GMLPF is organising three small provider workshops, to be held at GMLPF’s Offices to consider the ESFA Subcontracting Consultation. The three events are designed to talk around the rationale for the subcontracting consultation, provide early-stage feedback from ESFA on each of the proposals (drawing upon the first 100 or so responses), discuss issues and develop a response to the consultation.
The three workshops are taking place on the following days:
24th February @ 12.30 – 2.00: Subcontracting and Sports Provision BOOK NOW
2nd March @ 12.00 – 1.30: Subcontracting – the Subcontractor’s perspective BOOK NOW
4th March @ 12.00-1.30: Subcontracting – the Prime perspective BOOK NOW
On 13th February 2020, the NSN was officially launched with a conference held in Leeds. It was also an opportunity to launch a new strategic relationship between the NSN and NCFE, who have joined the NSN Board.
The conference was attended by over 130 people representing training organisations, colleges, universities, stakeholders, Government officials and sector support companies. The Northern Skills Network is designed to provide a vehicle for flagging up skills issues that are pertinent to the North of England and feeding in intelligence to the Northern Powerhouse debate. Members should note that Jake Berry MP is no longer the Minister in Charge of the Northern Powerhouse. He has been replaced by Simon Clarke MP whose role will be to promote the Government’s “levelling up” agenda and Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, who will represent the Northern Powerhouse at Cabinet-level.
A number of keynote speakers presented at the conference:
Roger Marsh, Chair of the NP 11 Network (11 N LEPs) and Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse, who both welcomed the NSN as a vehicle for setting out a vision for skills across the North and tackling the key skills challenges that face us. Collectively, the NSN and its 9 Regional Networks bring together 300+ providers who deliver some 45% of the N’s Apprenticeship programmes
Chris Morgan, Deputy Director of Technical Education, IfATE gave an update on the development of T Levels. It is clear that we have a long way to go in terms of developing and rolling out T levels. There are concerns about how the programme is compatible with the concept of social mobility, how T levels link to Apprenticeships and also whether T levels are sufficiently flexible to address local skills needs.
Chris Jones, Specialist Advisor to Ofsted, gave an update on the emerging findings of the first 6 months of Ofsted inspections. Key issues remain; the effective use of assessments, development of appropriate curriculum and off the job training. Chris also spoke about the publication of Ofsted’s recent annual report where the significant and marked drop off of Level 2 Apprenticeship starts has been flagged as an area of real concern.
Alongside this, Ian Lomas of GMLPF, facilitated one of the workshops at the conference that focused on the ESFA Sub-Contracting Consultation. Paul Johnson and Chris Lews from the ESFA gave a presentation on the rationale and focus of the consultation. Following on from this GMLPF will be holding a series of small workshops for members on this theme in order to outline ESFA thinking, gather feedback and submit a sector-wide response to the consultation
The event was a resounding success and feedback from delegates has highlighted the need for a Northern based body or grouping of local Skills Networks to come together to undertake research and provide a voice for N Learning Providers, working alongside AELP who have the national remit.
GMLPF has launched an online directory of mental health resources to support learning providers as part of its Lottery-funded GMLPF Minds project.
GMLPF developed the comprehensive online resource as a follow-up to the research we undertook and the mental health training we delivered during 2019.
Compelling evidence that mental health is a significant issue in learning and skills
The GMLPF Minds project received a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund. The programme started early in 2019 when we conducted comprehensive research into the impact of mental health on the delivery of apprenticeships and other training programmes. The results revealed compelling evidence that mental health is indeed a significant issue in the learning and skills sector. The mental ill-health of learners, and also staff, has a major impact on provider resources as shown by an infographic of headline results.
These research findings prompted us to implement a programme of training to equip our members with an understanding of the key issues and challenges of mental health, as well as formal qualifications in mental health first aid. We also extended the training to Liverpool City Region Apprentice Ambassadors who are now able to champion mental wellbeing in the workplace. (link)
Providers don’t know where to turn for initial advice on mental health
The work undertaken through the GMLPF Minds project highlighted the fact that many learning providers don’t always know where to turn for initial advice when either learners or staff present with mental health challenges in the workplace.
Given this, GMLPF has collated a body of valuable and relevant information, links and downloads and published it to a dedicated section on our website. The online resource (link) is a one-stop information point that provides links to useful downloads, free mobile phone apps, and articles and case studies as well as a support services directory.
Support services directory
The support services directory includes details of mental health services and charities that specialise in helping apprentices, students, staff working in education and the families of people who are facing challenges.
Ian Lomas, chief executive of GMLPF, says:
“GMLPF listens closely to its members. We invested the money received from The National Lottery Community Fund chiefly based on what they told us in our research into mental health in the sector. The strain of dealing with mental health issues is adding to an already pressured environment. Learner provider staff are starting to struggle, resulting in a markedly negative impact on outcomes for learners. The work GMLPF has carried out during the last 12 months has been invaluable, and we have had great feedback from everybody who took part.”
Ian adds: “The online resource is a useful tool for learning providers who need quick access to information and signposting to mental health support services. It is a growing resource, and our members can expect to see new information added regularly.
“GMLPF would like to thank the National Lottery Community Fund for supporting our project and enabling us to help our members, the learning providers of Liverpool City Region, address the challenge of mental health and its impact on the delivery of apprenticeships and other training.”
GMLPF members completed the second day of a two-day training course in mental health awareness last week. The course equipped them with a formal level 2 qualification and the skills to champion and “triage” mental health issues with apprentices and other learners.
Eleven member organisations enrolled on the two-day training course, delivered by AT Skills. The initiative is part of the GMLPF Minds project that has received nearly £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund.
Over the past year, GMLPF members have reported significant mental health issues among their students, and more recently, their staff. This course has helped providers to start tackling the problem. They are now able to recognise the symptoms of poor mental health promptly. Ian Lomas, chief executive of GMLPF, explains:
“More than eight in ten of our members have reported that the mental health of learners has an impact on programme delivery. Staff are spending a significant number of hours tackling the problem while learners are suffering. A similar number say problems are piling up and affecting the mental health of staff as well. The training aims to create a better and more productive learning environment for everybody.”
Boosting apprenticeship numbers
Those completing the course gain a Level 2 in Mental Health Awareness awarded by Active IQ. Ian adds:
“The strain on resources in the sector is reaching unprecedented levels. Mental health challenges are adding to this. We’re putting this National Lottery funding towards relieving the pressure and boosting the number of students who complete their apprenticeship or other training.”
The learning providers who attended last week’s course included Andrew Collinge, Halton Council, Liverpool Football College, Myerscough College, NTG Training, North West Community Services, North West Training Council, Onside Education, Rocket Training and The Engineering College.
Annette Swinnerton from North West Community Services told us:
“The course has provided me with time away from the workplace to stop and take stock of the issues. I’ll now return to my job with much more understanding and an objective approach. The training gave me new skills and I’ve more knowledge about signposting people for assistance. I want to use what I’ve learnt to help colleagues, apprentices, and other learners.”
The two-day course ran at The Maggie O’Neill Community Resource centre in Knowsley on Wednesday 17th and 23rd October. There is an additional course running during November, on the 13th and 20th. GMLPF members can book a discounted place through Eventbrite.
GMLPF research amongst providers of apprenticeships and other training has revealed the scale of mental health problems in the skills sector across the Liverpool City Region.
The research was conducted with GMLPF members as part of the National Lottery Community Fund GMLPF Minds project. The findings confirm that mental health challenges faced by learners are having an ongoing negative impact on the delivery of training including Apprenticeships. The research shows that the problem has escalated and reveals also that mental ill-health amongst learning provider staff is also starting to become an issue.
More than 80 per cent of GMLPF members report that mental ill-health is having an impact on the delivery of training. The main issues cited as being experienced by learners are anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse and self-harm. The worrying statistics also include evidence that absence and students dropping out is frequently linked to these mental health issues.
Ian Lomas, Chief Executive of GMLPF says:
“Young people are starting apprenticeships and other training with existing pressures that include poverty, stress and lack of resilience. National figures show the 16-24 age group is the most likely to experience stress or anxiety. Worryingly, learners are not seeking the help they need. Dealing with the fall out has a knock-on effect for our members’ staff, increasing their own stress levels.”
The GMLPF Minds project has received nearly £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund. The money has been spent on understanding the local issues and a tranche of the award will go towards mental health awareness training for provider staff.
“The funding has made it possible for us to introduce much-needed training for provider staff. Providers are being offered mental health awareness and first aid training at a greatly reduced rate.”
AT Skills are delivering the mental health awareness and first aid course at a modern training facility in Huyton. The Maggie O’Neill Community Resource Centre in Knowsley will host the two-day course starting on Wednesday 16th October.
Alan Reddin from AT Skills told us:
“We first ran this course in January. The feedback was overwhelming and provider staff expressed how critical and useful the training is for the modern-day challenges they face. Participants gain a Level 2 Award.”
The course offers great value and will help tackle the daily challenges when participants return to the workplace.
The research findings suggest that one in every three of Liverpool City Region learners experiences mental health issues. Providers are spending more time on dealing with learners’ mental ill-health. This places a drain on the resources of provider staff.
Attendees will gain an understanding of mental health and the main disorders they need to be aware of. Alongside this, they will have a good grasp of how to access support and advice. A cornerstone element of the training is about recognising and responding to the signs of mental ill-health.
Alan from AT Skills explains how attending the course will be effective when participants return to the workplace:
“The training will help providers to tackle mental health issues sooner and we expect this to improve learner success rates and reduce the strain on resources.”
Money from The National Lottery Community Fund will be used to subsidise the costs of training. GMLPF members can attend the two-day course for just £130.
The mental health of apprentices in the region received a boost through a GMLPF project funded by National Lottery players.
Eleven employees from across the Liverpool City Region are set to become champions for good mental health at work thanks to their participation in a GMLPF Minds mental health training course.
The group of Apprentice Ambassadors is the first contingent to receive the training spearheaded by GMLPF and funded by The National Lottery Communities fund. The new course welcomed its first delegates, all of whom are official Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Ambassadors. They are already mentors and role models to other employees and aspiring apprentices. The Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub manages the Ambassadors programme which sees role model apprentices and their employers raise awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships. The Hub runs a programme of support and development for Apprentice Ambassadors which includes participation in the GMLPF Minds Mental Health Awareness training.
Spotlight on wellbeing of apprentices and learners in LCR
The mental health awareness training took place in Liverpool city centre this week. It’s part of the GMLPF Minds project that throws the spotlight on the mental health and wellbeing of apprentices and other learners in the Liverpool City Region. It has equipped the attendees to return to the workplace as mental health champions. The training agenda answered questions including how to define mental health, the common challenges, triggers and causes and also the dos and don’ts around mental health.
The course, designed and delivered by 3D Training, is highly interactive. Delivered in one day, the programme includes a variety of group exercises, activities, quizzes and case studies. It is hoped that further courses will run during 2019-20.
With the rate of apprentices and other learners experiencing mental health problems on a steep upward trajectory, GMLPF successfully applied to The National Lottery Communities Fund to conduct training and research. Nearly £10,000 was awarded which is being spent on research among members to uncover what urgent support is needed. This is complemented by training for GMLPF member staff and Apprentice Ambassadors. The aim is that early intervention can stop apprentices and other learners falling through the net.
Ian Lomas, GMLPF Chief Executive says:
“People shouldn’t be denied successful careers because they get anxiety or depression. Often these individuals are amongst the most diligent of employees. We are driving for a cultural shift in attitudes towards mental health conditions. Raising awareness among the Apprentice Ambassadors is a small part of helping the tide change. Apprentices are the leaders of tomorrow, so there is no better way to help wipe out any lingering stigma attached to mental health.”
Support for provider staff
“Whilst the education sector has been putting coordinated strategies into place for some time to help schools tackle mental health of pupils, the training sector tends to see learning providers left to deal with this challenge as individual organisations. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we can start to make inroads into tackle the specific challenges of mental health in the training sector. As well as the mental health of learners, the GMLPF Minds project also focusses on that of provider staff who are taking the strain of this growing problem. We need to tackle the problem from all angles.”
GMLPF is very grateful to the National Lotteries Community Fund for their support without which we would not be in a position to make a positive change in this challenging area.
Full details of the research outcomes and training dates for apprenticeship providers will be released shortly.
Apprentices from across the Liverpool City Region are set to become champions for mental health in the workplace.
In September 12 LCR apprentice ambassadors will attend a specifically designed course. They will be skilled up to raise awareness of mental health issues with their colleagues including other apprentices. GMLPF will pay for the course as part of their GMLPF Minds programme that has gathered pace thanks to a cash injection from the National Lottery Community Fund.
The training will focus on how to spot mental health issues early. Through learning about the trigger factors that adversely affect young people it is hoped participants will be able to raise awareness of common mental health challenges and how to get help. To do this effectively, participants will be drilled on the dos and don’ts around mental health.
Mental health champions
The ambassadors will also take a pro-active stance. A main focus of the training is to give them the confidence to champion mental health awareness in their places of employment. The interactive session is geared to define and promote understanding of the issues.
The one day course is the brainchild of 3D Training. Director, Gill Abbots, says: “There are a host of trigger factors in the modern world that impact the mental health of young people. From social media and gaming to finances and addiction, issues need to come to the surface early. This can be aided by banishing any stigmas about mental health in the workplace. It’s important to remember that pressure to complete an apprenticeship can also have an impact on mental health.”
Growth in mental health issues amongst apprentices
The course is part of the GMLPF Minds programme that throws the spotlight on the mental health and wellbeing of apprentices and other learners in the Liverpool City Region. Ian Lomas, Chief Executive of GMLPF says:
“Our research reveals the rapid growth of mental health issues among apprentices and other learners. It also has a big impact on the employees of our member organisations. There simply aren’t enough professionals qualified in mental health and it’s impossible to plug that gap quickly. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, we can offer this course as a small but significant step to promote awareness and help curtail any taboos. A realistic expectation is to reduce the likelihood of learners falling through the net.”
Apprentice involvement to encourage open discussion about mental health
Melanie Dodd, from the LCR Apprenticeship Hub that coordinates the apprentice ambassador network, says: “The challenges of mental health are growing at an alarming rate. It’s not something that can be ignored or swept under the carpet. Getting apprentices involved lays the groundwork for more acceptance and open discussion of mental health issues in the workplace.”
The Mental Health Foundation has published figures around mental health problems at work. More than one in every seven people experience problems in their job with more than ten percent of sick days attributable to mental health conditions. These concerns have led to GMLPF confirming that they will run additional training programmes for GMLPF members soon.
The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded GMLPF £9,925 to fund vital research and training in mental health supporting organisations in the skills sector. Ian Lomas, Chief Executive of GMLPF and Debbie Tagoe, Chair of GMLPF, welcome the investment made by the Community Fund as it will enable GMLPF to undertake more important work in the area of mental health.
What Matters To People
The lottery fund prioritises projects that matter to people and to communities and gives money to ‘great projects or ideas that bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities’. GMLPF will use the award to widen its existing mental health project that supports providers of apprenticeships and other learning.
Original research carried out by GMLPF in 2018 revealed that member organisations are spending dozens of hours each month handling the mental health issues of learners. On average each of our members is facing a student mental health incident requiring intervention more than once a week. The initial tranche of research also threw the spotlight on the mental health of training provider staff. Ian explains:
“With three in every ten students presenting with a mental health challenge, it places an enormous strain on staff. Indications are that their own mental health is being impacted which in turn has an effect on their ability to support students, creating a vicious circle. We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the importance of our work in this area. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to explore this area in detail, improve our members’ understanding of mental health, pinpoint solutions and design training to enhance staff resilience and ability.’
The first phase of the funds will be spent on follow up research with providers. The project is designed to record the issues and map any changes since the original research last year. It will build on the first set of findings around how mental ill-health is a barrier to participation in learning programmes and its impact on achievement levels.
Taking the form of an online questionnaire and face to face qualitative research, the findings will feed into a training programme for providers. AT Skills have already successfully delivered level 2 mental health first aid and awareness courses for GMLPF members. They will be further tailoring their programme in line with the research findings to ensure it meets providers’ changing needs. For example, indications from the initial phase of the project show that the mental health of staff, as well as that of learners, is a growing issue. The course will reflect this and will be delivered over two days, with participants gaining a level 2 qualification.
Ambassadors Skilled Up To Help Peers
Another slice of the funding will be spent on skilling up Liverpool City Region Apprentice Ambassadors who will be trained in mental health awareness. The ambassadors will complete a one day course delivered by 3D Training. This innovative programme sets out to help plug the gap in post-16 mental health support. Through the course, participants will gain an enhanced understanding of spotting mental health issues and signposting sufferers. Siobhan Saunders of Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub explains:
“We don’t want apprentices falling through the net because of mental health issues. Training and understanding will result in young people getting the help they need to lead a happier life and complete their qualifications. The ambassadors can help remove stigma and boost the number of their peers who receive essential support.”
The award from the National Lottery Community Fund will also be used to develop an online suite of resources for both providers and learners. The choice of materials available will be in line with findings from the research carried out but are likely to include links to videos, further training resources, leaflets and case studies as well as signposts for further help and assistance.