15 July, 2024

BCAS new apprenticeship standard

26 March, 2020

The British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) is now in the final stages of developing its apprenticeship standard for a Compressed Air and Vacuum Technician (CAVT). Following industry-wide consultation and approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), the end-point assessment plan is now being drafted.

Vanda Jones, BCAS executive director, comments: “BCAS is the only UK trade association with responsibility for the compressed air and vacuum industry and its business sectors. We recognised that there has been no dedicated apprenticeship available for the future development of engineering technicians into our industry.

“Recognising the need to fill this skills gap, a Trailblazer group was formed and working with our members and the IfATE, we developed a draft occupational standard for a Compressed Air and Vacuum Technician (CAVT). Industry feedback ensures that it will meet the training needs of the occupation, and that new apprenticeships are viable, high quality, and widely supported. The development of a wider industry apprenticeship will help to release the funding available from the apprenticeship levy, supporting all businesses in developing the engineers of the future that our industry, like so many others, needs urgently.”

New data sheet verification programme

BCAS is currently working on a data sheet verification programme for the UK. A similar scheme is already in operation in the US, where the Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI) developed simplified test codes for 60Hz power supply compressors and includes power consumption and other basic information about compressor performance to help users make comparisons and select the compressor that best meets their needs.

This scheme is accepted by the US market as a fair, unbiased independent comparison tool. However, in the UK and Europe, compressors utilise a 50Hz supply, which means that performance data is not transferable; leading to the desire for a similar system to be adopted for the UK market.

The new BCAS scheme

The proposed scheme is currently under development by a BCAS Working Group, comprising members of the BCAS Compressor Committee representing all of the major compressor manufacturers active in the UK market.

Participation from compressor manufacturers is intended to be 100 per cent voluntary. The scheme will be limited to fixed and variable speed drive rotary compressors, with 150 kW maximum input power, but with scope to expand this in the future. To ensure the scheme has maximum benefit for end-users, all manufacturers’ current product range should be included and available for verification, with all costs borne by the manufacturer too.

Independent verification

In the same vein as the existing US CAGI scheme, the success of the scheme will be centered around mandatory independent third-party verification of published performance figures. The verification programme will test a randomised sample of manufacturers’ products, within the defined range of the scheme, to ensure that manufacturer data is consistent.

The intention is to make data sheets from all participating manufacturers available by the end of 2020, with the first products verified by the end of 2021.

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