NTfW Newsletter – October 2011

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Apprenticeship Awards Cymru & NTfW Annual Conference – Standing up for Skills

Book your place now for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru and NTfW’s Annual Conference – Standing up for Skills which are taking place on 16th and 17th November 2011 at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Cardiff. Further information for both events and a booking form are available on our website.
Apprenticeship Awards Information »
NTfW Conference Information »
Awards & Conference Booking Form »

NTfW negotiates NUS Wales membership entitlement for Work Based Learning Apprentices

NUS Wales

An exciting opportunity has emerged for NTfW members and their Apprenticeship learners. Following initial discussions with NTfW, The National Union of Students in Wales, which represents learners in Higher and Further education, is now expanding to create a National Society of Apprentices which will cover the whole of the UK. NTfW has been in negotiation with NUS Wales to finalise membership details for all Apprentices following a Work Based Learning Route. This will include access to an ApprenticeExtra card opening significant discount opportunities for all participating learners as well as a number of additional, specific WBL appropriate benefits.

NUS Wales is recognised by the Welsh Government as the official Learner voice in Wales. In the past, they focused their work on colleges and universities, but are now working hard with NTfW to develop a National Society of Apprentices to support Work Based Apprentices specifically. As a result, NTfW have been working closely with them to ensure this cohort of learners in Wales are engaged with and have the opportunity to take advantage of the offers from the Society’s membership. NUS Wales will in time be looking for WBL providers and learners to join a focus group to develop the project.

After much work on this, the exciting news is that the card with all the benefits and the support network for learners is now available. You and your learners can go on line to the NUS Wales website to register and purchase the card. Membership to the Apprenticeship society will also give learners significant networking opportunities and an opportunity to develop a society that fits their needs based on the opinions they feedback.

This example of the network collaborating with external stakeholders from the education sector will give NTfW members further value to offer their learners.

The ApprenticeExtra card section went live the NUS Wales website on September 28th with details of costs and benefits. Raechel Mattey from NUS Wales and Clara Weekley Aim to update members in further detail at the next round of regional meetings and also will have information available at the Awards Cymru and NTfW conference. For any queries or further details in the meantime, please contact Clara Weekley.

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Bringing Microsoft Apprenticeship into Wales

The L3 Microsoft Apprenticeship has been running successfully in England for over a year. This provides skills and knowledge development in technical aspects of IT. The Sector Priorities Fund Pilot (SPFP) South Wales Regional Provider Advocate, Rachel Searle, who is based with NTFW, was notified by Bridgend College some months ago of a problem with the technical IT progression pathway in Wales. From September 2011, 12 further education colleges have begun delivering Pathways to Apprenticeship in IT at Level 2, with learners due to complete this and progress in summer 2012. Although there are several Level 4 and above courses no level 3 Apprenticeship progression route in the technical aspect of IT was/is being delivered. e-skills had gained approval to deliver a SPFP pilot project for the Microsoft Level 3 Apprenticeship in Wales over 2011 but it was not delivered due to time constraints. Since then all attempts at bringing the Microsoft Apprenticeship into Wales had been thwarted due to funding and capacity issues.

Over the last 4 months, Rachel in her Regional Advocate role has been acting as a broker between two Welsh Government departments ( DfES & BETS) e-skills, Microsoft, Bridgend College, Acorn, ACT and e-academy to explore how this apprenticeship and pathway could be developed in Wales.

Many thanks to all the stakeholders, who have put learner and sector needs before their individual business interests and worked in a genuinely transformational and collaborative way to find a solution. We have agreed a three strand solution that will pilot the Microsoft Level 3 apprenticeship in Wales. We can then proactively inform all Welsh Government Apprenticeship contract holders of learner and employer demand in this area, allowing them to ensure their learning supply responds quickly to meet the increasing skills gap in IT. This is especially important as IT is a priority sector in Wales, due to its important role in the Welsh economy.
The three strands we are exploring are:

  • A specialist traineeship engagement programme with a progression onto L3 Microsoft Apprenticeship. This will not only ensure new entrants into IT where there is a skills shortage but also increase youth employment opportunities. We will be working closely with BETS and Microsoft to maximise links with their employer networks. We are aiming for this to run this calendar year, allowing us to pilot the apprenticeship ready for mainstream delivery from August 2012, when the Pathways to Apprenticeships learners will complete their course.
  • Exploring closer links between Pathway to Apprenticeship providers and relevant Apprenticeship contract holders to ensure early planned progressions to Microsoft Apprenticeship and dovetail these two routes as closely as possible.
  • Exploring with DfES, BETS and Microsoft how the Apprenticeship solution can be tailored to companies needs for employer funded and non WBL apprenticeship contract funding routes. For example, exploring the potential to support anchor companies and any potential funding available to them.
  • Exploring with PTA learners and employers, the Welsh demand for the 3 potential Microsoft Apprenticeship strands used in England. We plan to have this research completed by February 2012 to share with the Apprenticeship contract holder network in Wales to inform their planning and profiling for Apprenticeship delivery from August 2012

Exciting developments are ongoing and we will keep you informed of the progress. If you want further information in the meantime, please contact Rachel Searle, SPFP Regional Provider Advocate for South Wales, NTFW Rachel.searle@ntfw.org 07425 621708

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Welsh Baccalaureate – Training Providers Network Group

Welsh Baccalaureate
In January 2011 Education Minister, Leighton Andrews announced that the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification will be rolled-out to a further 53 centres and extended in six, making it available to some 7,500 further students.

This means that from September 2011 the qualification will have been made available to some 70,000 learners in a total of over 240 schools, Further Education Institutions and training providers across Wales.

The Welsh Baccalaureate is an innovative and exciting qualification delivered by schools, colleges and training providers across Wales. It gives broader experiences than traditional learning programmes, to suit the diverse needs of young people. It is strongly favoured by ESTYN as additional value to learning and compliments the transformation and collaboration agendas robustly.

The Welsh Baccalaureate is a qualification offered at the Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced levels and is studied alongside a range of traditional academic and vocational qualifications.

To give support, advice and guidance and for the general sharing of best practice, a number of NTfW members meet once a quarter to discuss the practicalities of delivering the qualification as a work based training provider regardless of the level. This group meeting has been a real success and is very much supported by the WBQ (Welsh Bacc Qualification) team at the WJEC. At least one development officer and a member of the administration team from WJEC attend to assist providers in any queries they may have regarding delivery plans, documentation etc and to gain feedback on how to make the qualification fit Work Based Learning providers more flexibly.

As a result of this strong, two way relationship and the feedback gained from the meeting, WJEC have this year already made several major changes to the specifications to adapt to Work Based Learning providers. The group is going from strength to strength and there is now a sub group, coordinated by Emma Choat from Acorn Learning Solutions to focus on how Employed status Apprenticeship providers can deliver the programme collaboratively to share resources and reduce any costs.
If you are interested in knowing more or joining the group, please contact the Chair, Christopher Partridge from Rathbone Cymru at christopher.partridg@rathboneuk.org

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NTfW collaborate with Leadership & Management Wales (Cardiff Business School/University) to complete exciting research programme into the lack of L&M development in Micro Organisations Pan Wales

Following relationships established between NTfW and Cardiff University (Leadership & Management Wales, Cardiff Business School) made during the Cardiff 14-19 Young leaders pilot programme this year, NTfW was approached by Dr Barrie Kennard from CBS to complete a research exercise to assist in highlighting barriers in relation to Leadership & Management CPD within micro organisations Pan Wales. Leadership & Management Wales ( CBS, Cardiff University) are keen to establish quantative research into the lack of uptake of funded L&M courses and general L&M development by Micro organisations in Wales. Whilst they can potentially analyse and access this information and source comment from SME employers and corporate businesses, Micro organisations are more difficult to reach. The bid to complete this research, submitted by Clara Weekley and sponsored by NTfW was favoured by LMW and the project was approved and commenced this month.

The objective is for NTfW to complete a case study/interview / information gathering exercise on the definitive reasoning behind the lack of uptake on L&M CPD within micro organisations linked to existing Work Based learning providers. LMW/CBS see NTfW as the ideal vehicle to gather the required information so that they can present quantative and not anecdotal information at Ministerial level. It is anticipated that this report will highlight the requirement for funding of modular, fit for purpose type qualifications and awards for Micro businesses specifically.

The project will not cost NTfW or its members to deliver. It is a self funded project and financed fully by LMW. Clara Weekley will be completing the project on a self employed consultant basis. The length of the project will span from September 2011 to April 2012. During this time it is hoped that members will support the project fully and consult with Clara on providing links to micro businesses/employers, contributing to focus groups and to disseminate information to and from employers if appropriate.

The benefits for members will be the opportunity to influence potential changes to future funding of L&M development and associated qualifications, which will in turn secure take up of courses from their micro sized employers. It is also a great opportunity of exposure for NTfW as a valuable organisation worthy of consultation on qualification reform at ministerial level and an ideal collaboration between the HE and WBL sectors. Clara will be attending regional meetings to update members and will also be communicating directly with members to consult on the project over the coming months.

It is hoped that the overall outcome will highlight the barriers of L&M development for Micro organisations, employers and businesses Pan Wales and to identify mechanisms that can be put in place to remove these barriers and increase accessibility and uptake. It is anticipated that following this research WG will work with LM Wales and NTfW to support the breakdown of these barriers and enable learning providers to assist Micro organisations to develop themselves and their staff into higher level qualifications and general Leadership and Management development.

Full details of the project outline are available. Please contact Clara Weekley for further details and expressions of interest to be involved.

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Farewells were said at Jobforce Wales this month

Rob Jenkins & Terry Doyle

Rob Jenkins (left) & Terry Doyle

October will be a sad month for the employees of Jobforce Wales and the Welsh work based learning provision and provider network generally as, after over 26 years of leading the company as its Chief Executive, Mr Rob Jenkins is officially retiring.

Knowing Rob as many of you do, you will be not be surprised that he intends to contribute to work based learning in various ways in the future, as and when appropriate – not a man for retiring quietly! In fact, he will be remembered throughout the network for his unswerving belief that if you believe that something is not right then you must stand up and be counted. Over the years Rob has questioned Welsh Assembly policy and procedures vigorously and has been instrumental in achieving rethinks and changes that have improved our lot and benefited learners.

He first joined Gwendraeth Valley Community Enterprises Ltd, now trading as Jobforce Wales, in 1985 when the company evolved to accommodate the Community Programme which provided community based employment and training to unemployed people. He has taken the company through all the name changes the Welsh Government has been through and all the various programmes they have instigated. He must take a lot of the credit for the company’s good reputation and achievement of excellent Estyn Grades in inspections.

He has always operated an “open door” policy for everyone and has gone out of his way to help employees, learners and others to resolve both work and personal issues. He is a “family friendly” manager who understands the need for a smooth integration between home responsibilities and work commitments. He is known for his willingness to co-operate and work with other training providers to achieve common goals. Although he has kindly said that he will always be available should we have any queries I think we all have a sense that it is “the end of an era”.

Our Finance Manager, Mr Terry Doyle, who is known to many of you, is also retiring after working for the company nearly from its inception; so between them they clock up more than half a century of work! Terry has had to manage the vagaries of changing funding systems and balancing some tight budgets over the years – hence he is well known within the company for the saying “Before you interrupt me, know that the answer is “NO” and the reason is – it’s for your own good”. They will both be sorely missed and we would all like to wish them an enjoyable, healthy retirement with a good dose of R and R!

With best wishes from the staff and friends of Jobforce Wales.

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News from the Regions

Innovative collaboration opportunity presented to NTfW members.

Working Links Wales and Training Providers.

From left to right: John Nash (TSW); T.I.Hall (CAVA); Philomena Kelly (Working Links); Paul Napier (Itec); Irene Delday (Bridgend College); Shirley Davis-Fox (ISA); Tania Watts (A4E) and Sue Poole (TSW).

At our August meeting members of the South Region Group received a presentation from Working Links, who are associate members. Philomena Kelly, the Skills Manager for Working Links Wales, gave an interesting insight into the Work Programme, the new Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) contract which forms an integral part of the UK Government welfare reform plans.

In June 2010, the government announced their plans to reform welfare to work in the United Kingdom. Central to the reform is the creation of a single Work Programme. The Work Programme is an integrated package of personalised support available to all people who are out of work, regardless of the benefit they claim. It will give providers longer to work with customers (up to 2 years) and greater freedom to decide the support they need.

Working Links have been successful in securing delivery of the Work programme within 3 areas of the UK and are a main provider of Work Programme throughout Wales.
Since 2000 Working Links Wales have helped over 23,000 people to change their lives by supporting them into sustainable employment. They work in some of the most deprived areas to address the challenges faced by people who are long-term unemployed. Through their network of partners they work with individuals to remove their barriers to progression and secure sustainable employment.

Working Links are interested in providing the best possible service to their clients on the Work Programme with a view to moving them into sustained employment and as such, would welcome collaboration with Work Based Learning providers. Philomena spoke about the possibility of our members becoming part of the WL Wales Provisions Support Catalogue. The Catalogue will be continuously updated and added to throughout the life of the Work Programme to include innovative training and support that helps people move closer to the world of work or up-skill them once in employment. This provides the basis for a truly innovative partnership, bringing together the expertise of Work Based Learning providers and a Work Programme prime provider, with a common goal of improving the quality of life of people in Wales through training and work.

Opportunities are endless, providing our members with new revenue streams without the risk of holding the contract, and especially for but not limited to, those members who currently work with unemployed learners such as contract holders who are delivering Traineeships or Steps 2 Employment. Examples include innovative employability programmes, pre and post-employment training, similar to Routeways into Work, ESOL, Basic Skills, NVQs and ultimately apprenticeships.
For further information please contact Philomena at phil.kelly@workinglinks.co.uk or call 02920 855 700.

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Leadership and Management Graduation Ceremony

Leadership & Management Wales

National Training Federation Wales (NTfW) was delighted to host a Leadership and Management Graduation Ceremony at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University on Wednesday 21st September.

The evening celebrated the achievements of 50 Cardiff students aged between 15 – 18 years old from various Schools and Colleges across the city. All have successfully completed the pilot project designed to support them in completing the Institute of Leadership and Management’s (ILM) Level 2 Award in Team Leading. All learners completed their ILM qualification, with most achieving a mark of over 80%.

Following the identification of the need to develop leadership & management skills under the principles of the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW), NTfW facilitated discussions between Providers Acorn’s Training Division, Barry College (now Cardiff & Vale College), ITEC Training Solutions and t2 Business Solutions, Cardiff Business School (inc. Leadership Management Wales), Cardiff 14 – 19 network and the Institute of Leadership and Management. A programme of study was devised which would develop the learners understanding of the key leadership and management principles, as well as linking their learning to the “real” world of work, through work experience and placements.

The highly successful evening included guest speakers Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert AM, NTfW Chair, Arwyn Watkins and Leadership & Management Wales Director, Dr. Barrie Kennard. The programme has proved so popular with schools, learners and parents that this year funding has been secured for 60 places this year within Cardiff. The programme is being rolled out in several other 14 – 19 networks with many more expressing interest in developing similar programmes in the future.

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Changes to national minimum wage – guidance for employers

New guidance has been published providing greater clarity on national minimum wage for businesses who offer work experience, placements and internships. Read more »

New Self Assessment penalties for late filing and late payment

HMRC are changing the way they deal with people who don’t send their tax returns on time or who pay their tax late. Read more »

Natwest sponsers Welsh translation service for businesses

NatWest is sponsoring a free translation service for businesses which is being promoted by the Welsh Language Board. Read more »

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