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Oxfordshire Advanced Skills Centre Officially Opened
November 6, 2019
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F1 engineering legend – and former UKAEA apprentice – Ross Brawn came to Culham Science Centre to open the new training academy.

The new Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) apprentice training centre has opened its doors at Culham.

OAS Director David Martin, engineering apprentices Rebecca Marsh and Ella Quigley, and F1 managing director Ross Brawn

OAS – which has the capacity to teach up to 350 young people a year – aims to increase the number of technicians and engineers for local employers. This is in part to plug the high skills gap in the county, which is one of the UK’s leading areas for science and innovation. Already almost 20 hi-tech employers are benefitting from having technicians trained at the facility.

OAS is a partnership between the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Science and Technologies Facilities Council. It opened in an existing building on the Culham site in 2016 but the purpose-built training complex will enable it to expand its programmes using state-of-the-art equipment.

Guest of honour at the opening event was Ross Brawn – who enjoyed a successful career in motorsport including at Benetton and Ferrari and is now Formula 1’s managing director.

He said: “I am truly delighted to be present at the opening of Oxfordshire Advanced Skills, and the place where it all began for me as a young apprentice at the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

“My time here provided me with the skills and experience I needed to go out into the wider engineering world, and it laid the foundation for the career path I have pursued.

“Apprentices are our next generation of designers, engineers and global problem solvers, and the importance of advanced skills training in the modern world – alongside facilities like the OAS – has never been so important.”

The new OAS building has industry-standard equipment covering a wide range of engineering and technology disciplines.

David Martin, OAS Director, and another former UKAEA apprentice, said: “The vision was an employer-led skills hub that would provide high quality training contextualised by being delivered in the workplace, but OAS is so much more than that. We have created something very special here that has the potential to impact careers and business performance for decades to come.”

Training at the centre is provided by the MTC Apprenticeships, based on the model they have successfully developed at their Coventry engineering skills academy.

Paul Rowlett, MTC Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to be working with UKAEA and STFC to deliver the Oxfordshire Advanced Skills training programme. There is a clear synergy and shared vision across our organisations.”

The next phase of OAS is already being planned. As well as extending the facility at Culham to cover robotics and power engineering training, OAS will add a skills centre at Harwell Campus for apprentices in the space sector as part of the rapidly growing Space Cluster there.

Rugby World Cup-winning Legend @JonnyWilkinson Backs #apprenticeship to Train Future England Stars
October 23, 2019
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England legend Jonny Wilkinson has thrown his support behind a new apprenticeship.

The nation’s record points scorer, who won the 2003 World Cup against Australia with a famous drop goal, is now looking to the future for his sport.

As of 18th October talented rugby union players will be able to hone their skills to compete at the highest level through a Sporting Excellence Professional apprenticeship.

Speaking the day before England take on Australia in the quarter final of the current World Cup in Australia, the former fly-half tackled the issue of how promising youngsters can earn a living as they are trained to become stars of the future. He said:

“I’d always encourage young people to follow their passions as far as they possibly can. If that means taking part in sporting activities, then this is fantastic. Apprenticeships can provide the opportunity for any young person to get their foot in the door with professional sport. I have been involved in rugby squads where I have enjoyed working alongside apprentices and watched them play key roles in the success of the team and go on to forge exciting careers in the game.”

Rugby league, cricket and football are also part of the Sporting Excellence Professional apprenticeship.

In addition to Rugby Union clubs, Rugby League and cricket clubs are also as of today now able to use the apprenticeship, which had previously only been open to football clubs as of May this year.

The Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League worked together with football’s Premier League and English Football League, and the England and Wales Cricket Board to develop this apprenticeship.

The Institute’s Chief Executive, Sir Gerry Berragan, welcomed the move for new government-supported apprenticeships – which have expanded massively across different professions in recent years (there are now more than 500 available in total) – to move into the field of professional sport.

He said:

“This announcement will hopefully give those with a passion for sport another chance to potentially achieve their dream. It is encouraging that so many employers have been involved with the development of this standard and I’m sure we will see the benefits in the future.”

The Sporting Excellence Professional apprenticeship standard sets out the key knowledge, skills and behaviours that apprentices will have to master before completing. The key duties expected of a Sporting Excellence Professional are that they should:

  • effectively and successfully represent their employer on the field of play at a local, regional, national or international level;
  • undertake a daily training routine, supported by a multi-disciplinary team, to ensure they retain and develop the technical, tactical, physical and psychological skills necessary for performing at the professional level;
  • practice a lifestyle conducive to maintaining a high level of performance;
  • act as an ambassador for their employer, sport and governing body in relation to younger players, fans and the local community – including their approach to diversity, equality and inclusion; and
  • actively plan for life after their sporting career and to supplement the next phase of playing contract.

New Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund Delivered By In-Comm Training
October 18, 2019
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In-Comm Training has been named as one of the training providers for a new skills fund launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The Aldridge-based firm, which operates three technical academies in the Black Country and Shropshire, will be galvanising SMEs and larger firms to make the most of unspent Levy money currently available in the region.

The aim is to encourage employers to take on more young people in advanced manufacturing, digital skills and STEM-related apprenticeships as the area looks to cement its position as a global leader in engineering.

In-Comm Training’s employer-led approach to skills was one of the main reasons it has been chosen, with its team of expert advisers and trainers now responsible for supporting potential users of the fund to meet the criteria and recruit the right young people.

Bekki Phillips, Managing Director at In-Comm Training, commented: “Any new programme that encourages greater adoption of vocational learning is welcomed, especially one that specifically targets STEM courses.

“We have to raise the region’s productivity and using unspent Levy money to offer apprenticeships to 16-18 year-olds is a great, long-term way of ensuring we are growing our workforces of the future.”

She continued: “More than 146 standards are available, covering science, technology, engineering, manufacturing, construction and digital – all the skills we are going to need if we are going to exploit the UK’s strengths.

“The new fund will essentially remove the 5% fee that SMEs normally have to pay to take on an apprentice, making it easier to invest in young people.”

The West Midlands Combined Authority covers a population of 4.2 million across Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire and the Marches LEPs.

In-Comm Training’s proven track record in delivering apprenticeships, combined with a £7m investment in its three academies in Aldridge, Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury, has given it the perfect platform to be a crucial partner to the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund.

Derby College Group Students Take Control of Mental #Wellbeing
October 18, 2019
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Derby College Group (DCG) has launched a special toolkit to help students recognise triggers to mental health issues and better manage their own well-being.

The SEEDS programme is available on the college’s intranet and stands for the key ingredients to mental wellbeing: sleep, exercise, eat healthy, discuss and self-help. It offers practical advice on these key aspects and students to the support available both at College and externally.

Activities for students at Broomfield Hall college included petting sessions with some of the resident small animals and creatures at the Animal Care centre, craft activities and fitness challenges.

Helen Jefferson is DCG director of services for students and designated senior lead for mental health.  She explained:

“We have wide-ranging support in place for students but were keen to offer practical advice so that they can better recognise the triggers and understand the link between a healthy lifestyle and mental well-being.

“SEEDS has been specially developed within the college and we look forward to the feedback from students as they make use of the toolkit in the coming weeks and months.”

Meanwhile staff and Business students from the Roundhouse college supported East Midlands Railway’s R U OK campaign at Derby Station – encouraging passengers to speak up about stress and anxiety.

Students gave out leaflets and manned an Act of Kindness wall where people posted positive comments.

mental wellbeing 1

Timmy the Tenvec was amongst the animals available for a cuddle by students at Broomfield Hall college on World Mental Health Day

Stewart Milne Group Cements its Support oF Apprenticeships with its Latest In-take
September 16, 2019
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An Apprenticeship Case Study.

Stewart Milne Group has recruited a further 12 new apprentices to meet demand across its developments in Scotland.

Stewart Milne Group cements its support of apprenticeships with its latest in-take
Stewart Milne Group

The independent home builder and timber systems manufacturer now boasts 44 apprentices across the business at various stages in their career, reinforcing their commitment to apprenticeships as a way of attracting young people into the sector and offering them the opportunity to build attractive careers in construction.

The new apprentices, who will work in a variety of trades such as joinery, bricklaying, plumbing and painting, will undergo a four-year programme to gain the skills and experience needed to develop an exciting career in a sector which continues to face skills shortages.

As a result of this looming skills gap, construction apprenticeships are some of the most popular and competitive and the modern apprenticeships at Stewart Milne Group offer individuals a chance to join an award-winning team, with scope to build a long-lasting career.

Having been involved in apprenticeship schemes for almost 40 years, Stewart Milne Group now has many former apprentices in senior roles across, including heads of departments and even directors. 

Stewart Dalgarno, director of product development began his apprenticeship at Stewart Milne Homes 35 years ago. He said, “The apprenticeship scheme at Stewart Milne Group is an excellent pathway for those aiming to pursue a career in the construction sector. Year on year the company equip apprentices with the experience and knowledge to thrive within one of the UK’s largest housebuilders.

“Through hard work, and with support from the company, I was appointed a director before I was 30 and then relocated to England to take up the post of managing director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems.

“At Stewart Milne, we believe there is no wrong path and are very proud of our culture that has no limits on personal development. As our employees progress, there are opportunities and tools available to help them build a successful and rewarding career. This includes our internal and award-winning leadership programmes as well as fast track initiatives and MA degrees and certifications.”   

Looking to kickstart their careers at Stewart Milne’s Homes North division are apprentices Jamie Elliot, Jamie Cargill, Connor Leisk, Ryan Cruickshank, Nathan Stephen and Ryan Maclsaac.

A further six apprentices are due to start in Central Scotland later this month.

They will work on a variety of new developments across North and Central Scotland, with a range of trusted and expert Stewart Milne Group sub-contractors. 

New apprentice bricklayer Jamie Elliot said: “I am very excited to get started and take my first steps in the construction sector with Stewart Milne Group. The apprenticeship scheme is a great opportunity to develop a range of technical and practical skills, as well as offering job security for the future. 

“The apprenticeship scheme does not only equip you with vital skills for pursuing a career in construction, but also offers the chance to progress through the company.

“Having heard of many others who have progressed from apprentices to senior roles, I’m looking to achieve every success at Stewart Milne Group through a combination of hard work and determination.”

Apprenticeships with Stewart Milne Group involve training on-site and at college during the first three years, giving an apprentice a balance of technical and practical skills. Trade apprentices then complete their fourth year on site.

The 44 apprentices, at various stages in their apprenticeships, including civil engineers, quantity surveyors and architectural technicians, represent around 5% of Stewart Milne Group’s total workforce and the new recruits will join and learn from this supportive community.

Case Study: Management and Leadership Qualifications Help Boost Efficiency at NHS Trust
September 13, 2019
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Management staff at a London NHS Trust have been taking advantage of a successful training and development partnership between London South East Colleges and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust where the training of staff, particularly in the area of operations and departmental management, is highly important.

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust is responsible for University Hospital Lewisham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Greenwich, and a range of community health services in Lewisham. Its vision is ‘to work together to provide high quality care for every patient, every day’.

For over seven years, the Trust has employed the services provided by London South East Colleges for the training and development of staff from a wide spectrum of management roles including clinical and administrative.

Ranjan Pattni is the Trust’s Apprenticeship Lead and responsible for supporting staff in training and development via the apprenticeship route. She Says:

“Each year we offer our staff the opportunity to apply for the Operations and Department Management CIM Level 5 Diploma which covers strategic planning, budgeting and finance, managing people and processes, leadership, managing change, decision-making, communications and building relationships with staff, patients and their families. It is a two-year course in which each candidate is required to pass six units. Needless to say, this is not easy, especially while balancing work, study and family life.

“This leadership and management training is a mix of bi-weekly lectures and assessments, distance learning and assignment-led projects – it works well for the majority of learners. A dedicated tutor from the College is always on hand to support and guide them through their studies.

“These courses help staff in their day-to-day roles, as well as enabling them to build their skill sets and progress their careers.”

Jean Firaza, 28, is a Ward Manager at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She was promoted from senior staff nurse last year to work on two new wards. Jean says:

“All of a sudden, I was operating within a network of new people and my responsibilities pretty much tripled overnight. Though a lot of these were dependent on my general aptitude and previous experience, I recognised immediately that I needed more training – particularly dealing with challenging behaviour, introducing new working patterns and resources and embracing change.

“I started this course in November 2018 and within weeks I was learning about leading and organising a team (I have a team of 25 staff members associated with my ward). I’m enabling my team to become more self-sufficient and familiar with new systems and structures, creating a calm and composed working environment and a safe, comfortable and hygienic recovery space for patients. It’s also helped having a superb manager who has supported me in this training, regularly highlighting all the positive changes he’s noticed in me since I started the course.”

Maureen Ekhuemelo, 37, is a Senior Staff Nurse at Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s endoscopy unit and is responsible for ensuring clinical excellence and close cooperation with staff specialising in various disciplines. Maureen says: 

“At present I am a team leader and need to boost my confidence by learning more people-related skills. Our tutor, Badar, has such a broad knowledge of management techniques and principles that are common to all sectors. As well as learning the core fundamentals of each unit, we pick up even more with practical exercises and simulated activities that allow you to put what you have learnt into practice.

“The course has really helped me think on my feet a lot quicker, as well as learn how to solve complex problems or remove difficult obstacles by simply approaching them from different perspectives. It’s helped me to shine new light on dilemmas and complications that can arise during a typical shift in my unit and has empowered me to become more assertive and confident. It is a very good course and I’m so pleased that I decided to take it when I did.”

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals You Can Realistically Accomplish
September 3, 2019
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A case study by Lea McLeod, M.A., the founder of the Job Success Lab and author of  The Resume Coloring Book

It wasn’t working for my client, Miranda. She’d gotten her degree and was doing well in her role at a Big Four accounting firm, but something was missing.

Sure, she could keep going, receive generous compensation, and continue to advance. But deep down inside, no fireworks were going off; she couldn’t see herself on this path for the long term.

But like so many other employees who feel stuck, she didn’t know how to make a career pivot. On one hand, she wanted to reach for the stars, but on the other, she knew that she had limited experience in a specific industry and needed to be realistic about what she could pursue. Ultimately, she wanted to land a financial leadership role in the healthcare industry.

What Miranda learned is that if you want to change something; for example, chart a new path, ditch a boring job, or pivot in your career, you’ve got to start by setting a goal.

By working toward a goal, you end up getting much more than your desired outcome. Setting and achieving meaningful career goals provides three essential career nutrients: increased job satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and improved quality of your life.

But how do you form a right-size goal that’s ambitious, but doesn’t overwhelm you? Here are a few tips to help you truly understand how to achieve goals.

You Need Clarity

Studies show you’re more likely to succeed when your career goals are specific. So, start by peering into the future and creating a vision for your ideal self and career. What would that look like in one, three, or five years?

Ask yourself: What’s your job like? What kind of skills and responsibilities do you have? Who is your employer, and what is your job like? What are you totally awesome at? What kind of team do you work with?

When you clearly visualize your desired outcome, you begin to see the possibility of achieving it—and you can start taking steps to build your plan.

Miranda wanted a role at a regional healthcare organization, where she would oversee financial planning and reporting as part of a dynamic, progressive team—one with a culture that valued and respected its employees. And she wanted that position by June of 2020.

It Has to Challenge You—But With a Realistic Outcome

If you’re in your second year of public accounting, and your goal is to become CFO of Apple by the end of next year, you have your head in the clouds. Although you may know the basics of accounting, you have a long road ahead of you before you’ll be the CFO of one of the world’s largest companies. Just sayin’.

Miranda realized that for her desired outcome to actually be realistic, she’d need to acquire more knowledge and additional skills. So she did the research, spoke with people in similar jobs, and realized that by taking a few additional courses and volunteering as the part-time CFO of a small nonprofit, she could start acquiring the skills and knowledge to achieve her goal. And that made it imminently more realistic.

You Must Be Committed

I’ve heard so many people say, “I hate my job and need to make a change.” But they take zero action to make that change happen. They’ll give you a hundred reasons why they don’t go after that change, but you can boil them down to one: They simply aren’t committed to that goal.

If you believe your goal is important and attainable, you stand a much higher chance of succeeding.

Miranda committed to her goal by adopting a mindset that set her up for success—she saw herself achieving her goal. She was clear in her desired outcome, and perhaps most importantly, she was willing to share her goal with others, which held her accountable to making progress along the way.

You get commitment only when you are convinced that the goal is important to you and that it’s attainable.

Feedback Is Essential

Miranda identified a couple of key mentors and coaches to share her goals with and committed to providing them with regular updates.

To make sure she could provide a significant update every time she spoke with these mentors, she broke her ultimate goal into more bite sized action steps, which required shorter timeframes. For example, she set a goal to have one conversation per week with someone working in her desired industry and role. From those informational interviews, she identified potential target employers and what it takes to succeed in that role.

Each time she made some progress, she shared her insights with her mentors, and they helped her make tweaks to her other action steps based on what she was learning. Having a feedback process allowed her to stay motivated, stay on track, and feel a sense of accomplishments throughout the entire process. 

You Must Create the Right Conditions for Success

Successfully achieving your goal requires just two conditions: time and practice.

When Miranda set the goal to connect with one person a week, she did it for a good reason: It was a realistic goal that she knew she’d have time to accomplish. She could have said, “I’ll connect with seven people each week.” But given her current professional commitments, the complexity required to achieve that objective would have been overwhelming. By week two she likely would have fallen behind, become discouraged, and perhaps even given up.

To avoid burning out and quitting on unrealistic goals, create intermediate objectives that you have enough time to complete, given your real-life commitments.

Then, practice! Miranda was getting great relationship-building practice in her weekly networking meetings. She knew that would be essential for any career move she made. She was also getting great hands-on practice creating financial statements in her volunteer position. This gave her time to learn, experiment, and fail in a safe environment, while she kept moving her career plan forward.

I’m highly confident Miranda is going to achieve the career goal she set for herself. And when she does, it will be a huge win for her. Not only because she’ll achieve her desired outcome, but also because she’ll have built a fabulous winning experience on setting and achieving a career milestone—one step at a time.

Career Breaks Are the New Norm – So Why Are They Still Stigmatised?

When we think of career breaks, motherhood tends to spring to mind. But there are many other reasons why people take timeImage result for career breaks off work, and getting back in isn’t always easy.

Geoff was 44 when he found himself faced with a difficult decision: to leave his 30-year coal mining career behind him and retrain, or to continue doing what he knew best. He was at this crossroads because his 11-year-old daughter was concerned that he was putting himself in danger each day; she was scared of losing her dad. She didn’t know it, but her fear was very much grounded in reality. Mining has the third highest fatality rate of any industry. It now claims the lives of nine workers on average each year, and that number was even higher when Geoff was working in the industry.

With his daughter’s concerns front of mind, he decided to take a leap of faith and retrain as a teacher. Following two years of accelerated study, he found himself in a position where he was entering a new industry for the first time in over three decades. Read more

Case Study: Walsall College and the matrix Standard
August 8, 2018
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Walsall College’s Careers Guidance Service is free and available to all students and prospective students.  

Students and prospective students can access the Careers Guidance Service in many different ways i.e. by telephone, face to face and e-guidance. There is also a dedicated Careers Centre located on the ground floor in the Atrium where we operate a Quick Queries Drop-in service for current students on a daily basis. The college provides an extensive vocational provision for students aged from 14 years old and over to no upper age limit.

The Senior Management and Curriculum team are all fully aware of the Careers Guidance Service and curriculum staff actively encourage students to attend or take part in activities or refer students to the Careers Team for further support, when they have surpassed their expertise.

WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP
A Whole College Approach

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Pizza Hut Case Study – A Reminder: Degree Apprentices
June 5, 2018
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Pizza Hut’s first cohort of degree apprentices (2017) gives an insight into just how beneficial the programmes are.

The first candidates of Pizza Hut Restaurants’ ground-breaking degree level apprenticeship programme are forging ahead with their career ambitions after successfully completing their first year on the course.

Emily Bell, James Mann, Holly Humphrey, Aaron Oreschnick and Anchit Mahajan have mastered skills in leadership and business whilst completing on the job training with Pizza Hut Restaurants.

Now moving into their second year, the group will delve deeper into the world of hospitality and business by completing modules in sales and marketing, operations and technology management and customer and stakeholder relations.

The group will also complete a second negotiated work-based project where they will be required to evaluate business scenarios and challenges from their own role.

The four-year degree level apprenticeship, which is a first for the hospitality industry, is delivered in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and offers people an opportunity to study for a BA (Hons) business management degree whilst receiving on the job training at their local Pizza Hut.

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