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 by midday Wednesday 6th March.

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


Commercial opportunity: Delivering Ministry of Justice Learning Programmes

GMLPF recently met with 3SC, an organisation who manages extensive government funded learning contracts.  It currently has learning contracts to support delivery of learning within prisons and ex-offenders who are in the process of being rehabilitated. It is currently looking for delivery partners to help deliver and expand its range of learning programmes

In 2017-18 alone it supported supply chain activity in excess of £6million. We have built supply chains and worked with more than 550 different delivery organisations across 16 programmes in the welfare to work/employment, young people, criminal justice, and disabilities’ arenas.

3SC is currently looking to expand our partnership base and have a number of pathways for organisations to start the process of collaboration with us. Current pathways are:

Prison Education Framework:

Under the prison education framework contracts 3SC are able to bid for a range of services within the below categories:

PEDPS.13 – Life skills

PEDPS.14 -Services to support individuals with Additional Learning Needs

PEDPS.16 – Resettlement Service

PEDPS.17 – Preparation for work, Information Advice and Guidance service

We would need specific partnerships for the delivery of these services and believe that the needs of people using these services – especially those who are hardest to reach – are best met by experienced, local, passionate and mission-driven organisations. 3SC sees potential opportunities for GMLPF members here.

Community Based Delivery:

3SC works in partnership with Interserve, Purple Futures and the Community Rehabilitation Companies of Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and Hampshire & Isle of Wight. This partnership presents opportunities for delivery of community based learning provision targeted at small groups to larger cohorts of service users who need additional support when released from custody and rehabilitating back in to, or moving to, our local areas.

The community based services can range from entry to employment, to mentoring and everything in-between, this is very much dependent on the national probation services requirements at local branch level, recent procurements include but are not limited to:

Accommodation Services – emergency and sustained

Mentoring – 1-1 support services

Life Skills Coaching

If GMLPF members would like to know more about these potential opportunities, 3SC will be hosting an event at the GMLPF offices in Liverpool on the 11th of March at 1pm. There will be limited spaces so just 1 person per organisation please. 3SC will provide an overview of the programmes it delivers, an introduction to 3SC as an organisation, an introduction to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and Prison Education Framework provision and will outline potential partnership opportunities. 3SC team members will be there to answer any questions

Book Now



Webinar: Planning and Delivering the 20% Off The Job Training in Apprenticeships 28.02.19

5 reasons to book on!

  1. Expert tips on involving employers in planning the 20%

    The webinar is delivered by Beej Kaczmarczyk, director of apprenticeships provider The Learning Curve who have recently been inspected by Ofsted. Inspectors were impressed with how they involve employers in planning and designing the 20% off-the-job element. Beej has some top tips to share about how to do this on the webinar.

  2. Clarification of what is and what isn’t allowed as part of the 20%

    There is still much confusion about what is allowed as part of the 20% off-the-job-training element of apprenticeships. Did you know that webinars that are relevant to the apprentice’s job role count? As do attending industry conferences? And time spent preparing for apprenticeship assignment work? As long as these take place during working hours. Bring your examples of activities that you are unsure about to the webinar and find out whether they are allowed.

  3. Cut through confusion and mis-information

    There is still confusion around how the 20% off the job training element is calculated and what the penalties are for providers who don’t meet the evidence requirements. Our webinar will clarify all this. Forewarned is forearmed – and Ofsted are clamping down so don’t miss this chance to have your questions answered by an expert.

  4. Peer best practice

    The webinar will give you a chance to share experiences and hear points of view from other learning providers in the region who have already registered to attend. GMLPF has come across some really innovative approaches to delivering the 20% amongst its members and sometimes the most effective way to success is through learning from peers.

  5. Clock up a free ticket

    If you’ve already attended 3 of our webinars, you can attend this one for FREE! Of if you haven’t, then booking onto this webinar will get you one step closer to a free ticket for one of our forthcoming webinars. Contact to find out how many you’ve attended and whether you’re entitled to a free ticket.

Book Now!


gmlpf members on level 2 mental health training

GMLPF shines spotlight on apprentice mental health in Liverpool City Region

It’s clear that the mental health of young people in the UK is causing increasing concern.  Almost 1 in 4 children and young people show evidence of ill health whilst 1 in 5 young adults have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Consequently we are seeing more schools prioritising student wellbeing. Indeed this is already an area of focus for Ofsted.


Mental health impacts on training delivery

However, there is little coordinated support from Government to support young people who leave school at 16 to enter apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes. And arguably the stress these individuals face is higher as they get to grips with the transition from school to the workplce. Evidence suggests many learning providers feel swamped by the increasing incidences of mental ill health in their students. GMLPF members have told us this is having a direct impact on the delivery of their programmes


Mental Health First Aid

Research among GMLPF members reveals 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. 


Level 2 Award

The AT Skills delivered course runs over 2 days and awards 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.  Director of AT Skills Alan Reddin outlines what the objectives of the programme are:

“We have specifically designed the course to help training providers. They learn to boost awareness and understanding of mental health.  We equip staff to identify signs and symptoms, risk factors and treatments for the most common mental health problems.  Ending discrimination can only happen through knowledge.”

The delegates were also well drilled in mental health first aid and how to signpost individuals in need to sources of professional support. Harriet adds:

“Through discussion and group activities, we tailor the course for providers of apprenticeships and other training. They leave with a good grasp of the particular mental health issues experienced by apprentices and adult learners. We also spent time considering the mental health challenges encountered by learner-facing staff.”


Pinpointing Issues

During two days at GMLPF offices in Liverpool, the participants pinpointed real life scenarios.  A range of hot topics were debated. The staff particularly wanted to know about striking the right balance between making adjustments for learners’ mental health and encouraging them to challenge them by building resilience.

Pavlina Kiakides of GMLPF who completed the course explains some of the issues tackled during the two days’ training:

“There were lots of opportunities to explore different providers’ practices regarding the development of resilience in learners.  So for example, when a learner self declares a phobia of public transport what strategy should be adopted? Should the provider accept they can’t travel and find them a placement/apprenticeship close to home? Or focus on helping the student overcome the phobia? We also realised that the roles of different parties involved in delivery of training need clarifying. The responsibilities of employer and provider in supporting mental good health in apprentices must be agreed at the start to stop people falling through the net.”


Raising Awareness Across The Region

An emerging theme was that provider staff often need support; it is not just an issue for students.  

The course was a culmination of a project by GMLPF that set out to raise awareness of the issues. The groundwork for getting to this point was the extensive research conducted among our members. The introduction of the course is timely as mental health of apprentices and other young people has moved up the agenda of skills challenges facing the Liverpool City Region.

Research among members reveals students are affected by issues such as anxiety, stress and lack of self- belief. And 83% GMLPF members responded that mental health issues are on the increase.

And since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, it seems that employers may be inadvertently adding to apprentices’ stress levels. Because employers hold the funding themselves, they are taking a keener interest in seeing good levels of achievement. Further pressures come from all kinds of sources; students cite social media and lack of support at home.


The Future

Only ten places are available on each course. We will be announcing future dates soon and in the meantime the following is just some of the positive feedback we have had so far.

“The course covered a wide & varied subject matters discussed which will be useful for personal and professional application”

 “Great awareness of mental health first aid, signs and symptoms and discussions around apprenticeships”

 “The whole programme was excellent as it provided a robust range of information, skills and knowledge which I am able to put into practice and share with colleagues and learners”.

 “The programme was perfect, professional, highly informative and educational. An excellent programme which enabled me develop personally and professionally”.

Functional Skills Reform Update

Building on the Functional Skills Reform workshop we ran in December with NCFE CACHE, a number of useful mapping documents have been produced by CACHE that will be of use to both Tutors and Management Teams in providers. These mapping documents detail the key changes for each area of functional skills, details of what has changed level and what content is new in each area.

The links below take you to set of PDF resources which will be invaluable in preparing for the introduction of Functional Skills Reform in September 2019.


Entry Level 1
Entry Level 2
Entry Level 3
Level 1
Level 2


Entry Level 1
Entry Level 2
Entry Level 3
Level 1
Level 2

Liverpool Provider Network – Extraordinary Meeting 15th February

Liverpool City Council have recently published their draft Inspiring: Engaging: Progressing NEET Reduction strategy. The deadline for comments on the draft strategy is Wednesday 20th February.

To facilitate a sector wide consultation response, an extraordinary meeting of the Liverpool Provider Network will take place on Friday 15th February at 9.30am at GMLPF offices.

The meeting will provide an opportunity to go through the draft strategy, the consultation framework and to support the drafting of a local provider response.


A draft strategy to get more young people into learning and work

Last year in Liverpool over 1,000 young people aged 16-18 were not in education, employment or training (NEET). This is one of the highest rates in the country and this position hasn’t changed in a number of years.

To address this over the last few months the Council has invited a number of stakeholders together to help shape a strategy that will support an increase in young people moving into learning and work.

This work has resulted in a draft strategy document – Inspiring: Engaging: Progressing – it sets out a combined determination to work together across the Council and with partners across the City to improve the learning, skills and employment outcomes for young people in Liverpool.

To help further refine the document Liverpool City Council is inviting comments on this document from a wider range of organisations across the City who work with young people.

GMLPF CEO provides Skills Commission with overview of key reasons for fall in apprenticeships

GMLPF CEO Ian Lomas was invited to present to the LCR Skills Commission last week with a focus on the reasons for such a dramatic fall in apprenticeship starts in 2017/18 in comparison to previous years. Following the introduction of apprenticeship reforms there has been a 35% drop in apprenticeship starts in the Liverpool City Region. Furthermore, whereas previously, the LCR had a higher proportion of individuals starting an apprenticeship programme than elsewhere in the country this is no longer the case. Therefore we can conclude that Apprenticeship reforms have had a much greater impact here than elsewhere.


Reasons for fall in apprenticeship starts

The presentation outlined to members of the Skills Commission the complex reasons why apprenticeship starts have fallen. It is the members’ task to hold the LCR Combined Authority to account and to monitor their work in implementing the Apprenticeship Growth Plan. The presentation pointed to the introduction of employer co-investment and 20% Off The Job training requirements as two key reasons for the fall in starts.  Additional issues include shift in demand from SMEs to Levy Payers, changing employer dynamics, a collapse in Level 2 Starts, difficulty in filling vacancies, Ofsted inspections, delays in moving towards the Digital Account, over-engineered procurement and ESFA non-levy allocations both undermining the ability of providers to respond to significant, new demand and tying up too much resource in some providers who are still not delivering.


More regular engagement

The presentation was well received and members of the Skills Commission agreed it provided a rounded overview of the apprenticeship programme and the challenges facing providers. GMLPF will follow the presentation up and suggest more regular engagement with providers locally to ensure that the Skills Commission get access to regular intelligence.

LCR Explore

Members are aware of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority developing an online course directory, LCR Explore,  for local residents that will enable them to undertake searches of learning provision locally and produce a  bespoke learning prospectus.

The Combined Authority have developed a very interactive and easy to use tool that drags information across from the NCS Course Directory. The link to the tool is

This  project, part funded from local ESF resources, is due to be launched in February 2019. Ahead of the launch date, I would like members to visit the site which is easy to navigate, look at it and establish if you have a presence on the site ie type in your name and see if it recognised and also see whether the range of provision listed there reflects your current delivery and what is held on the NCS Course Directory.

The LCR Explore portal will become a very local and useful as well as free means of promoting your provision, what ever programme it might be, to learners of all ages locally. Could I ask you to verify that your NCS Course Directory is up to date  by close of play on Tuesday 5 February 2019 and see if the information held on LCR Explore reads across and corresponds.

If you have any queries then please do not hesitate to let us know. We can pick them up with the Combined Authority who we have spoken to about holding a specific training session to introduce you to the tool; looking at how you need to upload information on to the Course Directory and how you might use LCR Explore yourself.

LCR Apprenticeship Graduation 2019 Announced

3 Steps GMLPF members should now take

The Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Graduation 2019 will be taking place on 7 March 2019 during National Apprenticeship Week. Organised by The Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub, the event will take place at St George’s Hall in Liverpool.

This is a wonderful opportunity for apprentices to celebrate their achievements and have them marked in much the same way that university graduates do.

To ensure their apprenticeship completers are given the opportunity to participate in this celebration event, GMLPF members should follow these 3 steps:


Step 1: Identify which of your apprentices completed their programme during 2017/8

 This means apprentices resident in Liverpool City Region who completed their programme between 1st September 2017 and 31st July 2018.

Step 2: Contact these apprentices to inform them of the graduation event, and to encourage them to register quickly to avoid disappointment

 Apprentices must register by booking tickets through Eventbrite. The tickets are free. They may choose from two time slots on the day: 11.30 and 14.30. In addition, they can book tickets for up to 2 guests.

Tickets are free of charge and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. There are 150 tickets for each time slot. Apprentices must register themselves and their guests via Eventbrite by Friday 22 February 2019.

Step 3: Ask the apprentice to let you know if they have secured a place at the graduation

Knowing how many of your apprentices are participating in the graduation ceremony is useful for your own information including for PR purposes. Apprentices are allowed to bring up to 2 guests – this can include a representative from their learning provider if they wish. Please advise them that they need to book tickets for their guests when they are booking their own ticket.

Additional information:

  • Each ceremony lasts for approximately two and a half hours, including registration, refreshments and graduation
  • Dress code is smart
  • For any further queries, contact