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Apprenticeship Week launched at Channel 4’s London offices

Apprenticeship Week launched at Channel 4's London offices

Business secretary Vince Cable has launched the fifth annual Apprenticeship Week at the London offices of Channel 4.

The event was attended by representatives from the creative sectors and apprentices themselves, with Skillset and the National Apprenticeships Service promising to deliver 500 trainee positions across 300 organisations.

A large proportion of the companies are small in size and so will be able to apply for £1,500 as an incentive to take on an apprentice during 2012-2013.

Mr Cable commented: “Not only do [apprenticeships] provide individuals with the skills they need for prosperous and rewarding careers, they also boost businesses’ profits and drive growth in the wider economy.”

Firms with London offices have proven to be significant supporters of apprentice placements.

Mayor of the capital Boris Johnson revealed in the autumn of last year that in just over 12 months, more than 40,000 apprenticeships had been created at London offices.

This made London the fastest-growing UK region for the development of apprentice placements. However, Mr Johnson said he expected this increase to continue, with him aiming for roles for around 100,000 individuals to be made available by the end of 2012.

Posted by Emma Davies

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MINI apprenticeship boost for BMW’s Swindon plant | SWINDON BUSINESS NEWS

MINI apprenticeship boost for BMW’s Swindon plant

February 7, 2012
By Robert Buckland

Total apprenticeships at the car firm will increase to 200 this year, including 11 at its Swindon plant, which presses body panels for all MINIs.
Across its three manufacturing sites – Swindon, Oxford and Hams Hall, near Birmingham, apprentice intake will double this year to 70 places at as the plants prepare for the next model generation.
In addition, BMW and MINI dealerships are looking to recruit around 130 young people across the UK.

Apprenticeships last between three and four years and cover a wide range of skills from human resources and business to electrical maintenance and engineering. The training leads to an NVQ level three qualification and some apprentices will have the opportunity to progress right through to degree level in the course of their career at MINI.

MINI Plant Oxford managing director Dr Juergen Hedrich said: “Investment in young people is a key part of our development strategy for the plants; therefore we are delighted to be able to offer young people the chance to join our modern apprenticeship scheme.”

BMW and MINI dealerships in the UK will be recruiting around 130 apprentices in 2012. The programmes are in various disciplines ranging from Service Technician Apprentice, Parts Advisor Apprentice, Motorcycle Technician Apprentice and Body Refinish/Paint Apprentices.

All BMW and MINI apprentices complete the two-year Advanced Modern Apprenticeship at Level 3 and receive VRQ/VCQ qualifications from the Institute of the Motor Industry. Training is carried out at the BMW Group Academy UK, a purpose-built training centre opened in 2006 and located near Reading. In general the minimum entry criteria require between three and four GSCEs at grade C or above (or equivalent).

BMW Group UK managing director Tim Abbott said: “Bringing new talent and fresh thinking into our dealerships is vital to allow us to provide the best possible service for our customers and so I am delighted that we will welcome around 130 new apprentices to our award- winning scheme in the UK.”

The Press Association: PM outlines apprenticeship plans

PM outlines apprenticeship plans

(UKPA) – 1 day ago

Apprenticeships will no longer be considered a “poor man’s degree” with the introduction of higher-level training, the Prime Minister has said.

Combining apprenticeships with higher education will become far more common place in Britain, David Cameron said.

Speaking during a visit to the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) in east London, which trains apprentices to work on infrastructure projects, Mr Cameron said: “We are expanding the number of higher level apprenticeships, those that involve degree-level courses, and I think this is vital because for years people have sort of said that apprenticeships are the poor relation of higher education.

“I don’t think they are at all and I think what we are going to see with the expansion of the higher level apprenticeships is many people going into them as they leave school, spending time doing that and then going on and doing a university degree linked to their apprenticeship skill.

“That is what has happened for years in Germany and it is going to be happening much more in Britain.”

Mr Cameron said academies like TUCA, a purpose-built not-for-profit facility built by Crossrail to train people in working in tunnel excavation, underground construction and infrastructure, was crucial to the future of the country.

“I think we are seeing a really big part of the industrial future of Britain,” he said.

“I think for years in our country we have had excellent higher education, excellent university education, but we haven’t put nearly enough into vocational education, apprenticeships, into skills training, and what I’ve seen today shows me this is absolutely at the cutting edge of what we need to do as a country.

He added “I think for years people have said this country hasn’t taken skills seriously, it hasn’t taken apprenticeships seriously, and I really think that we are now doing that.”

Mr Cameron said the Government was committed to addressing some of the “historic weakness” of apprenticeship programmes and would reduce the cost and bureaucracy involved in apprenticeships to encourage more businesses to participate.

Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

Posted by Paul Champion from Google Alerts

Preventing Youth Unemployment in Medway – are Apprenticeships the answer?

Preventing Youth Unemployment in Medway – are Apprenticeships the answer?

Julie Kemsley

Hoorah, its Apprenticeship Week (6th – 10th February, 2012), hands up all those young people who want to do an apprenticeship. Hands up all the small to medium sized businesses who want to take on an apprentice!

As one of Margaret Thatcher’s YTS (Youth Training Scheme) successes, I am a great believer in apprenticeships and will always promote them wherever I can.

In one of my roles as an Apprentice Support Consultant, I found it astonishing (and extremely disappointing) at the number of young people who were applying for an apprenticeship role, via the National Apprenticeship website, but turned up for the pre-interview having no idea what an apprenticeship was!

Having to witness this time and time again, I made it my responsibility to invite all appropriate applicants to a group training session to help them understand the mechanics of an apprenticeship and how it could help them now and in the future. Young people left my training having a greater understanding of what an apprenticeship was, but boy, did I open a huge can of ‘employability’ worms when it came to explaining how to apply for one!

It became abundantly clear that not only did the young people have no idea about apprenticeships, they didn’t have a clue about how to put together a CV (being a true reflection of their ‘real’ skills – not one that they had downloaded from the internet), they were reckless in their completion of application forms (thinking that missing out some boxes was totally acceptable) and the most worrying of all is the alarming lack of social and self-promotional skills. Too many young people are failing at interviews (if they ever get that far!) because they have no idea how to promote themselves, identifying transferable skills from their everyday lives that can convince an employer that they are right for the role on offer.

So, now the government has again decided to jump on the ‘Apprenticeships are the way forward’ wagon and offer cash incentives to encourage businesses to take on an apprentice (

I agree that Apprenticeships ARE the way forward for young people but what Medway (and the rest of the UK) need to think about is adopting a ‘NEET Prevention’ scheme (Not in Education, Employment or Training) ensuring that young people have all the information on how to apply for apprenticeships and, more importantly, how to apply themselves BEFORE they leave secondary education (prevention rather than cure). Employability Skills needs to be part of the curriculum, not as a stand-alone subject, but included in all lessons as an add-on to what they have learnt in that lesson.

If young people are made aware of how crucial everyday skills are, such as working as part of a team, problem solving, confidence building and leadership skills (to name just as few) it could help them gain employment in the future leading to less NEETs and more inspired and motivated young people.

In addition, the attitude of young people most certainly needs to be addressed by instilling confidence and motivation through the right delivery, encouraging a ‘can-do’ environment within the classroom rather than the more passive policy adopted by outside organisations that are brought in to supposedly prevent future youth unemployment (judging by the statistics, something obviously isn’t working!)

Employability training is not being positively implemented to encourage young people to change their attitude towards the world of work and appreciate that –

There are available jobs once they leave school

They are capable of gaining a job in the career of their choice

University can be an option, whatever the fees may be.

Once this happens, the keenness of employers wanting to take on an apprentice should naturally follow. Why should an employer take on a young person who cannot convince anyone (themselves included) that they are right for the role. If we have more confident, work ready young people who can easily promote their skills and be honest and realistic about their expectations, they are more likely to be successful in their quest for employment.

So, to summarise, YES – Apprenticeships are the way forward, just make sure that all young people and employers know why!

Julie Kemsley

Employability Mentor

Telephone: 07764 853 474

Posted to Blog by Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920


The post below was posted to these blogs via e mail link. For some reason it did not transfer the originator or owner of the post.

My apologies for any confusion. It was not in any way my intention for anyone to believe this post was my own work.

The content was written by Jane Hart.

Jane Hart is the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies.

I have removed the article at the request of the author.

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4 Critical Traits of an Entrepreneur

You may be a risk-taker, goal-oriented, and ambitious but only these four traits will help take you to the next level.

By Glen Blickenstaff | @glenblickenstaf

Look for ways to make a difference.

I saw job descriptions as the “had to do” list not as a limit. Throughout my career I created opportunities. I think that’s a big part of what entrepreneurs do. They identify opportunities and apply themselves, frequently without invitation to do so.

Follow that overwhelming desire to take action.

At one point I used the regular hours of my job to teach as an adjunct professor, which lead to an appointment on the Boards of Retail Advisors at the University of Florida and Cornell University. Entrepreneurs seem to have a voracious appetite for learning and teaching. We also feed on multiple tasks or projects, which lead to increased productivity.

Exert your influence as much as possible.

I resigned from one job in frustration over major differences in direction. Within two years they were bankrupt. I saw this as a failure on my part for not influencing the organization. An entrepreneur can go from the trenches to the big picture and assess cause and effect. The protagonist in this story is influence. Without it we are frustratingly adrift.

Help other would-be entrepreneurs.

It was an entrepreneur that I worked for that saw something in me and gave me a helping hand. He told me I needed to go into business for myself and help struggling companies. Four months later I left and he provided a generous severance to get me started.

Someone once asked me what it was like going out on my own as an entrepreneur. I told them it was like jumping out of an airplane with all the materials needed to build a parachute. An entrepreneur must be willing to take a risk.

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920
Twitter: ChangeTWYT



Maria Ogne­va is the head of com­mu­ni­ty at Yam­mer, where she is in charge of social media, com­mu­ni­ty pro­grams, inter­nal edu­ca­tion and engage­ment. You can fol­low her on Twit­ter, her blog, and via Yam­mer’s Twit­ter account and com­pa­ny blog.
If you’re any­thing like me, you’ve prob­a­bly wit­nessed (or maybe even been a part of) office com­mu­ni­ca­tion mishaps that have ranged from mild­ly embar­rass­ing to career-ending. Early in my career, I wit­nessed a rogue email chain which spoke of a client in offen­sive terms. The email acci­den­tal­ly got for­ward­ed to said client. Oops!

No mat­ter how sophis­ti­cat­ed our use of social media, we must always be aware of its breadth. It’s easy to feel anx­i­ety over say­ing the wrong thing, but if you know how to use it well, social media in the office can and should ben­e­fit your career.

There­fore, adapt the gold­en rule to the dig­i­tal era: Think before you post, and do unto oth­ers as you would have them do unto you. To make sure you are putting your best dig­i­tal foot for­ward, fol­low these easy steps.

1. Under­stand Com­pa­ny Pol­i­cy, Best Prac­tices and Cul­ture
If your office hosts an inter­nal social net­work or dig­i­tal col­lab­o­ra­tion space, under­stand what types of inter­ac­tions are con­sid­ered valu­able (help­ing a cowork­er, for exam­ple), vs. actions that would be frowned upon (post­ing pic­tures of LOL­cats all day). And always stay away from vio­la­tions of your com­pa­ny pol­i­cy (like harass­ment). Make sure you under­stand not only the writ­ten pol­i­cy, but also the com­pa­ny cul­ture – each com­pa­ny has its own stat­ed and unspo­ken rules of con­duct.

Glob­al con­sul­tan­cy firm Capgem­i­ni talks about its use of Yam­mer, my com­pa­ny’s social net­work. “Yam­mer is shared with col­leagues in the com­pa­ny — not just your close col­leagues — but poten­tial­ly EVERY­ONE, from your man­ag­er all the way up to the CEO…Our com­pa­ny val­ues are: Hon­esty, Free­dom, Trust, Bold­ness, Team Spir­it, Mod­esty, and FUN.”

2. Com­pa­ny Com­mu­ni­ties Evolve Best Prac­tices and Poli­cies
Pol­i­cy and cul­ture aren’t sta­t­ic — they grow and devel­op organ­i­cal­ly, through a community-wide effort. Kate Dob­bertin, com­mu­ni­ty man­ag­er of one glob­al com­pa­ny’s Yam­mer net­work, notes, “I look to the com­mu­ni­ty to fos­ter an open, car­ing com­mu­ni­ty togeth­er. It’s not some­thing I can con­trol alone — the entire com­mu­ni­ty must set the stan­dards for what is or isn’t acceptable.”

In glob­al com­pa­nies, the def­i­n­i­tions of eti­quette are tougher to pin down. Ed Krebs, IT archi­tect for Ford Motor Com­pa­ny, shared, “By allow­ing the com­mu­ni­ty to define, and con­tin­u­al­ly rede­fine how to com­mu­ni­cate, those glob­al dif­fer­ences that were bar­ri­ers now become points to reshape togeth­er. The com­mu­ni­ty gen­tly informs each other about the nuances of lan­guage and the alter­nate inter­pre­ta­tion of slang. We need­ed no new pol­i­cy, respect is a key ingre­di­ent in our cor­po­rate code of conduct.”

3. Mix­ing Per­son­al and Pro­fes­sion­al
When com­mu­ni­cat­ing over your com­pa­ny’s dig­i­tal chan­nels, your focus should be on get­ting your work done and help­ing your col­leagues get their work done. On the other hand, mix­ing a bit of your own “fla­vor” is always a good thing – humans want to con­nect with other humans. But remem­ber that you can eas­i­ly cross the line from approach­able to over­ly per­son­al to the point of dis­com­fort. Ask your­self, “Could this make some­one feel uncom­fort­able?”

4. Pub­lic vs. Pri­vate Spaces
Take a few min­utes to under­stand the bound­ary between pub­lic and pri­vate spaces. Hav­ing a clear goal will help you select the right medi­um and audi­ence. Are you shar­ing some­thing bril­liant that can help oth­ers in gen­er­al, or start­ing a dis­cus­sion that will specif­i­cal­ly ben­e­fit your com­pa­ny? Is it a mes­sage that should be pub­lic, but ben­e­fits a niche audi­ence? Post it to a group. If it’s an action you want just a few peo­ple to take, send a pri­vate mes­sage or an email. Remem­ber the key dif­fer­ence: Emails and IMs are dis­rup­tive, while streams pro­vide “ambi­ent awareness.” Don’t be that guy who CCs 20 col­leagues with some­thing irrel­e­vant.

5. Be Mind­ful in Pri­vate
A quick word of cau­tion: Just because you post to a pri­vate space or send a note to some­one’s inbox, doesn’t mean it won’t find its way into the hands of some­one else later. If you trash some­one in an email, there’s always a chance that this per­son may see it – whether acci­den­tal­ly or on pur­pose. It’s always best to pro­tect your rep­u­ta­tion by abstain­ing when­ev­er pos­si­ble.

6. The New York Times Test
Before writ­ing any­thing to any­one — pub­licly or pri­vate­ly — ask your­self if you’d mind see­ing it on the front page of the New York Times. That’s exact­ly what Erin Grotts, direc­tor of inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Super­valu tells her col­leagues. “We tell peo­ple not to post any­thing that would embar­rass you or the com­pa­ny…Would you be com­fort­able if it ran on the front page of the New York Times?”

Beld­ner encour­ages her col­leagues to ask, “Would I say this to my com­pa­ny’s pres­i­dent and deputy gen­er­al coun­sel in front of 1,000+ other employ­ees?”

7. Become an Expert
If you want to be per­ceived as an expert, you need to con­tribute to the con­ver­sa­tion. When some­one asks a ques­tion that you can answer — go for it! Proac­tive­ly share things that are inter­est­ing and ask thought-provoking ques­tions. Remem­ber, though, that quan­ti­ty doesn’t mean qual­i­ty.

Max­i­mize your expo­sure by allow­ing oth­ers to find you. When post­ing to a pub­lic space, any­one can see your mes­sage, but there’s always a chance that the right peo­ple won’t. To max­i­mize your vis­i­bil­i­ty, post to the right groups and use the right tax­on­o­my, such as hash­tags, top­ics, and pub­lic @mentions.

8. Respect Pri­va­cy
Just because some­one told you some­thing in anoth­er chan­nel, doesn’t give you the license to repost it auto­mat­i­cal­ly, unless it was post­ed in a pub­lic space like Twit­ter, which is index­able by Google. If you’d like to repost some­thing, make sure that the orig­i­nal author has approved. Exer­cise the same cau­tion when adding new par­tic­i­pants to an exist­ing email thread or a pri­vate group – make sure that exist­ing par­tic­i­pants feel com­fort­able that this new per­son will be able to see what’s already been writ­ten.

9. Remem­ber the Gold­en Rule
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Treat your col­leagues the way you’d want to be treat­ed at work. Ask your­self, “Would I want to do a project with myself? What about grab lunch?” Don’t be the employ­ee who pub­licly shames a co-worker to coerce him into action. Don’t go direct­ly to some­one’s boss instead of address­ing that employ­ee first. Never write some­thing out of anger, spite or per­son­al vendet­ta. Basi­cal­ly, don’t over­step your bound­aries.

A great reminder from the folks at Capgem­i­ni: “In the same way that we mod­er­ate our con­ver­sa­tions in the office, so we should apply sim­i­lar mod­er­a­tion to our posts in Yam­mer…Be polite; try to be con­struc­tive; don’t be offensive.”

Back to you, read­er! How do you observe eti­quette at work, while still retain­ing your unique­ness? What kinds of guide­lines does your com­pa­ny have for work-related social net­works?

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920
Twitter: ChangeTWYT

Launched my New Website

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Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920
Twitter: ChangeTWYT

The World of Mobile Phones [infographic] Posted: 20 Jan 2012 06:00 AM PST

Mobile phones seem like an essential part of an American’s life. I don’t know anyone without one and I’d say most people even have a smart phone. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia have a weird distribution of cellphones per people. I guess having multiple phones is popular in those places.

As our society relies more and more on cellular devices for our everyday needs we will become even more helpless when we lose our phones. I drowned two phones this summer. One in a hottub and one in my pool. I lost my iPhone in the hottub and going 6 months without my GPS, contacts, email, news, twitter, internet was horrible.

I did research over every single smartphone on the market and finally decided on the Samsung Galaxy II S. This phone is awesome. Voice control, huge screen and Swype for texting is like magic. I know when the iPhone 5 comes out it could take back my top spot, but I’ll have to make some carful comparisons.

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920
Twitter: ChangeTWYT