young people demonstrating

Radicalisation Training in The Headlines

Once again in recent weeks radicalisation hits our headlines – this time with the NUS protesting loudly at the the Government’s stance on anti-radicalisation training for tutoring staff. Yusuf Hassan, the vice-president of student affairs for an umbrella group representing 130,000 Muslim students across the UK and Ireland was quoted in The Guardian as saying:

‘Terms such as radicalisation have not been defined or quantified. It is open to interpretation, leaving us in a difficult situation. It is not, nor should it be within the ability of a student or lecturer to report on extremism of people showing signs of it.’

It’s this kind of challenge that led to GMLPF running radicalisation workshops over the summer. The sessions were designed to help equip our providers and their tutors with the understanding to approach the radicalisation issue with balance and sensitivity.

Spectrum of New Challenges

Following an OFSTED report revealing that radicalisation was a key concern at some schools, the government introduced the ‘Prevent’ strategy and hailed it as as anti-radicalisation initiative. From July 1st the legislation placed an obligation on education and training institutions to extend the safeguarding of students in their care to include anti-radicalisation.

GMLPF’s members are aware that extreme groups often focus their efforts on recruiting the younger generation. But whilst the legal obligation presents new challenges, it doesn’t necessarily change the existing beliefs or attitudes of our members which fundamentally embrace and encourage social diversity.

What Our Members are Doing

Debbie Tagoe, GMLPF Chair and a Director at Mode Training sums up: ‘Of course training providers need to be on the look out for for potentially vulnerable individuals just as much as anybody pushing any kind of propaganda. But the challenge is to develop an approach and ethos which both promotes British values as stipulated by the government, and equally embraces diversity.’

Brian Quinn, operations director at tpm on Merseyside explains: ‘We recognise that early intervention and prevention rather than cure is the best – or perhaps the only – approach. We have always believed that a proactive approach, closely managing situations to ensure a positive outcome, reflects our sense of public duty. To this aim we joined forces with fellow training provider Mode to tackle the challenge of ‘Prevent’ head on through a series of workshops’.

Integrating ‘Prevent’

Moving forward tpm and Mode have action plans which include:

  • Focusing on critical thinking in pupils
  • Ensuring pupils are aware of bias and propaganda, especially online
  • Rewriting of policies and ensuring curriculum plans reflect the appropriate requirements
  • Look for practical ways to embrace diversity
  • Equipping staff with clear steps to take if they encounter a student at risk
  • Encourage a healthy approach to online citizenship and get students to take responsibility for the choices they make

James Glendenning, chief executive of GMLPF adds: ‘The implementation of the ‘Prevent’ strategy needs careful consideration so that acceptance of different faiths and beliefs is not compromised. We always recommend our members promote democracy, anti-extremism, individual liberty and mutual respect.’

Online Directory of 16 to 18 provision on Merseyside

GMLPF has developed a live online directory of Apprenticeships and other training opportunities available for young people aged 16 to 18 in the Merseyside area.

Training options

Mapped Out Online has been 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.

Tool for advisors

Mapped Out Online is a useful tool for individuals and organisations who advise and guide young people in their careers choices including schools, parents, careers advisors, youth centres and community organisations.

Researching options

James Glendenning, chief executive of GMLPF said

Mapped Out Online is one of the projects that GMLPF is investing in to help Merseyside’s young people start successful careers by developing their skills. Sometimes the first step in this important journey can be the most difficult – researching the options and just finding out exactly what courses and opportunities are out there. Mapped Out Online, which once launched will list courses from over 60 Merseyside training providers and colleges, will go some way to overcoming this first hurdle.”

Mapped Out Online directory is a web version of the printed fold-out poster of Apprenticeships provision which has been widely distributed across Merseyside for the last 3 years. GMLPF would like to thank Greater Merseyside Career Connect Partnership for their invaluable input during the consultation stages of Mapped Out Online.

Mapped Out Online is currently in test stages and will be formally launched in January. For further information please contact [email protected]

Liverpool Echo covers GMLPF concerns over apprenticeship reforms

The views of James Glendenning, chief executive of GMLPF, on the Government’s proposed apprenticeships reform have been featured in the Liverpool Echo.

The article, written by city editor Marc Waddington, appeared on Friday 19th September, and outlines the potential threat to local apprentices posed by the Government’s plans. James Glendenning is quoted several times, explaining how local employers may well shy away from offering apprenticeship positions if they are expected to take on administrative and financial responsibilities.

James Glendenning’s conversations with the Liverpool Echo form part of a wider campaign which GMLPF has been driving forward for several months to draw attention to apprenticeship reforms. As well as working to keep local learning providers and employers informed of the proposed changes, James Glendenning has met to discuss concerns with several MPs, most recently Liam Byrne, opposition minister responsible for Apprenticeships.

Councillor Nick Small who is also actively raising awareness of the dangers of reforms is quoted in the Liverpool Echo article, highlighting the worse-case scenario which is that the number of apprentices on Merseyside will rapidly decline.




GMLPF & partners meet Matthew Hancock MP to discuss reforms

Last week, we were grateful to have the opportunity to raise our reform concerns with Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock. James Glendenning, CEO at GMLPF, Brian Quinn of tpm, Andrew and Sarah Collinge, and Herbert Howe of Herbert of Liverpool met with the minister and Esther McVey MP on 3rd July.

During our session, the Minister listened to our outlines of:

  • the detrimental impact the reforms could have on employers and training providers
  • employers’ lack of understanding of reforms and their implications
  • activity undertaken by the North West Provider Network, including the facilitation of approximately 500 employer responses to the technical consultation, the vast majority of which express severe concerns and intentions to disengage with apprenticeships

Along with our partners at the meeting, GMLPF stressed the risk of proceeding without taking employer views into account, specifically requesting that the minister provide employers with choice.

In addition, we:

  • Suggested that a reliance on mandatory contributions is risky, given the history regarding contributions. The minister’s view was that SMEs recruiting 16-18 year olds would recoup the majority of the contribution via government payments
  • Pressed for more detail so learning providers can prepare effectively for transition and implementation. We highlighted that so far there has been little opportunity for them, as the “sales and delivery force” of Apprenticeships, to engage in dialogue with Government. We asked for providers to be involved in any further developments
  • Requested clarification on the expected roles of employers and training providers under new arrangements. We stressed that the lack of available detail around this adds to anxiety about the reforms

The minister acknowledged our concerns whilst reiterating that the reforms are necessary. He accepted that a fuller explanation of how and when payments would be triggered was essential, and that this would address concerns as to how employers and training providers could prepare themselves for navigating the system appropriately.

The minister recognised the large response to the technical consultation and confirmed his department were working through responses – noting that he would address concerns raised as “he genuinely wants the system to be as simple as possible and easy to access”. He finished by confirming that a Government announcement would be made soon, explaining how the programme will operate in practice. We look forward to hearing this announcement which hopefully will clarify many issues that remain nebulous.

Coming up next in GMLPF’s Apprenticeships Reform schedule:
  • First meeting of GMLPF’s Apprenticeships Reform Implementation Planning Group on 11th July
  • GMLPF and partners to meet with Liam Byrne MP in early September