LCR Apprentice Ambassadors Get Their Heads Round Mental Health

Apprentices from across the Liverpool City Region are set to become champions for mental health in the workplace. 

In September 12 LCR apprentice ambassadors will attend a specifically designed course. They will be skilled up to raise awareness of mental health issues with their colleagues including other apprentices. GMLPF will pay for the course as part of their GMLPF Minds programme that has gathered pace thanks to a cash injection from the National Lottery Community Fund

The training will focus on how to spot mental health issues early. Through learning about the trigger factors that adversely affect young people it is hoped participants will be able to raise awareness of common mental health challenges and how to get help. To do this effectively, participants will be drilled on the dos and don’ts around mental health.  

 

Mental health champions

The ambassadors will also take a pro-active stance. A main focus of the training is to give them the confidence to champion mental health awareness in their places of employment. The interactive session is geared to define and promote understanding of the issues.

The one day course is the brainchild of 3D Training. Director, Gill Abbots, says: “There are a host of trigger factors in the modern world that impact the mental health of young people. From social media and gaming to finances and addiction, issues need to come to the surface early. This can be aided by banishing any stigmas about mental health in the workplace. It’s important to remember that pressure to complete an apprenticeship can also have an impact on mental health.”

 

Growth in mental health issues amongst apprentices

The course is part of the GMLPF Minds programme that throws the spotlight on the mental health and wellbeing of apprentices and other learners in the Liverpool City Region.  Ian Lomas, Chief Executive of GMLPF says:

“Our research reveals the rapid growth of mental health issues among apprentices and other learners. It also has a big impact on the employees of our member organisations.  There simply aren’t enough professionals qualified in mental health and it’s impossible to plug that gap quickly. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, we can offer this course as a small but significant step to promote awareness and help curtail any taboos. A realistic expectation is to reduce the likelihood of learners falling through the net.”

 

Apprentice involvement to encourage open discussion about mental health

Melanie Dodd, from the LCR Apprenticeship Hub that coordinates the apprentice ambassador network, says: “The challenges of mental health are growing at an alarming rate. It’s not something that can be ignored or swept under the carpet. Getting apprentices involved lays the groundwork for more acceptance and open discussion of mental health issues in the workplace.”

The Mental Health Foundation has published figures around mental health problems at work. More than one in every seven people experience problems in their job with more than ten percent of sick days attributable to mental health conditions. These concerns have led to GMLPF confirming that they will run additional training programmes for GMLPF members soon.

CEO Ian Lomas and Chair Debbie Tagoe display cheque showing Lottery Fund award

GMLPF awarded Lottery Funding to support mental health in LCR skills sector

The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded GMLPF £9,925 to fund vital research and training in mental health supporting organisations in the skills sector. Ian Lomas, Chief Executive of GMLPF and Debbie Tagoe, Chair  of GMLPF, welcome the investment made by the Community Fund as it will enable GMLPF to undertake more important work in the area of mental health. 

What Matters To People

The lottery fund prioritises projects that matter to people and to communities and gives money to ‘great projects or ideas that bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities’. GMLPF will use the award to widen its existing mental health project that supports providers of apprenticeships and other learning.

Original research carried out by GMLPF in 2018 revealed that member organisations are spending dozens of hours each month handling the mental health issues of learners. On average each of our members is facing a student mental health incident requiring intervention more than once a week. The initial tranche of research also threw the spotlight on the mental health of training provider staff. Ian explains:

“With three in every ten students presenting with a mental health challenge, it places an enormous strain on staffIndications are that their own mental health is being impacted which in turn has an effect on their ability to support students, creating a vicious circle. We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the importance of our work in this area. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to explore this area in detail, improve our members’ understanding of mental health, pinpoint solutions and design training to enhance staff resilience and ability.’

Mapping Change

The first phase of the funds will be spent on follow up research with providers.  The project is designed to record the issues and map any changes since the original research last year.  It will build on the first set of findings around how mental ill-health is a barrier to participation in learning programmes and its impact on achievement levels.

Taking the form of an online questionnaire and face to face qualitative research, the findings will feed into a training programme for providers. AT Skills have already successfully delivered level 2 mental health first aid and awareness courses for GMLPF members. They will be further tailoring their programme in line with the research findings to ensure it meets providers’ changing needs.  For example, indications from the initial phase of the project show that the mental health of staff, as well as that of learners, is a growing issue. The course will reflect this and will be delivered over two days, with participants gaining a level 2 qualification.

Ambassadors Skilled Up To Help Peers

Another slice of the funding will be spent on skilling up Liverpool City Region Apprentice Ambassadors who will be trained in mental health awareness.  The ambassadors will complete a one day course delivered by 3D Training. This innovative programme sets out to help plug the gap in post-16 mental health support. Through the course, participants will gain an enhanced understanding of spotting mental health issues and signposting sufferers.  Siobhan Saunders of Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub explains:

“We don’t want apprentices falling through the net because of mental health issues. Training and understanding will result in young people getting the help they need to lead a happier life and complete their qualifications.  The ambassadors can help remove stigma and boost the number of their peers who receive essential support.” 

Resources

The award from the National Lottery Community Fund will also be used to develop an online suite of resources for both providers and learners. The choice of materials available will be in line with findings from the research carried out but are likely to include links to videos, further training resources, leaflets and case studies as well as signposts for further help and assistance.

 

LCR launch regional apprenticeship portal

Finding and taking up one of a huge range of apprenticeships available across the Liverpool City Region is set to get much easier as the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has launched the UK’s first one-stop web portal for apprenticeships.

The portal – www.be-more.info – brings together apprenticeship opportunities from employers.  This means that the Combined Authority can provide prospective apprentices in the Liverpool City Region with exactly the local information they need.

The web portal, which is the first of its kind, not only offers opportunities, but also features guides on how to apply, how to get there, and even what specific travel benefits may be available as well as guides for parents assisting their children who may be pursuing apprenticeship opportunities.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“This is the first portal anywhere in the country bringing together such a wide range of information about apprenticeship opportunities and how to apply for them, and we have built it here, in the Liverpool City Region, specifically for our residents.

“In my election manifesto I promised to simplify the way people access apprenticeship opportunities through an easily accessible, online apprenticeship portal for the city region and I’m proud to have fulfilled that pledge.

“Visitors to the portal will be amazed at the type of apprenticeships we have in the city region, it’s not just the traditional trades, you can study at degree level and beyond in subjects ranging from Clinical Engineering to becoming a Paralegal. There is certainly much more on offer in terms of opportunities and qualifications than when I did a traditional bricklaying apprenticeship.”

In just a little more than a month (launched March 2019) there have been over 10,000 apprenticeship searches made on the site already! Top searches include engineering, IT, construction and digital marketing.

The new portal will also be a useful tool for employers in the Liverpool City Region to advertise their apprenticeship vacancies as it offers employers the opportunity to advertise vacancies on the site should they not have the infrastructure available to do so via the national solution.

The site also offers a fast growing library of City Region based apprentice case studies and experiences so visitors to the site can read about the diversity of the opportunities available as well as find out what life is really like as an apprentice.

Apprenticeship providers

Regional apprenticeship providers will find that the site provides a strong identity for City Region apprenticeships and an ideal backdrop for their own promotional activity. The website automatically lists the apprenticeship vacancies that they upload to the national Find An Apprenticeship portal. Providers are encouraged to help raise awareness of the Be More brand and website by engaging with the Be More team on social media, and identifying subjects for apprenticeship success stories.

To find out more information about apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region go to www.be-more.info

NAO Apprenticeships Report Highlights Areas for Improvement

The Department for Education has some way to go before it can demonstrate that the apprenticeships programme is achieving value for money, with numbers of apprenticeships below pre-reform levels, says the National Audit Office.

In its report published earlier this month, the NAO states that since introducing its reforms the Department has improved how it assesses the benefits of the programme. However, it has not set out clearly how it measures whether the programme is boosting economic productivity – the ultimate aim of the programme. It therefore has some way to go before it can demonstrate that resources are being used to best effect.

Many of the key headlines from the report echo opinions that GMLPF members have expressed over the last couple of years, including:

  • The average cost of training an apprentice on a standard is around double what was expected by ESFA. This is because employers are opting for greater numbers of higher value standards than was anticipated. This has resulted in fewer starts and increased pressure on the apprenticeship budget. It is highly likely that, without any significant growth in volumes spending on Apprenticeships could rise to £bn per year once frameworks are withdrawn
  • The 3m starts target is unlikely to be met. To meet this target the number of apprenticeship starts would need to double from the current baseline which is highly unlikely in the current market
  • The Government’s target for widening participation in apprenticeships lacks ambition ie raising participation for those who are SEND. We know participation is low for SEND in Liverpool City Region.
  • There has been a steep rise in the proportion of apprenticeships started under the new standards which employers generally consider as an improvement on frameworks
  • The introduction of standards and the levy has seen a significant change in the profile and make-up of the apprenticeship programme. There has been a pronounced shift away from lower level apprenticeships  to high cost, higher level apprenticeships. There is a sense that larger, corporate entities may be replacing their professional development or in-house training programmes with apprenticeship programmes.
  • The report highlights issues with quality including the fact that the ESFA has limited assurance that apprentices are spending 20% or more of their time in off the job training. Furthermore, approximately 25% of training providers in 2016/17 met the criteria for ESFA intervention because their achievement rates fell below national minimum standards.
  • The NAO has concerns about the long term sustainability of the programme

Read full report

Read summary report

 

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 pavlina@gmlpf.net 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”.

Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge (ASK) for Schools Update

GMLPF is delivering the ASK programme (Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge) this year in Halton, Liverpool, St Helens and Sefton. Jan Agger, who is working for GMLPF on this project, has been visiting schools in these areas to deliver activities which improve students’ and teachers’ understanding of Apprenticeships

At the end of Quarter 1 (August to November), GMLPF had engaged with 19 schools, of which 9 had not previously participated in the ASK programme. This suggests that schools are increasingly interested in understanding more about Apprenticeships.

 

Over 2000 school pupils have benefited

To date, GMLPF has delivered 31 information and activity sessions in schools to a total of 2229 students, 96 teachers and 122 parents. In addition, we have helped 364 individuals register onto the Find An Apprenticeship service portal.

Looking forward to 2019, GMLPF will be targeting schools who haven’t participated, showing their year 11 to 13 students how to register on the national Find An Apprenticeship website and apply for opportunities. We will be capitalising on the promotional opportunities presented by National Apprenticeship Week 2019 and forthcoming regional Skills Shows.  

 

Specialist schools

We will also be targeting specialist schools to ensure  their students have access to Apprenticeships information and support. This ties in with other work GMLPF is doing to address SEND issues.

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
Prices

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

 

 

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.”