Apprenticeships – Review of Q2 2017/8 data

A review of the Q3 2017/18 Apprenticeship data, both nationally and locally, reveals some interesting data and trends.

Nationally, the Level 2 Hair Professional Apprenticeship Standard is the most popular standard in the country, followed by Installation Electrician Level 3, Customer Service Level 2, Level 3 Engineering Technician and Level 3 Assistant Accountant. This highlights the increasing amount of provision and starts at Level 3 and the decreasing numbers of starts at Level 2. The screenshot below highlights the profile of starts by Standards over the period February – April 2018.

More locally, in the Liverpool City Region, there were some 8,960 individuals resident locally starting an Apprenticeship over the first 3 quarters of 2017-18. At the end of Qtr 3 the number of starts was less than 50% of the total number of starts in 2016/17. On current trends it is possible that there may be some 12,000 starts in the LCR in the 2017/18 year. The attached data gives you a flavour of starts by SSA Tier 1, by level and by geographical area. GMLPF will be shortly undertaking a survey of members to understand the number of starts members supported in 2017/18 to understand the vital contribution our members make locally.

Download data


G4S National Citizen Service EOI Closing Date 01 10 18

G4S Employment Support Services (ESS) is a Prime Contractor delivering regional contracts focused on disadvantaged and marginalised groups in the UK. We currently deliver the Work Programme and 5 ESF contracts across England for the Department for Work and Pensions and have recently finished delivering the last round of ESF Families Support Programme, Community Work Placements and the Supervised Jobsearch pilot.


NCS Programme

The NCS programme is a once-in-a lifetime experience delivered over 3-4 weeks in Summer and Autumn for young people aged 16-17 with four phases:
Phase 1: Adventure. Young people stay away from their local area and take on challenges in an outdoor environment, with a focus on developing confidence and team building

Phase 2: Discovery. Young people again stay away but closer to home, typically at a local university hall of residence, building independence (often cooking and budgeting for themselves), developing new skills and finding out more about their own talents and the needs of their local community

Phase 3: Social Action. Young people are back at home, but continue to work in their teams to give something back to their community by planning and delivering their own 30 hour social action project. Upon completion of the programme, each participant and their parents are invited to a graduation ceremony to celebrate their achievements and receive a certificate signed by the Prime Minister.

Phase 4: Extension. Ongoing opportunities to continue the NCS journey through further social action and volunteering, participation in regional and national Youth Boards, apprenticeship and job opportunities and more.

On this government-backed programme, participants build skills for work and life, while taking
on new challenges and adventures, making new friends, learning new skills and contributing to their community

The new procurement process has consolidated the 19 regions into 9 to align with existing government boundaries and support value for money. There are 6 lot areas being procured (the other 3 are being managed directly by NCS). The lot areas are:

• North West
• Yorkshire & Humber
• East Midlands
• West Midlands
• South East
• East Anglia

G4S are looking for partners to deliver and requirements may include:

• Manage recruitment of young people from obtaining expressions of interest and sales leads through sign-up through to turn-up via a robust retention plan
• Establish strong relationships with schools, colleges and non-school channels
• Manage the NCS programme from planning the programme activities and logistics for the phases, to the delivery of the NCS programme
• Hire, train and maintain recruitment and delivery workforce
• Manage safeguarding, health and safety and incident management

If you are interested in joining our supply chain, please follow the link below to our short Expression of Interest:

The deadline for submissions is 5pm Monday 1st October

Please contact if you have any questions


Back To School: GMLPF announces more free Apprenticeship school information sessions from September

GMLPF is pleased to announce that it has secured funding for additional free Apprenticeships information sessions for schools in Halton, Liverpool, St Helens and Sefton.

Through the government’s Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge for Schools (ASK) programme, GMLPF offers information sessions to schools, helping them meet statutory duties regarding the provision of impartial IAG, specifically in relation to Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

GMLPF’s Apprenticeship experts will come to your school to deliver your choice from our portfolio of school support services. Pick from group assemblies; practical hands-on sessions to help pupils sign up to the national Find An Apprenticeship service; providing information at schools careers events, and parent information sessions.

Apprenticeship experts

Because it’s a Government programme, the information provided through GMLPF’s ASK sessions is always correct and up-to-date. The individuals who deliver the sessions in schools are fully trained Apprenticeships experts who attend regular updates to keep up with changing information. They are subject to external quality inspections, ensuring top quality advice is provided to pupils, parents and teachers.

The ASK team also have in-depth knowledge of the local Apprenticeships landscape – what the growth industries are in Liverpool City Region, and which sectors are likely to see an increase in availability of Apprenticeships and long term careers for school leavers. They are also able to advise on Higher Apprenticeships for university level study, how Apprenticeships are funded, and any impact signing up to an Apprenticeship can have on family benefits.

It’s free!

Yes, the service is absolutely free to schools in Halton, Liverpool, Sefton and St Helens. We’ll come along and speak to pupils, show them how to search for and get notified of Apprenticeships vacancies in their industries of interest. We’ll speak to parents, set up shop at careers evenings, and dispense official information booklets and leaflets – all free of charge.

Schools find sessions invaluable

 GMLPF has already delivered its ASK services to many schools across Liverpool City Region. Feedback from schools has been extremely positive. It shows they have found the information sessions and our other Apprenticeships support services an ideal way to provide pupils with the latest information about Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

Schools have also told us that booking an ASK sessions is a good way of demonstrating to Ofsted inspectors that they are properly addressing their statutory obligations, accessing good quality Apprenticeships information, advice and guidance for their pupils, enabling them to make informed decisions about their future.

Easy to book

Booking one of our ASK services couldn’t be easier – just email or call 0151 707 8775 and ask for Jan Agger.

Devolution of AEB

Many members attended the Devolution of AEB Workshop held at the Hilton Hotel on Monday 20th August. The event was an opportunity to find out more about the plans for the devolution of AEB and for the Combined Authority to gauge the level of interest, amongst the provider base, to become involved in bidding for AEB resources and to get feedback from providers on how the devolved budget might best be rolled out and implemented.

Key messages that emerged included:

  • The overall AEB budget for the Liverpool City Region is likely to be in the region of £50-52m for 2019/20 but will depend on spend in the  2018/19 year
  • Devolution will involve a mix of grant funding and procured activity
  • Of this budget some £10-15m will be procured by the Combined Authority – the balance of the budget will be grant funded to Colleges and Local Authorities
  • The commissioning – procurement process will commence in October 2018 with:
    • A Standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ) for providers interested in tendering being issued in October
    • Deadline for SQs to be submitted in November
    • Invitations to Tender being issued in December 2018
    • Deadline for submitted tenders in February 2019
    • Contract awards – April 2019
    • Delivery commencing – August 2019
  • Details about what the LCR CA wishes to procure can be found in the above links but they will continue to fund local statutory entitlement provision which is likely to account for 25% of funding and 31% of learners respectively. Outside of this they are keen to ensure that provision addresses key local, social (inclusive growth) and economic priorities which relate back to the LCR Skills Strategy

GMLPF will continue to ensure that members receive updates on the devolution of AEB and the proposed procurement round. If members have any questions then feel free to contact Ian at GMLPF for more information.

You can access the presentation from the event via the links below or at

Presentation Slides

Soft Market Testing Questionnaire


Andrew Collinge Achieve Prestigious Training Award

On Wednesday 15th August Andrew Collinge Hairdressing received the exciting news that they had achieved a prestigious Princess Royal Training Award.

The awards are highly sought after and awarded for commitment to training and the positive impact that staff development has on the business. Other recipients include John Lewis; HMRC; The Royal Airforce & RBS.

The Princess Royal Training Awards is an honour for UK employers that have created lasting impact by successfully linking their skills development needs to business performance.

Training incubator

Andrew Collinge applied for the award in early 2018, with their Graduate salon for newly trained hairdressers at the foundation of the application. Graduate salons allow Andrew Collinge apprentices to build their experience and confidence away from their own places of work.

This training incubator environment is highly effective and impact is clear, with average client bills and business revenue increasing as apprentices grow in confidence. The training programme offers clear succession opportunities when graduates are ready to return to their original salons as fully fledged stylists. Graduate salons encourage innovation and offer exciting opportunities to develop skills and confidence, such as participating at Pro Hair Live; styling models at the JMU fashion show and even showcasing the skills they have developed within Andrew Collinge masterclass events.

Standard of Excellence

48 UK businesses, from a wide range of sectors, achieved the Princess Royal Training Awards standard of excellence in training in 2018. The announcement follows the adjudication of the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, composed of seven leading figures in the business and learning & development community and HRH The Princess Royal, who is the President of the City & Guilds Group.

Chris Jones, Group Chief Executive, said: “Congratulations to all 48 organisations who have achieved the Princess Royal Training Awards standard of excellence this year. Once again, it is evidence of the very real benefits that investing in staff development can bring to employers, large and small, private, public and not for profit. At a time of increasing economic uncertainty and reduced investment into workforce development it is great to see critical business issues being addressed through L&D investments. Through the Awards we highlight excellent examples of training that have already proved to be effective and we encourage others to build on their success.”

Andrew Collinge are looking forward to receiving this fabulous award at a ceremony to be held at St James Palace, London in October.

Michael John Training Academy Mark 40 Years’ Contribution and Commitment to LCR Success

July 2018 marked 40 successful years of trading for GMLPF Member, Michael John Training Academy. In today’s competitive business environment this is an enviable achievement, and something worthy to celebrate.

Life began back in in 1978, founded by local businessman and entrepreneur Michael Heath. He had the vision to open his first training centre in Seaforth, Liverpool, supporting seven local hairdressing employers.

Over the next 40 years the business has grown to provide services to hundreds of employers in the hair, barbering, beauty and customers services sectors, both locally and throughout the UK.

Student success

During these years 1000s of students have passed through Michael John, many becoming local business owners, taking their apprentices from Michael John, beginning a new cycle of training. A numbers of apprentices have progressed into the education landscape, becoming tutors and lecturers; some have gained employment back at Michael John.

Michael John have also built up and maintained strong relationships with schools, Local Authorities and agencies in delivering bespoke training for both pre-16 and post-16 students.  

We offer a range of City and Guilds qualifications in hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy and customer services.

Championing Liverpool City Region

Company directors, husband and wife team Michael and Christine Heath, are both active members in the community, each having a strong presence in local charities and community projects.

The couple are avid supporters of championing Liverpool as an area for business opportunities and development, with an ongoing commitment to always remain located within the city region.

Fast forward to 2018, Michael John Training Academy is now located in purpose built premises in the heart of Liverpool on Renshaw Street. Their team of highly skilled and experienced staff continue to provide the next generation of Hair, Barbering, Beauty and Customer Service professionals.


ESF Update

Members might be aware that the ESFA launched two ESF co-financed tenders via their e-tending portal earlier this week; one for ESF Community Grants and one for Supply of Support to Individuals Who are NEET. The deadline for these is tight – mid September 2018.

GMLPF is consulting with local stakeholders and partners to discuss a potential consortium proposal that would clearly align ESF resources with mainstream provision to help address the issue of increasing NEET locally.

Members will also note that Skills Support for the Unemployed (SSU) and Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) tenders have also been launched by the ESFA for neighbouring areas and other parts of England but not for the Liverpool City Region.

The LCR Combined Authority is considering how best to take these two programmes forward in light of the evolving devolution agenda, including the devolution of the AEB budget next year. GMLPF will continue to update members as and when details emerge

ESF Co-Financed NEET Project

Members can find out more information about this tender by downloading the files below:

Specification Invitation to Tender NEET

Response Questionnaire IP 1.1 1.2 2.1 v0.3

SSQ 6.3 Track record Response Questionnaire FOR IP.1.1 1.2 2.1

Volumes and Values Workbook IP 1.2 NEET

GMLPF is currently talking to stakeholders and the MCA to understand if there is value in forming a delivery consortium. Initial suggestions are that this may be the case. Any organisations wishing to know more can e-mail or phone on 0151 707 8775 or 07840 378218

LCR providers say student mental health is impacting on Apprenticeship delivery

A multitude of causes ranging from homelessness to the Apprenticeship Levy are fuelling the rise in mental health issues among apprentices and other students in Liverpool City Region, according to findings of research conducted by Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation (GMLPF). And providers say the rise is impacting on delivery of Apprenticeships in the region.

30% of students experiencing poor mental health

GMLPF conducted a snapshot survey among its members in the Liverpool City Region asking them to share their experiences of student mental health. The results indicate that on average 30% of a provider’s learners are experiencing mental health problems at any point in time. Approximately 40 staff hours a month per provider are taken up dealing with learner mental health. And arguably most signficantly, no single learning provider feels completely equipped to support the rising number of students presenting with mental health issues. 

10 causes

The findings revealed ten principal causes of poor mental health in students, ranging from lack of self-belief to eating disorders and addiction. And because employers have started to take a more hands-on role in Apprenticeships performance due to the introduction of the Levy, their expectations add to students’ pressure.

Ian Lomas, CEO of GMLPF, says:

“Eighty percent of the respondents believe the number of students with mental health issues is on the rise.  A big driver could be that the increase in awareness has led to more cases being reported.  We see this as the one positive, because if we don’t know about a problem we can’t deal with it. Unfortunately this is offset against the increasingly complex nature of the challenges students are facing, and the fact that providers lack the confidence, skills and access to support to effectively manage the problem.”

All levels

The results clearly indicate the need to equip learning providers with the skills they need to help students suffering with mental health.  As pressure increases on learners to achieve more, the stresses are felt at all levels including apprenticeships, traineeships and study programmes.

Providers are clearly struggling to access the services of external specialist agencies. One provider reported the following worry:

“We have tried to refer students to external counselling but appointment waiting times are so long the course is finished by the time appointments are made.” 

Dealing with the effects of cannabis addition on students’ mental health has become routine for some providers, as one told us:

“We work closely with CAMHS and Addaction, for learners where cannabis addiction has affected their mental health.”

Support for providers

The learning providers involved in the study had a range of views on the support they’d like to see.  The most popular suggestion is for short courses and awareness sessions for provider staff.  Respondents also outlined how they would like to see more advice on referral agencies and some supported the idea of more structured training programmes for their staff. We will report back soon on our plans to help boost learning providers’ confidence in dealing positively with students’ mental health.

View full findings on infographic


GMLPF Health and Social Care Forum update

The GMLPF Health and Social Care Forum met last week where Ian Lomas, GMLPF CEO, gave an update on:

  • apprenticeship starts in the sector
  • plans by the LCR local authorities to boost apprenticeship starts in the sector through the use of their Levy
  • the potential impact of new flexibilities for funding of learning within the AEB programme upon apprenticeships.
Apprenticeship starts

Overall, there were some 6,040 apprenticeship starts in the first two quarters of 2017/18. If replicated over the remaining two quarters, total apprenticeship starts in the LCR during 2017/18 will be approximately a 1/3 less than in the preceding year.

Looking at Tier 1 SSA data there were some 5,280 starts in the health, public service and care sector in 2016/17, whereas in the first two quarters of this current 2017/18 year there were only 1,580. If this figure is replicated in the remaining two quarters it is possible that the total number of starts in this area would be some 40% down on last year. This confirms intelligence from providers in the sector.

LCR Local Authority Plans for Growing Apprenticeship Starts in the Sector

The LCR Combined Authority and 6 local authorities held an initial workshop in early July to explore the skills needs of the social care sector, to discuss falling apprenticeship starts in the area and how they might promote apprenticeships more, and boost draw down of the Levy to boost the number of Starts. The workshop included a presentation from Skills for Care. Ian Lomas. GMLPF CEO attended the workshop. A key action is to broker input by the LCR CA and Skills for Care into the next meeting of the Health and Social Care Forum.


There are new freedoms and flexibilities within the AEB programme for 2018/19 including the provision of fully funded learning for employees who earn less than £15,736.50 per annum. This pilot funding has the potential to displace other forms of work based learning that require a degree of co-investment from employers, including apprenticeships, in sectors where wages are below the local average salary. We discussed the potential impact of AEB fully funding learning for those in employment in the Social Care and Early Years sectors and how it might impact upon apprenticeship starts. 

Future meetings of GMLPF Health & Social Care Forum

Thursday 25.10.18 – 2-4pm

Thursday 31.01.19 – 2-4pm

Thursday 25.04.19 – 2-4pm

Thursday 27.07.19 – 2-4pm

Thursday 31.10.19 – 2-4pm

All meetings will be held at NWCS