FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Who are Technical Training Solutions?
2. Where are Technical Training Solutions?
3. What sort of courses do Technical Training provide?
4. Why are courses provided by Technical Training better than other providers?
5. Are the courses recognised by any National bodies?
6. Wouldn't an NVQ/SVQ be better?
7. What about City & Guilds?
8. What is Technical Training Solutions' track record?
9. How does Technical Training determine competence?
10. What is the consolidation scheme?
11. What if I don't have the resources to run a consolidation scheme?
12. Do Technical Training provide course notes?
13. What are the Electricians Guides?
14. How many people pass the competency-based assessments?
15. How many people pass the City & Guilds assessments?
16. Do Technical Training attend exhibitions?
17. What equipment is used on the electrical courses?
18. What equipment is used on the mechanical courses?
19. What equipment is used on the instrumentation courses?
20. I need to find out more - what do I do?

1. Who are Technical Training Solutions?

Technical Training is an engineering skills training company that has been providing top-class training since June 1980. We were originally known as Cudham Hall Training, then as the National Engineering College. We were previously owned by Unite (Amicus) the union, which was formed from mergers between the ETU, the EETPU, the AEU, the AEEU and other trade unions.

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2. Where are Technical Training Solutions?

We are based in Rochester, Kent. We have offices for administering enquiries, booking and joining instructions, storerooms for the large range of equipment that we use and several training rooms varying in size from small rooms for groups of 8 or less to larger rooms for groups of 15 or more. Much of our training is provided around the UK on our clients' premises, ensuring that companies from Thurso in the Scottish Highlands to St Austell in the south-west of England have easy access to the training courses that we offer.

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3. What sort of courses do Technical Training provide?

Practical engineering skills where delegates are shown how to perform skills that employers need. Courses that show mechanical engineers how to perform basic electrical skills, courses that keep electricians up to date with the latest requirements of the Wiring Regulations, or courses that teach engineers how to maintain systems that incorporate PLCs, variable speed drives and pneumatic systems are the mainstay of our courses. For a full list of the courses available please visit our other internet pages: click on the 'electrical courses', 'mechanical courses' or 'instrumentation courses' buttons at the top left of this page.

We also create customised courses to suit particular company's needs.

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4. Why are courses provided by Technical Training better than other providers?

They are short, highly-focused training events. Our courses have clear objectives - to ensure that the candidates are able to perform useful skills and that they understand why and how they should be performed in the way that we teach them. Importantly, each course incorporates an assessment to ensure that the candidates have actually acquired the specific skills that the course's objectives stated. This means that employers can be confident that the candidates have acquired a new skill that will be valuable in their workplace and individual candidates who book themselves onto a course know that they will learn something useful from attending.

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5. Are the courses recognised by National bodies?

Yes: Candidates possessing one of our certificates gain the ultimate form of skills recognition - the certificates detail the skills that we assessed the candidates were competent to do. Employers still need to ensure that candidates can translate these skills to match their own plant and equipment, but when employers ask: "What can you do?", our certificates are seen as the industry standard, since they provide some evidence for competency: the key question in the mind of employers.

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6. Wouldn't an NVQ/SVQ be better?

Not always: Attempts to acquire NVQs or SVQs invariably get bogged down in a quagmire of bureaucracy. Whilst VQs have their place in modern apprenticeships designed for new entrants to the workplace, they lack the focus that our courses provide. Currently VQs require candidates to show evidence that they can "ensure that the work area is prepared for work to be carried out" - clearly not something that has any real relevance to the objective that is being assessed, or that they can show that they can employ "the emergent problem sequence and the six-point technique when carrying out faultfinding" - these academic observations are not helpful when engineers are faced with attempting to fix a problem in the real world. Our assessment processes involve checking that the candidates can do something useful, such as "read a circuit diagram" or "remove and replace a motor" or "change the value of a PLC's timer". Due to of the wide-ranging remit of the VQ system, employers often find that the candidates have the less important areas of assessment 'ticked-off' by unscrupulous training providers who give no weighting to the areas that we would have considered to be more (or crucially) important to the learning experience intended.

Our assessment procedures employ the same precision as the VQs. Performance criteria, range statements and all the necessary signing-off and dating is carried out so that any candidate who subsequently intends to attempt VQ recognition can use the evidence we provide in the assessment of prior learning (APL).

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7. What about City & Guilds?

Some of the courses that Tech Training provide are C&G approved and we pride ourselves on meeting the standards laid down by C&G - we comply with management systems statements, equal opportunity policies and continuous improvement processes as required by C&G. However, we don't let our approval status end there - we ensure that even on courses assessed by C&G we are able to show that the candidates still learn something valuable or of lasting value by attending the course. One example of this is on the Wiring Regulations course (C&G 2382), where C&G would only require the candidates to pass a fairly easy multiple-choice exam on using the regs to gain answers about various simple questions. Our course would go much further than this, ensuring that the candidates understand the principles of earthing, can calculate the size of a conductor in an electrical installation, etc, as well as gaining a wider-ranging understanding of the other complex technical issues involved in the Regulations. C&G qualifications that do not measure up to our standards are not provided - for example, we do not provide the C&G 2377 (PAT testing) qualification (another multiple-choice exam), since it is much inferior to our own course which provides a competency-based assessment and certificate, leading to the ability to actually perform PAT testing.

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8. What is Technical Training Solutions' track record?

Many of the UK's blue-chip companies call on us. Technical Training have been providing engineering skills training courses since 1980 in companies all over the UK. Just about every major company in the UK has at one time or another experienced the learning-by-doing approach espoused by Tech Training. Because of our assessment processes, our courses have a radical, new approach to training that many other training companies and colleges just do not have the resources to provide - either in terms of really good people to teach the courses, up-to-the-minute and relevant equipment used in practical exercises, or the experience and skill needed to determine when candidates are achieving the promised objectives of a course successfully.

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9. How does Technical Training determine competence?

Using a combination of practical and written assessments to check that the course objectives have been met. This can be followed-up by on-site consolidation schemes, where appropriate. The determination of competence is the responsibility of employers, but the assessment paperwork, competence-based certificates and on-site consolidation schemes are useful evidence in assisting in the determination of competence in a legal sense.

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10. What is the consolidation scheme?

On-site practice of the skills that we have taught. When candidates complete their training courses with us, we try to ensure that they then get the chance to practice their newly-acquired skills in their own workplace. This ensures that they know how to deal with the on-site dangers and the particular equipment that they work with. The scheme consists of a log-book type folder which candidates complete when they carry out work, and mentors in their own workplace check that they have completed the work correctly. Technical Training monitors the scheme to ensure its smooth running and to contribute help from many years of experience of other schemes run in companies across the UK. The consolidation scheme is completed when supervisors or managers make the decision that a person has shown the necessary evidence for their competency, in the particular skills that they have carried out.

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11. What if I don't have the resources to run a consolidation scheme?

Any candidate who is not going to consolidate their skills using our scheme can take some comfort in the fact that the training courses will have led them to a point that they could have been: the courses are as industry-relevant as possible, the assessment processes are rigorous and tested over time, and it is sometimes quite a small leap from showing our instructors that they can perform a certain skill to actually performing that very same skill back at work. It is often possible to use some less formal approach to consolidation than using our scheme - for instance a competent supervisor might decide that he only needs to speak with an individual for a few minutes and then see them perform a task before he decides that they are competent.

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12. Do Technical Training provide course notes?

Yes: All our courses have professionally written comprehensive course notes so that candidates do not need to make any notes of their own (unless they want to). Our course notes use extensive photographs and custom-created drawings to help candidates relate to the technical issues being taught. Some of our course notes have made their way into the open marketplace, where our course notes for the Wiring Regulations courses and the inspection and testing courses are seen as some of the best books to possess. These are known as the 'Electricians Guides'. We also provide our candidates with pens, pencils, rulers and notepads, all professionally sourced from Yo Promotions.

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13. What are the Electricians Guides?

Pocket reference books about the IEE Regulations: Our publications, 'The Electricians Guide to good electrical practice' and the 'Electricians Guide to Inspection and Testing' are two pocket-sized books which explain the Wiring Regulations and how inspection and testing should be carried out. With helpful diagrams and explanatory text to help the reader understand the requirements of the Regulations, these are used by many colleges across the UK, most electricians who need a quick-reference book (rather than having to confront the Regulations) and are also approved by City & Guilds for use in several examinations.

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14. How many people pass the competency-based assessments?

99%: Because our instructors are able to help candidates that might be having difficulty with the training, we are able to identify from an early stage any candidates who may need more help than others. For this reason, the numbers of candidates who do not pass our own assessments are very small.

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15. How many people pass the City & Guilds assessments?

Our success rate on the C&G 2382 (wiring regulations) assessment is currently running at 95%. We find that our candidates learn far more than City & Guilds examination requires them to know, and this prepares them extremely well for the exam, as well as preparing them properly for the inspection and testing course.

Our success rate on the C and G 2394 and 2395 (inspection and testing) assessments are currently running at around 70 to 80%. This compares well with the National success rate of just 40 to 50% (quoted by City and Guilds). Many of our candidates have previously attempted the qualification at colleges or with other training providers, and they find that our course prepares them much better for the examination, as well as providing a much clearer insight to the inspection and testing process.

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16. Do Technical Training attend exhibitions?

Yes: We have exhibited at various exhibitions around the UK, for example at the MAINTEC show, the Construction Skills Expo, the Manufacturer Exhibition and at the Plant & Works Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. We use these exhibitions as showcases for our training courses, so that any interested parties can see how we think that top-class engineering skills training should be provided. We bring some of our equipment along to the shows so that people can see an interesting display of the range of equipment that we use. We have also given seminars to large audiences on the importance of making training courses relevant, interesting and enjoyable.

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17. What equipment is used on the electrical courses?

On the electrical maintenance courses, candidates use digital multimeters, custom-made boards with lamps, switches, heaters, thermostats, proximity detectors, relays and contactors. They use a range of industrial heaters, various cables and connectors, insulation and continuity testers. They also use industrial control panels with DIN-rail mounted components like MCBs, fuses, contactors, overload relays, timers, switches, lamps and custom-manufactured 3-phase 24 Volt motors.

The range of courses based on the wiring regulations employ various books, publications etc, and on these courses the practical element of the training is based around getting the candidates to look answers up in the relevant books, working out answers to a range of technical problems posed on the courses.

For more details of the equipment used on the electrical courses, please see the descriptions of the courses that you are interested in: at the bottom of each page the specific equipment used is shown along with some explanatory information, so that candidates and employers can see exactly what is involved in each electrical course.

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18. What equipment is used on the mechanical courses?

On the mechanical maintenance courses, we use custom-made alignment rigs for aligning Vee belts, pulleys, chains, transmission belts and conveyor belts. A range of gear boxes, pumps, bearings and gaskets are used.

On the fitting skills courses, we use a range of tools from screwdrivers to micrometers and other hand tools.

For more details of the equipment used on the mechanical courses, please see the descriptions of the courses that you are interested in: at the bottom of each page the specific equipment used is shown along with some explanatory information, so that candidates and employers can see exactly what is involved in each mechanical course.

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19. What equipment is used on the instrumentation courses?

On the PLC courses, we use laptop computers running Allen Bradley APS and RS Logix, Siemens Step 5 and Step 7, Mitsubishi FX-GP and Medoc and Modicon PL707 software. These are connected to Allen Bradley SLC-500, Siemens S5-100U and S7-214, Mitsubishi FX-0N and Modicon TSX PLCs. These are in turn connected to a medium-sized training rig which incorporates motors, solenoids, switches and conveyor belts. The intention of the PLC courses is that having worked with the range of manufacturers that we use, delegates would be able (with a little bit of help) to work with any manufacturer of PLCs.

The instrumentation course employs a large range of industrial current loop, temperature, pressure, level and flow sensors and associated equipment.

The Motor Drives courses employ custom-made rigs which use a range of manufacturer's drives. Candidates get the chance to practice setting parameters and monitoring the effects of these changes as the rigs are connected to real industrial motors.

For more details of the equipment used on the instrumentation courses, please see the descriptions of the courses that you are interested in: at the bottom of each page the specific equipment used is shown along with some explanatory information, so that candidates and employers can see exactly what is involved in each instrumentation course.

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20. I need to find out more - What do I do?

If you would like to know more about Technical Training Solutions, how their training courses can benefit individuals and businesses, how engineering training can be made enjoyable and interesting, how our assessment processes and consolidation schemes work, or would like to ask further technical questions about the equipment used on a particular course, then simply contact us:

Tel: 01634 731470
email:tech.training@zen.co.uk