The Work Programme; an inside perspective | Alderwood Education Blog

http://blogs.alderwoodeducation.com/welfare-to-work/scoop-biggest-welfare-work-sector-work-programme/

The Work Programme; an inside perspective

Written by Claire Coxsell on 3rd February 2012
Posted in Welfare to Work

The coalition government has initiated one of the biggest shake ups of the Welfare System and it’s programmes such as Flexible New Deal, Future Jobs Fund, Pathways to Work and a whole host of other Welfare to Work programmes have all but disappeared to make way for the Work Programme; an all encompassing initiative based on results which aims to get the long term unemployed back into sustainable employment through various means.

I know I am not the first, nor will be the last to review this programme or cast opinions on it, this is happening on an almost daily basis not only in the press but also through forums and social networking sites. However I would argue that few would have access to the perspective ascertained from a Welfare to Work Recruitment Consultant. Due to the nature of this business I regularly speak to many people involved in delivering it from personal advisers to CEO’s of some of the major contractors to some of the smaller charities.

My aim is to give an honest review based on the general feedback I hear.

Due to the enormity of the Work Programme and diverse range of people involved with the implementation, there is not one overarching opinion of whether it is the best initiative in Welfare to Work history, the worst or indeed, in the middle. Opinions seem to be dependant on people’s positions and roles within it.

However there is a shared opinion across the board, it is theoretically an innovative way of trying to help the unemployed and everyone that I have spoken to shares a genuine level of optimism and hopes that it will work and will change the present and future of Welfare to Work and its customers. Everyone (none more so than the government I am sure) want it to work. However those same people worry about putting it into practice in the real word. Organisations, public and private, are fighting for funding and ultimately due to the payment on results only the larger organisations (primes) are able to have the financial backing in the first place. Moreover is it just a case of re-inventing the wheel? Will it be like a conveyor belt, where customers are churned in and out of this massive social programme?

One of the most consistent pieces of feedback comes from the smaller and more specialised organisations labelled as ‘knowledge banks’ where the majority, 8 months into the programme, have not had any of the promised referrals and who are having to re-apply to be part of the supply chain. This group, who are predominantly small businesses and charities are understandably frustrated that their initial participation was needed by the primes in order for them to demonstrate their access to specialist knowledge and in order for them to win the bids themselves. They are not receiving any fruits for their labours in fact it’s quite the opposite. One of the most memorable conversations I have had was with a Director of Welfare to Work for a well known charity who has taken a huge hit due to, what he deemed, the apparent disappointing results of the Work Programme. In his opinion he saw the future of these small organisations as being uncertain and them having to join forces and diversify hugely in order to survive the harsh reality that the Work Programme may not produce the revenue and results that were originally predicted. Unfortunately some of his predictions have already proved themselves to be true. I have seen a number of organisations I contact regularly struggle, make redundancies and some even fall. The reason for this is potentially funding related. I have been informed that where it was initially thought that the primes would pay for their services it now is down to the sub-contractors. Are either party willing to pay for this specialist knowledge? It has also been mentioned in a few discussions with various organisations that the sub-contractors need to ask permission from the primes in order to use the third tiers. Is this the case?

It seems the second tier providers are having a substantially different experience to the knowledge banks. Those directly sub-contracted by the primes are doing relatively well and although they were hoping for a few more referrals they are in general receiving the predicted amount. Could it be argued then that the process of passing the customer from JCP to the primes, onto the subcontractors is more elongated than initially though? If the knowledge banks can hold on and essentially ‘ride the storm’ will referrals eventually reach them? Many of the knowledge banks predict that it will be spring time before they have the opportunity to be fully involved with Work Programme customers.

The primes seem to be getting huge numbers of referrals but only time will tell as to whether it is a profitable investment and ultimately whether they can make a real difference.

Overall the Work Programme has received mixed reviews but has seemed to produce more concerns and questions so far than tangible results. However can all who are involved with it be considered as being too impatient? Alternatively can the government be seen as unrealistic, providing us with false hope as to how quickly we would see results and how involved smaller organisations would be?

Either way the year anniversary and official results will make for an interesting read….

I wonder what the participants on the Work Programme think?

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Paul Champion
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STATS: Regional Apprenticeship Programme Starts | Alderwood Education Blog

http://blogs.alderwoodeducation.com/work-based-learning/stats-regional-apprenticeship-programme-starts/

STATS: Regional Apprenticeship Programme Starts

Written by Charlotte Nancarrow on 6th March 2012
Posted in Work-Based Learning

The Data Service has released statistics on the Apprenticeship Programme starts across the UK regionally for Quarter 1 (provisional) compared against full-year numbers since 2005/06. This allows the sector and employers thinking about offering work-based learning to their existing employees or considering taking part in the Apprenticeship programmes to see that the Government is ploughing more money into the funding available for employees and that more are receiving the accredited recognition for the skills they deploy on a daily basis.

Region 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12
Full Year Full Year Full Year Full Year Full Year Full Year Quarter 1
(provisional)
North East 13,460 12,640 16,650 17,230 18,510 34,550 10,600
North West 29,630 32,220 35,480 36,530 47,280 78,660 25,970
Yorkshire and The Humber 22,420 24,140 29,300 32,170 36,530 55,800 18,250
East Midlands 16,920 17,430 21,700 22,180 24,620 40,860 13,440
West Midlands 20,760 20,150 25,430 27,860 31,720 54,290 17,740
East of England 15,940 16,800 21,030 21,170 23,730 39,760 13,540
London 11,010 11,090 14,520 17,180 20,350 41,400 13,070
South East 23,440 26,520 32,160 35,040 39,120 58,340 20,120
South West 19,050 20,810 25,280 27,790 35,020 49,330 16,790
England Total 172,600 181,800 221,500 237,100 276,900 453,000 149,500
Other 2,350 2,640 3,220 2,810 2,790 4,220 2,140
Grand Total 175,000 184,400 224,800 239,900 279,700 457,200 151,700

Based on the provison figures for Quarter 1 it seems that there is potential that 600,000 Apprentices could start in this academic year. This would be an approximate uplife of just over 30% on last years numbers. Adding to this positive news is that numbers of learners across certain programmes have increased significantly such as Accounting, Hairdressing, Engineering, Construction and IT. The is similiar and even growth across all regions supporting the argument that provison is offered to all and not just directed the at economically challenged towns and cities.

The original data can be found on the Data Services website along with further statistics on sector area, age group, gender etc.

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship_sfr_supplementary_tables/

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Alderwood Education News – Employability and skills training programmes

http://www.alderwoodeducation.com/news/271/employability-and-skills-training-programmes

Employability and skills training programmes

05/03/2012 10:07:07

Do employability and skills training programmes truly respond to employer needs?

New research from Alderwood Education suggests that employers are not adequately involved in developing training programmes (70%) and that candidates are less prepared for work than before the coalition came to power (30%).

Surprisingly, the research, which surveyed 396 specialists working within the employability and skills sectors, found that when it comes to recruiting, only 4% believed employers rated education highly and only a fifth (20.8%) considered literacy and numeracy as one of the key concerns of employers. Instead, 70% of those questioned believed employers consider relevant skills for the job to be the most important quality in a candidate, followed by relevant work experience (47.5%) and readiness for work, (39.1%). When questioned as to the primary reasons preventing employers from taking on the long-term unemployed via the Work Programme, lack of readiness for work was deemed to be the highest concern, (45%), with lack of skills required and insufficient job opportunities falling joint second.

Carried out just a month after the government confirmed plans to remove statutory work placements for all 14-16 year olds in the UK, the research reveals serious dissatisfaction with the way vocational careers are publicised at schools. Indeed, 88% of those questioned felt more should be done to promote vocational routes into employment.

The survey also found broad agreement that more needs to be done to tackle unemployment on a regional, rather than a national, level, (75%). It was deemed that localism does not feature strongly enough as an agenda; conversely demand and supply is often considered a regional issue.

Anton Roe, Director at Alderwood Education commented: “This research clearly points to the fact that there is an ever increasing gap between employer needs and what the huge pool of unemployed people currently has to offer. In order to get people back into work, this skills gap needs to be addressed. More must be done to provide our potential workforce with the tools they need for employment.”

Lord Knight, former Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform said: “It’s clear that the coalition needs to revise its strategy for getting Britain back into work. We need to ensure that skills development is at the top of the agenda for both the government and businesses across the UK.“

Those surveyed as part of this research were employed within either the skills or employability sectors and range in level from delivery (predominantly Apprenticeship Assessors and Personal Advisors), to Director and above. If you would like additional information about the survey results, please contact Lucy Pope on lucy.pope.

Alderwood Education is a UK-wide recruitment agency specialising in the Welfare to Work, Work Based Learning and Education sectors. For further information, please visit – www.alderwoodeducation.com.

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

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#ByteIT

http://byteit.itskillsacademy.ac.uk/post/19230962239/use-it-or-lose-it-the-sad-truth-about-training?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20120319_march_newsletter

Use it or lose it – the sad truth about training budgets

Employees inevitably account for the biggest chunk of many organisations’ budgets. They are also any organisation’s greatest asset.

The benefits of offering staff training and creating an environment which encourages self-development are well documented: better skilled employees have better morale, and people valued and cared for are more productive, more committed, and are more likely to stay.

Yet training budgets, and the “use it or lose it” attitude often applied to them, remain a soft target. Only the most naive employer will fail to recognise the importance of having a well trained workforce, but the return on investment is rarely seen in the short-term. When immediate savings are what you’re looking for, it is difficult to defend the associated expense.

The National Skills Academy for IT has, since Day 1, been determined to make training as easy and accessible as it is relevant and up-to-date. That it’s value-for-money is so obvious it’s irrelevant.

Because the Academy charges an annual subscription fee which gives your employees access to over 1000 courses, investing in group subscriptions means your employees’ training is free at the point-of-use.

The unique thing about subscribing to the National Skills Academy for IT, though, is that by doing so you are emancipating your employees, giving them control over their own destiny, ownership of their own skills and development.

You’re also making it easy for them. Whether, as is much discussed, attention spans are getting shorter or not, we are now used to consuming information, learning, data in much smaller chunks.

e-learning has come a long way and the resources offered by the National Skills Academy for IT are designed to suit modern patterns of work and modern learning styles. Learners can choose what, when and how much they study and can fit it around their day-to-day tasks. Not only that but you can access it quickly, easily and as you need it.

The kind of people who are going to take advantage of this opportunity are surely those exact same ones you want to keep: the ambitious, the self-starters, the organised and in-tune, the people who know the value they can add to you, their employer, by being better trained, better skilled.

A business is only as good as its employees. Hiring the best people you can is just the start of it. Especially in an industry which moves as quickly and as dramatically as technology, ensuring your people stay up to date, engaged and motivated is the only way your business will do the same.

by @aljwoods

Subscribe now to the National Skills Academy for IT

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

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BBC News – Young ‘lack soft skills’ for work

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-17448206

Young ‘lack soft skills’ for work

20 March 2012 Last updated at 15:15

JobcentreFigures released last week showed there were 103,000 16 to 24-year-olds out of work in Scotland

A “yawning gulf” has opened up between the education system and the labour market, according to a business lobby group.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said more needed to be done to promote interaction between education authorities and employers.

They argued this would ensure that young people entering the workplace had the soft skills they required.

The FSB presented its arguments to Holyrood’s education committee.

Mary Goodman, senior policy adviser with the FSB, said the national Employer Skills Survey had consistently backed anecdotal evidence about a lack of so-called “soft skills” – such as communication and team building – among young people starting work.

Her comments came as the committee took evidence on the Scottish government’s youth employment strategy.

Unemployment figures published last week showed about 103,000 16 to 24-year-olds were out of work in Scotland.

‘Extremely sceptical’

Earlier, STUC assistant secretary Stephen Boyd had told the committee the trade union body was “extremely sceptical of some of these stories we hear about the poor quality of soft skills”.

He said: “I think the extent of this problem is exaggerated.

“I have been in this post now for eight years at the STUC and I have heard this has been a constant over that eight years, that soft skills amongst our young people are not up to scratch. Yet the evidence remains anecdotal.”

Appearing later before the committee, Ms Goodman said: “I think one of the reasons why we have this stand-off here is because of the yawning gulf between education and employment at the moment.

“Each is peering round a closed door at the other and pointing fingers, and I think there is probably an element of truth on both sides, let’s face it. I definitely think there needs to be more interaction.”

Ms Goodman said more employer involvement in schools would be useful, while the Curriculum for Excellence, currently being rolled out across Scotland, would also help to embed soft skills in young people.

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

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Jobseekers give the green light to internships and apprentices | News | Recruiter

http://www.recruiter.co.uk/jobseekers-give-the-green-light-to-internships-and-apprentices/1013263.article

Jobseekers give the green light to internships and apprentices

Tue, 20 Mar 2012

Most jobseekers strongly agree that local and central government should encourage organisations to employ more interns and apprentices, according to a survey by international staffing firm Hays.

When asked which type of qualification or training would help young people succeed in their career, on the job training (93%), apprenticeships (90%) and internships (84%) topped the table, compared to 78% who said degrees. This indicates that they consider workplace training to be the best route to career development.

In the survey of over 1,000 jobseekers, 53% disagreed that companies often use internships just to get free labour. They still think internships and apprenticeships are quite or very effective in helping young people succeed in their careers.

Two thirds (66%) agreed that internships shouldn’t just be the preserve for those starting out in the workplace, but that they should be open to people switching careers.

Charles Logan, director at Hays, says: “In a highly competitive and crowded job market, internships and other career training schemes are increasingly important to make sure employees can get a foot in the door, make their CV stand out from the crowd and continue to learn new skills.”

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Apprentices on road to success » Housing » 24dash.com

http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2012-03-20-Apprentices-on-road-to-success

Apprentices on road to success

One Vision Housing award winning apprenticesOne Vision Housing award winning apprentices

For some young people, apprenticeships are the most practical and rewarding career path.

That’s certainly the case with three young men from One Vision Housing Property Services (OVHPS).

Michael Von Bargen, Steve Allen and Jake Jones are a product of Holy Family School in Thornton and are all excelling at the Sefton-based housing association where they are learning their trade whilst still attending college once a week.

All three are excelling in their chosen trades and have all won prestigious awards.

Michael won Apprentice of the Year at OVH’s 2011 Staff Awards, Steve won Apprentice of the Year at a national awards ceremony and Jake won a special commendation award for Apprentice of the Year at Hugh Baird College.

Deputy Headmaster Mike Symes said: “We have been working with One Vision Housing since 2009 and it’s great to see how our pupils have been able to progress with them in their apprenticeships. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to gain a qualification in their chosen field and we’re delighted to see them be rewarded for their commitment and hard work.”

Michael (Electrician) and Steve (Plumber) were the first employees taken on by OVHPS when they formed in September 2010. Jake (Bricklayer) followed soon after.

Their hard work culminated in One Vision Housing being recognised as the best company to work for in the UK in the Sunday Times Best Companies list 2012.

OVHPS Director Paul Broadbent said: “We have a strong commitment to supporting apprentices and currently have ten working with us, covering five different trades and working with four different colleges in the area. We are extremely proud of what Michael, Steven and Jake have achieved so far in the time we have been with us and our excited for their future careers.”

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Semta invites young people in Sheffield to discover apprenticeships : News from Semta

http://www.pandct.com/media/shownews.asp?ID=32310

Semta invites young people in Sheffield to discover apprenticeships : News from Semta

– A chance to meet apprentices on 29th March at The Source training –

Sector Skills Council Semta will join forces with the National Apprenticeship Service and Sheffield and Rotherham’s Local Authorities with an event to encourage more young people to consider an apprenticeship.

The event, hosted at The Source – a purpose built training centre in Sheffield – will give local students over the age of 16 an opportunity to discover the benefits of becoming an apprentice, as well as the chance to meet local employers keen to take on apprentices.

Semta Apprenticeship Director Bill Twigg said: “Apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing offer young people a fantastic opportunity to learn while they earn and enjoy a challenging and rewarding career. Employers want to take on and train bright young people so this is a great opportunity for A level students to find out more about an exciting alternative to university.

“Our research shows that 5,300 scientists, engineers and technologists need to be recruited in Yorkshire and Humber by 2016 and apprenticeships will be central to their development.”

The event is expected to attract more than 120 local young people and will see Semta Apprenticeship Ambassadors and local employers explain the role of an apprentice and the benefits apprenticeships can offer. Semta supports individual companies and apprentices through its Apprenticeship Service which recruits, trains and quality assures programmes, making the whole process easier and more effective for businesses.

Bill Twigg concludes: “Apprenticeships are a proven route to develop the technical skills needed in our sectors due to an ageing workforce. We are working with engineering and manufacturing employers in Sheffield to help them get the best possible return on apprenticeship investment from apprentices. We are also continuing to work with partners such as The National Apprenticeship Service and The Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network to implement innovative ways of overcoming the perceived barriers to take-up.”

Semta has teamed up with leading employers and the National Apprenticeship Service to launch the Apprentice Ambition – a 10 point plan designed to take the number of advanced and higher level apprenticeship registrations from 8,000 to 16,000 by 2016 by overcoming the barriers to take up. The Ambition is specifically designed to make taking on an apprentice easier for all.

Engineering and manufacturing employers interested in finding out more about the benefits of taking on an apprentice should contact Semta Customer Services on customerservices or visit www.semta.org.uk

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

39 apprenticeships created by Darlington firms (From The Northern Echo)

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/9599780.39_apprenticeships_created_by_Darlington_firms/

39 apprenticeships created by Darlington firms

8:00am Tuesday 20th March 2012 in North-East Business News Photograph of the Author By Owen McAteer

FIRMS in a Tees Valley town yesterday announced the creation of up to 39 apprenticeships and training opportunities across three different sectors.

The apprenticeships in the construction, engineering and education sectors comes as The Northern Echo aims to increase opportunities for young people through our Foundation for Jobs campaign.

Darlington based Cleveland Systems Engineering yesterday announced it was taking on two further apprentices next month after winning new orders from Cummins, which is also based in the town.

In addition Southdale, which has its regional office in Darlington announced it would create up to 35 new apprenticeships and training opportunities across the North-East and North Yorkshire this year.

Darlington School of Mathematics and Science has also taken two apprentices onto its staff.

Cleveland Systems Engineering, which specialises in the design and installation of control systems used in manufacturing and process industries, initially intended to add one apprentice to the eight it already trains.

But after being unable to pick between Joanne Alden, 18, and Stephen Searle, 17, the company’s managing director Tam Ashcroft decided to take on both.

As well as Cummins the Lingfield Way firm’s clients include Perkins Engines, United Biscuits and Coca Cola.

Mr Ashcroft, himself a former apprentice, who set up the firm in 1995, said: “Taking on apprentices was about more than just adding to our team.

“It was about giving something back and presenting these young people an opportunity to begin a career in engineering.”

Mr Ashcroft worked with South West Durham Training (SWDT) to identify the new recruits, who will start at the firm next month.

Both are currently undertaking training at SWDT’s Core facility in Newton Aycliffe.

“Both Joanne and Stephen will, I am sure, play a part in the growth and development of the business as we look to secure further work in the future,” Mr Ashcroft added.

Charl Erasmus, operations manager at SWDT said: “Cleveland Systems Engineering is a highly technical company that requires a team with an extremely specific and specialised skill set, combining electrical and engineering as well as software expertise.

“Stephen and Joanne are both very hardworking and enthusiastic young people and I am sure this, combined with the skills they have learned at our centre will equip them.”

Construction and development firm Southdale said it aimed to create four apprenticeships at each of its sites following the receipt of more than 300 CVs from young people during the first two months of 2012.

Southdale’s regional director Trudie McCormick said: “This volume of interest reflects the levels of enthusiasm for work in the North East, especially at a time when there are growing numbers of young people not in education, employment or training.”

Meanwhile Emma Wright and Robyn Smith are getting to grips with working life at Darlington School of Mathematics and Science.

The 19-year-olds are being trained on reception and in the library at the academy, which is one of the fastest improving schools in the country.

Both are working towards a Level 3 diploma in business and administration.

DSMS head teacher Calvin Kipling said: “The quality of candidates for the apprenticeships was astounding and Emma and Robyn have fitted in extremely well with students, staff and parents.”

The Northern Echo’s Foundation for Jobs, in association with Darlington Partnership, aims to create at least 100 apprenticeship places and 100 internships at firms in the borough, as well as helping 1,000 youngsters establish formal links with local companies. .

For more details on how you can get involved go to northernecho. co. uk/ foundationforjobs

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Academy teaches students how to build bikes, with each first creation sent to Africa | Springwise

http://www.springwise.com/non-profit_social_cause/academy-teaches-build-bikes-creation-africa/

The Bicycle Academy is launching a four day fillet brazing course in Somerset, which will teach skills to participating students and result in working bikes for the needy in Africa.

It wasn’t long ago that we were writing about Zambikes, a social enterprise helping Zambians learn how to create bikes. Now we’ve come across another startup with a focus on bicycles that’s also hoping to do some good in the developing world. The Bicycle Academy aims to teach bike building skills in the UK, with each apprentice’s first creation sent to Africa.

Founded by mechanical design engineer Andrew Denham with the help of frame builder Brian Curtis, the startup runs from a workshop in Somerset, England, where those enrolling on the course will have access to the equipment and material they need to build a bike frame. They will be taught fillet brazing — a type of welding that links metal tubes with bronze — over four days of training sessions, for five hours a day. Students will work to specifications to build a TBA Africa bike frame, which has been designed especially for use in Africa. Once completed, the frame will be used to form a working bike which will be shipped off for use by those in need. The Bicycle Academy has teamed up with the charity Re-Cycle to facilitate distribution, with plans for the bikes’ components to be produced by World Bicycle Relief. After graduating, students can make use of the workshop for their own projects. Beginning in June, the course costs GBP 1,000 for single learners, or GBP 600 each for pairs.

The Bicycle Academy aims to offer UK bike lovers the skills to get more involved with their passion while benefitting those less fortunate. An idea to emulate in your part of the world?

Website: www.thebicycleacademy.org
Contact: hello

Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920