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Steve France

1956 - 2016

Friday, 16 December 2016

It is with deep regret that the Institute announces the death of Steve France MICME after a long and heroic battle against cancer.

Steve had been a member since 2010 and had been a leading force in the development of the Institute’s Diploma in Casting. Steve was always enthusiastic and passionate about apprentice training for the industry and dedicated many hours to imparting his knowledge to others. Much of his latter day employment involved training and mentoring others in the foundry sector.

Steve himself had many qualifications including: a HNC in Engineering, ONC in Engineering and a City & Guilds Silver Award in computer aided engineering, which he received in 1990 – awarded for the highest examination result in Great Britain as a mark of excellence and high standard of performance. Since the year 2000 Steve also received a number of further education qualifications in teacher training and assessment procedures.

He began his career with a craft apprenticeship in 1972 as a die miller progressing to CAM engineer at River Don Stampings Ltd in Sheffield.

In 1992 he left the company to begin his long association with the research organisation that went on to become Castings Technology International (Cti). Initial roles included: CAD/CAM research engineer, where he learnt about a number of other manufacturing systems and programming systems; IT manager and projects engineer, where he set up computer servers and IT security policies and helped develop multi-media learning tools in collaboration with Virtual College; technical training systems developer and NVQ assessor, where he helped design and deliver in-company apprenticeships for casting related subjects.

In 2005 he took over the role of Casting Skills Centre manager where he was responsible for a small team. As part of this role he instigated a partnership with Bradford College to deliver technical certificates for the organisation’s apprenticeship programme. He was also involved with NVQs assessing apprentices in the Lancashire, Durham and Sheffield area, developed a new version of the pocket-based assignment delivery system, designed the new corporate website, devised the concept of the Engineering Consortium to provide a way to standardise assessment standards for schools and training providers to deliver NVQs. He also delivered technical classroom seminars and training courses.

After leaving Cti in 2008, Steve worked under contract as an independent assessor for Metskill, specialising in casting related apprenticeships and he worked to develop training material for foundry activities. During this period he had spells as an engineering tutor, mentor, and engineering lecturer.

More recently Steve continued to utilise his vast experience in training, mentoring and educational policies working as a trainer and online mentor. He worked with ICME to develop a new EAL qualification to replace the technical certificate that had previously been withdrawn. The EAL Level 3 Diploma in Castings Technology was accredited in June 2011 and a virtual learning environment was developed to support students on-line, in conjunction with blended learning workshop sessions.

Despite illness, in recent months Steve has continued to deliver training and online mentoring on behalf of ICME and has been actively involved in the regeneration of metal casting specific training in the UK.

He was always eager to drive forward the training and education options in the UK and his IT experience has been invaluable in satisfying the current need for virtual training options.

He leaves a wife Serina and three grown-up children, twin daughters Helen and Kathryn and son Richard. Our condolences are extended to his family, friends and colleagues.