GMLPF Member Survey – The Results Are In!

Thank you to all members who took the time to complete our survey last month. The results will help us continue to deliver the services you have said are particularly useful, and show us that over the past 12 months we have been on the right track in delivering what members need. Key findings can be viewed below.

 

.

LCR launch regional apprenticeship portal

Finding and taking up one of a huge range of apprenticeships available across the Liverpool City Region is set to get much easier as the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has launched the UK’s first one-stop web portal for apprenticeships.

The portal – www.be-more.info – brings together apprenticeship opportunities from employers.  This means that the Combined Authority can provide prospective apprentices in the Liverpool City Region with exactly the local information they need.

The web portal, which is the first of its kind, not only offers opportunities, but also features guides on how to apply, how to get there, and even what specific travel benefits may be available as well as guides for parents assisting their children who may be pursuing apprenticeship opportunities.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“This is the first portal anywhere in the country bringing together such a wide range of information about apprenticeship opportunities and how to apply for them, and we have built it here, in the Liverpool City Region, specifically for our residents.

“In my election manifesto I promised to simplify the way people access apprenticeship opportunities through an easily accessible, online apprenticeship portal for the city region and I’m proud to have fulfilled that pledge.

“Visitors to the portal will be amazed at the type of apprenticeships we have in the city region, it’s not just the traditional trades, you can study at degree level and beyond in subjects ranging from Clinical Engineering to becoming a Paralegal. There is certainly much more on offer in terms of opportunities and qualifications than when I did a traditional bricklaying apprenticeship.”

In just a little more than a month (launched March 2019) there have been over 10,000 apprenticeship searches made on the site already! Top searches include engineering, IT, construction and digital marketing.

The new portal will also be a useful tool for employers in the Liverpool City Region to advertise their apprenticeship vacancies as it offers employers the opportunity to advertise vacancies on the site should they not have the infrastructure available to do so via the national solution.

The site also offers a fast growing library of City Region based apprentice case studies and experiences so visitors to the site can read about the diversity of the opportunities available as well as find out what life is really like as an apprentice.

Apprenticeship providers

Regional apprenticeship providers will find that the site provides a strong identity for City Region apprenticeships and an ideal backdrop for their own promotional activity. The website automatically lists the apprenticeship vacancies that they upload to the national Find An Apprenticeship portal. Providers are encouraged to help raise awareness of the Be More brand and website by engaging with the Be More team on social media, and identifying subjects for apprenticeship success stories.

To find out more information about apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region go to www.be-more.info

LCR Apprenticeship Hub Update – April 2019

GMLPF attended the LCR Apprenticeship Hub Board Meeting on 18 April.


Apprenticeship starts

Early indications point to a slight increase in apprenticeship starts in the region for first half of 2018/2019 compared with the same period last year. Whilst this is encouraging news, there are key factors that point to continuing challenges:

  • Growth is coming from 25+ age cohort; 16 to 18 apprenticeship starts have fallen in comparison to 17/18
  • Growth is seen in advanced and higher level programmes; starts at intermediate level continue to fall

LCR Hub ESIS contract report

The end of March saw the end of LCR Hub’s contract for awareness raising of apprenticeships across the region. Over 18 months, the highly productive Hub team have completed a herculean programme of communications and events which included planning and executing no less than 33 skills shows across the region, attended by 7000 individuals. They also delivered 14 events to launch the Skills For Growth Action Plans, and carried out 1131 targeted meetings to inform employers, schools, referral agencies, parents and others about apprenticeships.


Apprenticeship Graduation  

The report on the LCR Hub Apprenticeship Graduation held on 7 March was shared at the meeting. It provides an overview of the features and successes of the event held at St Georges Hall and opened by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. Key achievements and points to note include:

  • Almost 300 attendees across 2 events
  • 103 apprentices graduated at the event
  • These apprentices were supported by 24 learning providers
  • Apprentices studied at a range of levels (L2 to L5)
  • Graduates were of all ages with the majority being between the ages of 17 and 25 (49%)

 

Apprenticeships – national news

Transfer of levy funds

As of the beginning of April, Levy paying employers can now transfer up to 25% of their annual levy funds to other organisations to use for apprenticeships training and assessment. Previously the transfer limit was 10%. Certain conditions apply.

Guidance on levy transfer

 

Decrease in co-investment rate for non-levy payers

From 1st April, non-levy paying employers will be required to make just a 5% contribution to training and assessment costs for their apprentices, with the Government covering 95% costs. Previously employers were required to make 10% contribution

 

Fire it Up Communications Toolkit

Some providers linked in with the national apprenticeship Fire It Up campaign during National Apprenticeship Week by adopting the modified apprenticeships logo and linking in with other aspects of the campaign. The Fire It Up campaign is ongoing and there are full branding guidelines available to download with links to logos.

Download branding guidelines

5 Key Ways GMLPF Supports Its Members

Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation (GMLPF) supports training providers who deliver apprenticeships, traineeships, study programmes, adult training and other skills programmes. The support we provide is varied and driven by demands of members and also by funding or strategy changes in the local and national skills landscape. Here are five of the many support services we provide our members:

  1. Lobbying

Anyone who has spent time working in the Government funded skills sector will be familiar with the rapid pace of change. GMLPF works to mitigate potential negative impact of changes by consulting with its members, collating their views and voicing their opinions and concerns with appropriate authorities so they can be considered and addressed. Recent consultations with members have focussed on Liverpool Reducing NEET Strategy, and Ofsted’s new inspection framework.

  1. Ofsted

Where appropriate, GMLPF is happy to provide input or meet with inspectors as part of members’ Ofsted inspections. This has proved useful in the past in particular to demonstrate evidence of participation in CPD and in raising quality of training. This service is usually taken by members who are undergoing a full inspection as opposed to a monitoring visit as inspectors’ time is limited.

  1. CPD

A primary focus for GMLPF is to provide CPD opportunities to its members that are relevant to their needs. These opportunities come in the form of free or subsidised workshops, training sessions or webinars. Recent topics have included Planning and Delivering 20% Off the Job Training; Mental Health Awareness & First Aid (resulting in Level 2 Award); Documentation & Processes for Submission of AEB Tenders; ROATP; Successful Ofsted Monitoring Visits; Reform of Functional Skills

  1. Brokering member partnerships

GMLPF is all about creating opportunities for its members to network and learn from each other. Occasionally, we help bring together members for a more defined working relationship. For example, we put one member who offers level 2 and 3 apprenticeships in touch with a provider offering relevant higher level management apprenticeships. Together they are approaching employers to offer a full progression route for apprenticeships in their industry sector with great success.

  1. Opportunities

GMLPF always has its radar on for opportunities for its members including commercial opportunities which are communicated via the weekly GMLPF Member newsletter. Recently, we invited an organisation contracted to deliver training services for the Ministry of Justice to speak to members about potential collaboration. They are looking for delivery partners and several GMLPF members are now considering this as an opportunity for growth.

 

Non levy allocations – Important!

GMLPF is aware that members have this week received correspondence from ESFA, which  identifies the value attached to their extended non levy allocations over the period April 19-March 2020.

It seems that these allocations may be subject to further change. However, GMLPF understands that the ESFA has indicated that the primary focus of the extension contracts should be upon carry in funding and supporting existing learners rather than supporting new starts.

This may have a significant impact upon members and the wider, local apprenticeship market. GMLPF is keen to understand what the impact of the new allocations are on your organisation so we can raise this issue with the Combined Authority locally and also with AELP. With this in mind, could GMLPF members with apprenticeship contracts who have been given extensions e-mail ian@gmlpf.net indicating:

  • If the value of the extension contract is broadly more, the same or less than the previous year
  • Whether, after factoring in carry in funding, there will be an impact on apprenticeship starts over the coming year ie up, down or broadly the same. It would be helpful to have some scale of change if the extension contract is resulting in significant change ie 25% increase, 50% decrease
  • What wider impact there might be on your organisation as a result of the extension contract

NAO Apprenticeships Report Highlights Areas for Improvement

The Department for Education has some way to go before it can demonstrate that the apprenticeships programme is achieving value for money, with numbers of apprenticeships below pre-reform levels, says the National Audit Office.

In its report published earlier this month, the NAO states that since introducing its reforms the Department has improved how it assesses the benefits of the programme. However, it has not set out clearly how it measures whether the programme is boosting economic productivity – the ultimate aim of the programme. It therefore has some way to go before it can demonstrate that resources are being used to best effect.

Many of the key headlines from the report echo opinions that GMLPF members have expressed over the last couple of years, including:

  • The average cost of training an apprentice on a standard is around double what was expected by ESFA. This is because employers are opting for greater numbers of higher value standards than was anticipated. This has resulted in fewer starts and increased pressure on the apprenticeship budget. It is highly likely that, without any significant growth in volumes spending on Apprenticeships could rise to £bn per year once frameworks are withdrawn
  • The 3m starts target is unlikely to be met. To meet this target the number of apprenticeship starts would need to double from the current baseline which is highly unlikely in the current market
  • The Government’s target for widening participation in apprenticeships lacks ambition ie raising participation for those who are SEND. We know participation is low for SEND in Liverpool City Region.
  • There has been a steep rise in the proportion of apprenticeships started under the new standards which employers generally consider as an improvement on frameworks
  • The introduction of standards and the levy has seen a significant change in the profile and make-up of the apprenticeship programme. There has been a pronounced shift away from lower level apprenticeships  to high cost, higher level apprenticeships. There is a sense that larger, corporate entities may be replacing their professional development or in-house training programmes with apprenticeship programmes.
  • The report highlights issues with quality including the fact that the ESFA has limited assurance that apprentices are spending 20% or more of their time in off the job training. Furthermore, approximately 25% of training providers in 2016/17 met the criteria for ESFA intervention because their achievement rates fell below national minimum standards.
  • The NAO has concerns about the long term sustainability of the programme

Read full report

Read summary report

 

Liverpool City Council NEET Reduction Strategy

LIverpool Provider Network facilitated a workshop last week to consider and discuss the recently published Liverpool City Council draft NEET Reduction Strategy; “Inspiring:Engaging:Progressing”

Following the workshop, GMLPF has produced a draft consultation response incorporating members’ views. Anybody wishing to add further comments can do by e-mailing ian@gmlpf.net by midday Wednesday 6th March.

Download LPN/GMLPF Response to draft LCC Inspiring Engaging Progressing Strategy