Devolved LCR Apprenticeship Grant for Employers

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has been given devolved funding from the national Apprenticeships Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme to provide grants from the 1st August to the 31st December 2016 to employers who recruit apprentices.

On 5th July GMLPF partnered with the Combined Authority to announce the LCR Apprenticeship Grant for Employers.

Because the scheme has been devolved, it allows the City Region to set its own level of grant funding along with its own eligibility criteria.

This scheme will be introduced from the 1st August 2016, and effectively replaces the national scheme as the only grant available to LCR based employers from this time. Any employer after this time put forward for the £1500 national grant will automatically rejected.

Key points to note:
  • LCR grants have been enhanced from £1500 available nationally to a minimum of £2500 and a maximum of £4000 depending on the age of the apprentice and the level of the apprenticeship being undertaken
  • LCR Grants are available to employers who employ up to 249 employees (national scheme = 50 employees)
  • LCR grants available to employers who have not recruited an apprentice for the past 6 months (national scheme = 12 months)
  • LCR Combined Authority are asking Apprenticeship providers to complete a Provider Expectiona proforma indicating how many grant payments they are likely to claim between August and December 2016
  • Powerpoint presentation from launch event 5/7/16: details of grant including revised and enhanced eligibility requirements
  • Employer information flyer: for promoting grant to employer
  • LCR Combined Authority websitelink to updated information on grant and access to provider guidance pack
  • LCR AGE Provider Guidance
  • LCR AGE Employer and Provider claim pack
  • LCR AGE Provider Expectation proforma

Any questions of queries relating to the grant should be directed to [email protected]

I will of course be more than happy to field any questions from GMLPF members

[email protected]

GMLPF Appoints Apprenticeships Strategy Manager to Support Members

Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation is pleased to announce the appointment of Gareth Jones as apprenticeships strategy manager. Gareth moves from The Skills Funding Agency where he had responsibility for employer engagement and working with stakeholders to promote Apprenticeships across Liverpool City Region. With a career spanning more than 15 years in the skills sector, Gareth’s Apprenticeships expertise is set to bring benefits to GMLPF’s 80-strong membership, and will underpin GMLPF’s position as player in the region’s economic strategy.

Dedicated Information Service

The new role sees him spearheading the development of a dedicated information service to steer GMLPF members through the new Apprenticeships Standards Framework, the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and other changes set to be introduced by the Government in the coming months.  Critically, Gareth will reframe the information provided nationally in a way that highlights the potential impact on the regional skills provider market, allowing GMLPF members to plan more effectively for the changes. He says:

‘The challenge of continuing to provide the right Apprenticeships for young people and local businesses is amplified by the latest government directives. We want our members to have access to all the latest information about the reforms, but interpreted in a way that relates directly to them. This will help them in the process of examining their individual operations in the context of the changes.’

Gareth also sits on the board of Liverpool City Region Apprenticeships Hub. Earlier in his career he worked on establishing The National Apprenticeship Service, where he worked for seven years.  Prior to this he was Operations Manager with Touchstone Learning & Skills for six years.

6 step process for improving attendance

Attendance is unarguably a persistent area for improvement across all Key To Apprenticeships (K2A) delivery but there are pockets of best practice that we can learn from. K2A provider, Young Person’s Opportunities Project (YPOP) has very good rates of attendance. Anastasia Johnson, director at YPOP shares the 6 features of their no-nonsense approach to tackling absence and punctuality:


  1. Three members of staff share responsibility for addressing morning attendance: the office manager, the pastoral care manager, and an administrative assistant.
  2. The administrative assistance visits every class at the centre by 9.15am each day to see which students are missing
  3. The office manager phones the off-site training centres to check if any students haven’t arrived by 9.15am
  4. The parents or carers of students who have not arrived are informed by phone
  5. If there is no response from the parent/carer, the pastoral care manager carries out a home visit
  6. Students who are absent without just good reason are sent a letter which informs them that they will lose their place if they do not improve. This letter is sent to their home address which gets the parents/carers on side.

These methods mimic procedures at school and may seem regimented but they produce the desired results for YPOP.

What works for you? If you’ve got tips for tackling absence, or want to share your thoughts on what works and what doesn’t, please comment below.

More People Mapping Out Careers with GMLPF

GMLPF’s online training directory Mapped Out, designed to help teenagers find out what training opportunities are available to them when leaving school, has notched up over 4000 searches over the past 3 months.

Visits to the GMLPF site are reaching 5000 per month with a third of them landing directly on the Mapped Out search page for information on the training options available to them . Membership Development Manager Joanne Rymer explains:

‘In recent months we’ve seen thousands of people visit us at for the first time.  The resource is the only one of its kind in the UK that brings together training opportunities for the region across different sectors and levels of qualification.  It’s a particularly useful tool for providers to engage with the difficult to reach audience of 16 to 18 year olds.’

On the portal teenagers can search for training ranging from Study Programmes to Higher Apprenticeships.

Visitors to the site choose which area of Merseyside they want search results for and can even drill down into the type of job they would like to do. Results are shown on a map alongside handy information such as which bus routes reach provider training centres.  Teenagers can submit an email enquiry via Mapped Out or use the provider contact details to telephone.

Dental nurse qualifications, hairdressing and sports-related training are among the most popular career opportunities that young people want more information on.

Any training organisations wishing to become a GMLPF member and list their courses on Mapped Out can email [email protected] for more details.

Daniel Trades off Uni for a Career With Jaguar Land Rover

Pursuing a Trade

Ex-Calderstones student Daniel Edgar is a qualified tool maker with Jaguar Landrover in Speke.  Having started as an advanced apprentice in 2011, he has always stayed in touch with the school since he left.

Even before finishing school, Daniel was certain that pursuing a trade was his preferred option.  Armed with A levels in PE, sociology and geography he applied for Apprenticeship with a handful of large local companies.  He soon landed a great job with Jaguar Landrover in Speke as an advanced apprentice.

Daniel, who is 23 and lives in Mossley Hill in South Liverpool, is straight to the point: ‘I would recommend an Apprenticeship to anybody.  Going to university was an option after my A Levels and most of my friends went to Leeds Uni.  But financially and career wise I certainly don’t feel as if I made a mistake by not joining them.  I’m much further ahead than I would have been even if I had gained a degree.’

Solid Start to Financial Security

Although Daniel admits he missed out on the fun his friends had at university he feels that his present situation more than compensates.  He adds: ‘I am only 23 and I will be buying a house this year; I have a well paid job and don’t worry about money for things like holidays or going out.’

Explaining his job Daniel says: ‘When I am on shift my job is concerned with keeping the production line running along with my colleagues.  There are dies and press mounds that make the car panels and I have to fix them if they get broken. There are a few dozen people in a role similar to me. Each year there are new apprentice recruits and we get to mentor them.  I enjoy that because I know they are making a great career choice.’

Great Rapport

Daniel’s former Head of Sixth Form at Calderstones, Paul Richards, adds: ‘It’s very encouraging for the teaching staff when we see past students embark on promising careers. Daniel had a great rapport with the teachers at school and through staying in touch he has been back to help other students who are making applications to become apprentices at either 16 or 18 years of age.’

During 2015 a number of Calderstones students pursued Apprenticeships in a range of careers.  However, not all schools are as welcoming as Calderstones to organisations wishing to promote Apprenticeships – the government claims this reflects a ‘snobbery’ towards the vocational route. The good news is that legislation is being introduced that outlines how schools will be bound to ensure that students are educated about Apprenticeships.

GMLPF is working with schools like Calderstones that want to raise awareness of Apprenticeships as a viable option for pupils after GCSEs or A-levels. During the first 12 months of his training Daniel was supported by North West Training Council.

Alder Hey trainees

GMLPF funds pioneering project to help younger people work in the NHS

Merseyside teenagers will be the first to obtain a new certificate in healthcare, qualifying them to work in a paediatric setting

Pioneering course set to attract young people into nursing, helping balance the ageing workforce of the NHS

A dozen unemployed young people have completed a four week work placement at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool as part of a longer training Key to Apprenticeships programme funded by Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation (GMLPF). When they graduate, the teenagers, all aged 16-18, will be the very first in the UK to hold a new qualification for providing health care support to children. There has been an unprecedented demand for future places on the course from young people, many of whom are recent school leavers.

Easing burden

The initiative was the brainchild of Gill Mason, principal of GMLPF member, Alt Valley Community Trust, which runs a ‘Communiversity’ in the Croxteth area of Liverpool. It was conceived as a way to encourage young people to work in the NHS. Almost a third of workers in the NHS are aged 50 plus and the average age of an NHS health worker is set to rise to 47 by 2031. The crisis is spurred on by the pressure of the working environment forcing many into early retirement. Getting younger people into careers in the NHS has been identified as a way to ease the burden.

Three times as many young people applied for the course than the number of places available. The successful applicants have been training for six months in total, including the work placement at Alder Hey. Successful completion means the teenagers will be the first in the UK to be awarded a certificate in Health Care Support in the Paediatric Setting from CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education).

Targeting unemployed young people

The funding to complete the training was targeted to those in the NEET category (Not in Employment, Education or Training). Elliot Quine (pictured), from Croxteth, was the youngest person on the course at just 16 years of age; he was joined by other teenagers from across Merseyside.

When the teenagers graduate it is expected that they will go on to either full Apprenticeships at the hospital, further training such as nursing or another job within the NHS. Their progress will be monitored to assess the longer term impact and to inform plans to roll out an expansion across the UK.

Alt Valley Community Trust has joined forces with Alder Hey Children’s hospital in Liverpool to deliver the practical elements of the course; whilst in the classroom recruits have been skilled up in everything from English and Maths to personal confidence.

Unlocking potential

Gill Mason says: “We are using vocational education and training to unlock potential and give young people a valuable role in society. There are more than 300,000 support staff in the UK, assisting doctors, nurses and other health professionals in caring for the sick and injured. Until now there has been no specific training for those doing such a job with children”.

Unique standards

There are 24 children’s hospitals across the UK that could benefit directly from the qualification. Paula Davies, Learning and Professional Development Manager at Alder Hey says: ‘Alder Hey prides itself in the delivery of learning initiatives which support excellent care for our children, their families and carers. We developed this qualification at the trust because we know that care of children and young people in whatever setting they are in should be underpinned by unique performance standards. These unique standards have never existed until now. It is great to see that by widening participation for learners from Alt Valley within our work-based learning environments and through implementation of the new standards we have all made a significant impact on both their future aspirations and career choices.’


Each week Alt Valley is receiving dozens of enquiries from schools and students who want to know more and the next course is already over-subscribed. Mason adds: “The interest in this course means that we have seen an unprecedented number of enquiries. Potential future students – especially those who don’t want to stay on in full time education – see the qualification as an alternative to college or sixth form”.

James Glendenning, CEO of GMLPF that funded the initiative, says: “Overwhelmed hospitals have seen staffing requirements increase and budgets fall. Whilst many solutions are mooted, few see the light of day. This grass roots initiative is designed to give young people, who would otherwise have been unemployed, a taste of working in the NHS and a massive boost to their career prospects.”

Julie Hyde, Executive Director at CACHE added: “CACHE developed this qualification in partnership with Alder Hey specifically to prepare learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills to cover a broad spectrum of care responsibilities in a paediatric setting. It’s fantastic to see that Alt Valley Community Trust is receiving so much interest from young people aspiring to gain the CACHE Level 3 Award, Certificate and Diploma in Healthcare Support in the Paediatric Setting.”

University a hit for music students

You might find it hard to imagine a group of young people, left disillusioned by school, suddenly deciding that they want to go on to higher education.  That’s exactly what happened with a group of young Key2Apprenticeship (K2A)students from GMLPF member Mode Training when they visited Staffordshire University. One of Mode’s popular K2A courses is Music Technology – students get a taste of what life would be like producing music, DJ’ing or being part of a band – even if they didn’t get any qualifications at school.  The course is designed to help young people gain the skills they need to start a career in the music industry

Pathway to university

During their time at Mode, students can achieve an NVQ Level 2 in Music Technology, but that’s not quite enough to get them onto a university course, and many don’t see higher education as something suited to them anyway. The team at Mode are setting about changing that view and the training centre, based on Sefton Street in Liverpool, is developing a pathway to university. Students who complete their level 2 Music Technology will be able to progress onto the Level 3. This qualification will provide an entry route to a degree in Music Technology, as an alternative to the traditional A-level route All that may sound like a bit of an uphill struggle for students who weren’t over enamoured by their school years, so when Mode were invited to visit Staffs Uni they took 15 K2A students along.

Solid career path

Lee Garry, a former K2A student who now works as an assessor with Mode explains: ‘The degree focuses on practical skills and the students we took to the university realised the facilities and the teaching were fantastic.’ Whilst the students were visiting they got to produce a music track so that it was release-ready. Lee adds: ‘The atmosphere at the uni was very different to school and our students were excited about the studios being available round-the-clock.  They came back even more focused and feeling that a degree and a solid career path was something within their reach’.

Track record

Wesley Tagoe at Mode added: ‘The music production course at Mode has a track record of success with many former students going on to become self employed in the music industry; and soon we hope to see some progressing to university.  The earlier young people come to us for help, the more effective we can be in securing their future’.

Mode Training is just one of many places young people can access training, support and qualifications.  Nobody should be put off getting in touch even if they didnt succeed at school or get any qualifications.

The Key2Apprenticeships programme is for 16-18 year olds. Anybody who wants to discuss their future is urged to get in touch on 0151 707 8775  to find out what courses are available.  Whilst on a K2A course, benefits arent affected, lunch is provided and some providers will also meet travel costs.

The Key2Apprenticeships programme is funded by Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation [GMLPF].

Adult Skills Budget reduction

At the end of February, The Department for Business Innovation and Skills wrote to the Skills Funding Agency setting out their priorities, and available budget, for Adult FE and Skills delivery for 2015-16.

As we all know,  the principle feature of this is a reduction in the Adult Skills Budget. Whilst this came as no surprise, it is nonetheless a disappointment, presenting challenges to both the residents, and the education and skills providers of Liverpool City Region.

Increasing apprenticeship volumes and bringing the nation’s Maths and English levels up to standard are fundamental components of a successful skills strategy. However, relying on these aspects alone may inadvertently result in fewer adults between the ages of 19 and 24 being able to access the training necessary to make them employable.

Education and skills policy has been shown to have a relatively short shelf life. Over the past couple of years, we have seen increased frequency in departmental redesigns and alterations to funding models, principles and priorities.

For many years our region’s education and skills providers have demonstrated their proficiency at delivering government priorities and I have no doubt that that will continue to be the case.  What the sector really needs is a period of stability, allowing providers to forge long term plans to address the skills needs of Liverpool city region residents and its employers.

GMLPF will continue to work with AELP and NWPN to push for concerns around this reduction to be addressed. If you have any views or comments, please email me at [email protected]

James Glendenning








Adult FE and Skills delivery for 2015-16 :
Headline information

  • £250m (17%) reduction on 2014/15 – total national budget now down to just over £2bn
  • £770m included for adult apprenticeships .
  • Apprenticeship funding ringfenced
  • Non apprenticeship funding reduced by up to 24%
  • Apprenticeships, Traineeships and Maths and English delivery remain priorities
  • Focus on national colleges and industrial strategy.
  • Greater emphasis/tightening of sub-contracting

Helping Merseyside’s young people prepare for apprenticeships

GMLPF are encouraging young people aged 16 to 18 whose aim is to get an apprenticeship to consider enrolling on a Key to Apprenticeship (K2A) programme. GMLPF’s Key To Apprenticeship training programme is a vocational course that helps young people develop the skills, qualifications and experience employers are looking for when interviewing for apprenticeship positions.

Skills employers look for

Many young people who want an apprenticeship don’t have the minimum skills and qualifications that employers look for when they recruit apprentices. They may need to boost their Maths or English skills, or develop confidence and presentation skills, or gain some meaningful work experience. Key To Apprenticeships give young people a chance to develop the qualities they need, qualities that will improve their CV, and help them succeed at interview.

Marketing campaign

GMLPF have launched a 3 month K2A marketing campaign targeting 16 to 18 year olds who are currently not in any form of training, education or employment. The campaign includes:
• Bus panel advertising
• Press advertising
• Facebook competition; twitter
• SMS campaign
• Website re-launch
• Print

The aim of Key to Apprenticeships is to help young people access full Apprenticeships, enter employment or continue in further education.

Visit Key To Apprenticeships or email [email protected]

GMLPF funds online screening tool to help identify dyslexic students

GMLPF is funding a free online screening tool to help identify dyslexic students. Dyslexia Check is a collaboration between the international charity, Dyslexia Foundation, and Liverpool-based training provider tpm, both pioneers in the field of dyslexia identification and support. tpm, one of GMLPF’s longest standing members, is arguably Merseyside’s leading training provider in this arena. The new service is funded and supported by the GMLPF Challenge Fund, a £200K initiative to support skills development across Liverpool City region.

Specialist support

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the UK have dyslexia, with many going through life undiagnosed. Individuals who do not have their dyslexia diagnosed miss out on specialist support which can enable them to overcome barriers to personal and professional success.

Reliable, on-demand service

Dyslexia Check provides learning providers with a reliable, on-demand service to screen students for the condition. Once identified, learning providers can then draw up a schedule of appropriate support that will enable their dyslexic students to achieve their full potential.

James Glendenning, CEO of GMLPF comments:

“GMLPF is very pleased to be funding tpm to undertake this project. The aim of the GMLPF Challenge Fund is to support projects that enable experts like tpm to hone their expertise to make a positive difference.

“Equality of opportunity is a vital feature of our region’s training infrastructure. But many dyslexic students still go undiagnosed. This is why we’re supporting tpm‘s online facility that allows the condition to be identified, so students can go on to access the resources they are entitled to and the support they need to achieve their full potential.”

Dyslexia Check is in the first instance available exclusively to training providers who are contracted with GMLPF to deliver the Key 2 Apprenticeship programme. Other training providers who are interested in accessing the service should contact [email protected]