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Up to £10,000 and a Free Learning Programme for Community Businesses
September 6, 2019
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The Community Business Trade Up Programme, run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), in partnership with Power to Change, will open for applications from Tuesday 17 September until Wednesday 27 November 2019. 

The programme supports the leaders of community businesses with:

  • A fully-funded learning programme (12 learning days, spread over nine months)
  • A Match Trading™ grant of up to £10,000
  • A community of supportive peers

The learning programme will help the leaders of community businesses to develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to increase their impact, with a focus on increasing their sales and income from trading. It will run from April to December 2020, and there are places for 80 community business leaders across England who will learn in groups of 10. The programme is delivered by the School for Social Entrepreneurs at seven locations across England.

The Match Trading grant, created by SSE, is a new type of grant funding that pound-for-pound matches an increase in income from trading. By rewarding sales growth, Match Trading incentivises social organisations to develop their trading base, so they can build stronger futures. The first cohort of the Community Business Trade Up Programme achieved a typical 92% increase in income from trading.

Alastair Wilson, CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs, said: 

“We’re delighted to partner with Power to Change for a third year, so we can jointly support a further 80 community business in England to grow. Community businesses strengthen local economies and enrich the fabric of society. But running them can be challenging. We’ll help community business leaders develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to improve their sustainability and impact, with the support of Match Trading grants and a learning approach we’ve refined over 21 years.”

Jenny Sansom, programmes manager at Power to Change, said: 

“This programme will give a really important step up for relatively new community businesses and help them to focus on their trading activities and long-term sustainability. The first cohort of this kind of funding enjoyed a 92% increase in trading, which is a huge impact. I’m delighted to be opening up this programme for a new group of community businesses.” 

The Community Business Trade Up programme has already supported more than 200 community business leaders since 2017.

Community businesses from across England can find out more and apply now until 27 November 2019.

Power to Change and SSE will be hosting a free webinar about the programme on Friday 4 October at 11am. To register follow the link below

free webinar about the programme

Apply for Funding: T Level Teacher Regional Improvement Projects (TRIPs)
August 21, 2019
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The Department for Education is working in partnership with the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) to offer high-quality professional development support to teachers, trainers and leaders delivering T Levels from 2020 onwards.

Through the T Level Professional Development offer there is an opportunity for 2020, 2021 and future T Level providers to participate in sector-led, collaborative action research projects, known as Teacher Regional Improvement Projects (TRIPs).

TRIPs should aim to develop teaching practice in preparation for T Levels and ultimately ensure that learners undertaking T Levels develop the knowledge, skills, behaviours and competencies required, and understand how they are applied in the occupation they want to progress into.

50 collaborative TRIPs will be funded across England. 31 TRIPs were commissioned in June 2019. Profiles of the 31 TRIPs are available on the ETF website

This inviation to tender is for the remaining 19 TRIPs, which can be delivered on a national or regional level.

£45,000 will be awarded to each TRIP.

£20,000 is for project funding while the remaining £25,000 will be allocated for TRIP participants to access remission funding to allow them to participate in the wider T Level Professional Development offer.

Further information on available CPD can be found on the ETF websiteOnly providers who participate in TRIPs will be eligible to access remission funds. 

Each TRIP must involve a minimum of four organisations; one of which must be a 2020 T Level provider. One organisation must be appointed as the project lead.  

Each TRIP is managed and supported by one of the three Knowledge Hubs operating in their area:

For further information and to apply to deliver a TRIP, please download the following documents:

TLPD TRIP guidance to applicants – August 2019 .pdf

TLPD TRIP guidance to applicants – August 2019 .docx

The deadline to apply is 12pm Friday 11 October 2019.

Applications should be submitted to the T Level Knowledge Hub in the lead organisation’s region, using the contact details above.

If you are interested in being involved in a TRIP and would like some further guidance on delivery and sourcing project partners, please contact the T Level Knowledge Hub in your region please contact projects@aoc.co.uk

Apprenticeship Levy an ‘Empty Promise’, Says CIPD
July 24, 2019
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The apprenticeship levy is failing to deliver on government promises to boost skills and spending on workplace training, according to research from the CIPD.

The key objectives of the levy were to increase apprenticeship numbers and investment in workplace training, which was in a 20-year decline when the levy was introduced in April 2017.

But the CIPD’s new report, Addressing employer under-investment in training: The case for a broader training levy, described this as an ’empty promise’.

It found that fewer than a third (31%) of the 2,000 levy-paying employers surveyed said the scheme will incentivise them to increase the amount of training they offer, down from 45% in 2017.

The report also showed that nearly six in 10 (58%) levy-paying employers either believe the levy will have no impact on the amount they spend on training (49%), or will actually lead to a reduction in training spend (9%).

Employers have invested in fewer apprenticeships since the levy’s introduction, with starts falling from 509,400 in 2015/16 to 375,800 in 2017/18, the research highlighted.

It also revealed that the way the levy is designed currently is incentivising employers to use their funds in counterproductive ways. A fifth (22%) of employers said they use their levy money on training that would have happened regardless, and 15% said they use the scheme to accredit skills that staff already have. A further 14% reported that the apprenticeship levy directs funds away from other forms of training that are more appropriate for their organisation.

The CIPD is calling on the government to replace the apprenticeship levy with a broader training levy, which would enable organisations to fund both apprenticeships but also other forms of accredited training better suited to their needs.

A portion of the training levy pot could also be used to create a regional skills fund to address skills challenges at a local level, such as by helping smaller non-levy-paying firms invest in skills, the report added.

The CIPD said it also wants the levy to cover all employers with a headcount of 50 or more. This would double the amount raised by the scheme to £5 billion, which would help make up the shortfall from the decline in investment in training over the past two decades, the body said.

Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser at the CIPD, said there is a case for more flexibility around apprenticeships. “Our research clearly shows the apprenticeship levy has failed to deliver what the government said it would: more investment in workplace training. For this to become a reality we need to have a broader training levy that is much less prescriptive and gives employers more flexibility. This should also help to prevent employers from gaming the system, as is currently the case,” she said.

Crowley outlined the case for obliging a larger pool of employers to invest in the levy:

“With only 2% of employers required to pay the apprenticeship levy, the money raised from it was never going to be enough to close the gap that’s been left by the long-term decline in training investment. But if we had more employers contributing we could make up the shortfall and also help to boost regional investment in skills.”

Employers Turn to Training as Businesses Struggle to Recruit
July 10, 2019
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More than two-thirds (68%) of UK employers have struggled to find skilled workers this year, with Brexit uncertainty making talent scarcer.

An annual report on the skills landscape of the UK, The Open University Business Barometer 2019, reveals that organisations spent £4.4 billion on temporary staff, recruitment fees and increased salaries in the past 12 months due to difficulties finding employees with the right qualifications and experience.

Nearly half (48%) hired temporary staff to plug gaps, while 44 per cent spent more than intended on recruitment fee

Others (38%) took a different approach, increasing salaries in order to make roles more attractive, and nearly a third (31%) were forced to hire at a lower level than intended.

Approach to addressing the skills shortageExpenditure 2019Expenditure 2018Percentage Change
Extra spending on recruitment fees£1.6 billion£1.2 billion+33%
Training to boost skills of those hired at a lower level£1.2 billion£1.5 billion-20%
Increasing salaries on offer£0.9 billion£2.2 billion-59%
Spending on temporary staff while role remained vacant£0.8 billion£1.5 billion-47%
Total£4.4 billion£6.3 billion-30%

The skills shortage comes as the UK employment rate stands at the highest level since 1971, while unemployment is at its lowest since 19741. The dearth of skills in the labour market means that recruitment is taking one month and 27 days longer than anticipated, forcing many to seek external help – leading to a 33 per cent rise in spending on recruitment fees in total.

Three in five (63%) employers report that their organisation is currently facing a skills shortage (up from 62% in 2018). And while spending on recruiters is on the rise in an attempt to attract necessary skills, there is also a greater focus on re-training existing staff, with more than half (53%) of organisations increasing their training and development budgets in the past year – by an average of 10 per cent.

In the past, many employers have relied on buying talent rather than building it, but with more than three in five (62%) expecting it to become harder to find the right skills in the next year many are now looking internally.

Three in five (61%) think that they will have to focus on developing talent from within their organisation if they want to guarantee access to the skills they need in order to be productive and efficient. And the benefits of this approach can be felt throughout an organisation, with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills citing training as one of the most commonly cited channels through which spillovers of knowledge and productivity can occur2.

While one in five (21%) employers think that Brexit will open up new growth opportunities for their organisation, the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU may be a key driver of this sudden change in gear. Three in five (59%) senior business leaders agree that the skills shortage will worsen after the UK officially leaves the European Union, which may explain the shift to focus on home-grown talent.

While seven in 10 (71%) employers agree that developing the skills of the existing workforce is a more sustainable approach, it is crucial that any training helps to support business objectives, while offering as much as value as possible. The Open University’s flexible, technology-enabled degrees and apprenticeships, allow employees to fit learning around work and personal commitments, whilst being able to stay local and contribute to their community – and at the same time nearly three in five (58%) employers believe is less disruptive than other forms of training.

David Willett, Corporate Director at The Open University, responded to the findings: “It’s encouraging that employers are looking to invest in the talent of their existing workforce, with businesses increasingly turning to strategies that will serve their skills requirements for the years to come. While many are starting to focus more on building up skills from within, rather than buying them in, it is essential that training ultimately delivers results, while fitting around employees’ existing commitments.

“Current uncertainties may see businesses understandably focusing on the short term, but initiatives like work-based training are essential for those looking to remain agile and competitive throughout in a rapidly changing business environment. Training, such as apprenticeships, provides a long-term solution to UK organisations looking to adapt to challenges on the horizon such as Brexit, digitisation and new technologies.”

Further findings, including specific skills shortages by region and sector and employers’ expectations for the year ahead, as well as details of The Open University’s offering, are available in The Open University Business Barometer 2019.

Methodology: The Open University Business Barometer was developed using the expertise and experience of The Open University in conjunction with quantitative market research amongst a range of businesses across the UK. A full methodology, detailing all extrapolations and calculations, can be found on The Open University’s business website.

The Open University commissioned PCP Research Limited to undertake a survey of 950 senior business leaders across the UK between 9 and 21 May 2019. The data was weighted by UK nation, region, business size and sector. Data for financial calculations was analysed and extrapolated by Third City.

About The Open University: The largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 2 million students, and it currently has almost 175,000 current students, including more than 7,000 overseas.

Over 75% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and 78 per cent of the FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses. The OU has been delivering work-based learning to organisations since the mid-90s, and has an employer satisfaction rating of 98%, according to the Skills Funding Agency. The OU launched its higher and degree apprenticeships offering in 2016 to provide employers with flexible, technology-enabled apprenticeship training for new and existing staff in leadership and management, digital, policing, healthcare and nursing.

In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework, 2014), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University is unique among UK universities in having both a strong social mission and demonstrating research excellence.

Regarded as the UK’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units, as well as games, videos and academic articles and has reached audiences of up to 9.8 million across a variety of online formats including OpenLearn, YouTube and iTunes U.

£1 Million Funding to Train Charities in Digital Skills
November 23, 2018
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Government announces £1 million funding to support programmes helping charities to improve their digital skills.

  • £1 million to expand training programmes for charities to improve digital skill
  • Fund follows a commitment in the Civil Society Strategy to support charities to build their digital confidence
  • Training to enable charities to develop an understanding of how technology can make it easier for them to achieve their goals

Charities across England will have the opportunity to improve their digital skills through a new £1 million digital training fund for the sector, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright announced today. The Digital Leadership Fund will give industry leaders’ free access to training or heavily subsidised courses to boost their digital skills and develop a wider understanding of how technology can help them fulfil their mission.

Training available for charity bosses will include learning how to maximise online fundraising tools, build a social media presence or modernise their operational delivery by embedding updated IT systems.

Training may also include learning how to harness emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to achieve their charitable objectives.

Read more

Qualifications – What Qualifications? Deregulation of Qualifications in England
November 21, 2018
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The following article is by Ann Gravells, Author and Education Consultant.

If you are a practitioner in the further education, training and skills’ sector, it can be confusing knowing which qualification you should hold.Ann Gravells, Author and Education Consultant

I say ‘should’ hold, but you might not need one since the deregulation of qualifications in England in 2013 (there are different requirements for the other nations).

It’s now the responsibility of the individual employer, college or university to make the decision as to what qualifications their staff should hold. However, there might be requirements to hold certain teaching and/or subject qualifications as part of the programme being taught and assessed.

Practitioners are ‘dual professionals’ i.e. they are a subject expert as well as a teacher, trainer, assessor or quality assurer.

Teachers and trainers

The most popular qualifications for teachers and trainers are the:

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET)
  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (CET)
  • Level 5 Diploma in Education (and Specialised Diploma) (DET).

Read more

£3m Skills Boost For Greater Lincolnshire SMEs

Greater Lincolnshire’s businesses are being encouraged to take advantage of free training in the region, as a further £3m of funding has been made available.

The fund, accessible through the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) project and co-financed by the European Social Fund, will give companies, including SMEs and sole traders, the opportunity to offer their employees professional training across a range of skills and sectors.

Nigel Brough, regional development manager of the SSW project in Greater Lincolnshire, said: “The project has already made a significant impact in the region, having helped 900 businesses and 4,000 employees gain new skills over the last 12 months.

“Securing an additional £3m funding means we will be able to extend that reach and support even more businesses, helping them to achieve their growth plans by offering them the opportunity to upskill employees through free training and improved productivity. Each employer receives a bespoke training programme, taking into account what works for them and their business in terms of training locations and timings.”

The £3m of funding is an extension of the SSW programme, which pairs local providers with employers based on their location and the specific type of training required, has been running across the region for the last year.

Read more

Help the Government to Design a New Training Offer for Adults
May 29, 2018
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The Department for Education is looking for volunteers to help them understand what could encourage more adults to take up training.

They are looking for adults aged 24 and above who do not need to have any recent experience of training or prior knowledge to take part. They will simply be asking for people’s views and opinions.

This is an opportunity to genuinely influence government policy.

If you (or any of your colleagues or client) are interested in taking part in interviews or focus groups, please email Mathew Mills (mathew.mills@education.gov.uk) with your name, telephone number and email address, and the times when you are normally available. Read more

C&K Careers – Capturing the Moment
August 28, 2016
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Three years ago C&K Careers invested in training me to become a matrix Standard Internal Champion. During our recent Accreditation Review, I was able to work alongside the Assessor in planning the programme and conducting some of the interviews;

“We found that through acquiring a deep understanding and involvement in the Standard, coupled with our all-year round commitment to it, we could bring even more rigour to the whole Assessment journey and so benefit  our company”

Photo of Katren North

Katren North, Head of Business Development, C&K Careers

 

“Having an Internal champion means that so much of what we do on a daily basis is underpinned by the matrix Standard. We don’t need to worry about getting assessment ready. It is what we naturally always do!”

“It is fabulous for staff to have the strength of their work externally recognised by the matrixStandard assessor  – and any areas for development are regarded as exciting challenges to drive us forward”.

 

 

Author; Stuart McRill, Registered matrix Assessor