How’s the Education and Training Foundation doing?

Originally posted on WEA Director for Education's Blog:

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has been going for a year now. Its remit includes the adult and community learning sector and its aims are:

  • To raise the quality and professionalism of teachers and trainers across the FE and training sector.
  • To deliver consistently excellent outcomes for learners and employers.
  • To support Colleges and training providers of all types in achieving their own improvement objectives.
  • To promote this vibrant sector to employers and national influencers, and raise awareness of its vital role in rebalancing the economy.

The ETF’s main website is here and they tweet via @E_T_Foundation.

The Foundation supports the Excellence Gateway, building on the legacy of work begun by LSIS, the former Learning and Skills Improvement Service. This, “provides online access to an unrivalled breadth of resources for everyone working in the wider learning and skills sector in England.” The Foundation is also now responsible for…

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Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Apprentices!

Originally posted on The blog of Learning Unlimited:

With National Apprenticeship Week in full swing, we present our favourite celebrities who you may not have realised started their careers as apprentices. From the ‘Naked Chef’ to the creator of the Mona Lisa, there are a host of celebrities who started their road to fame and fortune as apprentices. Here are some of our favourites:

Jamie Oliver

Long before Jamie Oliver was revolutionising school meals he started his route to culinary prowess as an apprentice. Jamie Oliver

Despite leaving school with just 2 GCSEs, Oliver set about his journey by undertaking a NVQ in home economics from Westminster College before wading into the world of apprenticeships. The Naked Chef worked at Antonio Carluccio’s Neal’s Yard restaurant apprenticing as a Pastry Chef and it was here Oliver first started preparing Italian food. Oliver now has a net worth of £240m and offers his own apprenticeship programme for young hopefuls.

Leonardo Da Vinci

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Career guidance now and after the general election

Originally posted on Adventures in Career Development:

I admit to being a major political junky. The prospect of an election gets me very excited indeed. So tomorrow I launch the beginning of my election campaign at the National Career Guidance Show in Leicester.

In this presentation I plan to give my take on what has gone wrong, what the different parties are planning, what they should be planning and what will happen after the general election.

Career guidance now and after the general election

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‘Dodgy’ vocational training practices to be targeted by government crackdown

Originally posted on The Scan:

The Guardian    |    12 March 2015


With ongoing revelations of systematic rorting of public funding of vocational education and training, the Commonwealth government has announced it will crack down on “dodgy practices” in sector, including a ban on providers offering incentives of cash or laptops to lure students to sign up to courses they don’t need.



The government  wants to make it easier to cancel student debts that have been generated by training providers or brokers who breach the new guidelines, with the provider then being required to reimburse taxpayers for the cost.

The assistant minister for education and training, Simon Birmingham, said the “rolling campaign of legislative and other changes” targeting rogue training providers would protect students from an estimated $16bn in “unnecessary” VET Fee-Help loans that they otherwise would have taken out over the next 10 years.

VET Fee-Help is an income-contingent loan scheme…

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Is Britain building a work ‘force’ or a work ‘farce’?

There are currently two distinct profiles of education leavers, they are either profile A: those that have no expectations and therefore expect to spend ‘life (or at least part of their lives) on the dole’ and profile B: those that have outlandish expectations and expect a ‘life on a roll’.

‘A life on the dole’ profiles are the disillusioned youngsters, who have little expectations or ambitions, were pretty much ignored at school and lack any self-esteem. Those teenagers who will potentially join the other 750,000 under 25’s currently on the dole in the UK and who have no real hope or prospects of a fulfilling career.

This is something that governments, educators, and the parents of these children should be mortally ashamed of yep our 21st century forgotten youth.

‘The life on a roll’ profile however, is the youngsters at the other end of the spectrum with over inflated expectations, huge egos and with the ‘conquer the world’ ambitions.

Nothing to be ashamed of there, BUT it is not what UK businesses generally want.

Beware the entrepreneur!

I was once told ‘never hire an individual with an entrepreneurial spirit, as they will steal your ideas, your business and your best staff (and probably your husband or your wife)’. This I have unfortunately seen happen to many businesses over the years, with dire consequences.

I was fortunate enough to meet a large number of this ‘on a roll’ profile first hand, whilst working for three years as a freelance business advice consultant on ‘The Young Apprentice’ programme. I saw droves of these youngsters, literally ‘rolling’ into their initial interviews for positions on the forthcoming series. Each candidate determined to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page.

In this ‘on a roll’ group I estimated that 70% were public school educated, so not really indicative of a balanced spread of the UK’s young. But a good indicator of how expectations have changed, at least at one level.

The missing link

So, as you have probably guessed it’s that bit in the middle, those neither happy being ‘on the dole’, or having a mundane job, or too eager to be ‘on a roll’ and take over the world.Yep that ‘key’ majority profile required of any workforce, the backbone to any organisation.

Those youngsters who have realistic expectations and ambitions, those who understand that you have to work your way to success, by firstly displaying the right attitudes, be seen to have the drive to succeed, be self- motivated, self-organised and respectful of their employers and teammates. All delivered in a balanced way!

Youngster who don’t want to be the next CEO, but want to have a reasonable standard of living, and are willing to grow in the business and not expect the business to grow around them.

It is this profile that the majority of UK businesses desire and look for when interviewing education leavers, but unfortunately most are generally left disappointed, as a report by the CBI last year highlighted:

(This CBI survey was based on responses from 291 companies collectively employing nearly 1.5 million people).

It concluded

‘The findings show, that around three fifths (61 per cent) are concerned about the resilience and self-management of school leavers, while a third (33 per cent) are worried about attitudes to work’.

At the same time, employers rate attitudes to work and a young person’s general aptitude as their top priority when recruiting (85 per cent and 63 per cent respectively), ahead of literacy and numeracy (44 per cent) and academic results (30 per cent)’.

So why is there this gaping and widening hole of youngsters having the wrong attitude, no drive and lack of resilience, that these businesses crave for?

If you take the business analogy ‘turnover is vanity – profit is sanity’ and apply it to how the education system currently works you have your answer.

Education establishments use their results (the vanity) as the measure of their success, for example:

Sixth forms: Gain as many A levels and GCSE as possible, preferably at the highest level (vanity).

Colleges: Gain as many certificates pass as possible (vanity).

Universities: Send as many graduates on their merry way with (some may say ‘dubious’) degrees, first class if possible (vanity).

And of course, my all time favourite, spouted by government as the key solution to the UK’s youth unemployment! Yes you’ve guessed it -

Apprenticeships: The government has vowed to introduce 3 million apprenticeship schemes (Oh the vanity). Wow!

Now, I used to be a great advocate of apprenticeships, in the days when they had value, were rightly spread over a realistic period of time and were valued by both parties, and most importantly, normally led to a full time role for the youngsters.

I believe that is still true of large organisations where the apprenticeship spirit is still alive and kicking and never really went away.

Where I have an issue is with the ‘sign up anybody’ approach that is now being taken, which slaps of another government trying to manipulate youth unemployment figures.

Call me cynical, but if I was a small enterprise who was under pressure of labour (which most are), and a training provider (who by the way are funded by the government to get as many companies signed up as possible) came a knocking at my door, offering me £1,500 to sign up to the scheme, and then offered me a young pair of hands for just £2.73 per hour, without having to commit to giving that youngster a job or contract at the end of the apprenticeship period, what would I do?

‘With numbers come vanity and the misguided sense that ‘our work is done’

So vanity is all about BIG figures, companies boasting that they turned over £10m last year, but forgot to say that they actually made a loss. It’s the same with education establishments and government work schemes its all about the numbers not about the future success of those youngsters.

For example, try and find out how many apprentices last year were offered full time jobs at the end of their apprenticeships, and I’m not talking about the large companies who can rightly boast take up numbers, I am talking about the majority the small to medium enterprises that have been signed up to this over blown scheme.

Go on try Googling it!

So, until this country starts to measure the right things (the ‘Profit’ namely the future success of our young, not just the qualifications they gain) and give students the correct skills required by businesses and crucially do this before they leave education (and these skills by the way do not have to have awards at the end of them, most are common sense).

We will inevitably carry on producing either too many ‘dolers’ or to many ‘rollers’, when what our country needs is balanced individuals with balanced expectations.

Philip Peters is managing director of Leading National Training, which specialises in workplace preparation for students

EXCLUSIVE.  Underground FE Launch – Debate by the sector for the sector. 

Launching today as part of Apprenticeship Week 2015, Underground FE is a new approach to getting the voice of the FE sector ‘out in the open’. For too long there hasn’t been a route for the voices of those that do the work and face the real meaning of what it is to transform policy into practice within FE.  Exclusively through Underground FE will comment, debate and give space to key experts in their field to ‘Have their say’. 

Whatch this space…. 

Putting digital skills on the FE agenda

The expansion of online business is outstripping all other growth areas of the global economy. More people shop online and do business online than ever before and the trend is set to continue.

The digital economy crosses all industries and the potential job opportunities within it are huge. In fact, there are many jobs and skills that will be needed in the next 10-20 years that don’t even exist yet.

Alongside the growing requirement for technically-skilled individuals, such as coders and developers, there is also a need for people with more general e-business skills such as e-commerce and e-marketing.

In its annual report, Tech City UK highlights this increasing skills shortage. A staggering 27% of all job growth in London now comes from the digital/tech sector and the greatest impediment to business growth is the lack of adequately skilled employees.

There is no doubt that we need to equip people with a wider understanding of e-commerce and new global business operations/requirements, whilst also addressing the technical skills shortage.

This is further evidenced by a recent report from the House of Lords Digital Skills Committee, which suggests that 35% of current jobs in the UK could be automated within 20 years. With this digital revolution will come a raft of new jobs, which will require a workforce equipped with new skills.

The importance of ‘digital literacy’ at all educational levels was also highlighted in the Lords’ report, advising that it should be taught as a core skill alongside English and maths. However, there are concerns that teachers are not always confident about delivering the new computing curriculum and students risk being let down.

There is also a great difference between teaching coding and using online tools, and developing the skills and knowledge of digital business, such as e-commerce.

I believe that FE Colleges need to play a crucial role here. They often have the industry links and facilities to create centres of digital excellence, benefiting local communities and people of all ages.

And here lies the central ambition of the Career Colleges Trust. We plan to set up a network of digital Career Colleges (potentially incorporating ‘hub and spoke’ models) across the UK. We want to galvanise employers, learning providers, technical experts, charities and young people – and maximise the huge amount of opportunity offered by this exciting cross-industry growth.

We have already engaged Oldham College as a pathfinder project. It has been working in partnership with the co-located University Technical College – the Greater Manchester Sustainable Energy UTC – sharing best practice and services.

A new £9 million building on Oldham College’s campus housing state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, has just been opened to students. Outside of standard College hours this building will be open to the community and local businesses so that everyone has a chance to use the new facilities, including a high-tech Fab Lab offering digital printing to fast track innovation and development.

And this is exactly what we want to see happening in other FE colleges. Young people should be given the chance to engage with the digital revolution at a young age and discover the huge number of opportunities available to them. We need to ensure that the high quality, employer-led educational pathways are then in place to help these young people realise their ambition and talent.

Harrow College has been given approval by the Trust to open two Career Colleges in September 2015 – one of which will focus on creative and digital media. Birmingham Metropolitan College has similar plans for 2016. These FE Colleges have both, quite rightly, identified the vast amount of opportunity within the digital sector. Ensuring young people have access to high quality training, designed and delivered by industry, will be of benefit to both the students and the economy of the areas.

I am keen to talk to colleges about the ways we can help them engage with such a vital industry. The aim of the Career Colleges Trust is that every young person progresses into work, onto an apprenticeship, further or higher education, across a range industries, with great career prospects.

I find it unacceptable that in our buoyant economy, youth unemployment remains higher than most other European countries. We know that the digital economy is set to provide millions of jobs and we owe it to both our young people and UK PLC to ensure our future generation is equipped to capitalise on this opportunity.

Ruth Gilbert is chief executive of the Career Colleges Trust

Mixing up hard and soft skills training is best for business

reality, tasks we carry out in a successful modern workplace require both soft and hard skills, Marc Zao-Sanders says

With the result of the forthcoming General Election and the UK’s economic outlook both uncertain, politicians and commentators continue to debate which policies and projects might stimulate and sustain recovery. 

One such debate revolves round the skills gap of UK workers, and its impact on business performance and the economy as a whole. This month McDonalds released the findings of a report which highlights the economic value of soft skills, such as teamwork, resilience, respect, people management and creativity. The report concludes that these types of skills contribute £88billion to the UK economy, and that a lack of training investment in this area will lead to a dearth of talent by 2020, and ultimately deliver a huge blow to UK business growth. Several other reports have been published over the last six months which champion the importance of training in hard skills, claiming instead that improving these skills will be the driving force behind UK’s economic growth. It seems likely there’s some truth in both arguments; that a mix of soft and hard skills training is the real solution to closing the skills gap.

The McDonalds report marks the launch of its wider campaign, backed by entrepreneur James Caan, to boost soft skills which it believes are vital for business success. That soft skills are important is clear – these interpersonal skills oil the wheels of business success everywhere. So investment in this area certainly makes commercial sense in order to drive business growth.

But while soft skills are doubtless necessary, they’re only part of the mix for success.  It’s also important to ensure that staff are equipped with basic workplace or hard skills too: analytical skills, financial discipline and accounting, facility with data and the software that can get to grips with and communicate it and so on. Training in these skills ensures staff are able to perform tasks effectively and efficiently, while also opening new avenues to innovation and improved ways of working.

Keen to understand and meet the challenges of workplace skills training in the UK, recently carried out research (with Opinium) to see if we could find some additional angles on the nature of the UK’s workplace skills gap. Our survey of 2,000 employees revealed that staff who need key hard skills aren’t getting trained in them.  For example, two-thirds (66 per cent) acknowledged a gap in accuracy or “checking” skills but only 24 per cent had received such training; more than half (57 per cent) reported a need for IT skills but only one-third (32 pe cent) received this training; and over half (55 per cent) felt deficient in numeracyskills, while only 20 per cent received relevant training. It seems there is understanding and recognition amongst staff themselves that hard skills will improve their day-to-day ability to perform their roles. Digging a little deeper, our research revealed time (51 per cent) and cost (50 per cent) were the two biggest obstacles to receiving training – hence the divide between training needs and attainment. Focused training provision can bridge this gap and enable the UK workforce to successfully compete globally.

In partnership with Pearson, the CBIrecently shared findings from a report which raised similar concerns. In this report, businesses highlighted a shortfall in the preparedness of candidates coming in to roles – over half have had to organise in-house remedial training in basic numeracy, literacy, and IT skills to compensate for weaknesses of adult employees, and more than a quarter run such courses for school-leavers.

In closing the skills gap, it’s important that business leaders, along with Government, recognise the breadth of training requirements in promoting a solution to this vital issue. Different industries and staff roles require different weightings of both soft and hard skills and, certainly, depending on what each staff member is proficient in, the requirements for optimal efficacy of each employee will also differ widely. In reality, tasks we carry out in a successful modern workplace require both soft and hard skills – the two are inextricably linked. After all, a “hard” deal closure goes hand-in-hand with “soft” negotiation! Businesses must therefore invest in both, together, and now.

I thought that Politicians usually waited for two or three months before they started disengaging and upsetting the FE sector, but it seems  Mr Umunna has taken a different route and started to disengage BEFORE he gets into power. Strange campaign policy right there!!

keep your eye on the video of the audience response to Chuka Umunna Speech. Interesting!

Chuka Umunna speech at FE Week Apprenticeship Conference 2015

Speech at FE Week Apprenticeship Conference 2015
Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Thank you for that introduction, and for inviting me here to speak during National Apprenticeship week.

It was something Labour established to celebrate our fantastic apprentices and recognise those who train them – all part of our mission to reinvigorate work-based learning.

Taking on an apprentice, training them for a career, giving them a future. It’s one of the best things a business can do.

Good for the business. Good for the apprentice. And good for Britain.

We need to make it the norm.

For those of you from our further education colleges, I want to salute you for your work in our communities and for our nation.

I have seen the difference you make to people’s lives – in visits to Lambeth College in my constituency, and colleges all around the country.

I’ve seen the pride people show in mastering skills they never thought they could. The confidence returning to faces of those who lost their jobs and started to lose hope.

I know it is not an easy time for the sector, and there is no denying the challenges you face.

But I want to say this – your work has always been important; now it is more important than ever.

Today I want to tell you why I believe your time has come.

All around us – in our daily lives – we can see and feel how rapidly and profoundly the world is changing, driven by the pace of technological change and unstoppable shifts in the global economy.

People worry what these changes mean for the work they chose and their children’s futures.

Though these changes bring insecurity and add to the competition, they also create vast new opportunities.

Our task is to make the changes work for everyone in Britain – reforming our economy to win the jobs of the future, training people for success, and ensuring everyone is connected to opportunity.

If this is our task as a nation, it is Labour’s purpose as a party: to help people realise their dreams and aspirations, enabled by the support of a strong community.

This is the best social policy, of course. But it is also the best economic policy.

It is only by investing in everyone that we can raise productivity, earn our way to a higher standard of living, balance the books, and pay our way in the world.

This morning I visited Park High School in Harrow with my Shadow Cabinet colleagues – Rachel Reeves and Tristram Hunt – where we talked to young people about their dreams, and the options for education and training open to them.

We know our national earning cannot exceed our national learning. That’s why Ed Miliband has put education at the heart of Labour’s policy.

We will cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000, paid for by restricting pensions tax relief for the highest earners. And – as Tristram has laid out – we will reinvigorate SureStart; extend early years education; and ensure smaller class sizes and qualified teachers in our schools.

And if we want to produce the high-value goods and services to beat the competition we need a workforce with the skills – particularly technical and vocational skills – business needs.

That’s why quality vocational training is at the heart of Labour’s education policy.

As Rachel has set out, the right start means a job guarantee for our young unemployed.

But more than that it means a clear vocational pathway, starting in school with the TechBacc, high-quality apprenticeships, and routes on to Technical Degrees.

Under our apprenticeship guarantee any school leaver who gets the grades will have the right to do an apprenticeship. By 2025 we want the same number of school leavers starting apprenticeships as going to university.

But to ensure genuine parity of esteem between academic and vocational pathways, we can’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Expansion must be based on a relentless commitment to excellence.

I worry that – under this Government – policy on apprenticeships has become a numbers game. And those numbers are not always what they seem.

One-in-five of the Government’s apprenticeships don’t include formal training. Four-in-ten employers the Government counts as providing apprenticeships don’t think they do. Nine-in-ten apprentices over 25 already worked for their employers.

We need apprenticeship numbers we can believe in; the apprenticeship brand a trusted gold standard.

That’s why Labour will introduce a new universal gold standard for apprenticeships – working towards a system where all apprenticeships are Level 3 and above, focused on new entrants to the labour market, and last for 2 years as a norm.

In a world of change, we also need opportunities to adapt and develop, train and retrain throughout our working lives. 

It’s why we worry about the collapse in the numbers of part-time and older students. It’s why we support Unionlearn as the best work-based guidance and training we have. And it’s why, at every stage, there must be a clear pathway to the next level – from apprenticeships to higher apprenticeships, and on to technical degrees.

I understand what a difficult time it has been for the sector. We have seen a government without an understanding or a vision for further education hollow out provision.

Last week’s cut in the adult skills budget will make a tough situation tougher. I am concerned about the impact of this on vital provision, including the viability of some colleges.

We have shown our commitment to supporting the sector and investing in skills by protecting the budget for 16s to 19s within the education spending ring fence, meaning that it will not be cut under a Labour government. This is something the Government have failed to match. In fact, the Conservatives are planning extreme and unprecedented cuts which would take spending back to the level of the 1930s.

But I have to be honest with you. The Government’s abject failure on the deficit means we will face some very difficult choices.

Our Zero Based Review means we will have to justify every pound of government spending against every other – focusing relentlessly on impact and value for money.

We can’t look back.

We have to look forward at how together we can reform the sector so that it achieves even more.

This starts with clarity of purpose. For too long FE colleges have had to be all things to all people. We will bring purpose and focus to the role of FE colleges in delivering our new Tech Bacc and the college-based component of apprenticeships, by offering the opportunity to become an Institute of Technical Education – delivering the high quality specialist vocational training our country needs to succeed.

Second, it means mobilising a broader set of resources. We must shift the culture of our colleges to encourage closer working with industry; and shift the culture of our employers so that training apprentices becomes the norm. Labour will make it a requirement for firms that get a large government contract to offer apprenticeships. We will give employers more controls over skills standards and funding in return for boosting the numbers of high quality apprenticeships in their sectors and supply chains.

And third, reform. It is time to repair the broken bridges of our system and create a system that is more fluid and seamless for those within it, and more efficient for those who pay for it.

That’s why our focus is on progression pathways – from schools to colleges, into apprenticeships and onto technical degrees.

It’s on closer working between colleges and universities, and closer partnerships with employers – individually and through sectoral bodies.

And it’s on strategic commissioning around local needs, achieving more with less – for example – by aligning budgets and services for those who are out of work with skills provision.

Working together we can do this and create, in difficult times, a system that is better for learners, employers, local communities, and tax payers. 

Where you have ideas to improve outcomes and save money I will work with you. If I am Business Secretary you will find me an advocate for your ideas and a partner in your success.

Let me finish by saying this: my Labour colleagues – not just former college principals like Nic Dakin – but right across the Parliamentary Party and local government: we ‘get’ vocational education.

You can see it in Ed Miliband’s passion when he speaks about it. We understand the difference it makes to the lives of our constituents and the success of our nation. 

That is why what you do is so important to us.

If we are to give people the secure foundation to the world of work, we need you to succeed. To connect people to opportunity in a world of change, and the practical means to realise their aspirations and dreams.

Thank you.

Quality Apprenticeships have doubled but need to be increased further

The proportion of young people taking up any kind of apprenticeship remains too low, despite significant recent improvement in the number of apprenticeships that last 12 months or more, warn the Education Committee, as it publishes its Apprenticeships and traineeships report.

The report also says that incentives for schools must be reviewed to ensure that young people get good quality careers advice about a range of options including apprenticeships.

Chair’s comments

Launching the report, Graham Stuart, Chair of the Education Committee, said: 

“The number of high quality apprenticeships for young people lasting at least 12 months has doubled during the current Parliament, but overall participation by 16 to 19 year-olds still remains too low.

Only those apprenticeships which offer substantial training and have a positive impact on income for those who complete them should receive Government funding. Better data on outcomes and continued efforts to expand the number of participating employers can lead to more applicants and more places. 

Apprenticeships are a viable, high quality alternative to more academic routes and should not be seen or presented as a second class option for young people. Strong efforts must be made to challenge prevailing attitudes that unduly favour academic routes and block access to information about apprenticeships. 

Schools need to provide their pupils with far better information on apprenticeships and the potential value of early experience in the workplace. The Government must review and improve the incentives used to ensure schools provide good quality, balanced careers advice and work experience for their pupils.

Good quality traineeships can also lead to positive outcomes for young people, but the Government must provide clarity about the aims of its programme and how it will measure the value providers deliver to trainees as it looks to expand the number of traineeships.”

Reforms to apprenticeships

In its report, the Education Committee investigates how reforms to apprenticeships are being implemented following the Richard Review of Apprenticeships in 2012. 

The Committee concludes that the challenge for Government remains to drive up the quality of provision while ensuring that more employers commit to providing apprenticeships for young people.


The Education Committee recommends the Government should:

  • Review the data collected on apprenticeships to allow assessment of the effect on income of different apprenticeship frameworks.
  • Urgently review the incentives for schools to provide good quality careers advice.
  • Require schools to work towards the Quality in Careers Standard and publish a careers plan
  • Consider whether to revive the Young Apprenticeships programme or develop a model that replicates its core components.
  • Review the benefits provided by funding adult apprenticeships and apprenticeships for young people respectively and assess whether more or all of the money would be better spent on 16 to 19 year-olds.
  • Develop new proposals for funding reform and do so swiftly to avoid uncertainty.
  • Strengthen the role of SMEs in the Trailblazer programme
  • Explain what will happen to apprenticeship standards following the conclusion of the Trailblazer scheme.
  • Provide greater clarity about the purpose of traineeships and what the success criteria for the programme are.

Sir Dave Brailsford’s Top 5 Tips for an Outperforming team

Sir Dave Brailsford’s Top 5 Tips for an Outperforming team

Sir Dave Brailsford MBA, CBE is the coach who led the British cycling team to victory in two Olympics and produced two British winners of the Tour De France within four years. His commitment to measurable increases in performance and continuous improvement makes him a natural spokesperson for Investors in People 2015 and our theme of Outperformance.

His Top 5 Tips offer a handy guide to anyone seeking to coach a team towards Outperformance, in any area of activity.

Hear from Sir Dave on his Top 5 Tips below, and download the full guide here >>>

Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme

The Different Apprenticeships

Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme

This is a learning and development programme with responsibility from day one. You will be placed in one of a number of roles and government departments throughout the UK. Current apprentices have taken on a variety of roles such as:

  • Web Operations Engineer at Department of Work and Pensions
  • Trainee Accountant at Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Policy Officer at Ministry of Defence

You’ll be working towards a level 4 higher apprenticeship qualification. The study programme is demanding and must be balanced alongside full time work. You will be fully supported in completing assignments and achieving the qualification.

After the apprenticeship you’ll be eligible to apply for the ‘in service’ Fast Stream and specific departmental talent programmes to accelerate your career.


The qualifications are challenging and require you to gather on the job evidence to demonstrate your competency, as well as studying and completing written assignments to show understanding of high level administrative and/or IT processes.

We offer Fast Track apprenticeships in 5 different frameworks. Each awards a level 4 NVQ and HNC Diploma.

  • Business Administration
  • Commercial
  • Cyber Security
  • Digital and Technology
  • Finance

Business Administration

The Business Administration framework uses an HNC and a NVQ level 4 as the cornerstones of the apprenticeship. The HNC in Business Administration provides the foundation in terms of knowledge and skills requires for the apprenticeship and your future career. The NVQ level 4 provides a way that you can demonstrate your skills and experience you have developed in your role during the apprenticeship.

You will learn core modules such as Business Strategy, Marketing and Organisational cultures which will help you in your role both now and in the future


Commercial awareness has increasingly become the top skill demanded by employers in every sector. By completing this apprenticeship candidates will develop the vital commercial awareness capability by becoming a part of the government’s commercial function. Apprentices will gain invaluable experience in the process of buying goods and services, supporting the government in transforming the way that we deliver the best quality public services, whilst securing value for tax payers’ money.

A good commercial professional will support their organisation in sourcing and negotiating the best deals on products and services, making decisions based on a solid understanding of the market and public sector procurement regulations and ultimately making sure the contract delivers.

Typical commercial roles would include; sourcing and managing the contracts for purchasing military equipment for the Ministry of Defence, sourcing and managing the best IT system to put in place across the Cabinet Office, or finding the right company to provide the maintenance of a new Prison for the Ministry of Justice.

Cyber Security

The internet and digital technologies are revolutionising our society by driving economic growth and giving people new ways to connect and co-operate with one another. While cyberspace fosters open markets and open societies, this very openness can also make us more vulnerable to those adversaries who want to steal, compromise or destroy critical data. Within the UK there is a shortage of cyber security professionals and this skill set is in great demand.

A Cyber Security professional has a passion for technology, good problem solving skills and can articulate complex issues clearly to a wide range of people, including senior management. By completing this apprenticeship, candidates will develop the fundamental skills required for Cyber Security including incident response, risk management and digital forensics. Your department or agency will give you challenging work to apply this new knowledge on-the-job and gain invaluable experience.

Digital and Technology 

The Digital and Technology apprenticeship provides an exciting opportunity for those with a passion for technology to receive intensive training in software development and web operations. When you have qualified you will be working on the largest transformation taking place in government today.

You’ll help to provide simpler, clearer and faster government information and services that are built around user needs, not the needs of government.

You’ll work in multi-disciplinary teams in an agile environment, helping give civil servants the technology they need to do their jobs effectively. You’ll design flexible, open technology, making the technology we use in our offices as good as that which we use at home. And ultimately this will help members of the public interact with Government in a modern technology environment.


Finance apprenticeships are the entry route for school leavers to join the Government Finance Profession which is made up of approximately 9,000 trainee and qualified accountants working across the Civil Service. We offer not only a well respected qualification, but also an exciting and varied career path after, with multiple routes available to gain the full qualification for those who demonstrate aptitude and potential.

You will get experience of the key financial processes such as financial accounting, budgeting, monitoring and planning. Examples roles that trainees have gone on to include: investigating the cost of infrastructure projects, helping to end child poverty through one of the largest projects in Europe, and managing the Prime Minister’s Office communications budget. These roles not only require a good level of numeracy, but also strong interpersonal skills, such as communicating and influencing.

Our apprentices are supported to undertake either a Level 4 Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) or Level 4 Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification during the two years of the apprenticeship. They will then have the opportunity to enter the Finance Fast Stream to gain their full qualification. No previous financial experience or knowledge is required, however, these professional qualifications are demanding.

Operational Delivery Apprenticeship Scheme

Successful apprentices will have internationally-recognised qualifications, awarded by City & Guilds, to take with them throughout their career. They will work towards a Level 2 Award in Operational Delivery (Principles) and a Level 3 Certificate in Operational Delivery (Advanced). These qualifications – along with on-the-job experience, coaching and mentoring – will help our apprentices develop the knowledge needed for employment and career progression on the front line in different public-facing environments. 

For those who need it, our scheme also gives the option of working towards Level 2 English and Maths.

See our Public Service Operational Delivery Profession Apprenticeship Standard for more information.

Your exact role and department will depend on which location you apply for. Here are some example roles:

Here is a leaflet and posters for schools and colleges to print out and put up.

NIACE LAUNCH Apprentice Charter which will raise quality of all Apprenticeships.

To help ensure that every apprentice has an excellent experience and that their Apprenticeship is a solid foundation for a vibrant and successful career, NIACE is, today, proposing the introduction of an Apprentice Charter. By awarding employers the Charter’s quality mark, it is hoped that the Apprenticeship programme will result in job outcomes, progression throughout careers, wage gains and mean all apprentices become more effective in the workforce.

The Apprentice Charter, one of NIACE’s six priority actions for the next Government, will:

  • bring together Government, employers and apprentices to determine what a  high quality apprenticeship experience is;
  • be a quality mark for employers to be assessed against and to be proud of;
  • provide an independent guarantee to parents, advisers, young people and adults that an Apprenticeship is worth their consideration and investment;
  • give clarity to what Apprenticeships are for, what the outcomes are and how to measure success; and
  • increase accessibility to Apprenticeships by disabled people and people from minority ethnic groups.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“The best Apprenticeship programmes are fantastic; they give people superb starts in their new jobs, the opportunity to move on and the confidence to keep learning throughout the rest of their careers which may last 40 or 50 years. Let’s make all Apprenticeships like the best. And the Apprentice Charter will deliver that.

“There is an urgent need to ensure that Apprenticeships achieve better quality and equality. We must widen participation to increase the number of disabled people and minority ethnic people on Apprenticeships, where current participation is shockingly low. There should be the same investment in widening participation for Apprenticeships as there is for Higher Education.

“I have launched a consultation on our Apprentice Charter today. I want to hear from policy-makers, employers, providers and, of course, apprentices themselves about what you think to our proposals. Everyone with a stake in Apprentices is vital to the success of this Charter and therefore the success of the entire Apprenticeship programme which is critical for our future economic well-being.”

NIACE will be holding an expert seminar during Spring 2015 where key individuals from the business community and wider skills sector will be invited to develop the concept further. In the meantime, NIACE welcomes detailed comments on our proposed approach, and ideas of how we can further build on the concept. Please forward comments by 15 April 2015 to:

Teachers, careers advisers and employers: Who should do what and why

Originally posted on Adventures in Career Development:

Tomorrow I’m off to Leeds to address the Careers Live event.

This is what I’m planning to do.

Teachers, careers advisers and employers: Who should do what and why

It wraps up a whole load of different research and thinking that we’ve been doing for the last few years. I hope they appreciate it!

View original

New announcement Why your recruitment needs to adapt – Marketing Week cover feature

Recruiters are experiencing a marketing talent shortage, with four out of five companies saying applicants lack the right skills for the modern data-driven profession, meaning it is time to seek candidates with less conventional backgrounds.

Marketing Week
Announcement in Marketing Week
Why your recruitment needs to adapt – Marketing Week cover feature
Samuel Joy
Junior Product Manager, Centaur Marketing & Creative (Centaur Media Plc)
Recruiters are experiencing a marketing talent shortage, with four out of five companies saying applicants lack the right skills for the modern data-driven profession, meaning it is time to seek candidates with less conventional backgrounds.

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Boris Johnson confirms £1.8m fund for 3,500 London apprenticeships,500+London+apprenticeships#.VP7SKEeQGrU

By Daniel Hunter

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today (Monday)kick started National Apprenticeship Week by confirming plans for a £1.8 million scheme that will create over 3,500 new apprenticeships across the capital. 

The funding is expected to open up opportunities in thousands of London businesses that may never have taken on an apprentice before.

Specialist recruitment and training providers are being lined up to partner with the Mayor to deliver a programme that will target businesses of every shape, size and specialism. They will be tasked with finding innovative new ways of delivering apprenticeships and helping young Londoners looking for careers ranging from catering and construction to manufacturing and marketing, with all the support they require to obtain apprenticeships within the capital.

Today the Mayor met apprentices working at the New England Seafood factory in Chessington, where he tried his hand at “pin-boning” a salmon.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We want to extend the fantastic benefits apprenticeships offer to thousands more businesses and young people across the capital and help drive the skills and opportunities Londoners need to excel. Our new programme will reach out to those companies yet to dip their toe into the rich pool of talent contained in our capital, and help maintain London’s position as a world leader for training, development and expertise.”

The new scheme is the latest in the Mayor’s on-going commitment to cultivate apprenticeship opportunities in a growing range of businesses across the city. This year alone he has doubled employer apprenticeship grants to enable more small and medium sized businesses to take on apprentices, and is funding a network of apprentice ambassadors to help promote the opportunities in schools.

Around 190,000 16-24 year-olds have 
become a London apprentice since 2010. The number of young Londoners not in education, employment or training in London is at its lowest since records began and is the lowest of all English regions, whilst the latest employment rate for 16-24 year olds is the highest since 2007.

London-based New England Seafood has taken on 12 apprentices since 2012, five of whom have gone on to take up full time positions at the company.

Dan Aherne, CEO of New England Seafood said: “The food industry offers an amazing choice of career opportunities for young people, and is often overlooked by school and college advisors. New England Seafood has taken on over 200 people in total in the last 10 years and seen a great number rise through the ranks. Most rewarding has been to see our apprentices and previously unemployed young people join and grow in confidence and take on jobs with real responsibility, so we 100% support the Mayor’s efforts on this excellent scheme.”

Marcus Legg, an Engineering Apprentice at New England Seafood said: “I joined New England in 2012 in the HR team where I completed an Office skills Apprenticeship. Luckily I was also able to do a second apprenticeship, following my dream into Engineering where I am working on a NVQ3 level Engineering Apprenticeship hopefully leading to a full time role as Shift Engineer.”

The Mayor’s new employer-led programme has been devised as a way of tapping into the knowledge, expertise and problem-solving ability of businesses across the private and public sectors in order to deliver more apprenticeships. Rather than specifying exactly how the programme should be delivered, the Mayor’s team have asked employers and training providers to propose innovative new solutions for engaging businesses working within their networks or supply chains with a view to encouraging more firms to 
recruit apprentices.

It is the first time the Mayor’s team have provided grant funding to organisations to offer a top-to tail apprenticeship and business engagement service in London. They will engage businesses who have not recently taken on apprenticeships and support candidates through the recruitment process.

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 9-15 March 2015. To find out more about the Mayor’s apprenticeship scheme or view the Mayors 2020 vision