency assessments for skilled workers.
It is also home to the head office of ACAD, the Asbestos Control and Abatement Division of TICA.
TICA chief executive Marion Marsland said: “Our latest expansion has given us the capacity to provide even more bespoke training.
“In our role as Sector Skills Council we are delivering a greater number of competency assessments to skilled workers as well as accommodating our core apprenticeship facility and these new premises allow us to accommodate both sets of training on the one site.
“We now have an enhanced building that is rich in resources, staffing and facilities, where we are able to consistently produce very high quality training.”
With a membership of more than 75 UK-based insulation contracting companies, TICA trains between 80 and 100 apprentices each year providing them with a framework of qualifications, including NVQ level 2 and 3 for Scottish candidates, and employer led standards for English candidates.
The industry specialises in the insulation of hot and cold pipework, ductwork and vessels, working on sites, including oil refineries, power stations, chemical plants, ships, offices, factories, hospitals, schools and supermarkets.
Jim Soady, of the Insulation and Environmental Training Trust Limited, which guides the strategy for training for TICA, welcomed guests to the official opening including member organisations, insulation suppliers, trade union representatives, members of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and former TICA chief executive Ralph Bradley.
“It’s fantastic to see this facility, which is bespoke to our industry, continue to grow and develop providing a standard of training that is second to none,” he said.
“Our member companies, who invest year on year, have a big input into the training centre and driving it all forwards is our chief executive Marion Marsland who has done an incredible job.”
Head of Qualifications, Technology, Engineering and Construction at the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Alistair Wylie was invited to perform the official opening ceremony.
“I have really enjoyed seeing first-hand TICA’s impressive new training facilities, which build on its success as an organisation and serves and supports an important industry sector,” he said.
“By harnessing the latest technology in the delivery of SQA qualifications, TICA is playing an important role in providing the insulation industry with a highly skilled workforce.”