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 ian@gmlpf.net 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.

ESF/European Funding Update

GMLPF understands that there are likely to be two open funding calls for ESF funding; one towards the end of 2018 and, the other in early 2019. The Open Call process typically entails a two stage bidding process with applicants submitting an outline application which, if successful, is followed up by a full application. It may be the case that this process is condensed into a one stage process but this is not clear at the moment. 

Depending on the timing of the calls, the application process could take up to a year before results are known. It is understood that the funding available can be delivered up to 2023. Effectively this means that projects could go live in late 2019 / early 2020 and run up to 2023.

It is understood that there is significant funding available to the City Region to support, amongst other things, Active Inclusion projects, workforce development and labour market systems.

We will update members as and when more detailed information emerges.

AEB Update

It would appear that the timetable for the devolution of the AEB budget is running to plan. The orders and instruments approving the devolution of AEB will be put to the House of Commons next week and the LCR should then be able to move to the first stage of the procurement process, the Supplier Questionnaire, towards the end of the month, as outlined at the 20th August event.


Collaborative Working and AEB

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority are hosting a workshop on 16th October at 1.00pm to explore how collaborative working might support the involvement of smaller or niche providers in the AEB programme which is being devolved to the LCR. In particular, the event will enable the Combined Authority and providers to understand more about how smaller providers can work to meet the requirements of the commissioning process.  This event is an opportunity for all interested providers to network and hear about our vision for this programme. It is envisaged that the devolved AEB will have minimum contract value of £100,000 detailed as part of the commissioning process.

Reserve your place at this event






Apprenticeships Update

It would be nice to think at some point that we might enter a period of “settled weather” with Apprenticeships and that instead of the constant flow of negative press we might actually be able to look upon the “sunlit uplands” and move towards the future with confidence. No such luck this week. Our ability to grow Apprenticeships and return to the days where some 18,000 individuals were starting an Apprenticeship locally seems as far away and distant as ever


Tripadvisor-style reviews for Apprenticeships

Firstly, we have the Skills Minister endorsing the use of a “smiley face” online review tool, akin to Trip Advisor (but probably or certainly without all the back office support), enabling employers and apprentices to provide feedback on learning providers as a more accurate and effective judge of the quality of a learning provider than Ofsted. Whilst providers are used to being scrutinised and accountable, and having their provision graded by customers and Ofsted, this just doesn’t seem like it should be one of the Government’s key priorities at the moment. Surely stimulating demand for Apprenticeships should be the priority.


RoATP refresh

Then, at the Conservative Party conference, there was little clarity over whether RoATP is going to be refreshed and how the Apprenticeship programme is going to be given a shot of adrenaline other than the suggestion of expanding the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Facility to 25% instead of the current 10%. The latter doesn’t seem to have been particularly effective or even used to date so expanding it is unlikely to change the landscape. The continued uncertainty over whether there will be a refresh of RoATP is affecting many providers and clarity over the refresh would be welcome. 


Hairdressing funding rate cut

Finally, the IFA’s recent announcements that some Standards’ funding rates are going to be cut, some by over 20%, is another unwelcome move at this point in the cycle. A 22% reduction in the rate for the Hairdressing Standard, assuming that EPA costs remain the same, means that in real terms the funding of Standards is now less than that of the old Framework. Whilst decisions have been put on hold for the management qualifications it seems odd that the IFA have sought to reduce rates for the Standards in those areas that are the most popular, in demand and which are currently propping up the number of Apprenticeship Starts nationally.


Ian Lomas

Mental Health First Aid Level 2 Award for GMLPF Members

Our members have told us the mental health of their apprentices and other learners is having an increasing impact on delivery of learning. Recent research undertaken by GMLPF with members suggests that:

  • at any point in time 30% of any provider’s learners are experiencing mental health issues
  • on average 40 staff hours a month at each provider are spent dealing with learners’ mental health issues
  • average of 7 incidences per provider per month of learners requiring support for mental health
Opportunity for GMLPF members

Many members say they don’t feel adequately equipped to support their students’ mental health. They indicated 4 key areas of support they would welcome:

  • structured training programme in mental health first aid and awareness
  • short awareness raising sessions
  • advice on referral agencies
  • access to specialist advice.

As a first step, in conjunction with FIT Uk and Active IQ, we are launching a Mental Health First Aid training course for GMLPF members. The course runs over 1.5 days and results in a Level 2 Award for participants. There are 10 places available on the course which will run in mid to late November. There may be further opportunities to take the course next year.

More about the course
  • 5 day certified programme
  • Course content includes: understanding and awareness of mental health; Common mental health disorders and issues; Helping reduce stigma and discrimination around mental health
  • Focus on mental health in the education and training sector
  • Recognised Level 2 Award
  • Programme accredited by Active IQ
  • Face to face tutor led programme
  • Students complete Learner Assessment Portfolio
  • Online or paper-based assessment
  • Delivered at GMLPF premises
  • Increase staff ability to recognise signs of mental health problems in learners
  • More understanding of best ways of supporting learners with mental health issues
  • Once qualified, staff can train apprentices and other learners to achieve the award
  • Once qualified, can be offered to apprentice employers as a commercial option
  • Accredited training demonstrates to Ofsted your commitment to learner wellbeing

The course costs £315 including VAT. This includes:

  • Awarding body registration and certification fees
  • Resources including course manual and e-learning materials
  • Tutor delivery and assessment (1.5 days)
  • Lunch and refreshments for 2 days

At this stage we are asking members to register their interest in participating in the course in November. If there is high demand, we will re-run the course in January.

Please indicate your interest in securing one of the 10 available places on the course by emailing pavlina@gmlpf.net

Webinar: Improving Quality of Maths and English in Apprenticeships – 5 Reasons Not To Miss

The teaching of English and Maths is at the core of education in the UK. Despite this, many young people leave school without these fundamental skills, certainly not at the level employers expect. Providers of apprenticeships and other training programmes have a key role to play in improving the standard of Maths and English in school leavers and other individuals.


Pressure on Providers

Many learners start their journeys with skills providers worrying about the Maths and English components of apprenticeships, traineeships and study programmes. If they’ve had negative experiences at school, they can feel the subject matter is beyond them. This increases the pressure on our members to deliver these subjects in creative and fresh ways that ease anxiety and change learners’ attitudes. In addition, providers have to ensure that they teach these skills in ways that are relevant to industry sectors, whilst getting learners into the habit of revision if they’re sitting GCSEs. All these factors add up to a considerable challenge which we hope this webinar will help address.


5 reasons to sign up to our webinar

Here’s four reasons to sign up to our webinar on Improving The Quality of English and Maths in Apprenticeships:

  1. No decrease in flow of school leavers with poor English and Maths skills
    Investing time and resources into developing a well-tuned formula for teaching of English and Maths that delivers results will pay off in the long run. Liverpool City Region attainment levels for English and Maths is below average and there is unlikely to be a decrease in the flow of school leavers with poor skills in this area.
  2. Help increase competitiveness of Liverpool City Region and prosperity for all
    English and Maths achievement ranks highly in the LCR Skills Strategy and Skills Statement 2019/20. As a region, we need to raise standards of English and Maths to improve productivity, competitiveness, and economic success. With the City Region lagging behind others regions, The Combined Authority is commissioning a Skills For Growth Action plan for Maths and English to crystallise issues and pinpoint actions.
  3. Ofsted scrutinise English and Maths teaching
    All skills providers can expect to be scrutinised by Ofsted on effectiveness of teaching in these subjects, and this will also include looking at how leadership and management impacts on strategy and delivery. Ofsted report that providers still have some way to go to get this right. They say poorer performing providers are not ensuring that Maths and English topics relate to everyday life, the world of work and apprentices’ vocational areas. This is what they look for during inspections
  4. Learn from others
    Often, the best approach to developing successful strategies is to explore what others have done. Our webinar will look at different models for the delivery of English and Maths, gathered from provider case studies, and give you the opportunity to explore which might work for your organisation.
  5. Beej Kaczmarczyk hosting webinar
    An experienced consultant and trainer in the post-16 education and training sector, Beej has extensive experience as a senior manager in FE colleges, schools and the private sector. An acknowledged expert in education funding policy, leadership and management development, curriculum development and vocational education, he has delivered training previously for GMLPF members.
LCR providers leading the way

GMLPF CEO, Ian Lomas says:

“We want to support our members to raise the quality and effectiveness of English and Maths teaching. They are central to study programmes, traineeships and apprenticeships, so it’s important we explore and develop strategies and practices that ensure success. We want to help Liverpool City Region skills providers starting leading the way in innovation and effectiveness in this critical area.”

The webinar runs at 11am on Wednesday 24th October and costs £39 for GMLPF members and £79 for non-members. This competitively priced offer is a cost-effective way of developing essential skills in staff. The event is the first of a series that have been organised in partnership with Beej Kaczmarczyk of e-memoir who will steer the webinar by exploring different delivery models. You will also be provided with case study examples of best practice.

All providers who deliver apprenticeships to levy and non-levy paying employers will find the seminar useful. It will also be of interest to traineeship and study programme providers. You are encouraged to prepare some questions in advance of what promises to be a lively and engaging webinar. 

Sign up to webinar

Metro Mayor and Sefton Council leader with GMLPF Board

Skills providers are key drivers of economic success in Liverpool City Region says Metro Mayor and Council Leader

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Cllr Ian Maher Leader of Sefton Council and LCR Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills both highlighted how the combined authority and regional skills providers can work together to tackle skills gaps in the city region, at an event last week.

The Metro Mayor and the Sefton Council Leader specifically recognised and gave due credence to the critical role of skills providers in the future prosperity of Liverpool City Region. They were both speaking at a special briefing event organised by Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation (GMLPF) for its members last week.

Andy Fawcett, executive director of Greater Manchester Provider Network was also a key speaker at the event at the Royal Liver Building held to focus attention on the role of the skills provider in delivering devolution.

Committed to working with skills providers

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Ensuring that our residents have the right skills to prosper in the 21st century economy is a key priority for the Combined Authority, and we are committed to working closely with skills providers to ensure that happens.”

Councillor Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Devolution has given us greater powers around skills, not least through responsibility for the Adult Education Budget.  Whilst we are working within a local, regional and national market, it is really important that we have a strong and vibrant local provider base that is meeting local needs.”

Important step

Almost 100 skills provider representatives attended the event on Friday. The session was welcomed by all as an important step to ensuring employers and learners are supported in ways that help the local economy flourish.

GMLPF is a membership organization representing over 70 Apprenticeship and skills providers in Liverpool city region. Their mission is to drive the prosperity of Liverpool City Region by building a foundation of skills for economic success. They do this by supporting the evolution of education and skills providers to meet local and national priorities, for the benefit of individuals, communities and businesses in the region.

Partnership approach

Ian Lomas, chief executive of GMLPF said

“Friday’s event has further strengthened dialogue between decision makers within Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and skills providers, enabling a partnership approach to mapping priorities and opportunities for the delivery of skills following devolution.

“We are very grateful to the Metro Mayor and Cllr Maher for sharing their vision and committing to ongoing dialogue with our members, who are at the coal face of skills delivery in Liverpool City Region. We are also grateful to Andy Fawcett who shared the experience and perspective of providers in the Greater Manchester area.” 

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 W2WBusinessDevelopment@uk.g4s.com 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 askjan@gmlpf.net or call 0151 707 8775 and ask for Jan Agger.