National Apprenticeship Service Seminar: Apprenticeships, the International Context | llpUKecorys

National Apprenticeship Service Seminar: Apprenticeships, the International Context

Leonardo Mobility gives young apprentices valuable experience with world leading European employers

On 8 February I attended the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) Seminar comparing international models for apprenticeship schemes, which took place as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2012.

Despite my slightly bleary eyes, as I’d opted to travel to London from Birmingham on the day, I was glad I’d arrived bright and early as it gave me the chance to chat to plenty of people, from organisations such as BT and Pearson Work Based Learning, before the presentations began. On explaining that the Lifelong Learning Programme had been given the opportunity to run a workshop on the benefits of providing European placements to apprentices, I was met with genuine interest and enthusiasm – definitely a good start to the day!

Learning from international practice

The morning key note speakers provided a mix of experience and expertise on the topic of ‘Excellence in Apprenticeships: an International Perspective’. The NAS set the scene, explaining that the third annual seminar was bigger than ever with 12 countries represented by a variety of academics, educationalists, practitioners and employers. The day would be all about sharing learning and celebrating the renaissance of the apprenticeship.

I was particularly interested to see the parallel that was drawn between low rates of youth unemployment and apprenticeships as NAS highlighted statistics showing that countries with strong apprenticeship traditions such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria have been affected far less by youth unemployment recently.

We were then given information on apprentices by the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training.

Did you know that in Switzerland Vocational Education and Training (VET) is the most popular form of education at upper-secondary level, with about 70% choosing the VET route?

This was followed by presentations from Rolls-Royce and Siemens on the value of apprenticeships for international employers.

Underlining the value of Leonardo Mobility

The afternoon was dedicated to four workshops; and I was grateful to be joined by an experienced Leonardo Mobility project promoter, Chris MacCormac of Morthyng Limited, in explaining the added value of offering apprentices European work experience funded through the Leonardo programme.

I was able to give the audience an overview of how apprenticeships and European mobility are increasingly important within the Lifelong Learning Programme, both at a European and UK level, whilst distributing copies of a paper written by Ecorys. The In Focus briefing paper was a recent outcome of the Thematic Networking Group on ‘Meeting Training and Skills Needs’ (TNG 3). A key finding of this paper ‘Strengthening the provision of training for UK apprentices through European projects’ is that Leonardo Mobility projects report the enormous impact European placements for apprentices has on improving skills vital to UK employers; and this was certainly echoed by Chris MacCormac who has been able to demonstrate (through tracking Mobility project results over the years) that success rates measured through progression and completions were greatly increased as a result of participation in a European work placement.

Delegates were particularly impressed with the impact of European Mobility on the attainment of functional skills, as the placements gave apprentices many naturally occurring instances to hone these skills, for example having to calculate sterling to euro improved mathematical abilities.

Getting ready to apply?

The deadline for submitting an application for a Leonardo Mobility project has just passed, but this means that the delegates have plenty of time to start identifying partners and planning their project ideas in advance of the February 2013 deadline. I look forward to following up on contacts made during the event. Hopefully I will see their project applications next year!

Tip! View our recent blog post on National Apprenticeship Week.

February 22, 2012 Leave a reply

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Apprenticeships inquiry to hold first evidence session next week | FE Week

Apprenticeships inquiry to hold first evidence session next week

The first evidence session on an inquiry into apprenticeships will be held this week.

On Thursday, the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee will welcome experts from different stages of the apprenticeship programme.

Denis A Hird, chief executive of JTL Training, Alex Jackman, senior policy officer for the Forum of Private Business, and Graham Hoyle, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), will all give evidence on the day.

The session will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis, in The Grimond Room, Portcullis House, at 11am.

The Committee had already previously announced that it will be visiting Sheffield as part of its inquiry.

They will hold a number of formal oral evidence sessions between March 5-6 with employers who promote or offer apprenticeships, as well as learners currently enrolled on apprenticeship schemes.

Adrian Bailey MP, chairman of the BIS Select Committee, said: “Sheffield is home to a number of significant organisations and employers offering innovative and meaningful apprenticeship schemes.

“This is something that is being replicated right across the UK and is something the Committee wants to experience first-hand.

“Visiting Sheffield will allow the Committee to take evidence from a wide range of interested parties. This is a hugely important inquiry; apprenticeships are vital to boosting employment and growth throughout the country.

“The Committee feels it is vital that apprenticeships are structured in such a way so as to maximise their potential and to provide young people in the UK with requisite skills for future success.”

The deadline for written evidence to be submitted to the BIS Select Committee has closed.


Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Cameron’s ‘back to work’ tsar Emma Harrison quits | Mail Online

Exit the back to work tsar: After two weeks of damning Mail revelations, she quits – so how can her firm STILL win a new £15m government deal

  • Emma Harrison says she stepped down to avoid becoming a ‘distraction’
  • Spokesman for David Cameron says he ‘respected’ the decision

By Jason Groves

Last updated at 8:52 AM on 24th February 2012

Dramatic exit: Emma Harrison quit as David Cameron's 'back to work' tsar yesterday after a string of allegations against her employment firm

Dramatic exit: Emma Harrison quit as David Cameron’s ‘back to work’ tsar yesterday after a string of allegations against her employment firm

David Cameron’s millionaire ‘back to work’ tsar Emma Harrison dramatically quit yesterday following a string of fraud allegations against her firm.

She said she was stepping down immediately as the Prime Minister’s ‘family champion’ to avoid becoming a ‘distraction’.

Her company A4e, which earns hundreds of millions of pounds from Government contracts, is at the centre of two police investigations.

Yet incredibly the firm has been named this week as preferred bidder on a £15million contract to rehabilitate prisoners in London.

Mrs Harrison, 48, who is said to be worth £70million, was facing fresh allegations of a conflict of interest after it emerged that A4e had won a separate Government contract to advise the Cabinet Office on how to get problem families back to work. Ministers were urged to suspend the firm’s contracts pending the outcome of the police inquiries into alleged fraud.

The departure of Mrs Harrison is an embarrassment for the Prime Minister, who appointed her to help get 120,000 ‘problem families’ into work and only in December described her as an ‘inspiration’.

But ministers have been rapidly distancing themselves from her in recent days as A4e became engulfed in a tsunami of bad publicity. The Department of Work and Pensions warned that the firm could be stripped of its contracts if evidence of systemic and continuing fraud is uncovered by the police. Mrs Harrison’s decision to quit is designed to limit the political fallout for Mr Cameron. But the inquiries into her firm’s activities still threaten to plunge the Government’s flagship Work Programme into crisis.

A4e is one of only five major private firms to be handed incentive deals to get the long-term jobless back to work.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister last night said he ‘respected’ Mrs Harrison’s decision to quit.

In a statement, she said: ‘I have asked to step aside from my voluntary role as Family Champion as I do not want the current media environment to distract from the very important work with troubled families.

‘I remain passionate about helping troubled families and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute in an area where I have been active for many years.’

Liam Byrne said Emma Harrison had done the right thing - but the Government now had questions to answer
Margaret Hodge said Mrs Harrison was right to step down because of the huge question marks over the organisation

Pleased: Liam Byrne and Margaret Hodge both said it was right thing that Mrs Harrison had stepped down

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said: ‘Emma Harrison is right to step down from this high-profile role because of the huge question-marks about her organisation.

‘But there are still several allegations of fraud outstanding and I think in that light all of A4e’s contracts should be suspended until the police investigation is completed.’

Embarrassment: The decision of Mrs Harrison to quit is a blow for David Cameron who only appointed her in December. Last night a Downing Street spokesman said he 'respected' her decision

Embarrassment: The decision of Mrs Harrison to quit is a blow for David Cameron who only appointed her in December. Last night a Downing Street spokesman said he ‘respected’ her decision

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said: ‘Emma Harrison has done the right thing. But this is not the end – it’s the start of the real questions about the Government’s back to work contracts which are costing millions but are simply not getting enough people into jobs.’

Mrs Harrison, who was awarded a CBE in 2010, boasts that she lives in ‘utter luxury’ in a 20-bedroom mansion in the Peak District.

She also owns a £3million mews house in central London and a £75,000 holiday home near Skegness.

Her activities have come under intense scrutiny since the Daily Mail revealed on February 10 that she had paid herself a dividend of £8.6million last year, despite her firm’s failure to meet targets on finding jobs for the unemployed.

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee reacted in horror at what they saw as excessive fees being paid to the firm for very little risk.

On Sunday it emerged that the firm’s office in Slough, Berkshire, had been raided by police on February 17.

The Mail was contacted by a string of whistleblowers who said that signatures were forged and blank timesheets submitted as proof of work completed.

On Wednesday the Mail revealed that Thames Valley Police had arrested four former A4e staff on suspicion of defrauding the taxpayer.

They have been accused of rip-offs totalling tens of thousands of pounds and will answer bail next month.

A4e, which vigorously denies wrongdoing, said police were also investigating allegations of fraud involving a subcontractor on one of the back-to-work contracts it manages.

The Mail has led the way on the back to work tsar with a series of front page stories

It took the BBC until Wednesday to inform its viewers about the scandal

The Department for Work and Pensions said it had launched nine investigations into alleged fraud at A4e since 2005. In five cases the firm was ordered to repay thousands of pounds to the taxpayer after evidence of ‘irregularities’ was uncovered.

The Serious Fraud Office has also been urged to investigate.

A4e says it has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to fraud. The company insists that it has rigorous processes in place to prevent wrongdoing.

Last year the firm’s entire £180million revenue in the UK came from state contracts, although it also does some business abroad.

The DWP insists that the Work Programme is much less susceptible to fraud than previous back-to-work schemes because contractors receive the bulk of their payments only after individuals have been placed in work for several months.

Two fraud inquiries… yet two more deals for her firm

Conflict of interest: Mrs Harrison, pictured with husband Jim, is facing another probe over the awarding of a contract to her firm to advise on how to get problem families into work

Conflict of interest: Mrs Harrison, pictured with husband Jim, is facing another probe over the awarding of a contract to her firm to advise on how to get problem families into work

Ministers are facing fresh questions about the Government’s links to Emma Harrison after it was revealed yesterday that her firm was named as ‘preferred bidder’ on a £15million state contract.

A4e is understood to have secured the lucrative contract with the Skills Funding Agency to provide education to prisoners in London and help them find work on release.

After quitting yesterday as David Cameron’s back to work tsar, Mrs Harrison is also facing allegations of a conflict of interest after it emerged that A4e had won a separate deal to advise on getting problem families back to work.

The decision to carry on awarding contracts to A4e comes despite calls for the firm’s Government deals to be suspended pending the outcome of two police investigations into allegations of fraud.

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said it would be ‘unacceptable’ for the Government to issue new contracts to a company being investigated by the police for fraud.

A4e declined to comment, saying the Skills Funding Agency contract was ‘not yet in the public domain’.

The agency, a quango overseen by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, confirmed that contractors had been informed of the decision on Monday, but said there would be a ten-day cooling off period before the deal is finalised. A formal announcement is expected next week.

To add to the controversy, it emerged that an arm of A4e has also secured a Government contract with the Cabinet Office to advise on giving support to and finding jobs for ‘families with complex needs’. MPs said this appeared to conflict directly with Mrs Harrison’s former role as ‘family champion’, which had involved her advising the Prime Minister on helping 120,000 ‘problem families’ into work. In effect, they said she was recommending which firms should be used in the programme while her own company was bidding for the work.

Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart described the deal as ‘improper’.

The contract’s value has not been revealed and even though Mrs Harrison is standing down as Mr Cameron’s adviser, it will still be honoured.

Miss Mactaggart, a former Home Office minister who has asked the Serious Fraud Office to investigate A4e, said: ‘I am very surprised that this contract was ever let.

Mansion: Mrs Harrison's £5million pile has 16 bedrooms, 100 acres of land, a pool, spa, a bar, a nightclub and a long dining table for banquets

Mansion: Mrs Harrison’s £5million pile has 16 bedrooms, 100 acres of land, a pool, spa, a bar, a nightclub and a long dining table for banquets

‘I do not think it is right for an individual who has been given an important government role advising on an issue to be able to go on and bid for contracts in that area. Even the least corrupt person would be at risk of designing programmes that would favour their company.

‘Quite apart from any other issues involving her company it is improper for them to benefit financially from her role and I don’t think she had any choice but to resign.’

The Cabinet Office said the contract was originally granted in August last year. A spokesman said the deal was done with the company’s consultancy arm A4e Insight rather than the main firm.

It involves designing contracts for private companies bidding for taxpayers’ money to provide support to problem families – including helping them to find work – in four pilot areas in London, Leicestershire and Birmingham. The Cabinet Office confirmed that A4e would not be banned from also bidding for the work that results, although the councils involved would be able to ‘exclude’ it if they felt there was a conflict of interest.

A spokesman said ministers believed a potential conflict of interest would arise only if A4e actually won the contracts to help get problem families back to work.

A4e Insight is a wholly-owned arm of Mrs Harrison’s firm. Last night A4e said it would not bid for any contracts which result from the consultancy work.

A spokesman added: ‘The Cabinet Office contract resulted from an open and transparent bidding process.’

A4e has established itself as a key player in the initiatives by successive governments to use private sector firms to help the unemployed get back to work. MPs were told this week that the firm has won £224million in contracts from the Department for Work and Pensions alone since the election.

Last year its entire £180million turnover in the UK came from state contracts. A report by the National Audit Office found it had failed to hit targets for getting the unemployed back to work under schemes run by the last Labour government.Despite this it was appointed as one of five prime contractors on the Government’s flagship Work Programme which is designed to find jobs for the long-term unemployed. Half of its work is subcontracted to charities, generating millions in management fees.

The company even received a share of £63million in ‘termination fees’ after the DWP ended a previous back-to-work programme in which it was involved and replaced it with the new one.

Yesterday it also emerged that some of A4e’s jobseekers even worked unpaid in the company’s own offices for a month at a time.

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Beware of ‘cowboy’ apprentice providers –

Beware of ‘cowboy’ apprentice providers

Tony Cohen said firms should put candidates through a rigorous interview process just as with recruiting full-time staff. And firms should beware of “cowboy” apprenticeship providers, he added.

Mr Cohen said: “I got cold-called one day asking if the firm had vacancies for apprentices. When we got involved with them they tried to force the wrong qualifications course that did not suit the firm or the candidate.

“When we tried to take control they wanted to take the apprentice back or else charge us an agency fee.”

He said firms should instead look to local colleges with apprenticeship coordinators and ensure the course and candidate is right, but the process demanded time and effort.

The Forum of Private Business has urged the government to simplify and boost credibility of apprenticeship schemes.

It said apprenticeships needed to be more business-friendly and appealing to industry leaders in a statement made to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee’s inquiry.

Jane Bennett, head of campaigns at the FPB, said: “Our members value on-the-job training, and our latest research backs this up. The problem is that the majority of courses are not flexible, which is essential for small firms.

“There is also a lack of information available to small businesses about course benefits and therefore they find it difficult to navigate a complex system made up of numerous courses.”

She added that clear information on the effectiveness of courses was especially important.

BBC News – A4e chairman Emma Harrison steps down

A4e chairman Emma Harrison steps down

24 February 2012 Last updated at 17:55

Emma HarrisonEmma Harrison has run the company A4e since it began

Emma Harrison has stepped down as chairman of her welfare-to-work firm A4e, she has said in a statement.

It comes a day after she quit her role as the government’s “family champion” amid a police probe into irregularities at the Slough-based company.

As part of its work, A4e handles millions of pounds worth of government contracts for welfare-to-work schemes.

She said she had confidence in the business and hoped her latest decision would help the management team.

‘Tough decision’

In the statement, Ms Harrison, who is also one of the company’s five shareholders, said: “This has been a very tough decision for me, as I have spent my entire 25-year career building up this business and I believe so strongly in the importance of the work it does.

“But it is precisely because this work is so important that I do not want the continuing media focus on me to be any distraction for A4e, for its more than 3,500 employees, and for the tens of thousands of people across the UK and globally that look to this company to give them hope of finding employment.”

On Wednesday it was revealed former workers at the company – two women, aged 28 and 49 and two men, aged 35 and 41 – were arrested last month on suspicion of fraud and bailed until mid-March.

A4e said the alleged case dated back to 2010 and had been uncovered by its own internal investigation.

£11m dividends

There currently remains two police investigations into allegations of fraud linked to the company, although the latter probe is believed to involve a subcontractor.

On Thursday Margaret Hodge, Labour chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that all A4e’s welfare-to-work contracts should be suspended until the fraud investigation is completed.

Ms Harrison has been at the forefront of criticism of the company after it was revealed that its shareholders were paid £11m in dividends while all of its £160m-£180m UK turnover last year came from government contracts.

A4e started in South Yorkshire more than 20 years ago to provide retraining to large numbers of Sheffield steelworkers who became redundant when the industry started to decline.

The entrepreneur stepped back from her government role late on Thursday.

The prime minister, who had appointed her to the position in 2010, thanked her for her work.

BBC – Newsbeat – Why are under-25s hardest hit by unemployment?

Why are under-25s hardest hit by unemployment?

What do you think of this? and what do you feel could contribute to the answer??
Comment Below….
Tom BatemanBy Tom Bateman
Newsbeat reporter Robert Simmons

Robert Simmons struggled to get a job after leaving university three years ago

There’s a worrying fact that often goes unnoticed when people talk about the current “record” rate of youth unemployment.

The number of 16 to 24-year-olds unable to get work has been rising almost without interruption since well before the recession.

In the summer of 2004 around one in eight young people in the UK was unemployed.

The rate rose almost every year, surged after 2008, and has now nearly doubled.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of jobless young people broke the one million mark in the three months to September. The jobless total for 16 to 24-year-olds now stands at 1.02 million.

Take the BBC’s Get Yourself Hired Test

Professor John Van Reenen, Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE, describes growing youth unemployment as “a long running problem, rather than something that has just happened”.

Wednesday’s statistics show youth unemployment has risen by 67,000 on the previous three months, the worst total since comparable records began in 1992.

That means that more than a fifth of young people are jobless, although the figure includes a significant number of full time students.

The figures also mean under-25s make up more than a third of all unemployment in the UK.

So why is it increasingly hard for five million young people of working age to find a job and is there anything new in all this?

Read: More young people out of work

Date Number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds Youth unemployment rate (%)
Source: Office for National Statistics
May-July 2004 580,000 12.2
May-July 2005 600,000 12.6
May-July 2006 706,000 14.5
May-July 2007 711,000 14.6
May-July 2008 727,000 14.8
May-July 2009 944,000 19.8
May-July 2010 921,000 19.4
May-July 2011 973,000 20.8
July-September 2011 1,020,000 21.9

In any economic downturn, unemployment tends to rise because firms lose revenue and need to cut costs.

Despite the fact that young workers tend to be cheaper to employers, often their productivity is lower and they produce less value for the company – meaning they can be more likely to be laid off.

Higher redundancy payments also mean it can be expensive for firms to lay off older workers.

So in a recession, the ratio of young unemployed people tends to rise against the number of older people out of work.

It’s a phenomenon that occurred in the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s, according to Professor Van Reenen.

“I’m not sure there’s anything particularly different about what’s happening this time than there has been in the past,” he says.

Graduation pains

But one of the biggest alterations to the lives of young people in Britain has been the growth in the numbers going to university, a change Professor Van Reenen describes as “phenomenal”.

Since 1997 the number of higher education students in the UK has risen from 1.8 million to 2.5 million, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Ms Dynamite and Charlie Simpson

Ms Dynamite and Charlie Simpson supported an employment campaign

“That’s a massive increase and of course more people coming out means in absolute terms there’ll be more graduates who are unemployed,” says Professor Van Reenen.

It’s a situation felt acutely by Robert Simmons, 25, who graduated with a 2:1 honours degree in Music Production from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in 2008.

He spent much of the last three years unable to find any kind of work before finally getting a job with a human resources firm, for which he says he is overqualified.

Robert says there was huge competition for even the most basic jobs during his hunt for work.

“There could be 100 people applying, maybe 10 to 15 being interviewed for every position,” he explains.

“Most of the jobs I ended up applying for were unskilled jobs, basically things that you could do after a week’s training in-house.”

But the bad news for graduates might be short-lived, according to Professor Van Reenen.

“Those people are generally getting new skills and that’s going to, in the longer term, give them some protection in terms of their wages and their unemployment levels.”

Neet idea

The bigger concern is over an apparently growing number of young people at risk of being locked out of the jobs market for good.

The issue of people who are not in education, employment or training (Neet) is “getting worse”, says Professor Van Reenen.

The argument goes that the longer young people go without gaining professional skills, the harder it becomes for them to enter the labour force.

It’s something that worries William Winch, 20, from Hackney in east London who has been searching for a job since he left college in the summer.

“I go out every day and if I see a job in the window I put my CV in there,” he says.

“Everyone is trying to look for work really. So there’s going to be a lot of competition.”

William is now being helped by the charity Street League which helps get young people into work using football followed by professional training and support.

But economists point out that the depth of the recent recession hasn’t led to the unemployment rates that many feared.

Professor Van Reenen argues that the labour market is working better than it has in previous recessions, with a lot more “pressure and effort” from employment services to get people into jobs.

There’s also been a downward pressure on wages – many people have suffered a real terms drop in pay – due to what he calls a more “flexible labour market” helping prevent more widespread job losses.

Kindest Regards

Paul Champion

Strategic Project Manager

2nd floor, 722 Prince of Wales Road, Darnall, Sheffield S9 4EU

Mobile: 07540 704920 | Home Office: 0191 4607455
Head Office: 0114 2898400

Email: paul.champion

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BBC – Newsbeat – Firms quit government work experience scheme

Firms quit government work experience scheme

By Jim Taylor and Jim Reed
Newsbeat reporters Sainsbury's store and trolleys

Sainsbury’s is one of the firms to leave the scheme

Another company has left the government’s work experience scheme.

Maplin has joined Sainsbury’s and Waterstones in withdrawing its support.

It’s after critics claimed the scheme could exploit young unemployed people.

Ministers say they will listen to concerns and want it to work for employers and employees.

What is the scheme?

The government’s new work experience scheme was launched last January to allow people to get experience while keeping their benefits.

Jobseekers are invited to take on unpaid placements of between two and eight weeks.

Latest figures show that up until the end of November 39,000 people had taken part and half of them were off jobseeker’s allowance four weeks later.

But if someone quits after the first week of a placement they could lose some of their benefits.

What’s the problem?

Campaigners claim big companies are using the scheme to get cheap labour.

Twenty-one-year-old James Rayburn from Berkshire spent nine weeks stacking shelves at Tesco.

“I felt I was doing a proper job and going in there and doing what needed to be done. Then at the end of it I had nothing.

“They were kind of making the most out of me.”

Tesco says it has now taken on more than 300 unemployed people through the scheme, but is also now offering a paid trial instead of work experience with the promise of a job if it goes well.

It claims James was one of the first people to be offered a placement, and the maximum time anyone can work unpaid is now four weeks rather than eight.

What does the government say?

With more than a million young people currently out of work, employment minister Chris Grayling says firms trying to help should be encouraged rather than criticised.

“I simply don’t understand the mentality of people looking at this who are saying it’s the wrong thing to do,” says Mr Grayling.

“‘It’s slavery?’ They are simply talking nonsense and they’re damaging the prospects of the young unemployed.”

There has also been confusion between the work experience scheme and another, less common initiative, which forces some unemployed people to go on unpaid placements or lose their benefits.

Kindest Regards

Paul Champion

Strategic Project Manager

2nd floor, 722 Prince of Wales Road, Darnall, Sheffield S9 4EU

Mobile: 07540 704920 | Home Office: 0191 4607455
Head Office: 0114 2898400

Email: paul.champion

Ofsted Grade 1 Provider

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BBC News – ‘Pay-per-Neet’ scheme aims to help teenagers find work

‘Pay-per-Neet’ scheme aims to help teenagers find work

21 February 2012 Last updated at 12:15

By Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent

Nick Clegg: Youth jobs situation “a real crisis”

Firms and charities are to be invited to bid for a payment-by-results scheme to try to get “Neet” teenagers into work or training, in a project launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The £126m scheme is aimed at 55,000 teenagers in England with poor qualifications who are currently not in education, employment or training.

Mr Clegg says it will help youngsters “into the world of work”.

But Labour says the project is “too small and much too late”.

Chris Keates, leader of the Nasuwt teachers’ union, accused Mr Clegg of being responsible for an increase in Neets by scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance.

‘Ticking time bomb’

Mr Clegg described the problem of rising youth unemployment as a “ticking time bomb”.

“Sitting at home with nothing to do when you’re so young can knock the stuffing out of you for years,” he said.

“We urgently need to step up efforts to ensure some of our most troubled teenagers have the skills, confidence and opportunities to succeed.

“Many of them will have complex problems: truancy, teenage pregnancy, a lack of GCSEs and health problems.”

Mr Clegg said to see teenagers who have left school with no qualifications “slumped on the sofa in front of the telly is not only tragic for them… but it stores up huge problems for the future if we don’t help them now”.

He said it was also about getting “crucial early years in a child’s life at school right” to “save on so much heartache later”.

“If you start early it then allows children to start their school career with a sense of enthusiasm for learning,” he said.

The scheme, part of the Youth Contract announced in the autumn, will invite bids for contracts worth up to £2,200 for each teenager who can be sustained in work, education or training for 12 months.

The target group will be 16- to 17-year-olds without any GCSEs at C grade or above.

The aim is for long-term savings from an early intervention.

Almost one in five young people aged between 16 and 24 are classified as Neet – with the most recent figure standing at 1,163,000.

This response from the government is aimed at teenagers at the lower end of this age range who are already at risk of “disengagement” from the world of work.

The organisations that win these contracts will have a free hand to decide their approach – with the emphasis on rewarding a successful outcome.

Payments will be staggered, so that the full amount will be paid only to contractors when young people have remained in work or training for a year.

The funding will reflect the highest level of Neet youngsters in this age group – with £14m available in the West Midlands, where 11.5% of 16- to 17-year-olds are in this category.

The project has been challenged by the ATL teachers’ union, which accused the government of damaging the chances of teenagers “by dismantling the careers and advice service and abolishing the education maintenance allowance”.

“We have deep misgivings that getting charities and businesses to provide support for unemployed youngsters outside the education system will undermine the likelihood of success,” said ATL officer Adrian Prandle.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne also said the Youth Contract would not help most young unemployed people.

Mr Byrne said of Mr Clegg: “He promised big answers to the problem of youth unemployment yet what we have got today is something that won’t help 95% of Britain’s young unemployed.

“This is much too small and much too late to tackle a problem that is likely to cost our country £28bn over the next 10 years.

“The government needs to bite the bullet and put in place a sensible tax on bankers’ bonuses in the next budget to help get 100,000 young people back to work.”

‘Job snobs’

Meanwhile, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has branded critics of the government’s separate work experience scheme for young jobseekers as “job snobs”.

The scheme offers unpaid work placements in stores such as Tesco and Maplin to 18- to 24-year-olds who have been unemployed for more than three months.

Mr Duncan Smith said in the Daily Mail: “The implicit message behind these attacks is that jobs in retail, such as those with supermarkets or on the High Street, are not real jobs that worthwhile people do.

“How insulting and demeaning of the many thousands of people who already work in such jobs up and down the country.

“I doubt I’m the only person who thinks supermarket shelf-stackers add more value to our society than many of those ‘job snobs’ who are pontificating about the government’s employment policies.”

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

John Hayes & Simon Waugh launch ‘new era for Apprenticeships’ – FE News

John Hayes & Simon Waugh launch ‘new era for Apprenticeships’

Friday, 10 February 2012 09:40 New Era

The National Apprenticeship Service has launched the ‘new era for Apprenticeships’ campaign to promote Apprenticeships to employers, young people and parents.

The scheme aims to showcase the talents, skills and commitment of real apprentices in everyday workplaces. Six apprentices were chosen by the Government as the faces of the new Apprenticeships initiative. They feature current and former apprentices from vehicle manufacturer Bentley Motors, insurance brokers Blue Fin, telecoms group BT, builder’s Jelson Homes, housing association Incommunities and SEC Recruitment.

Please click on the video below to hear what John Hayes, Simon Waugh and the apprentices have to say at the Parliamentary reception launch:

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Enstitute Launches an Alternative University for Entrepreneurs international view

Want to be an entrepreneur? Enstitute is bringing back apprenticeships

If you want to be an entrepreneur, do you have to go to college?

In our story titled Stay in or drop out? The entrepreneur’s education fiasco, TNW Editor Brad McCarty states that the average public university (in the US) will set you back nearly $80,000 for a 4-year program. And a private school will cost in excess of $150,000.

“At the end of that time, you have a bellybutton,” he writes. “Oh sure, you might have a piece of paper that says you have a Bachelor of Science or Art degree but what you actually have is something that has become so ubiquitous that it’s really not worth much more than the lint inside your own navel.”

Screen shot 2012 02 16 at 3.43.57 PM 220x99 Want to be an entrepreneur? Enstitute is bringing back apprenticeshipsIn New York City, two entrepreneurs aim to disrupt the traditional university form with a new education incubation model that’s reminiscent of old school apprenticeships. E[nstitute], which launched last week, features the city’s most notable entrepreneurs who will act as mentors to a class of aspiring young fellows.

Enstitute’s co-founders Kane Sarhan and Shaila Ittycheria (pictured below, right) have rounded up 31 of NYC’s top entrepreneurs from 15 companies to participate in their program as mentors including founders from, Thrillist, LearnVest, Lot18, HowAboutWe, Nestio, Chloe & Isabel, Clickable, Holstee, Birchbox,, CrowdTwist, Veri, Warby Parker, WeWork Labs, Pixable, Local Response, Flavorpill and SinglePlatform.

shaila kane hires 220x344 Want to be an entrepreneur? Enstitute is bringing back apprenticeshipsKane, who’s just 24-years old, has been living in New York City for 6 years. He learned enough in college to know that college doesn’t teach you enough if you want to succeed in the big city. But while he was in school he met entrepreneurs Jacqui Squatriglia and Nihal Mehta who changed his life dramatically, each helping him on the path to success. “Not only are they two people who’ve ‘made it’ and have built amazing companies, but their success has created opportunity for others,” he says over lunch in SoHo.

Shaila, on the other hand, became an entrepreneur through a more traditional route, working for 4 years at Microsoft after earning a Harvard MBA. ”And now I’m 30 with $100,000 plus in loans!” she says. So which path is the “right path” if you want to be an entrepreneur? Kane and Shaila are betting it’s not the traditional route.

How E[nstitute] works

The Enstitute program is open to 18-24 year olds who’ve earned the minimum of a high school diploma. For the first class, 15 fellows will be accepted and will be asked to relocate to New York City to participate in an apprenticeship for 2 years.

Enstitute is currently raising funds to cover the costs of housing, transportation and food for the fellows. No other money will be provided. Ideally, Kane and Shaila would like to have the students all living together, dorm-style, perhaps in a sweet loft in Brooklyn.

“Year one is all about the broader scope of entrepreneurship, while year two encourages the fellows to refine their focus and hone in on a particular area of interest. I think that approach is really smart, and the applicants will benefit from it tremendously,” says Nestio founder Caren Maio, one of Enstitute’s mentors.

In addition to the apprenticeship, Kane and Shaila are working with Dale Jasinski, a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Quinnipiac and Bror Saxberg, the Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan to develop an educational curriculum for the students during their two-year fellowship.

While Enstitute is currently a non-profit, it plans to grow a for-profit arm in the future, which would invest in the entrepreneurs once the fellowship is over and may explore other options like charging companies recruiting fees for hiring fellows.

What’s in it for the mentors?

405640 10151204639895417 735700416 23945713 260204309 n 220x256 Want to be an entrepreneur? Enstitute is bringing back apprenticeshipsI spoke to a handful of the 31 mentors who’ve signed up to donate time out of their hectic schedules for the fellows. They’re all trusting that Kane and Shaila will have a stellar group of applicants who will be fun to work with and can help them build their business while learning along the way.

“This program has a give and take that makes it much more appealing and easy to commit to than other mentorship opportunities,” says Ben Lerer, the founder and CEO of Thrillist (pictured right).

Brian Snyder the founder of the children’s iPad app Everything Butt Art says his participation in the program is a huge responsibility. “Someone may be delaying or forgoing college to learn from/with me! That carries a heavy weight.” Accordingly, Brian intends to dedicate as much time and effort as possible to foster what’s likely to be a mutually beneficial relationship. “Great ideas emerge from youth and I imagine learning as much as the Enstitute participant might,” he says.

But what if they could do it all over again?

Many of the entrepreneurs in the Enstitute program are running million dollar businesses. So if they could do it all over again, would they attend school?

Practical application and experience was far too sparse in my education. My participation in the emergence of alternatives like Skillshare, for example, has helped shape my attitude around “learning by doing”. Certainly there’s overlap, but practitioners and academics carry much different perspectives. If I was dead-set on becoming an investment banker, I would probably still follow a traditional path. However, if I had even the slightest interest in entrepreneurship, the countless potential benefits of Enstitute far outweigh the “risks.”

-Brian Snyder, Everything Butt Art

I wish something like this existed when I was younger. I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug really early on, but it was difficult to find helpful resources to tap into and learn more. A program like this certainly would have saved me a lot of headaches.

-Caren Maio, Nestio

I went through the traditional system several times (undergrad, masters in the UK, MBA in the US), but I know that I’ve learned most of what I know on the job. The brands of the schools I went to helped me before I started my first company…but I learned very little in the way of practical skills, even in my MBA.

-Philip James, Lot18

I would still have gone the traditional route because I wasn’t ready to think about working when I was in college. I was more interested in hanging out with friends and generally being a degenerate, which is something I wouldn’t give up for anything.

-Ben Lerer, Thrillist

Enstitute isn’t for everyone

new york city skyline blue large 220x183 Want to be an entrepreneur? Enstitute is bringing back apprenticeshipsLet’s make this clear: As it stands, you won’t receive any sort of official accreditation from attending Enstitute. And even with a housing and transportation stipend, New York City is a very expensive place to live.

If accreditation is important to you (or your folks), traditional schools have begun to offer courses for entrepreneurs, such as Columbia University’s Entrepreneurial Greenhouse, which is a way for students to launch a startup while at school, and to receive class credit and mentorship while doing so.

Ben Lerer warns potential applicants that being an entrepreneur is not as glamorous as they might expect. “It’s hard and even sexy companies need to do a lot of not sexy work,” he says.

Everything Butt Art’s Brian Snyder notes that Enstitute is the embodiment of ‘getting out what one puts in’. “Applicants will have more opportunity than they’ll feasibly be able to handle. Those that harness the opportunity will graduate from the program with their own startups on a path toward success or jobs lined up with fascinating, world-changing companies. All the while, they’ll be living in New York City, a place ripe with opportunity for anyone with talent and ambition.”

(As the program grows legs, I’d like to see a few scholarships given to students so the fellowship isn’t solely comprised of privileged kids from the Tri-state area.)

Enstitute’s founder Kane Sarhan also points out the obvious, adding that this program really isn’t for everyone, as “doctors need not apply.”

Interested in Applying?

16steinberg CA0 articleLarge 520x273 Want to be an entrepreneur? Enstitute is bringing back apprenticeships

Enstitute officially launched on Tuesday, February 7th, and has already received hundreds of applications from current university students and recent high school graduates, including one 17-year old who said he turned down a Thiel Fellowship (which offers 20 entrepreneurs under 20 years of age $100,000 to “pursue their dreams”) because it “lacked structure”.

There are certainly parallels between the two programs. The Thiel Fellowship, which is based in the Bay Area, emphasizes mentorship and business development and includes meetings, conferences, presentations, and other networking and professional events. Enstitute is trying to take a slightly different approach by offering an official curriculum with a speaker series, weekly dinners and homework assignments.

Money and programming aside, these programs, in addition to traditional incubators like TechStars or ERA, all strive to build long-lasting relationships that are beneficial for the entrepreneurial ecosystem so it’s ultimately about finding the right fit for you– which is how education should be.

Lot18′s Philip James points out that the program gives young people a safe way of finding out if they really have the resolve, guts and hard decision-making to be an entrepreneur. ”Everyone says they have an idea that will be the “next best thing”, but when you actually are given someone else’s money and have to produce on the vision, you’d be surprise at how many people can drown in the details. This will be an eye-opening experience for a lot of these fellows, but one that could be a life-changing opportunity.”

If school isn’t the right thing for you right now and you’re ready to make a 2-year, fulltime commitment to entrepreneurship in New York City, applications are due by March 31st. Bootcamp starts this August.


“Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

-Albert Einstein

Want to learn more about alternative education? Read:

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Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920