Apprentice star Adam is award-winning Proper Geek!

adamsmallWinning the Wirral Apprentice of the Year title at the Liverpool City Region Apprenticeships Awards this month has marked a milestone in an outstanding journey for one young man from the Wirral and his training provider, Mercia Partnership.

Medical set backs

Adam Hill, now 20, left school at 16 with gaps in his skills and qualifications. A medical condition had led to him missing a whole year of school in Year 10, and experiencing a mixture of home and hospital-based teaching in Year 11.

After completing some basic IT and Key Skills training, Adam, then aged 16, decided that a career in computing was for him. He contacted a local firm, asking for unpaid work experience.  Despite being turned down on a number of occasions, Adam persisted and the company, Proper Geeks, finally agreed that he could work in their workshop for a morning each week.

Committed team member

Adam’s relationship with Proper Geeks grew and, after he had proved himself to be a committed member of the team, the company happily agreed to support him in undertaking an Apprenticeship.

After researching local Apprenticeship training providers, Adam and Proper Geeks approached Mercia Partnership and Adam enrolled on an Apprenticeship in ICT Support with them. Mercia Partnership also provided him with training to boost his maths and English skills. After completing his Apprenticeship, Adam progressed onto an Advanced Apprenticeship which he has also successfully finished.

PC engineer

Throughout both his Apprenticeships training, Adam continued to work diligently in his job at Proper Geeks. As time has passed, Adam’s contribution to the business has increased significantly. He has learned new skills for the company, and put partnerships and processes into place which save Proper Geeks both time and money.  Adam is now the main mobile PC engineer for the company and drives his Proper Geeks van around the Wirral, serving computers at both customers’ houses and business premises.

Steve McGovern of Proper Geeks said:

“We were worried at first that the extra workload of training an apprentice would mean that our business would suffer, but it’s been quite the opposite and, with Adam’s help, we’re now thriving. 

“We first met Adam as a raw, shy and underdeveloped individual but he has continually taken on extra responsibilities and exceeded our expectations.  He has not only won the trust of some of our most respected customers, but he has flourished to become approachable, knowledgeable and pragmatic.”

A career to be proud of

Speaking about his Apprenticeship journey Adam said:

“Missing so much school due to being ill made both my skills and my confidence suffer. I knew I wanted to work with computers and my training with Mercia Partnership, combined with the fantastic support I’ve received from Proper Geeks, has meant that I now have skills and a career to be proud of.”

Positive impact on individuals and businesses

Sandra Birchall, sales and marketing manager at Mercia Partnership, said:

“Adam has achieved a huge amount since undertaking his Apprenticeship and deserves all of the recognition and career success he’s enjoying.

“The progress that Adam has made has, in turn, allowed Proper Geeks to grow as a company, and is a perfect illustration of the positive impact that Apprenticeships have on both individuals and businesses.”

Stan Pochron, chief executive of the Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation (GMLPF), the organisation which sponsored the Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Awards, said:

“Adam has my warmest congratulations on both his award and his achievements as a whole.  His story highlights how the combined encouragement of a supportive training provider and a committed employer can really work to drive the success of a dedicated young person to succeed.”

GMLPF outlines support for schools IAG development


The Times Education Supplement reports that Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has indicated schools’ IAG provision could be inspected from September this year.

Impartial advice

Currently, in inspections Ofsted do not grade the careers information, advice and guidance that schools provide their pupils. Across the country, this has created scope for criticism, particularly from Apprenticeship and other FE providers, that schools are not providing impartial advice on the full spectrum of options available to young people at age 16.

Information on vocational options

Stan Pochron, chief executive of Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation (GMLPF), which supports a membership network of over 60 organisations delivering Apprenticeships and other learning programmes across Merseyside, comments:

“Many of our members have excellent relationships with local schools, delivering vocational curriculum provision for school pupils, and providing information about vocational options. This often involves attending careers fairs and delivering presentations to highlight opportunities for school leavers including Apprenticeships and the Key To Apprenticeships programme.

Support through GMLPF members

“Since the responsibility for impartial information, advice and guidance moved from the careers service to schools, our members have been concerned that due to their many obligations, many schools may not have the understanding of the breadth of choice available. They are only too happy to offer any support they can to schools keen to develop and build on their understanding of Apprenticeships and other vocational options.”

GMLPF is currently working with its members to develop advice and support services for schools who are developing their IAG provision. Any schools that wish to find out what support they can access are invited to contact Stan Pochron on 0151 707 8775 or email stan@gmlpf.net

National Apprenticeships Week 2013

BarclaysimageThe key theme for Apprenticeships Week which starts today and runs all week is “Apprenticeships Deliver”. The aim this year is to highlight what apprenticeships can deliver for both employers and individuals.

National social media campaign

There are different ways learning providers can get involved. The most cost-effective is through social media. This year’s comprehensive Apprenticeships Week toolkit provides a detailed outline of how partners can participate in a national social media campaign all week. The campaign spans various platforms including twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Michael John Academy team up with Barclays

Apprentices at Michael John Academy in Liverpool (pictured) will be taking part in innovative games and activities about money management throughout the week. These activities, delivered by Academy staff, come under the National Financial Capability programme, supported by the National Skills Academy for Financial Services and Barclays. They are designed to help learners stay in control of their budget, covering themes such as food, fashion, family and independent living. Volunteers from Barclays will be on site all week, providing advice tailored for young people.

FE Week photography competition

As part of National Apprenticeship Week celebrations, FE Week is running a photography competition. Apprenticeships providers are invited to encourage their learners to take a photograph that represents their apprenticeship. The apprentice who submits the best picture before March 18th as voted by FE readers will win a Nikon D5100 DSLR camera kit.

More details on FE Week photography competition

Judging process begins for Liverpool City Region Apprenticeships Awards

With hundreds of nominations received for the Liverpool City Region Apprenticeships Awards, the judging process is now underway to produce a shortlist of the City Region’s most promising apprentices and most committed employers.

Local spotlight for Apprenticeships
GMLPF are delighted to be sponsoring the first ever Liverpool City Region Apprenticeships Awards which shine a well-deserved local spotlight on the Government’s flagship training programme for young people.

Recognition for Apprenticeships providers
GMLPF also welcomes the opportunity these awards bring for recognition of its members – independent learning providers and colleges who deliver Apprenticeships programmes locally.  These Apprenticeships providers work tirelessly to deliver a flexible programme of high quality training, tailored to the needs of the City Region’s young people and businesses.   

There are 10 awards in three categories:

Category One – Apprentice of the Year (16-24): Awards for Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral

Category Two – Apprentice of the Year (Over 25)

Category Three – Apprentice Employer of the Year: Awards for small, medium and large employer categories

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 12 March 2013 at the magnificent St George’s Hall in Liverpool.

Academy tutor makes her mark shaping promising career paths for school pupils

mjolnewtutorA new tutor at Michael John Academy has already made her mark by helping school pupils carve out pathways for promising careers in hairdressing.

Stacey Atkinson (pictured right) joins Michael John Academy as hairdressing tutor with responsibilities that include delivering high quality skills training programmes in schools.

Outstanding skills
Since taking up her post, Stacey has been teaching hairdressing skills to students in years 10 and 11 at Broadgreen High School. In a short time, she has had a very positive impact, inspiring students to work hard and make great progress along their hairdressing career path. They showcased the outstanding skills they have already developed at a recent hair and make-up competition organised by Stacey.

Employer links
Stacey also arranged a visit to the new city centre premises of Michael John Academy for Broadgreen pupils. The year 11 students took a tour of the hairdressing, beauty and spa facilities. They also practiced their interview skills with Academy staff who went on to arrange work experience opportunities for them with local employers.

Progress to Apprenticeships
The students from Broadgreen have now enrolled on Apprenticeships programmes at Michael John Academy which are due to commence once they leave school in June.

Michael John Academy offers high quality hair and beauty Apprenticeships, and a comprehensive service to help schools develop and maintain a successful vocational curriculum.

For further information visit www.michaeljohnacademy.com

GMLPF raises Apprenticeships awareness in schools

educatecoverThe latest edition of Educate magazine hit Merseyside schools last week with a GMLPF-sponsored 7-page section on Apprenticeships.

Educate is a free Merseyside magazine specialising in local education news and issues. Printed three times a year, the publication is distributed via schools, supermarkets, libraries and other public outlets. With 70,000 printed for each edition, the magazine is widely read by teachers, pupils and parents.

The Educate Plus section in the magazine focuses on training. GMLPF sponsored this section to create a platform for its members to communicate with pupils and parents. This is one strand of GMLPF’s overall strategy to improve awareness of Apprenticeships in schools.

The GMLPF-sponsored Educate Plus section consists of features on:

  • Features & benefits of Apprenticeships
  • Supporting apprentices with learning difficulties & disabilities
  • Apprenticeships as a route to university
  • School & learning provider partnerships
  • Merseyside Hairdressing Forum
  • Key To Apprenticeships
  • Local Apprenticeship case studies

Several GMLPF members took adverts in the section to maximise their exposure. There will be further opportunities to get involved in the next two editions of Educate (May & September).

View the entire GMLPF-sponsored section

5 star refurb for city centre learning provider

photoA sleek new training salon, sophisticated ICT suite and inviting student common room are all features of Apprenticeships provider tpm’s recent top-notch refurbishment.

The upgrade was designed in consultation with students, employers and staff. For staff, the refurbishment has meant new audio visual equipment and teaching resources. Students have benefited from a range of improved facilities including new computers and laptops:

“It’s great to have our own space to rest and study”, said one business & administration apprentice, speaking about the new common room – a safe and welcoming environment, equipped with comfortable seating and refreshments.

Hairdressing industry employers were keen for their apprentices to have more opportunity to practice their hairdressing and barbering skills. In response, tpm have built a fully-equipped onsite training salon.

The new ground floor ICT suite meanwhile provides a state-of-the-art learning environment and improved online examination facilities.

Inspiration wall art supplied by ex-students and employers have provided the finishing touches to a spectacular refurbishment which will be officially launched at the end of February.

For more information about tpm visit www.tpmnow.co.uk