Engineering trainer bags heavyweight online bargain to improve facilities for apprentices and employers

HETA process plant
The process plant newly installed at HETA’s headquarters in Hull.

A leading engineering training provider has made the most of downtime during the lockdown by snapping up an online bargain which will make a big difference to facilities for learners and employers.

Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA) took delivery of a process plant which has now been assembled at its headquarters in Hull and will become operational in the coming months. It adds to HETA’s capabilities to continue to train people entering or already working in the different petrochemical companies across the Humber.

The plant, which was clicked and collected from Sydney, Australia, has been welcomed by firms across the region as a key element in HETA’s commitment to ensure its apprentices are work ready when they leave the three training centres in the Humber region.

Matt Gardner, Operations Manager at HETA, said: “The process plant is the only one we’re aware of on the north bank of the Humber and it stands out compared with others because we can use it to train four teams of apprentices at the same time.

“It’s good for the apprentices because the assessor can watch them work in a live scenario and it’s good for employers because not all of them have this sort of facility.”

HETA has been training engineering apprentices for more than 50 years and has developed state-of-the-art electrical, mechanical and fabrication and welding facilities across its workshops in Hull, Grimsby and Scunthorpe, with the process rig now adding to its range of real-life work experiences.

Price and portability were key factors, and an online search found the solution in Sydney. It was checked by a former HETA employee, who now lives in Australia, and shipped over in four containers ready for installation next to the fabrication and welding workshop.

Once operational, the rig will enable process apprentices to carry out the full range of duties they will be exposed to in industry and which are required by the Apprenticeship Standard. Tasks will include starting up and shutting down processes, carrying out monitoring and sampling duties and adjusting process conditions. 

Learners will get hands-on experience of preparing equipment for maintenance including isolations, flushing and purging and will also cover housekeeping, risk assessment, production planning and maintenance. 

HETA process plant
HETA apprentices Jack Fox (left) and Jared Kirkpatrick at work on the new process plant.

Matt said: “It was a brand new rig for distilling chemicals but had only been used for testing with water. It was found to be surplus to requirements, and even after transporting it to Hull in four containers it cost us a lot less than buying a new one.

“The rig brings real-world scale and appearance and fits perfectly in the space we had available. The apprentices will be involved in getting it ready for operation so it can be used for some types of training immediately. It will replicate various chemical process functions and it is clear from the early interest of a number of employers that this will be a big training asset for companies in the region.”

Website: HETA

[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]

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