New Schools Statutory Guidance on Careers Advice Spells Out Access for Providers

Following the publication of the Government’s Careers Strategy in December 2017, the DfE have this month issued revised statutory guidance for schools regarding their duties relating to independent careers guidance. Of particular relevance to GMLPF members is the new legal duty for schools to provide access to providers of technical education and Apprenticeships.

Key points from the Careers Strategy and Statutory Guidance (Careers Guidance And Access for Education and Training Providers) of relevance to GMLPF members are as follows:

  • Gatsby Benchmarks
    The Careers Strategy and Statutory Guidance recommends that secondary schools and academies should adopt the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Benchmarks to develop/improve careers provision.
  • Benchmark 7
    States that by age 16 “every pupil should have had a meaningful encounter with providers of the full range of learning opportunities…… including Apprenticeship providers.”
  • Apprenticeships
    The Statutory Guidance states that “every school must ensure that there is an opportunity for a range of education and training providers to access all pupils in year 8 to year 13 for the purpose of informing them about approved technical education qualifications or Apprenticeships.”
  • Policy Statement
    Every school MUST publish a “policy statement setting out their arrangements for provider access and ensure that it is followed”. Schools must publish this on their website. The Guidance provides an example of a policy statement on provider access and this features a named contact that providers should contact to request access to pupils.
  • No exceptions
    Schools MUST make provider visits available to ALL pupils, and “should not do anything which might limit the ability of pupils to attend”. Examples of unacceptable behaviours are given as “restricting invitations to selected groups of pupils”.
  • ASK programme
    It is suggested that schools make use of locally available support, such as the ASK programme, which GMLPF is contracted to deliver to schools with the support of members.
  • Labour Market Information
    It is advised that schools should ensure that all pupils have made use of information about career paths and labour market information to inform their decisions. Here, it is obvious that information and data about Liverpool City Region Growth Sectors and associated opportunities will be particularly useful for local schools.
  • Addressing individual pupil needs
    In relation to careers advice, schools are advised to ensure that “young people from all backgrounds, gender and diversity groups, including those with special education needs and disabilities consider the widest possible range of careers.” They should also take particular care to identify those pupils who are at risk of non-participation post 16 and draw support to ensure transition into further education or training. Here, GMLPF members who have historical success in supporting these sectors of the community have a strong offer to make to schools.

Building on our experience of delivering Apprenticeships information sessions in schools as part of the ASK programme, GMLPF will be considering the scope of contributing to a coordinated support service for schools to help them deliver duties relating to provision of information about Apprenticeships and other vocational options.  

In the meantime, we strongly recommend that GMLPF members hoping to build relations with schools:

  • Familiarise themselves thoroughly with the Careers Strategy, Statutory Guidance and Gatsby Benchmarks
  • Familiarise themselves with LCR Growth Sector information and opportunities
  • From now on, review policy statements on schools’ websites to identify named contacts to arrange visits to increase likelihood of “speaking to the right person”
  • Consider tailoring approach to schools based on their duties as outlined in the revised statutory guidance, showing how as an Apprenticeship/vocational training provider you can help them meet their obligations

We would be interested to know your views on the revised guidance, especially suggestions for a coordinated approach for supporting schools. Please email [email protected]

DfE Statutory Guidance and Access for Education and Training Providers Jan 2018 


Impact of Apprenticeship Reforms: What GMLPF Members Say

Comparing figures for May to Sept 16 and May to Sept 17
Employer confusion over reforms
Employers not recruiting 16 to 18 year olds because they aren’t job ready
Complex in-company procurement processes
Lack of Government advertising to employers
20% off the job element putting employers off
Comparing figures for May to Sept 16 and May to Sept 17
Employers reluctant to co-invest
Employers confused over reforms
Employer attitude to Apprenticeships changing
20% off the job element putting employers off
Employers putting staff on other courses with alternative funding eg adult learning loans
Employers finding it difficult to identify who is responsible for their levy
Employers opting to treat levy as a tax rather than additionally investing in wages & training
Employer confusion over reforms
The adult social care industry has rejected the Apprenticeship Offer so recruitment has collapsed
Harder to offer training opportunities to 19+
Employers frustrated with reduced choice of providers due to public sector levy procurement
Some sectors object to 20% off the job element; others like hairdressing & construction don’t
Some employers making staff pay for
Educating employers, promoting incentives, stimulating demand
Streamlining apprentice enrolment process to reduce costs
Being flexible over 10% payment eg spreading payments
Widening provision offer to access bigger markets

GMLPF members on RoATP

Many congratulations to the GMLPF members whose applications to the Register Of Apprenticeship Training Providers have been successful.

The GMLPF members who are now listed on RoATP are

Aspire Achieve Advance
Alder Training
Alt Valley
Andrew Collinge
Antrec Ltd
Asset Training
Aigburth Training Opportunties
Damar Ltd
DH Associates
Dianthus Ltd
Fit UK Ltd
GP Strategies
HIT Training
Hybrid Technical Services Ltd
Jamie Carragher Foundation
JM Education
JTL Training
Knowsley Community College
Learn Direct
Lite Ltd
Mercia Partnership
Michael John Academy
Mode Training
Moore Skills
Myerscough College
North Liverpool Regeneration Company
North West Community Services
North West Training College
Park Education
Progress Sports
Progress To Excellence
Riverside LEC
Rocket Training
Southport College
St Helens Chamber
St Helens College
Team Enterprises
The City Of Liverpool College
The Engineering College
The Vocational College
Three Dimensional Training Ltd
Training Strategies Ltd
TTE Training Ltd
Wirral Metropolitan College


Apprenticeship Levy Latest

Gareth Jones, GMLPF’s Apprenticeship Strategy Manager, summarises the key updates from BIS on the Apprenticeship Levy. Gareth’s report highlights updates to the conditions that apply to Levy-paying employers and the introduction of conditions for non Levy-paying employers.

We strongly advise GMLPF members to start having conversations with their employers, if they haven’t already, regardless of whether they will be paying the Levy or not.

Levy- paying employers
  • The £15,000 Apprenticeship Levy Allowance will be operated on monthly basis (£1250 per month), with any unused allowance rolling over to the next month 
  • It’s is the employer’s responsibility to – calculate whether they have to pay the Levy – make arrangements to pay it alongside their PAYE bill every month
  • Levy-paying employers will be able to register for an online account with the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) from January 2017. 7. As expected, only Levy-paying employers will have access to DAS from April 2017. All other employers are expected to be using DAS by 2020.
  • Levy contributions will appear in online accounts a few days after payment is made to HMRC. So employers can expect to see their payments showing in their DAS accounts from late May 2017
  • The Government will provide a 10% top-up to an employer’s Levy contributions will be applied at the same time the employer’s money is credited into DAS accounts. For every £1 an employer pays into the Levy they will receive £1.10
  • Levy contributions will expire 18 months after the contribution was made. Originally it was assumed they would expire after 2 years
  • During the first year of operation, employers are only permitted to spend the Levy on their own staff.
  • Apprenticeships which start before April 2017 will be funded in line with current models i.e. Frameworks or Trailblazer Standard funding models
  • Employers don’t have to wait until they have enough funds in their DAS account to cover the full cost of an Apprenticeship before a member of staff starts training. Having enough funds to cover the skills provider’s charges for the first month’s training is sufficient.
  • Payments to skills providers will be made monthly via the DAS
  • Extra support will be available for employers who recruit 16-18 year olds (an incentive payment). This will be paid via their skills provider.
  • Apprentices with additional needs are eligible for extra support which is funded through direct payment to their skills provider. It is expected that the provider will be responsible for identifying the additional needs and arranging funding directly with Government.
  • Funding for English and Maths will be paid directly to the provider by the Government
For non Levy-paying employers
  • From April 2017, all non-levy paying employers will be required to “co-invest’ in training, i.e. agree a price with a provider and then pay towards the cost of the training
  • Employers will make a contribution to the cost of this training. The Government will pay the balance, up to the maximum amount of funding available for that Apprenticeship.
  • Employers will pay their contribution directly to the skills provider and will be able to spread payments over the life time of the Apprenticeship. The Government will pay the balance directly to the provider
  • Employers can only use approved skills providers for Apprenticeships training. There is not yet any definitive information about what an approved provider is, or the registration process.

Further information will be released in June, October and then finally in December 2016.

It’s worth noting that whilst the majority of GMLPF’s employers will not be subject to the Levy, the risk is that the introduction of co-investing means they might be put off taking on apprentices. But this scenario is counterbalanced by the view that there are few worthwhile alternatives for employers wanting to develop their workforce. And financial incentives may prove enough to keep these employers on board. The simple fact is that we don’t know how things will turn out. We can make predictions but the rules continue to be tweaked. All we can do is continue to keep up with the latest Government updates and scenario plan for potential outcomes.

Gareth Jones
GMLPF Apprenticeships Strategy Manager

For more information, please download the slides: Apprenticeship Levy Update

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]


Smooth sailing for first summer ball

Greater Merseyside Learning Providers’ Federation celebrated the region’s leading work based learning providers on Friday.

Businesses throughout the Liverpool City Region were honoured on Friday 19 June as Greater Merseyside Learning Providers’ Federation (GMLPF) hosted its first Summer Ball event.

Inspired by the programme of events happening this summer to celebrate Cunard’s 175th anniversary, the Summer Ball followed a glamorous cruise ship theme.

The event, which will now be an annual celebration for the organisation, celebrated the region’s leading work based learning providers and acknowledged their hard work, dedication and commitment to providing excellent opportunities for Liverpool’s young people.

The ball was attended by learning providers including, Mode Training, Michael John Academy, Liverpool Chamber, Salt Education, tpm and Asset Training.
Also in attendance was Councillor Lana Orr, mayoral lead for primary schooling, who spoke of the importance of supporting Liverpool’s learning providers.

She says: “It’s great to be part of the GMLPF Summer Ball to support the region’s learning providers and celebrate all the work they do for Liverpool’s young people.

“From speaking to those in attendance tonight it’s evident that they are passionate and very much dedicated to providing the best options for further education and apprenticeships.

“What a fantastic event to showcase the inspirational businesses who are raising the standards of education throughout Liverpool.”

Taking place in the Rum Warehouse at the Titanic Hotel, well-known compere Pete Pinnington played host for the evening’s celebrations, which included a casino, fruit machines and cruise ship entertainment.

James Glendenning, chief executive of GMLPF says: “Our first Summer Ball has been a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the work each of our members does throughout the Liverpool City Region and bring all our members together in a unique, enjoyable way.”

“Everyone has had a wonderful evening and has left feeling positive about the future of our sector, and the role GMLPF can play to help deliver even better opportunities for the region’s young people. Here’s to next year!”

GMLPF members feature in Wirral schools mag

GMLPF sponsors a regular section in Good2Go, an education, careers and training magazine that is distributed to young people through schools across the Wirral. The GMLPF-sponsored section focusses on vocational options at 16 including Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

Platform for GMLPF members

This sponsorship not only raises the profile of alternative options to staying on at school 6th form, it also provides a platform for exposure of GMLPF members’ courses amongst its primary target market – school leavers. GMLPF has been running this sponsorship for 2 years, with many members having been featured in the magazine in features and magazines. Members report that the sponsorship has resulted in more awareness of their courses, and has generated good leads for them.

Members featured

Good2Go is printed and distributed to schools three times a year. The most recent edition has just been printed and the GMLPF section features articles on members Mode, Riverside Learning and Education Centre, tpm and The Vocational College, as well as an interview with GMLPF CEO, James Glendenning.

This is just one of the activities GMLPF runs to support its members by raising the profile of their provision and services. Any GMLPF member who would like to be featured in the next edition of the magazine should contact [email protected]

GMLPF sponsored section in Good2Go June 2015

GMLPF commissions summer radio campaign to support members

As part of its ongoing programme of support for its members, GMLPF have commissioned a summer advertising radio campaign on Juice FM. The campaign, which runs from the end of June, targets school leavers and other young people, encouraging them to make use of GMLPF’s online training directory, Mapped Out.

Training options

Mapped Out lists all GMLPF’s members, providing a live, searchable database of the training courses they offer. It is designed to help young people explore the training options available to them when they leave school, or if they drop out of college. These include Apprenticeships, Traineeships, Study Programmes and NVQs, searchable by industry sector. The directory provides useful information such as the location of training providers and colleges who provide the courses, transport routes, and details of additional support available including financial support.

Raising awareness of GMLPF members

The aim of the radio campaign is to raise awareness of the full range of options available to young people aged 16 to 18. In addition, the campaign supports GMLPF members by generating interest in their courses.

The radio campaign begins in the last week of June and runs until September with 3 adverts featuring Jon Briggs, the voice of iphone’s Siri. GMLPF members are encouraged to ensure that the information they have uploaded to the GMLPF Mapped Out directory is current in time for the start of the campaign at the end of June.

Exclusive member benefit

Inclusion in the Mapped Out online directory of training for 16 to 18 year olds is exclusively for GMLPF members, one of the numerous benefits of membership. To find out more about becoming a member please contact Jo Rymer, Membership Manager on 0151 707 8775 or email [email protected]

For more information on the Mapped Out directory or the Juice FM radio campaign contact [email protected]

Apprenticeships Reform: a commitment to ongoing dialogue

Comments from James Glendenning, CEO of GMLPF
On 13th January 2015, the Government issued the long-awaited but brief statement from Nick Boles regarding the findings of the Apprenticeships Funding Reform Consultation which ran from 6 March to 1 May 2014. It is clear that the Government remains committed to giving employers direct control of apprenticeship funding but consultation feedback has led them to conclude that “further detailed design work is needed” before deciding on a funding mechanism.

So in terms of being able to plan for the future landscape of Apprenticeships, we are no further on than we were 8 months ago. However, it is reassuring to know that the Government is pausing to consider our collective feedback, and as I understand it, use it to inform and shape their final decisions.

Key points

The key points we have noted from the Summary of Responses are as follows:

  • 75% of respondents felt the reforms could have an adverse impact on employers’ involvement with apprenticeships
  • No reference to the exclusion of the provider payment model which featured as “Option 3” in the original consultation of July 2013, other than to point out that it was the preferred option for half the respondents to that first consultation.
  • There was a significant increase in the number of responses from employers from 22% in the last consultation, to 67% in this one.
  • Smaller employers were more critical of funding reform principles. The report states that this was influenced by unavailability of information regarding funding levels. Most of the concerns centred on the administrative and financial burden the reforms might bring. Larger employers voiced support for employer control.
  • Employers feel that they already cover indirect costs of training apprentices through wages and in-house support and feel this should be taken into account when considering co-investment
  • 18% of respondents were concerned about employers’ ability to negotiate prices for training. They also feel there is a lack of capability to identify good and appropriate training
  • There were concerns that the payment by results model will discourage employers from taking on apprentices with additional support needs.
  • Consensus from respondents that there is a need for clarity and accessibility of information on employer website to help them register apprentices and check eligibility. 47% prioritise publishing of costs of training and funding levels on the website. 22% said the website should support identification of training providers, and 10% that it should provide information on provider quality.
  • 68% said the PAYE model would adversely affect cash flow; larger companies however felt cash flow would be manageable. The Apprenticeship Credit model was perceived as less problematic but there were still concerns.
    33% highlighted taking provider quality into account when drawing up a register of providers. 27% stated the importance of provider track record and success rates, whilst 15% prioritised Ofsted ratings.
  • 48% of respondents feel a “sector readiness programme” is a necessity for employers, and 10% felt this should be for providers too.
  • There is broad support for an employer communication campaign, outlining changes and implications.

With the general election on the horizon, it seems unlikely that the current uncertainty regarding Apprenticeships Reform will be addressed before late 2015. Whilst it is encouraging that ministers are listening, it is vitally important that Government doesn’t hesitate for too long as businesses may be put off from investing in apprenticeships in the meantime.

Respondent figures

It is worth reflecting on the figures for the number of respondents to the consultation. A total of 1459 responses were received, and of these, 955 were employers including 328 small businesses and 345 micro businesses. Joint efforts between GMLPF, NWPN and other North West provider networks resulted in a total of 456 employers submitting individual responses to the consultation, which equates to almost half of the total employer responses received. 172 of these were from Merseyside businesses, nearly 20% of the total number of employer responses received by the Government. This is indicative of the impact a coordinated approach can have and I would like to thank all the GMLPF members who took the time to encourage their employers to respond to the consultation.


Nick Boles confirms that future work on the reforms will be undertaken in an “open and collaborative way”. The Government’s clear commitment to maintaining ongoing dialogue with employers and providers is I feel, a direct result of us and others rallying responses to the consultation, and certainly something to be pleased about.

If anyone has any thoughts, please feel free to email me or post them below.











£200K Earmarked to Improve Skills in the Region

Greater Merseyside Learning Provider Federation (GMLPF) has now chosen the winning bids that will share the £200K Challenge Investment Fund announced in August 2014.

17 learning providers across the region will use the funds to improve the quality, effectiveness and accessibility of their training programmes. Examples of how money will be spent range from establishing a social media centre of excellence to an initiative dedicated to helping students with dyslexia.

James Glendenning, chief executive of GMLPF said:

“The GMLPF Challenge Investment Fund forms part of our drive to invest in the long term future of Merseyside, specifically in the development of its skills landscape. It’s also about supporting our members, the local learning providers who are committed to helping Merseyside’s young people build successful futures.

James added: “Priority has been given to proposals that are clearly innovative and will increase young people’s participation in training, including those with additional needs. We’ve also awarded funding to proposals that will clearly raise the quality of provision, and enrich the student experience.

Applications for the GMLPF Challenge Investment Fund were invited from GMLPF members in August 2014. Winning bids include:

Establishing a community cafe – ‘Wheatland Community Cafe’ – where students will cater for students and the local community to get real world experience of everything from cash handling to food preparation.
Winning bid by: The Vocational College, Bootle.

A social media centre of excellence – a hub in the local community working with young people, adults, employers and schools. The centre will be truly unique where learners will develop new skills, build confidence and gain a strong work ethic making them more desirable to employers
Winning bid by: Joint Learning

A programme dedicated to helping students with dyslexia. In collaboration with Dyslexia Foundation, the scheme will provide a free and reliable on-demand dyslexia screening service. Each person who takes the test will have an individual report including techniques to help them move to the next steps of a peer mentoring programme to develop literacy skills.
Winning bid: tpm, Liverpool.

A learner enrichment programme to fund ten students on a visit to Belgium so they can experience different cultures and approaches to learning. Students will stay in a youth hostel and complete a project on the First World War including a visit to the War Memorial Cemetery. The programme is delivered in partnership with the Belgian National Education Service. This approach is proven to help the young and disadvantaged in their outlook to life, work and employment.
Winning bid, Morthyng Vocational College, Birkenhead.

A pilot project to site a mobile unit in a school to break the cycle of 14-16 year olds falling into the so-called NEET group (not in employment, education or training). The hub will be open until 8pm in the evening and at weekends. As well as helping local young people into work and training, it also aims to develop entirely new ways of working with schools.
Winning Bid: Oakmere Community College, Walton.

Other winning bids include the development of a suite of digital resources for promotion and teaching of Barbering NVQs (Herbert of Liverpool), and a new Wirral training centre (Asset Training).