PETA’s BTEC Project Day returns!

Article summary: PETA has hosted the first face-to-face BTEC Project Day since the pandemic! The event, which was held on 18 August was a great success and its return was warmly welcomed after virtual events for the past two years.

The event, held at PETA’s training centre at Cosham, gives PETA’s engineering apprentices working towards their Level 3 BTEC in Advanced Manufacturing the chance to showcase and present their work.

The apprentices were tasked with identifying and undertaking a project for their employers, developing solutions and managing the entire process as part of their final BTEC units. The engineering apprenticeship takes around four years to complete, with the BTEC element accounting for approximately half of that time.

The project, which is combined with the communications module, allows the BTEC students to draw together the subjects studied and skills developed throughout the programme. The students spent 20 weeks working on their projects with assessment taking place throughout the project’s duration as well as on Project Day itself.

Apprenticeships are a great way of combining theoretical learning with practical, on-the-job learning and the project gives the apprentices the chance to demonstrate to their employers how they have developed in terms of skills, knowledge and behaviours.

PETA engineering instructor Dr Althea de Souza led the apprentices through their projects from start to finish. She guided the learners to identify a suitable topic, generally driven by an industrial need at their place of work. The apprentices then had to come up with several viable solutions, identify the most suitable and implement it.

The apprentices come from a number of different local employers including Eaton Aerospace, SMR, H&S Aviation, Global Marine and Beacon Engineering and Design. 

Projects were wide-ranging and included laser marking, light measuring of small components, improvements to process and equipment scheduling, development of fit-for-purpose skill matrices and several jigs and fixtures. 

The Project Day marks the culmination of the work. The event is a prestigious event to which employers and other guests are invited and encouraged to speak with the apprentices about their projects.

PETA’s CEO Huw Chapman attended the event. He said: “The final part of the BTEC is to take a work-based operation problem, evaluate it, assess potential solutions, evaluate these and then select, build and implement the solution. As well as addressing the engineering issues the solution must show a return on investment and they have to communicate the proposed solution to leaders in their organisation.

All of the projects were to a very high standard and the feedback from the employers was very complimentary. Each and every apprentice showed great depth with their projects; the solutions were positive and will be implemented in their workplace.  PETA’s tagline is Aspire to Learn : Apply to Advance.  The true value of training comes when learning is applied.  All of those who completed the BTEC project as part of their apprenticeship showed how well they, as individuals, add value to the organisations that employ them.”

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