ICAA – The New Acronym Exciting the Industrial Coatings Industry

ICAA – The New Acronym Exciting the Industrial Coatings Industry

100% Apprentice Success Delivered by Jack Tighe Ltd.

In August 2020, seven apprentices at Jack Tighe Ltd. became the first to complete the new ICAA – Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeship.

Running an apprenticeship scheme is a sizeable commitment. It must be done for the right reasons, and provide the potential to deliver your goals. It’s an even bigger undertaking when the apprenticeship scheme you are considering has not been tested elsewhere.

In this article, you’ll learn why Jack Tighe decided to take the apprenticeship route with the ICAA.

An apprenticeship that delivers to the needs of the employer

The industry is experiencing an increasing average age of coatings applicators, and Jack Tighe mirrors this. Concerned about the possible effects of a workforce getting nearer to retirement, the company undertook an analysis of its workforce to assess the scale of the issue.

What it found was disturbing. Almost a third of its workforce are aged between 55 and 65. With no new applicators coming through the company, and the whole industry experiencing the same issue, Jack Tighe’s forward-thinking management team could see big problems on the horizon.

Without new employees, natural employee attrition would soon leave a hole in their workforce.

We looked at how we could fill this void for the future,” says Martin Hillyard, Chairman of the Jack Tighe Group. “We realised, though, that if we were to hire experienced employees, our new recruits would be likely to fall into the same age bracket as our existing employees,” Martin says. That wouldn’t solve the looming staffing issues.

They also determined that, without an apprenticeship programme in place, there was only one option available and that was to train new recruits through the Industrial Coating Applicator Training Scheme (ICATS).

The advantages of delivering apprenticeships

There are many benefits for employers who take on apprentices. These include:

  • Potential government incentives. Employers will receive £1,000 for each apprentice between 16 and 18 years of age. In certain circumstances, financial incentives are also available when an employer hires an apprentice aged up to 24 years old.
  • Another financial benefit is that the employer does not pay class 1 National Insurance contributions if the apprentice is under 25 years of age and earns below £827 per week.
  • Companies that pay into the Apprenticeship Levy have a fund to develop apprentices through a training course. Those who don’t pay into the Levy only need pay 5% of the course cost, with the remainder subsidised by the government.

For the apprentice, the experience and learning they receive provides a valuable and nationally recognised qualification. While learning, they are also earning.

The real benefit of employing apprentices

While all the above advantages clearly incentivise both employers to take on apprentices and employees to seek apprenticeships, for Jack Tighe there were two much bigger benefits.

An apprenticeship programme will be a more long-term solution than hiring already qualified coatings applicators,” says Martin Hillyard. “But there’s also an additional benefit. We work with a blank canvas.

Hiring and training apprentices meets Jack Tighe’s strategic goals of:

  • Upskilling its workforce
  • Shifting its workforce age demographic down
  • Growing and developing a workforce aligned to its company culture

Tailoring the training of apprentice industrial coatings applicators

Working with ICATS, Jack Tighe was also able to tailor its apprenticeship delivery to suit its unique needs.

We could have an input into the type and standard of training to be delivered – which is tailored to our industry,” says Martin Hillyard.

The 18-month apprenticeship scheme started in 2018. Now completed, Martin reviews the apprenticeship with great satisfaction.

We’re so very proud of the first ever industrial coatings apprentices in this country,” he said. “They all passed their End Point Assessment (EPA) with distinction.” That’s some achievement.

Of course, the proof of how worthwhile the experience has been is if the provider would repeat it. In this, Martin Hillyard has no hesitation.

Considering the success of the first and second cohorts in the Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeship, we have had no hesitation in deciding to recruit another 10 apprentices to commence in October 2020.

In addition, we’re more than happy to include any other company’s apprentices on this course.

We’re sure that making the decision to run the first ever apprenticeship scheme for industrial coatings applicators, with the 18-month course provided in association with DN colleges and the Institute of Corrosion, was a tougher decision to make than Martin Hillyard admits.

However, this first for the industry has proved to be a runaway success. To learn more about the ICAA, send an email to the admin team at the Institute of Corrosion. In the final part of this series detailing the design, delivery, and success of the ICAA, we examine how the apprenticeship was delivered at Jack Tighe.

The Birth of Apprenticeships for Industrial Coating Applicators

The Birth of Apprenticeships for Industrial Coating Applicators

Introducing the First Ever Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeship

With a high demand for skilled industrial coatings applicators in the UK and globally, it is surprising that it took so long for an entry-level apprenticeship to become available. Until recently, industrial coatings applicators were drawn from within the industry.

The first Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeship (ICAA) has now been completed, and all apprentices who took part in the programme passed with distinction. The Institute of Corrosion spoke to the driving forces behind the ICAA programme, and asked how they not only developed the training programme, but also managed to get this much needed apprenticeship programme into the marketplace.

Why are apprenticeships for industrial coatings applicators needed?

The country’s infrastructure is under constant attack from the environment. Such infrastructure includes structures such as bridges, sports stadia, buildings, hospitals, lighting columns, and wind turbines.

Industrial coatings applicators prepare steel surfaces and apply protective coatings to protect them against corrosion. They may work closely with coating inspectors, for whom separate and specialised coating inspection training is available.

However, despite the critical nature of the work of industrial coatings applicators, employers in the sector are facing a serious problem. The average age of applicators has been rising for years. There is a danger that in a few years there will be very few qualified and experienced industrial coatings applicators remaining. In a nutshell, the industry needs new, younger employees.

What difference will ICAA make to industry?

The whole of the industry is trained and regulated, except for applicators. This apprenticeship, when coupled with the Institute of Corrosion’s applicator training scheme (ICATS), is the first time that this gap has been rectified.

David Mobbs had responsibilities for the End-Point Assessment on behalf of ICorr, and he recalls how one of Jack Tighe’s existing applicators, who was applying epoxy PFP in the factory told him, “There wasn’t anything like this when I joined. I just got given a paint brush.

An industrial coatings applicator is a highly-skilled role, and key to the integrity of the national infrastructure. Poor workmanship can have dire consequences, including increased risk of fatalities. Competent industrial coatings applicators are able to work autonomously, to the highest standards.

Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeships – an idea is conceived

Stephen Hankinson, Chairman of Hankinson Whittle Group, explains how the concept of apprenticeships for industrial coatings applicators came from an idea to reality.

The journey really started at a meeting of the Advisory Committee for National Highways Sector Scheme 19A back in October 2015. 

An employers group was established from 19A accredited companies. We also established a sub-committee training group, chaired by David Horrocks from BAM Nuttall Ltd. David was ideally placed with a vast knowledge and experience in the coatings industry spanning some 38 years. The group also included other members from the Advisory Committee – Jeff Bowden and Lance Williams from Highways England, and also Pete Walker from the British Constructional Steel Workers Association (BCSA). All on the sub-committee were a great help in getting the standard developed.

19A specifically deals with corrosion protection and therefore has always had an interest in raising quality standards within this sector. As a committee, we recognised for a number of years that there was a shortfall of new young entrants coming into the sector.

(Watch the video on YouTube: ‘How the first Ever Industrial Coating Applicator Apprenticeship Was Created’.)

The passion behind the mission

David Horrocks, Materials Engineer at BAM Nuttall Ltd., chairman of the Professional Development, Training and Certification Committee (PDTC) for the Institute of Corrosion, and Fellow of the Institute, is passionate about the apprenticeship programme and says, “I was delighted to be a part of this apprenticeship development and to chair the committee was a real pleasure.

As a committee in Highways England, we were and still are very passionate about making sure that the UK’s infrastructure is protected for many years to come,” David says. “I think that one of the key things that was highlighted within that committee was that the government had started to demand that more apprentices were trained in various sectors.

The industrial coatings applicator sector didn’t have that in place, so there was a gap in the market that needed filling. We were clearly keen to see this come to fruition.

Peter Walker from the BCSA had described to the committee the new apprenticeships being developed for roles such as steel erector and steel fabricator. Thus, the committee was able to tap into the format of applying for a new apprenticeship and how the standard should be presented to the Institute for Apprenticeships.

The training committee took on responsibility for creating the standard, with a view to providing a pathway for training providers to deliver this much needed apprenticeship programme for industrial coatings applicators.

Apprenticeships are real opportunities

There was a period when apprenticeships were scoffed at. Certainly, the Young Trainee Scheme (YTS) of the 1980s seemed to morph apprenticeships into cheap labour programmes. Thankfully, today’s modern apprenticeships provide real opportunities for youngsters to gain skills, qualifications, and a pathway into rewarding careers.

The apprenticeship standard in terms of the committee developing it, was something of a passion of mine to get over the line,” David Horrocks says. “Leaving school and getting an apprenticeship or ‘trade’ is the best way to start a career in this industry and certainly the first step towards further opportunities in this exciting industry.

It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get the ICAA standard developed, written, created, accredited, and available for employers to take on. But it has proved to be worth every ounce of effort.

In late 2018 the ICAA apprenticeship standard was accepted by the Institute For Apprenticeships, which was shortly followed by classroom candidates taking their seats in early 2019 at North Lindsey College in collaboration with Jack Tighe Ltd.

I met the apprentices at North Lindsey College during their initial introduction to the apprenticeship programme. This was an absolute privilege for me,” David Horrocks says. “I presented to the class in terms of how they could progress from being an industrial painter, into paint inspection, and even management.

Stephen himself is no stranger to the power of apprenticeships to change lives. Hankinson Whittle runs its own apprenticeship schemes, and has witnessed apprentices make similar career progression to that experienced by David Horrocks. “There’s something about seeing your hard work in developing others bear real fruit,” he says.

David Horrocks agrees. “It is this pinnacle of seeing this developed that gives me the passion to make sure this continues for many years to come.

In our next article, we meet John Whittaker, Training Manager, and Sam Panter, who is Health & Safety Director of Jack Tighe Ltd., the first employer to run the ICAA scheme in the United Kingdom. They tell us about their journey in taking the apprenticeship standard and developing a new apprenticeship programme for Industrial Coating Applicators.

In the meantime, whether you are an employer considering your workforce and business strategy, or a youngster considering your career options, to learn more about the ICAA, email the admin team at the Institute of Corrosion.

Coating Inspector – Level 1

Coating Inspector – Level 1

Why attend this course?

This course is designed to prepare individuals for the ICorr Coating Inspector Level 1 examination. The course is suitable for candidates with or without experience in industrial painting or inspection and will also be applicable to those who require a knowledge of painting inspection but do not wish to take an examination. Most of the paint systems used in industry are addressed plus an awareness is given of other coating systems used for anti-corrosion reasons.

Course Content
  • QA, OC and inspection (basics)
  • Normative documents
  • Corrosion (iron and steel)
  • Surface preparation (ferrous)
  • Tests to detect surface contamination
  • Coating categories/types
  • Main paint constituents
  • Paint drying and curing
  • Corrosion protection methods (basics)
  • Layers of a paint film
  • Types of paint systems
  • Paint data sheets
  • Paint/paint film testing
  • Weather conditions
  • Paint application methods
  • Coating faults
  • Health and safety
  • Environmental considerations
  • Reporting
  • Standards applicable
  • Understanding written instructions
Course Details and Price

Course details

Duration: 5 days
Code: RTO/QA22

(excl. VAT)

Training course: £875
Examination: £375
Total: £1,250

Special note

It has been agreed by PDTC (ICorr) to add an experience assessment to all ICorr certifications for personnel engaged in painting and coating inspection. Full details of the changes are to be published in the ICorr REQ DOC.