gmlpf members sitting at a table listening to trainer on mental health awareness course

GMLPF members complete Lottery-funded two day programme in mental health

GMLPF members completed the second day of a two-day training course in mental health awareness last week. The course equipped them with a formal level 2 qualification and the skills to champion and “triage” mental health issues with apprentices and other learners.

Eleven member organisations enrolled on the two-day training course, delivered by AT Skills. The initiative is part of the GMLPF Minds project that has received nearly £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund.

GMLPF’s successful bid for funds has so far enabled research into mental health in the Liverpool City Region skills sector as well as subsidising this mental health awareness training for providers. Also, the region’s apprentice ambassadors recently undertook mental health awareness training thanks to this Lottery-funded project.

Recognising the symptoms of poor mental health

Over the past year, GMLPF members have reported significant mental health issues among their students, and more recently, their staff. This course has helped providers to start tackling the problem. They are now able to recognise the symptoms of poor mental health promptly. Ian Lomas, chief executive of GMLPF, explains:

“More than eight in ten of our members have reported that the mental health of learners has an impact on programme delivery. Staff are spending a significant number of hours tackling the problem while learners are suffering. A similar number say problems are piling up and affecting the mental health of staff as well. The training aims to create a better and more productive learning environment for everybody.”

Boosting apprenticeship numbers

Those completing the course gain a Level 2 in Mental Health Awareness awarded by Active IQ. Ian adds:

“The strain on resources in the sector is reaching unprecedented levels. Mental health challenges are adding to this. We’re putting this National Lottery funding towards relieving the pressure and boosting the number of students who complete their apprenticeship or other training.”

The learning providers who attended last week’s course included Andrew Collinge, Halton Council, Liverpool Football College, Myerscough College, NTG Training, North West Community Services, North West Training Council, Onside Education, Rocket Training and The Engineering College.

Annette Swinnerton from North West Community Services told us:

“The course has provided me with time away from the workplace to stop and take stock of the issues. I’ll now return to my job with much more understanding and an objective approach. The training gave me new skills and I’ve more knowledge about signposting people for assistance. I want to use what I’ve learnt to help colleagues, apprentices, and other learners.”

The two-day course ran at The Maggie O’Neill Community Resource centre in Knowsley on Wednesday 17th and 23rd October. There is an additional course running during November, on the 13th and 20th. GMLPF members can book a discounted place through Eventbrite.

GMLPF launch region’s first provider Sports Forum

GMLPF launch region’s first sports provider forum in response to calls for a coordinated approach to training in the sports sector

Developing a Blueprint

The inaugural GMLPF Sports Forum meeting took place last month at Tranmere Rovers’ newly refurbished grounds.

Membership Development Manager at GMLPF, Jo Rymer said:

“The GMLPF Sports Forum has been established to share best practice and to give a collective voice to members regarding the future of training for the fitness and leisure industry in the region.”

Representatives from various training organisations including football academies gathered to begin developing a blueprint for how the forum can operate.


There are several types of end user that the providers want to create a dialogue with. They include potential professional sports people, young people in the NEET group, and anybody who wants to access post-16 education in the sports and leisure industry.

The forming of the group is not just good news for the industry but also anybody looking to take a related qualification, as well as employers wishing to recruit young people in the industry.  Hot topics that came up included how courses could be accredited with UCAS points and the Trailblazer Apprenticeship programme. The member organisations of the Sports Forum also expect that they will be able to refer applicants to each other as appropriate.

Watch This Space

One of the things that the sports providers are particularly passionate about is the wider impact they may be able to have on issues such as obesity and mental health amongst young people  So watch this space for further discussion around these topics.

Further meetings will take place on a quarterly basis.  Progress Sports, Tranmere Rovers academy, Fit UK, JM Education, TVC Wirral & Liverpool, SALT/LFC Academy and the Jamie Carragher Academy all attended the first meeting.

Updates and news on social media will carry the hashtag #GMLPFsports

For further information please contact [email protected]


tpm logo

tpm featured in national toolkit for recruiting apprentices with disabilities

tpm has been featured as an example of best practice in a toolkit that encourages businesses to hire apprentices with disabilities or specific learning differences and difficulties.

Developed by NIACE, the toolkit is being widely promoted and provides practical information, sources of support and case studies of employers whose organisations have benefited from hiring disabled apprentices.

tpm were included in the toolkit because of their strategic and organisational work in this area which has resulted in consistently high rates of achievement by their apprentices with disabilities. Over the last decade, tpm and the Dyslexia Foundation have worked together to develop a comprehensive package of support to learners with learning difference and/or disabilities.

tpm have a solid culture of supporting and enabling staff and apprentices to reach their potential. The identification, diagnosis and support of disability and learning needs are central to their ethos and provision. tpm can demonstrate that their apprentices with dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties achieve to the same level as apprentices who are not disabled.

Director of Operations, Brian Quinn comments

“This is a proud achievement for tpm. It represents the culmination of a passion for equality and diversity and for the best possible outcomes for staff and students alike.”

The toolkit was developed by The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and is supported by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).

View tpm in NIACE’s employer toolkit

For further information on learner-support, learning difference and inclusive practice contact Brian Quinn.

Apprenticeships Awards finalist shortlist released

11 GMLPF members have employer or apprentice finalists on the shortlist for the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Apprenticeship Awards 2014 which was announced late yesterday.

Independent learning providers

Independent learning providers Asset Training, Mode Training, Riverside Learning and Education Centre, The Training Station, and tpm (Training Plus Merseyside) all have apprentice or employers that they support on the shortlist. A number of college GMLPF members also feature: City of Liverpool College, Knowsley College, Riverside College, Southport College, St Helens College and Wirral Metropolitan College.

Bringing local community together

GMLPF is one of the two main sponsors of the 2014 LCR Apprenticeships Awards which takes place on 20th June at Knowsley Hall. James Glendenning, chief executive of GMLPF highlights the importance of the event for the region:

“The Liverpool City Region Apprenticeships Awards bring the local community together to celebrate the talent and achievements of our hardworking local apprentices and the commitment shown by their employers.

“It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the outstanding resource of apprenticeships training provision we have available in the region, delivered by  independent learning providers and colleges who work closely with employers to meet their needs as well as the needs of the apprentices. I’m delighted to see that many of the employers and apprentices on this year’s shortlist are supported by GMLPF members.”

Full shortlist

Apprentices help create prototype wheelchair for young sportspeople

An exciting new project which enables young wheelchair users in the North West to participate in sport is being launched by North West Training Council (NWTC)  and The Greenbank Project.

The project will see the manufacture of new prototype power-hockey wheelchairs for use by young sports people with disabilities. The wheelchair was jointly designed in 2011 by Sefton-based North West Training Council (NWTC), a specialist provider of engineering and construction apprenticeships, and The Greenbank Project.

NWTC apprentices employed at Jaguar Land Rover were involved in creating the prototype wheelchair which includes firing mechanisms, a variable speed control and unique flexible “V” at the front of the chair that allows players to dribble the hockey ball or football. A specialist compressed air mechanism shoots or passes the ball. The chairs are also designed to enable players to bump into each other to allow for safe tackling.

Paul Musa, Chief Executive of North West Training Council said

“We are delighted to be working with The Greenbank Project who provide invaluable support and opportunities to disabled people in Liverpool, and to help enhance lives for disabled young people in the North West.”

Greenbank first developed a specialist power-hockey chair in 2000 to enable children with muscular dystrophy & cerebral palsy to play hockey.

It has been a dream of Gerry Kinsella, chief executive of The Greenbank Project to have power-hockey recognised as a sport in its own right and to one day feature in the Paralympic Games.

With The Greenbank Project, NWTC aims to set up a social enterprise to manufacture low cost power chairs to make the sport accessible to as many young people with disabilities as possible.

The Greenbank team will develop the sport through an outreach programme in schools and community clubs. The project will also work to oversee the future of the sport and campaign for its national recognition.