Trailblazers – what the blazes is it all about?

February 16, 2017

As a result of government reforms in 2012, apprenticeships in England are undergoing a dramatic transformation.

Brand new Apprenticeship Standard

For the Electronic Distributors’ Association (EDA) this new vision gave us an opportunity to develop a brand new Apprenticeship Standard that would continually meet the changing needs of employers and learners in our industry.

Leading the way with the Level 2 Trade Supplier Apprenticeship Standard, the EDA has bought together a range of employers from a variety of sectors including electrical wholesale, builders’ merchants and kitchens and joinery.

Partners around the table 

The Trailblazer group brings significant experience and expertise to the table and includes:

Chair of Trade Supplier Trailblazer Group: Keith Marshall OBE

Electrical Wholesale:

Electrical Distributors’ Association: Margaret Fitzsimons, Director and Simone Fonseca, Education & Training Manager; 

Rexel UK: Crawford Flint, Head of Learning & Development and Vicky Ordish, Learning & Development Business Partner;

R&B STAR: Glenn Robertson, Director

Kew Electrical: Nik Mulcahy, Operations Director

Stearn Electric Co Ltd: Andrew Smith, National Account Manager

Lincs Electrical Wholesalers Ltd: Andy Johnson, Managing Director

City Electrical Factors: Chris Ashworth, General Manager, Hinckley Region

Edmundson Electrical: Matt Ward, Commercial Manager

Lockwell Electrical: Tom Jones, Divisional Director.

Kitchens & Joinery:

Howdens: Becky Roberts, Learning & Development Manager and Debbie Shandley, Advisor for Howdens and CEO The Real Apprenticeship Company;

Nobia UK: Julie Heathcote, Development Business Partner.

Builders’ Merchants:

Builders’ Merchants Federation: Richard Ellithorne, Membership Services Director and James Spillane, Training and Development Manager;

Lawsons: Luci Pitt, Project & Training Manager Parkers Building Supplies Shelley Hodges, Learning & Development Manager;

Grafton Merchanting: GB Adrian Rowley, Learning and Development Manager.


Department for Education: Sally Timmins, Employer Relationship Manager

Pearson Awarding Organisation: Bryony Leonard, Sector Manager – Engineering, Manufacturing and Automotive

EDA Apprenticeships Plus (Apprenticeship Training Agency): John Henry, Director and Duncan Naylor, Director.

Working for the benefit of the whole sector 

Behind the scenes, much work is going on to develop the new Standard.

The Trailblazer group meet regularly at the EDA offices in Hammersmith to develop the training and assessment structure that will allow employers to offer a high quality learning experience that is tailor-made for their business. 

Are you Levy ready?

The apprenticeship reforms have been welcomed by employers, and to encourage their commitment and take-up, the new Apprenticeship Levy launches for employers in April 2017.

Follow this link to find out how the Levy will benefit your business.

Department for Education approval

The Level 2 Trade Supplier Apprenticeship Standard was approved by the Department for Education in August 2016 and can be found here.

For more information on Trailblazers and the Apprenticeship Levy please contact Simone Fonseca, Education and Training Manager on 020 3141 7350 or email