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.” 

Learning providers: are you GDPR ready?

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply from 25th May 2018. As a learning provider, if you are complying with the current Data Protection Act, then you will have the foundation for a good approach to meeting compliance for the additional aspects and enhancements which will apply under GDPR. It is vital that you ensure relevant staff in your organisation are aware of the changes in law and that the organisation is fully compliant with the new requirements.

Key GDPR facts

  • GDPR comes into force from 25th May 2018 – all businesses MUST be compliant by then
  • GDPR has some significant differences to Data Protection Act
  • Fines for non-compliance will be more severe than under DPA: up to 4% of turnover
  • Data breaches will have to be reported to officials within 72 hours
  • Individuals will have to “opt in” whenever data is collected – unlike now where they have to “opt out”, so privacy/data notices will have to be amended
  • Data processing operations will need to demonstrate a “privacy by design” approach – previously this was recommended as best practice, with GDPR it becomes mandatory

Some benefits to being GDPR compliant  

  • Demonstrates to learners, parents, employers, funders, Ofsted and regulatory bodies that your organisation takes data security seriously
  • Supports bidding for funds and tenders – it is extremely likely that demonstrable GDPR compliance will become a prerequisite of bidding for public funding.
  • Avoid potentially severe fines
  • Avoid damage to your reputation – it is likely that press will “name and shame”

Preparing for GDPR: Why book on a GMLPF Masterclass?

GMLPF are running GDPR masterclasses for learning providers on 24th October in association with the University of Salford. Here are some reasons why you should book on one of these workshops:

  • High quality – delivered in association with University of Salford
  • Professional trainer/expert in field – Darren Rose has been providing data handling consultancy and training for nearly a decade
  • Tailored for learning providers
  • Free ongoing follow-up GDPR compliance support for GMLPF members who attend the masterclass
  • Good value – between 200% and 500% cheaper than many GDPR courses on the market
  • Competitive advantage – the sooner you are GDPR compliant, the sooner you can promote this status to employers who will prefer to partner with compliant providers

Book now

GMLPF Masterclass: Helping Learning Providers Prepare for GDPR 24th October 9.30am to 12.15pm

GMLPF Masterclass: Helping Learning Providers Prepare for GDPR 24th October 1pm to 3.45pm


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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

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

Radicalisation workshops for GMLPF members

In response to our members’ requests for support in building the knowledge and skills they need in the critical and ever changing safeguarding arena, GMLPF is providing workshops addressing the prevention of radicalisation in learners. The workshops, which are for GMLPF members only, focus on raising awareness of the Government’s Prevent Strategy, published in 2011 as part of an overall counter terrorism strategy.

The Prevent Strategy has 3 specific objectives:

• Respond to ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face by those who promote it
• Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support
• Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation

GMLPF has commissioned Nigel Lund to deliver the workshops. Nigel is the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ North West Regional Coordinator for FE/HE.

The workshop focusses on the safeguarding individuals who may be susceptible to extremist messaging and preventing them from moving towards extremism and terrorism, and covers the following:

• Freedom of speech issues
• What makes someone susceptible/vulnerable to this messaging
• Behaviours of concern that individuals might display
• Rationale for early identification, support and if necessary, intervention
• Provision of support, advice and guidance to the individual

For further information about this GMLPF membership benefit, or to find out how to become a member, please contact Joanne Rymer on 0151 707 8775 or email [email protected]

GMLPF Apprenticeship Reform Planning Implementation Group 11/7/14

The first meeting of the GMLPF Apprenticeships Reform Implementation Planning Group took place last week.

Brian Quinn (tpm) and GMLPF Chair Debbie Tagoe (Mode Training) provided an overview of the Reforms to date, and GMLPF activity over the past months including:

  • Coordination with NWPN of regional employer responses to Government consultation
  • Lobbying: meetings with MPs and Councillors

The group discussed terms of reference and objectives which will be formalised and shared on the GMLPF website. Broadly, the group will be pushing for the detail of the landscape under the new reforms to enable members to prepare effectively. They will identify the key critical points which will impact on delivery and feed these through to members, local authorities and other local and regional groups/meetings with partners and MPs.

Discussion points

The following points were made/discussed:

  • Members of the group are representing the sector as a whole, not their respective organisations
  • Apprentices and employers to be invited onto the group to ensure their voices are represented
  • Importance of having a representative from a trailblazer on the group
  • Dedicated blog section on GMLPF site to post updates on activities/actions of the group
  • Group to take responsibility of keeping local employers informed via GMLPF blog about the development of reforms and their impact
  • Potential areas of focus in coming months: group agreed on some examples of specific areas of focus: quality, NEET, LLDD, Ofsted
  • Development of case studies to illustrate success that is at threat under new reforms
  • Communications responsibilities of the group to include: keeping members informed of progress keeping employers informed, and raising awareness of the issues/impact of reform

Members of the group are: James Glendenning (GMLPF) Brian Quinn (tpm), Debbie Tagoe (Mode), Pavlina Kiakides (GMLPF), Doreen Hesketh (Winning Pitch), Angela Owens (Hugh Baird), Paul Sheron (NWCS), Bev Doughty (Southport College), Martin Knight (ESG Group), Hilary Comaish (The Training Station) ,Adam Gilbert (Asset Training), Paul Feaver (Riverside LEC), Joan Furnival (NWCS) and Alison Gibson (Michael John Academy).

The group will meet each month.

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

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

GMLPF response to Apprenticeships Funding consultation

The Government’s Apprenticeships Funding Reform Technical Consultation was released last month. The consultation sets out a core model for handing over purchasing power to employers implemented either through PAYE or an Apprenticeship Credit. The provider payment model which constituted one of the 3 original options in earlier stages of the consultation has been dropped.

GMLPF are very concerned that the Government have chosen to drop the provider payment model when evidence from previous stages of the consultation shows that smaller businesses support this model.

GMLPF believe the Government’s current proposals:

  • Create significant barriers for small and medium sized businesses’ involvement with Apprenticeships. A direct funding model favours large employers who can afford to take on the administrative burden and accountability which is associated with delivering Apprenticeships that is currently shouldered by learning providers
  • Threaten the entry of 16 and 17 year olds to the job market

Reintroduce provider payment model

GMLPF support the re-introduction of the provider payment model into the consultation

Over the coming weeks we will be supporting our members by:

  • Working with the North West Provider Network (NWPN) to develop a common framework for a coordinated response to the consultation
  • Helping our members share the key implications of the consultations with their employers and collate their responses.

The way forward

We have held a series of briefings for our members outlining the key issues raised by the Government’s consultation and the potential impact on them and their employers. We have stressed to our members, the importance of encouraging their employers to respond to the consultation. We have also developed a page of resources on our website to enable members to keep their employers informed about the consultation and help them respond to the consultation.

Funding reform resources for GMLPF members