LCR Apprentice Ambassadors Get Their Heads Round Mental Health

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.

New vacancies with Training Strategies

Training Strategies have two vacancies for tutors – one for SIA Security, and one for Employability/Customer Service.

Key responsibilities for both posts include:

  • Provide effective and inclusive delivery of classroom based programmes.
  • Develop relationships to facilitate positive outcomes.
  • Contribute to the development of a high quality curriculum offer .
  • Meet targets relating to achievement and delivery.
  • Act as an ambassador in terms of skills, knowledge and professionalism.Take responsibility for Continuous Professional Development

Download further information on both posts:

SIA Security Tutor vacancy

Employability/Customer Service Tutor Vacancy

 

 

CEO Ian Lomas and Chair Debbie Tagoe display cheque showing Lottery Fund award

GMLPF awarded Lottery Funding to support mental health in LCR skills sector

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 staffIndications 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.’

Mapping Change

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.” 

Resources

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.

 

Metro Mayor announces half-price rail travel for young apprentices in the Liverpool City Region

  • Move could save could save apprentices aged 19-24 up to £680 a year
  • Apprentice Travelcard, which already offers 50% off bus travel, one of the most generous such schemes in the UK 

Young people in apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region are being given access to half-price train travel, just in time for the start of the autumn term.

Announcing the delivery of another manifesto commitment, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said the move could save apprentices up to £680 a year on train travel and will help remove one of the main barriers to entry for young people looking to enter vocational training – access to affordable transport.

Since it was launched in November 2018, the Apprentice Travelcard has offered apprentices aged 19-24 access to half-price bus travel across Merseyside. The inclusion of rail travel now makes it one of the most generous transport discount schemes for apprentices in the country.

From September, Apprentice Travelcard holders will be able to purchase weekly and monthly Railpass season tickets at 50% discount from all Merseyrail and staffed Northern stations. Depending on the travel zones covered by the pass, the ticket allows unlimited travel across the Northern, Wirral and City lines  with all rail operators, including Merseyrail, Northern, Transpennine Express, London Northwestern and East Midlands Trains.

Holders of the Apprentice Travelcard must be enrolled participants on registered apprenticeship schemes. Application packs are available from training providers and at Merseytravel Travel Centres, further details are available at merseytravel.gov.uk/apprentice

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:

“Apprenticeships are a vital pathway to skilled, well-paid jobs. But we know that the cost of travel has been acting as a major obstacle for young people when it comes to considering an apprenticeship route. It was the same for me in the late 70s – when half my wages went to my mum – and most of the other half went on travel from building site to building site.

We want to remove as many of these barriers as we can, so I’m delighted to announce that – building on the discounted bus travel we already offer – from September, apprentices aged 19-24 from across the Liverpool City Region will be able to travel on the Merseyrail network at half-price, potentially saving them hundreds of pounds a year.

Yet again – we’re showing how devolution and local decision making – can improve the lives of ordinary people. “

Councillor Liam Robinson, transport portfolio holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said: 

“Making travel by public transport easier and more affordable for young people has always been a priority for us. Already young people in the Liverpool City Region have access to great value rail fares, with Railpass tickets offering them unlimited travel across the Merseyrail network for less than £2.50 a day. To be able to extend the provision of reduced fares to those undertaking apprenticeships is fantastic, and will hopefully help to remove an obstacle to under-25s looking to enter work training.”

Suzanne Grant, Commercial Director at Merseyrail, said:

“We are pleased to be able to support young people in the City Region in obtaining qualifications and valuable work experience through this Railpass offer.

“Public transport is vital for many young people to get to and from their places of work or study, so I’m thrilled that we can do our part in making it accessible for all.

 “Apprentices can also use this pass for leisure purposes from the start to the end of service seven days a week – opening up plenty of opportunities to enjoy the Liverpool City Region.

 “This builds on our existing Young Person’s tickets offering passengers under 18 half price Railpass and Day Saver tickets.”

Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern said:

“We’re delighted to be able to support the next generation as they take their first steps in their new careers.

 “This discount scheme will significantly reduce costs for our customers from as far afield as Garswood, Newton-le-Willows and Hough Green, not only giving them more travel options, but also more money in their pockets.

 “Our partnership with Liverpool City Region underlines our commitment to giving our customers the best possible journey experience and this new offer complements the work we are doing to improve the rail network – with brand new and fully refurbished trains being rolled our across the region.”

 

GMLPF AGM

Many thanks to everyone who attended the GMLPF AGM this week. It was great to see so many of you there and to receive such positive feedback. Thanks also to our guest speakers, Beej Kaczmarscyk, and also Elaine Smith of LSIS.

Beej delivered a comprehensive presentation on the introduction of non-levy digital accounts, looking in particular at how providers can position themselves to maximise apprenticeship opportunities. Elaine delivered a very useful presentation on the importance of curriculum in the new EIF. In addition, GMLPF CEO Ian Lomas provided an overview of GMLPF’s programme of work for 18/19 which included an outline of our achievements in respect of the ASK contract, and an overview of GMLPF’s programme of work for 19/20 including the delivery of our recently awarded Lottery Community Fund project focussing on apprentice/learner mental health. Chair Debbie Tagoe delivered a presentation on the important key messages from the North West FES Reference Group Ofsted.

Download AGM slides

 

Outcome of Recent EIF Consultation Exercise

We are sharing a set of slides that Ofsted have provided on the recent consultation on the proposed EIF. Members should note that the consultation, Ofsted’s widest consultation to date, supported the broad thrust of Ofsted’s proposed EIF. There are, from reading the feedback, few material changes to the proposed structure and focus of the EIF.

Key messages from the feedback

  • Curriculum will be at the heart of the inspection process with less reliance on data. Inspectors will focus on curriculum design, coverage, relevance and delivery
  • There will be a new quality of education judgement and inspection handbooks have been updated. Interestingly a 1 year transition period has been introduced which will be reviewed at the end of the 12 month period
  • Ofsted have made amendments to the EIF to reflect that, specifically in relation to personal development and behaviour and attitudes, they will recognise providers working in challenging circumstances

(GMLPF will look to understand the practical implications of these changes on providers and provide more information)

  • It would appear that high needs or SEND learners and provision to support those groups will be graded separately rather than as a cross cutting theme
  • Ofsted proposed to introduce pre-inspection on site preparation to facilitate smoother inspections – this has been rejected
  • The timescale for re-inspection for those providers graded RI has been extended from 12-24 months to 12-30 months
  • Mental health is a recurring theme and Ofsted’s new EIF will look at the range of pastoral care that providers are offering in this area

GMLPF secures funding to extend mental health support programme for learning providers

GMLPF is pleased to announce it has been successful in its bid for Lottery funding via the Awards For All (A4A) programme to extend its mental health project tailored to support providers of apprenticeships.

Research among GMLPF members conducted late last year revealed that at any time up to 30% of their apprentices and learners are suffering with their mental health. This can eat up an average of 40 staff hours each month. On average each provider faces more than eighty mental health incidents requiring intervention each year.

Our research showed that many learning providers wanted some sort of formal training in mental health awareness. So as a first step GMLPF linked with AT Skills and Active IQ to launch a Mental Health Awareness and First Aid training course which ran in January and February this year.

 

Mental health a barrier to participation

The AT Skills delivered course ran over 2 days and awarded a Level 2 qualification to successful participants. Asset Training, North West Training Council, Lite Ltd, St Helens Chamber and Halton Council all sent staff on the course.  The delegates were well drilled in mental health first aid and how to signpost individuals in need to sources of professional support.

The successful Lottery bid means that GMLPF are now able to carry out more detailed research into the scale, nature and impact of mental health issues on apprentices and other learners, as well as provider staff. In particular the research will look at the extent to which mental ill-health is a barrier to participation in learning programmes and its impact on achievement levels.

 
Mental Health Ambassadors

In addition, the A4A funding will allow GMLPF to make its mental health training programme available to a wider audience of learning provider staff in its membership base. Furthermore, the project will see the launch of a pilot mental health first aid course for learners that helps them improve their understanding of mental health with a view to them becoming mental health ambassadors. Finally GMLPF will develop a portfolio of online resources and useful materials for learning provider staff to access to keep up to date with the latest mental health policy and practice

Ian Lomas, CEO of GMLPF said

“We’re very grateful to the Awards For All programme for supporting this important project. It’s clear that mental health is as critical an issue in the vocational sector as it is in schools. This funding will allow us to continue our work to understand exactly how mental health impacts on the delivery of programmes like apprenticeships, and to equip our members with the professional skills and expertise to support students.”

 

Apprenticeship Procurement

Do you want to grow your Apprenticeship Programme and work with local public sector levy payers?

In recent years some members who have previously worked with schools or with arms length public sector bodies have lost their contracts and working relationships as a result of procurement rounds being used to allocate Levy funding.

The 6 local authorities and Merseytravel wish to ensure that local providers have the opportunity to tender for contracts that will come out over the coming few months. Increasingly, it is their intention to use YPO to support the procurement of Apprenticeship programmes.

To that end, GMLPF hosted a workshop for members on Tuesday 7th May where Liverpool City Council, on behalf of the LCR’s 6 local authorities and Merseytravel, and YPO set out their priorities and the process for registering on YPO. Slides from the event are below. 5 key messages came out from the session:

  1. Combined the 6 local authorities and Merseytravel employ 41,000 staff and pay a levy of some £4.4m
  2. Combined they wish to support some 900 Apprentices or more each year – they are growing their Apprentice numbers supporting some 700 this year and demand is increasing particular from maintained schools
  3. Currently, the LAs and Merseytravel are procuring a very balanced programme of provision across a wide range of Frameworks and Standards with 34% and 40% at Levels 2 and 3 respectively
  4. The LAs and Merseytravel want to work with more local providers and are encouraging providers to register with YPO by 3 June so that successful providers can be considered for new procurement opportunities this summer. If providers don’t they will miss out on the opportunity to tender
  5. Registering on YPO gives members the opportunity to be considered for other public sector procurement opportunities outside of the Liverpool City Region giving them a much greater reach

Register with YPO 

YPO GMLPF event slides

Liverpool – Supplier Session slides

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.

 

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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