Thu, 24 March, 2022
Kevin joined TWI Certification Ltd (TWI CL) in early 2021 as he was seeking a new challenge. His role prior to this, at a further education (FE) college where he spent 15 years, had involved him working closely with TWI CL. So when the Welding Validation Engineer vacancy arose, Kevin applied for the position. He told us “It is a job I had wanted to do for a while, as I was looking to progress my career and professional qualifications.”
Kevin’s role entails carrying out End Point Assessments (EPAs) of Level 2 and Level 3 welding apprentices, as well as witnessing and producing welder qualifications and welding procedure qualification records (WPQRs). EPA is the final, overarching assessment of an apprentice to ensure that they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for their job role and can demonstrate competency within their trade. It includes performance-led development goals but is separate to any qualifications or assessments taken during the apprenticeship itself.
What Kevin likes most about his role at TWI CL, as he approaches his first full year with the company, is “Working with the apprentices on EPAs, because we all started out as apprentices so it is great to tell them how far they can go and the next steps they need to take in order to progress in the industry.”
However, Kevin explained that there are also challenges to his role including “Putting apprentices at ease to take the tests which, for them, means condensing all the work they have done over the past two or three years down to two to three days for the duration of the EPA. They are understandably nervous when this is done by a person outside their own company, but I aim to reassure them by being as supportive as possible and a friendly face.”
We asked Kevin what he would say to someone who was thinking about using TWI CL as an authorised EPA Organisation for their company. “TWI CL uses highly experienced and fully competent welding verification engineers to carry out EPAs, and this helps apprentices to understand some of the potential opportunities that can open up to them following assessment as well as letting their employers, both present and future, know that they are qualified and certified competent.” responded Kevin.
As a result of his background and experience in further education, Kevin understands that apprentices are often looking to improve their knowledge, skills and experience. Therefore, with current and future customers often asking what they can do next, having achieved a particular certification, Kevin is well placed to talk to them about what their next steps might be, for example, moving from a Level 2 to a Level 3 certification, or considering a CSWIP qualification. With this in mind, when asked what the one piece of advice would be that Kevin would give to a current or future certificate holder, he said “Keep up your continuing professional development (CPD) and strive to reach your full potential.”
Kevin has also demonstrated his own commitment to CPD since joining TWI CL by gaining his ENGTECH TECHWELDI registration.
Outside of work, Kevin told us that he has retired from playing rugby at Hartlepool Rovers but now coaches his son’s under 14 team. “I really enjoy doing this” said Kevin, adding “I have got a lot out of rugby and Hartlepool Rovers over the years so to put something back into the club means a lot to me.”
If your company is interested in applying for End Point Assessment, or would like to find out more about it, then please visit the EPA webpages for all the information you need.