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


Liverpool City Region NEET Strategy

“Inspiring, Engaging and Progressing”

LCC have published a draft pre-consultation document which was discussed at a workshop on Monday 3rd December and then at the Liverpool Provider Network on Wednesday 5th December. GMLPF is providing feedback to LCC in advance of the document formally being shared in the New Year.

The draft strategy is focused on reducing levels of NEET locally (currently 12%) to the Core Cities average (currently 8%). This equates to approximately 360 young people.

The strategy is based on 5 Pillars for Change:

  • Prevention and Early Intervention
  • Appropriate Referrals
  • Outstanding Curriculum
  • Effective Transition and Relevant Progression
  • Positive Impact on Young People

GMLPF has already fed back to LCC that in broad terms the strategy needs to address the need for system change. The aspirations of the Council cannot be achieved if the current contracting and funding model remains in place. It does not maximise funding for learners in the city region and ensure a smooth transition from school into learning. In addition, we have said that the strategy needs to feature lobbying for greater freedoms and flexibiity and a link to raising achievement rates, particularly English and Maths for school leavers.

GMLPF will be coordinating a response to the strategy when the final draft is produced and shared in January.

New GMLPF members

GMLPF welcomes new member, Learning Curve Group. Founded in 2004, they are a leading education and training specialist.  They now supply approved and accredited learning materials to over 100,000 learners each year via a network of 180 Further Education colleges and training providers, making them the first choice for a range of nationally recognised qualifications.  If you are a provider with AEB their learning materials can help you get continued high success rates through the use of the market-leading materials, a positive return on income and links into local employers who could generate further interest in levy, loans for staff, Apprenticeships and commercial training.

Learning Curve Group have grown by understanding the fast-changing education landscape and listening to those who matter in their work: employers, employees, school-leavers, the unemployed, and people seeking their next career step. 

GMLPF also welcomes new members Wirral MBC and Genesis Jobs

Apprenticeship Ambassadors

Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub is currently inviting applications from apprentices and apprentice employers who wish to become Apprenticeship Ambassadors.

What is a Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub Ambassador?

An Ambassador is someone who inspires others to want to be an apprentice or to recruit apprentices as part of their workforce. They are passionate about their experiences as an apprentice or working with apprentices and are keen to promote the apprenticeship route and benefits to other potential apprentices and employers.

They undertake their Ambassador role (on a voluntary basis) by supporting and influencing their supply chains, other employers, schools, colleges/training providers and residents within the Liverpool City Region to create and apply for apprenticeships.

They champion and support marketing, publicity and events to raise awareness of apprenticeships and also mentor other employers and apprentices with the support of the LCR Apprenticeship Hub.

Ambassadors must be passionate about promoting Apprenticeships to others and be able to commit to supporting a minimum of 3 activities per year.


What does an Ambassador do?

Typically an Employer Ambassador will currently employ apprentices within their workforce. An Apprentice Ambassador will be someone who is currently an apprentice, about to complete their apprenticeship or has recently finished.

  • Proactively promote apprenticeships to employers to highlight the numerous benefits of recruiting apprentices
  • Act as a role model to promote and encourage diversity within apprenticeships
  • Share experience, knowledge and skills and talk positively and honestly about the impact an apprentice has made within their organisation and about their apprenticeship journey to inspire others
  • Promote the benefits and opportunities for progression to Advanced and Higher Level Apprenticeships
  • Promote and support the work of the Apprenticeship Hub at job fairs, skills shows and events and speak about their experience as an apprentice and an advocate of apprenticeships.
What support will an Ambassador receive?
  • Be part of a network of Employer & Apprentice Ambassadors across Liverpool City Region
  • The Apprenticeship Hub will provide a short induction into the Apprenticeship Ambassador programme
  • You will be able to share your experiences at Bi-annual Ambassador Network meetings and gain updates on Apprenticeships.
  • Provided with a resource pack to support you in presenting information and given a full briefing for each event you offer to support
  • Industry knowledge exchange days;
  • Employers encouraged to-open up their business to other Ambassadors to exchange good practice and facilitate local knowledge and insight, here both ambassadors will be enriched with knowledge about other companies within the Liverpool City Region and given a wider view point of the skills and employment opportunities of the future.
    Apprentice and Employer development training.
  • Direct links from the LCR Apprenticeship Hub’s website to your website, so anyone interested in your company can immediately click through to your site, to find out more about the company.
  • Post on our social media showcasing your role as an Ambassador, and your organisation.
  • You will be given ongoing support by the LCR Apprenticeship Hub, your existing employer and Apprenticeship provider.
  • You will be able to reclaim travel and subsistence expenses to support events.

If you would like to get involved please contact:

Apprenticeship Travel Discount Scheme

The Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram has launched the Mayoral Apprenticeship Travel Discount Scheme to help apprentices aged 19 to 24 with the cost of their travel. Anyone aged 19 to 24, on an approved apprenticeship and living in Liverpool City Region is eligible to apply.

Eligible apprentices will be entitled to a 50% discount on weekly or 4 weekly SOLO tickets.

To apply, the apprentice must fill out an application form available from Merseytravel Travel Centres or via their training provider. The form needs to be signed by the apprentice, their employer and their training provider. The form must be returned to a Merseytravel Travel Centre where an Apprentice Smartcard will be issued and the apprentice can purchase their first Solo Weekly or Solo 4 Weekly.

Full details of the travel discount and how to apply are listed on the Frequently Asked Question document which you should have received via email from GMLPF this week along with the apprentice application form. If you haven’t received this email, please contact

Managing the Transition from Apprenticeship Frameworks to Standards

Webinar: 29 November at 11am
In response to popular demand!

After requests from several of our members, GMLPF has arranged for Beej Kaczmarkczyk to deliver a webinar next week on Managing the Transition from Apprenticeship Frameworks to Standards. We know this is a challenging area and we hope you join us and Beej to explore the main issues and how others are tackling them. 

This is the second in our series of webinars in association with Beej Kaczmarkczyk. The first, Improving the Quality of Maths and English in Apprenticeships, was held last month and was very well received by participants.

Webinar content

Apprenticeship standards are now the preferred route for many sector bodies. This webinar will explore the transition away from apprenticeship frameworks.

With practical tips and case studies from leading FE and skills providers, Beej Kaczmarczyk will explore how you can plan for this transition and effectively embed standards into your delivery offer.

The webinar will cover

  • Understanding differences between apprenticeship frameworks and standards
  • Implications for providers
  • How to make the most of the transition
  • Marketing and employer engagement strategies
  • Workforce development
  • Changing role of the workplace tutor
  • Preparing apprentices for EPA
  • Recording evidence of 20% off the job training

GMLPF Member: £39

Non GMLPF Member: £79

Special offer for GMLPF Members only

This is the second in a series of 6 webinars. If you book onto 3 webinars, your 4th will be free of charge!

Book Now on Eventbrite



AEB Update 9th November 2018

AEB SSQ Tendering Workshops

GMLPF, in anticipation of the 1st stage of AEB tendering going live, is working with The Leadership Team (who work nationally and with some of our members to support tender writing) to deliver 2 AEB tendering workshops on Thursday 22nd November at the offices of GMLPF.

Workshop 1 will run from 9.30 to 12.00 and Workshop 2 will run from 1.00 to 3.30. The workshops will be delivered from the offices of GMLPF. There are limited places (a max of 14 per workshop) and there will be a small charge (£49 per person) to cover the costs of the training. The workshops will be designed to assist learning providers to understand the SSQ, to walk through the first stage bidding process and ask questions relevant to the first stage bidding process.

Book on Workshop 1

Book on Workshop 2

Registration on The Chest for AEB 1st Stage Tendering

In preparation of the launch of the devolved Adult Education Budget in the Liverpool City Region, can all parties who intend on participating in the forthcoming Procurement process and who are NOT already registered,  please register on The Chest

Guidance on how to register and navigate The Chest 

Please note, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council is acting as the lead authority for the forthcoming Adult Education Budget Procurement exercise on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. This opportunity will be available via the e-tendering portal Pro Contract under Knowsley MBC not the Liverpool City Region CA.

Guidance on AEB Devolution

The ESFA has produced a guide for learning providers that contains information for providers with a current AEB ESFA funding agreement and how devolution will impact on that.

Ofsted update

GMLPF will be representing members at the NW FES Reference Group on Monday 12th November which brings together Ofsted and local provider networks. Members wishing to raise any Ofsted or quality related issues can e-mail who can raise them there.

With regards to Ofsted, members should have received a letter on the 5th November concerning the introduction of a staff questionnaire for use on FES inspections. These will be sent out to providers who are being inspected, immediately following notification of a full or short inspection, for completion by staff. This was an unexpected communication and GMLPF will be raising this at the NW FES meeting to understand how the questionnaire will be used.

Members are also reminded of the Ofsted event in Manchester on the 28th November and are encouraged to register to understand more about the new CIF.