New Liverpool Traineeship centre for Learndirect

Learndirect Apprenticeships are proud to announce the opening of their new Traineeship centre located on Utting Court off Cook Street in Liverpool city centre.

The centre’s primary focus is to help young people aged between 16 and 24 who live in the Liverpool city region and who have not achieved a full level 3 qualification gain employment, an apprenticeship or progress onto further education. The centre opens this month with the first group of young people starting on programme in January 2017.

The young people will be enrolled on a comprehensive work preparation programme lasting a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of six months. This will include a high quality work experience placement with Maths and English skills development if the person has not yet achieved a grade A-C at GCSE. Classroom based sessions will help develop employability skills, and consider topics such as equality and diversity, nutrition on a budget, consumer rights and healthy living.

The young person will have their travel costs to the centre and to their work placement refunded. Learners aged 16-18 may also be entitled to a bursary payment of £30-£40 per week as well as an additional £2.41 per day for free school meal entitlement dependent upon eligibility. Learndirect Apprenticeships will provide support for any young parents under the age of 20, helping them apply for help with childcare costs through Care to Learn.

Track Record for Joint Learning & Virgin Trains

GMLPF member Joint Learning has an excellent track record of helping businesses to recruit and train apprentices who add real benefit and value to their employers.

Joint Learning Traineeship programme with Virgin trains

One of the trainees, Chris Billows, has been working in a customer service role for Virgin trains. He is a great example of what somebody can achieve through applying themselves to a course of vocational study. Having started as a trainee, Chris has now secured a full time job as an On Board Host. Chris says: ‘I started as a trainee at Manchester Piccadilly in the summer and just four months later have moved into a full time job as an On Board Host. I love the job and get great satisfaction from it. I have already gained certificates in first aid and fire marshalling. Signing up with Joint Learning really was the best thing I could have done.’

As Chris’s traineeship worked so well, Virgin went on to recruit for another apprenticeship position based at Liverpool Lime Street with training provided by Joint Learning. A further student who completed the Traineeship was invited to apply for an Apprenticeship with the company.

Joint Learning and Real Skills Training Partnership

At their training centre in the heart of Liverpool One, Joint Learning is running an effective Study Programme with progression to Traineeships, Apprenticeships and jobs with partner Real Skills who are the UK’s most innovative provider of Rail Training and Rail Recruitment to the UK rail industry.

In order to gain the valuable skills needed for employment in the rail industry, trainees attend on and off the job training, gaining qualifications in Transport and Operations Maintenance. Once progressed, young people work towards gaining their PTS – a certificate in personal track safety required by all rail workers.

There are more than 190,000 people employed in the rail industry across the UK; with many of them working on the 20,000 miles of track.

Joint Learning are pleased to be working in such a progressive industry supporting young people into sustainable careers in partnership with both Virgin Trains and Real Skills Training.

Commitment pays off for Hattie

Hattie finds rewarding employment thanks to Traineeships and Apprenticeships training and support from GMLPF member, Fit UK.

22 year old Hattie O’Neill was keen to start a career in the fitness industry, and was referred to Fit UK. They placed her on a 16 week Traineeship in health and fitness which led to a level 2 qualification in fitness instruction, employability skills and job search qualifications, as well as functional skills in maths and English.

Work experience

As part of the Traineeship, Hattie undertook work experience in the health and fitness department at the Toxteth Fit Fire Hub. She really made the most of the opportunity, proving to be a valuable team member, popular with staff and gym members. This lead to the offer of a permanent job at the Hub which Hattie proudly accepted.


Whilst working, Hattie is continuing to develop her skills on an Advanced Apprenticeship in Personal Training with Fit UK.

Lisa Smith who is the Duty Manager and Youth Lead at the Toxteth Fire Fit Hub said

“From the start Hattie showed great potential and had a great rapport with our members. She is a very motivated young lady who inspires others to reach their full potential. Due to her commitment and popularity we were pleased to offer Hattie a permanent position facilitating sports activity at our centre. I am very proud to have Hattie join my team as I have no doubt that she will encourage others to follow in her footsteps”.

Fantastic opportunity

Hattie says: “I can’t thank FIT UK enough for putting their faith in me and giving me this fantastic opportunity. I am really enjoying the Advanced Apprenticeship and working at the Toxteth Fire Fit Hub. The staff are fantastic and it’s great to be part of the team.”

Apprenticeship helps launch a promising sports coaching career for Adam

Adam Edwards recently completed 2 years’ training with GMLPF member, Progress Sports, and now has a promising career in sports coaching ahead of him. He combines working as PE teacher in a school with a job at Inspired Sports, passing on his knowledge and experience to pupils in a variety of schools.


Adam started training with Progress Sports in June 2013 on a 12-week pre-apprenticeship programme. Right away, Adam demonstrated the potential to be an excellent sports coach, also attending a weekly soccer school to develop his skills further.

After his pre-apprenticeship, Progress Sports arranged a trial period for Adam in Streatham School, Crosby. He impressed everyone so much with his professionalism and coaching ability that he was offered an Apprenticeship in Sports Coaching by the school. Employed by the school, he began working towards his level 2 qualification with training and support from Progress Sports. He achieved the qualification and completed his Apprenticeship within one year.

Adam then progressed onto an Advanced Apprenticeship in Sports Coaching and this summer he completed his level 3 qualification. Streatham School then offered him a job as a PE teacher at the school.


From volunteer to star learner

THE road to achieving a major accolade as a young learner began for 19-year-old Shannon Sample with her work as a volunteer with disabled young people.

Outstanding learner

Her passion and commitment to her role led to an apprenticeship and then the honour earlier this year of being named Outstanding Learner of the Year at the Progress to Excellence Training and Education Awards 2015.

Massive difference

As a classroom assistant for the Wirral-based charity Stick ‘n’ Step, Shannon is now helping to make a massive difference to the lives of children with cerebral palsy, working for an organisation that runs free conductive education sessions to stretch their abilities and help them to lead independent lives.

Like many teenagers preparing to leave school, Shannon had no fixed ideas about what she wanted to do.

She said: “I was choosing between childcare and hairdressing but decided to go down the health and social care route. When I was given the chance to volunteer at Stick ‘n’ Step, I hadn’t even thought about working with disabled children and had no idea what cerebral palsy was.

“But in my year of volunteering, I learned so much and really loved the work I was doing so, when I was asked if I wanted to become an apprentice, I was so pleased.”

Shannon, a learner with GMLPF member, Progress to Excellence, has just completed her Children and Young People’s Workforce NVQ Level 2.

A career supporting young people with disabilities

She continued: “By volunteering at the centre, the charity saw I had the potential to make a career out of caring for young people with disabilities. Stick ‘n’ Step and my assessor, Clare Wharton, were so supportive of me both as a person and as a learner.

“The work is amazing, helping during sessions with various activities and exercises for young people aged from a few months to 18.

“It’s the best job ever, working with these children and knowing I can make a big difference to their lives.”

St Helens Chamber helps 23 young people into work

A jobs fair organised by GMLPF member, St Helens Chamber saw 23 local young people find employment in just one week.

The event, which took place this summer, saw over 200 job seekers through the door, and last week alone 23 of these people were offered and accepted jobs.

Job offer

The first to be offered employment was Shannon Kenyon, who has taken up the position of Administration Assistant at St Helens Windows.

The company, which manufactures, supplies and fits UPVC windows, doors and conservatories from their Jackson Street base, has recently expanded into aluminium products. They offered Shannon the position after meeting her at a ‘Meet the Apprentice’ event which followed on from the Chamber’s Jobs Fair.

Managing Director Gary Burgess commented: “I found the Meet the Apprentice event very useful. I got to meet with a variety of individuals in a short space of time. In a couple of hours I met with around 16 young people, all with different skill sets and different characters, and it gave me a brief overview to be able to shortlist for second interviews.

“From an employer’s perspective it lightened my workload, in that the Chamber provided the venue and the candidates, which saved me valuable business time. All the candidates were good and we shortlisted four for second interviews, but Shannon stood out to us.”

Shannon is now filling the gap left in the company’s administration team of former Apprentice Jack Hornby, who has now progressed within the company after showing an aptitude for planning.

Gary continued: “Shannon will be starting with us completing general administrative tasks, but once her supervisors identify a particular strength in a certain area we will arrange for some more specific training to help her develop in that role.”

St Helens Windows are currently going through a period of growth following a successful bid to the St Helens Jobs and Growth Fund last year, where they were awarded a grant of £12,000 which kick-started developments to expand their factory to accommodate the production of their new aluminium product range.

Gary adds: “When you’re positioning your company for growth you have two options, you can either go to the current talent pool that’s out there and take a chance on getting the right individual for the job, and often this will work out, but by far the best way to do it is to create your own talent pool through the Apprenticeship programme. This way you are providing bespoke, in-house training designed to meet the needs of your own company. So from that perspective the Apprenticeship route is the best route to take.”

Four weeks in, Shannon is full of enthusiasm for her new job. “I absolutely love it!” she said. “As soon as I started everyone was so helpful and it really feels like I will fit in here. The Jobs Fair was really useful and the staff from the Chamber were really helpful. They gave me lots of tips on the day to help me with the interview and keep me calm and I was lucky enough to get the job!”


Former apprentice scoops prestigious international hair award

Patrick Wilson, successful principal stylist at Electric Hairdressing, who completed his Apprenticeship with GMLPF member tpm, recently scooped the ‘People’s Choice Award’ in the prestigious L’Oréal Colour Trophy, alongside colleague, David Halsall.

Patrick and David entered the L’Oréal Colour Trophy competition along with 1000 other entrants this year. The national competition is in its 60th year in 2015, making it the longest running live hairdressing competition in the world. The collaborators’ entry was shortlisted in the top ten from the North West region. From here their completed look was placed into the public vote and three were selected for the final, including theirs, a stunning entry thanks to David’s colourwork design and Patrick’s visionary cut and styling.

Talking to Helen Carroll, tpm’s hairdressing tutor and assessor, Patrick said
“I enter the colour trophy year on year; last year I reached the finals in the men’s cutting category so this year I decided to use a female model. Self-motivation inspires me most and wanting to succeed in the industry. Industry recognition is important to any successful stylist!”

Helen, who tutored Patrick on his Advanced Apprenticeship said, “I’m so proud to see one of tpm‘s former apprentices excelling in the industry!”

Phil Gallagher, art director and manager at Electric Liverpool said, “Electric Hairdressing heavily supports this event every year; it’s a huge team effort and it’s great to have a winner! It’s good PR and it puts Electric Liverpool out there!”

Robust workforce development support for engineering firm

Abbey Engineering is based on Knowsley Industrial Park. Employing 73 people, the firm works across many industries including automotive, rail and pharmaceutical. Services are provided to major clients ranging from Cammel Laird to Network Rail, meaning that for the right individuals the company can offer great career progression.

Abbey Engineering has been recruiting apprentices for more than five years but this has recently been expanded across all eight areas of their business. During the last 18 months Pat Milligan, HR Manager, has been championing the futures of young people through the proactive recruitment of Apprenticeships.

Following an approach from GMLPF member, Mode, two successful apprentices have been working alongside the finance, sales and purchasing teams.

Winning Formula

Pat explains the formula for success: ‘Mode really grasped our business from day one. They were so professional in the way they approached me that I wanted to hear more about what they had to say. I know that if the apprentices lived up to Mode’s expectations, they’d meet ours too, and would be a real winner for our business.

At present we have two employees that joined us as apprentices via Mode. Both having successfully completed their apprenticeship and been awarded an NVQ Level 2. It’s very humbling to see young people with such professionalism and enthusiasm rise to the challenge of making an impact on the bottom line at Abbey. But that is exactly what they have done.

Chloe, aged 22, now has practical experience of both our finance and purchasing departments and has worked hard to achieve her intermediate apprenticeship in Business Administration. Her work ethic and willingness to take on responsibility has earned her a secure full time job with us. Her approach has been exemplary, with her even writing a proposal regarding why she is an asset to us and should be kept on.

Liam, aged 18 has done nothing short of an amazing job in our sales team. With Mode’s guidance he has, in a very short space of time, been awarded his own customer accounts to look after on a day-to-day basis, making sure client needs are met, generating quotes and following up on enquiries to bring new business in. That’s a big achievement for somebody so young.’ At the time or writing, Liam is just finalising his intermediate apprenticeship in Customer Service.

Steps to Success

Best results are achieved when the student, employer and training provider work together collaboratively. This happens in many ways between Mode and Abbey and hinges on a good flow of information.

At the exploratory stage, Mode was able to demonstrate that they grasped the company ethic and the calibre of apprentice that was required. Pat takes a strong view that the recruitment process is only the first step to success. She adds: ‘Each time the assessor visits I review the Apprentice’s portfolio. This means that the apprentices are always on track and the business needs are being met. And even before that we have a buddy programme to mentor young people in their first weeks and months at the company.’

Getting involved with Apprenticeships has enhanced the robustness of the workforce and succession planning at Abbey Engineering. It also helps fulfil the company’s corporate social responsibility goals which manifest as employing local people and flying the flag for young talent.

Talent Retention

Pat admits that apprentices and employers are not always seen in such a positive light: ‘Our apprentices are taken on with a proper wage to acknowledge their position in the workforce. I appreciate that this might not always be possible with smaller companies, but with Mode, apprentices really can add value to a business in a short space of time. If a young person can see an opportunity for progression, they are more likely to put the effort in to making a difference. Mode coach the youngsters on how to be professional and proactive. To me they are a benchmark training provider.’

Chris Jones, Managing Director at Abbey Engineering adds: ‘The Apprentices in our business are making a positive impact. We’re constantly looking for ways to bring in and develop young people as they form a large part of our future – and us theirs I hope – as talent retention is a priority in such a competitive market.’

Since the first Mode apprentices began at Abbey Engineering, the company has embarked on a further partnership with the training provider. The training provided by Mode has extended into skilling up the wider workforce in leadership, management approaches, telephone technique and customer service. There are currently 15 employees across Abbey’s business studying for the Institute of Leadership and Management’s apprenticeship in team leading.

K2A students help set new Guinness World Record

Key2Apprenticeships students training with GMLPF member Progress Sports were part of the team helping a Widnes rugby club into the history books last week.

Widnes Vikings

The sports students, and their tutor Carl Fairhurst, joined Widnes Vikings to set a new Guinness World Record when they joined locals to form the world’s biggest group to do a fitness DVD – a total of 3,400 people took part. The previous record of 2,900 people was set in China.

Record-breaking work out

The record-breaking work out took place at the Widnes Vikings’ home ground prior to their opening Super League game. Fans that took part enjoyed free tickets to the game which ended in a spectacular 22-22 final score.

Progress Sports student Jordan Byrnes said: ‘It was a really good event and enjoyable day. It was also my first rugby league game and it was amazing’.

Key2Apprenticeships is a GMLPF funded training programme for 16 to 18 year olds. It provides the skills that boost their chances of getting an apprenticeship. Progress Sports are one of 12 GMLPF members who offer Key2Apprenticeships programmes. They specialise in courses leading to careers in sports and fitness instruction.

Ofsted Grade 2 for Morthyng

Rotherham based charitable vocational training provider, and GMLPF member, Morthyng Group has been awarded Grade 2- GOOD by Ofsted, based on their inspection from 13th to 17th October 2014. Notably, they received an OUTSTANDING for the safeguarding of young people in learning. This is Morthyng’s second OUTSTANDING grade in successive Ofsted inspections, the last being in 2011.

Morthyng Group delivers Study Programmes in Rotherham. Doncaster, Corby and Merseyside.

Collaboration to raise standards of education and safeguarding

With the announcement of their Grade 2 result, Morthyng Group are taking the opportunity to  emphasise they are open and willing to collaborate with all organisations to help raise the general standards of education, and specifically the safeguarding of young people in all geographical areas.

People not profits

Chris MacCormac CEO of the group said

“This is a great result from a difficult and stringent inspection regime, and we are proud to buck the trend and bring good news to our home town of Rotherham and the wider communities we serve”.

“Our staff are experienced, qualified and committed to putting the learner at the centre of all we do, a company where people count, not profits.”