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METSEC Works With CITB-Construction Skills To Sponsor UK’s First Cold Formed Steel Framing Systems Apprencticeship 

Metsec, the UK’s largest supplier of light weight galvanised steel, has helped to develop a specialist apprenticeship programme covering the installation of Cold Formed Steel Framing Systems (CFSFS) and is supplying materials and technical support free of charge for the pilot, which started on 19th July 2010 at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College (aka Acton College).

Development of the programme was led by CITB-ConstructionSkills’ National Specialist Team (NST) and involved extensive consultation with the Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors (FPDC), employers and a range of industry experts, including Metsec. This is the first apprenticeship scheme related purely to Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) that is being delivered by a Further Education college in partnership with NST.

Metsec has helped to develop the programme, contributing extensively to the technical aspects and supplying all of the materials required for the practical elements. In addition, Metsec has donated materials to Acton College that have enabled the workshop area to be adapted to better deliver certain aspects of the practical exercises.

Erle Andrews, Managing Director of Metsec, explains: “As the industry leader in the supply of load bearing steel framing systems, we have been keen to support the development of this apprenticeship from the outset. It shows that steel framing systems are now the recognised way to build. It is the fastest growing market area in construction – valued for its speed, cost, flexibility and environmental benefits – and is now used extensively in both residential and commercial buildings. Whilst individuals from a variety of trades have previously been able to train with manufacturers such as ourselves, we are delighted to support the introduction of an independent, nationally recognised, qualification for specialist installers.”

The CFSFS apprenticeship framework consists of assessment of the NVQ at level 2, the completion of Key Skills at Level 1, and around 30 days of off the job training over a two year period of attachment to the programme and is designed to address the needs of ‘Stick Building’ training. The course will also include up to two days of manufacturer-based training. Progression will be via the NVQ level 3 in Occupational Work Supervision for those people who wish to achieve a supervisory qualification. The programme is supported by the Skills Funding Agency (formerly the Learning & Skills Council) and is therefore free to employers/trainees.

Alan Keating, programme tutor and Chair of the working party which helped to develop it, says: “I am very pleased to see the past two years of planning coming to fruition. We are confident that we have designed an effective apprenticeship and are delighted that Acton College, which is very pro-active in embracing new methods of building, has undertaken to run the pilot. I am especially pleased that with Metsec’s help we are going to be able to work in a space that will allow the trainees doing brick work and plastering courses a chance to see MMC and experience what is going on on-site today.”

Also supporting the pilot apprenticeship is fastenings specialist and Metsec preferred supplier Hilti. Richard Blain, Interior Finishing Trade Manager at Hilti says: “Hilti fully supports this apprenticeship programme. Over the last 3 years, Hilti has invested in both the development of new products to support steel framing systems (SFS) installation, as well as employing a Hilti Project Engineer to work closely with the design teams of leading SFS manufacturers including Metsec to ensure best practice. Nevertheless we have found that installers on site are often not familiar with the installation of larger fixings such as chemical or self undercut anchors which may be a requirement for SFS installation. Incorrect installation can have serious implications. Hilti will offer training support for the ‘Critical Connection Details’ module in which operatives will install a range of anchors as well as install Hilti construction screws using the latest.

Hilti Lithium Ion cordless tools. During the ‘Gas and Cartridge Operated Tool’ module, installers will receive certificated training on the Hilti DX460 powder-actuated tool which is fast becoming the preferred method of fastening SFS head track to structural steel.”

For further information about the apprenticeship, contact the NST project manager Bill Brown by email.


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Arundel Jones Associates Ltd Registered in England and Wales No. 07334149
Hill Farm, Linton Hill, Maidstone, Kent ME 17 4AL
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News Categories : Cold formed steel
Galvanised steel
Steel framing systems