Fully-funded opportunities encouraging career progression and business growth

Almost 2,000 people working across different industries in Greater Manchester will benefit from fully-funded training thanks to a £1.5m cash boost.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has awarded contracts to Growth Company and Seetec Outsource as part of its three-year Skills for Growth programme funded through the European Social Fund.

Both will deliver bespoke training that has been shaped in partnership with employers to plug skills gaps they are struggling to fill.

Seetec Outsource will support a minimum of 1,200 people working in the logistics industry to navigate a post-Brexit world as businesses face challenges around new import and export rules. They will also focus on upskilling in the planning, control and scheduling aspects of the sector.

Following feedback from employers in Greater Manchester identifying a need to upskill people across a number of industries with project management skills, Growth Company will work with Back2Work to deliver ‘Project Management for All’.

It will focus on individuals who do not specifically work in project management roles but carry out elements of this in their day job. The training will support a minimum of 750 people and will be suitable for people working across a number of different industries.

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, leader of Bury Council and Greater Manchester’s lead for Education, Work, Skills, Apprenticeships and Digital said: “There is a pressing need for more highly-skilled people than ever before who are trained effectively to grow our economy and raise productivity.

“In Greater Manchester we have a growing, dynamic economy and we have ambitions for a world class integrated skills system to match it.

“We’ve been making some real progress over recent years and the Skills for Growth programme is just one fantastic example of how we work collaboratively to provide a relevant offer to our businesses, which is tailored and responsive to their needs.”

Seetec and Growth Company will offer a blended and flexible approach to learning that can be applied in practice. All courses will be accredited at Level 3 or equivalent and will put individuals in a stronger position to either access higher apprenticeships or progression routes in the workplace.

Jen Leggat, Business Development Project Manager at Growth Company said: “Since the shift to home and hybrid working throughout the pandemic, project working and collaboration has been difficult in some organisations. We recognise the importance of developing key knowledge and skills in management and leadership and although employers are now seeing the value in project management techniques and processes, they are struggling to find people who already possess these skills.

“Therefore, we have developed a suite of training using real-time employer feedback that will not only support businesses in Greater Manchester to enhance their workforce but will also inspire individuals in the region to develop new professional skills.”

Lloyd DeVal, Director of Sector Skills at Seetec Outsource, added: “Serving as a foundation sector of Greater Manchester’s economy, Logistics and Infrastructure will play a critical role in supporting social and economic growth within the region.

“The industry is currently going through a period of rapid and unprecedented transformation. Changing customer requirements, emerging technologies and the digital transformation of the business environment mean that upskilling workers will be key to ensuring businesses can keep up with the rapid pace of change.

“We look forward to working closely with employers in the region to co-develop skills provision that builds workforce capability and increases productivity. As an award-winning provider with significant expertise and experience within the logistics sector, Seetec Outsource is well placed to deliver the skilled workforce that Greater Manchester needs to meet current and future challenges and embrace opportunities for growth.”

The partnership marks another step forward in the city-region’s approach to better joining up the post-19 skills system.

Coun O’Brien continued: “Skills for Growth is supporting our efforts to ensure businesses have the talent pool they need and demonstrates how working in an integrated way with the business community can have a positive impact on economic recovery.

“We’re seeing these benefits in other areas too, including our devolved Adult Education Budget and by getting more people into work. The more pieces we add to this jigsaw, the stronger and clearer our local offer can be.”

Skills for Growth is an innovative programme that has been developed to fill skills gaps in a number of industries in Greater Manchester. So far, nine lead partners have been brought on board to deliver support to businesses and training to individuals working across the digital, health and social care, construction, manufacturing and logistics industries.

Almost 2,000 individuals have so far enrolled onto a fully-funded course and to date, nearly 500 people have completed training.

This is in addition to the support offered through the Skills for Growth – SME Support arm of the programme, which is earmarked for any small to medium enterprise in the city-region to gain up to six months’ worth of tailored, expert guidance from dedicated Skills Coaches.

Find out more about Skills for Growth and both courses.

To level up the country, we need to join up employability and skills services

Yesterday (28 June 2022) at the AELP National Conference, the  ‘Hiding the Join’ report into joining up employability and skills services was launched co-authored by Employment-Related Services Association (ERSA) and Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)

The report written by Paul Warner from AELP and by ERSA’s Andrew Morton, ‘Hiding the Join’ comes at a pertinent time. The research also comes on the back of the government’s long awaited white paper into ‘levelling up’ being published earlier this year and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Investment Plans being written. We are also experiencing a cost of living crisis with individuals needing to move into quality work with good pay, and opportunities for in work progression.  ERSA and AELP are clear that if levelling up is to be a success for our most disadvantaged communities, then the organisations that ERSA and AELP represent will need to play a vital role. Yet to do that our research shows there needs to be a much more joined-up approach by government on policy making, procurement and delivery processes.

This is the beginning of a strong collaboration and an ongoing work stream; we hope you find the report useful.

View or download the report

Further information:

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is a national membership body, proudly representing around 800 organisations. AELP members support thousands of businesses and millions of learners in England by delivering a wide range of training, vocational learning, and employability programmes. We support learners of all ages, in every community, and at every level of post-16 study.

ERSA (Employment Related Services Association)  is the trade and membership body campaigning for high quality services for the UK’s jobseekers and low earners. We have charities, local authorities, housing associations, social enterprises, funding bodies and private sector organisations in membership. Our members are a social force for good. We exist to serve the sector and, through the sector, those who use their services.

Fe News: AELP and ERSA report calls for barriers to be removed between employability and skills services

 


13 RECOMMENDATIONS 

RECOMMENDATIONS: NEW PRINCIPLES FOR POLICY DESIGN

  1. Policy must be motivated by the intention to remove barriers – barriers for both participants seeking to access some complementary form of employment support and skills offers, and providers who need to be able to tailor offers to individual and employer needs
  2. In considering policy for the interlinked areas of employability and skills, a common language and universally agreed-upon definitions are required in order for both the DfE’s and DWP’s policy agendas to be successfully implemented
  3. Consideration should be given to a return to a departmental format such as that of the former DfEE (Department for Education and Employment)
  4. Policy makers must better understand and accommodate individual area dynamics found in the relationships and networks of employers, providers, schools and colleges, local government official and Jobcentre Plus offices that operate at a local level, and that are critical to addressing our most pressing labour market problems
  5. All employability and skills provision should operate within the context of a national framework that works to facilitate geographical transfer of skills, ensuring that the supply of more specialised skills, or those related to new technologies, are not structurally restricted to particular areas
  6. For Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) to be fully affective and to fulfil the objectives set out for them, it is key that they take into account all training and employability provision in their area, irrespective of the type of institution delivering it.RECOMMENDATIONS FOR POLICY CHANGE & IMPLEMENTATION 
  7. The need for a proper and effective all-age careers system, and how that should link across information, advice and guidance (IAG) for both employability and learning, should be central to the review by Sir John Holman, the Department for Education’s Independent Strategic Adviser on Careers Guidance
  8. More “pooled” budgets (using the initial model of the AEB as an example) should be co-designed and co-commissioned by all government departments with responsibilities for skills and employment provision to facilitate funding processes and funded outcomes aligned to the needs of all
  9. Better alignment and simplification of funding boundaries is needed across all government departments with responsibilities for skills and employment provision. This should aim to increase overlaps between localised and national funding streams, allowing providers to more efficiently plan consistent delivery across the country
  10. Local infrastructures should be fostered, exploiting those local networks noted above (recommendation no.4) and Local and Combined Authorities’ increasing responsibilities, to make government-sponsored Youth Hubs a success and to maximise those monies from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Community Renewal Fund (CRF). Both the UKSPF and CRF however need to have their financial commitments to employability and skills greatly enhanced beyond current proposals
  11. The DWP’s major nationwide procured provisions have not been formulated with seamless linkages to skills offers in mind. This creates barriers for both participants and providers alike, both of whom must be able to maximise their provisions without burdensome restriction
  12. Targeted policy interventions directed toward vulnerable and disadvantaged groups need to better match up those elements of support for job seekers with incentives for prospective employers. In joining together tools like wage subsidies, levies, guaranteed job interviews, training (for both soft and technical/ accredited skills), policy makers must also balance and weigh these together, so they complement each other.RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SECTOR REPRESENTATIVE BODIES
  13. As representative bodies of the employability and skills sectors respectively, ERSA and AELP should consider additional ways in which joint working could further common objectives, and particularly to facilitate easier and more effective alignment between skills and employability provision. These different recommendations are addressed, not in turn, but as they emerge within a broader discussion concerning the better joining of skills/employability provision and policy.

View or download the report

Blackpool nursing home staff complete business qualifications

Staff at a nursing home in Blackpool have benefitted after completing a range of qualifications aimed at upskilling workforces.

Three workers from New Victoria Nursing Home on Hornby Road have completed courses in Business Administration, delivered by local training providers PHX Training.

The Level 2 course teaches staff about the basics of operating a business, including responsibilities, information management and document production, and allows learners to learn the skills needed if they want to progress into team leader or supervisor roles in the future.

The training courses, which are fully funded by the Department for Work and Pensions alongside the European Social Fund, are aimed to help businesses in Lancashire become more productive, retain staff and plug skills gaps.

PHX Training, which has centres in Blackpool, Preston and Morecambe, is working with Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver 1,500 in work qualifications over the next two years.

Jan Moutrey, General Manager at the New Victoria Care Home, says the courses are a good way for businesses to invest in the skills of their staff.

She said: “These courses give our staff a deeper understanding of the daily running of the care home, while also increasing their confidence and involvement in the operations of the home delivering the highest level of care. Investing in our staff in very important so that they feel valued and can offer the best service to our residents.

“The service from PHX Training was excellent and they were understanding and supportive about fitting the courses around the daily work. As the courses could be done online or written it could be done by all ages of a varied workforce.”

Darren Pond, Business Manager for Work Based Learning at PHX Training, said: “These courses are fully funded and designed to help businesses train their staff up so that they can improve their skills, train them for more senior roles or plug any knowledge or skills gaps they have.

“Our team can support businesses who are interested every step of the way, starting with an initial phone call.”

The courses, which are fully funded by the Department for Work and Pensions alongside the European Social Fund, are available to all businesses in Lancashire looking to increase the knowledge and skills of employees. They can be delivered through paper booklets or online, with staff able to complete the course around their daily work tasks.

In addition to business administration, other courses available to businesses include data protection, climate change awareness, customer service, hospitality and safeguarding for the care sector.

To find out about the full range of fully funded courses which PHX Training offers, contact 07817 792 018 or visit www.phxtraining.co.uk

ENDS

All media enquiries, please contact:

Adam Ogden or Paul Tustin

01772 888400 or firstname@freshfield.com

Notes to editors:

PHX Training delivers government-backed training initiatives, adult skills, NEET (not in education, employment or training), employability contracts, apprenticeship training and work-based learning programmes.

A team of qualified trainers delivers a diverse range of resources including offline, online and face-to-face services at five training centres in Barrow, Blackpool, Carlisle, Morecambe and Preston.

Response to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund: Prospectus

ERSA welcomes the release of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund: prospectus and the added details that come with it.
As first outlined in the pre-launch guidance, the fund will be split into three investment priorities (communities and place; supporting local business; and people and skills). The People and Skills priority is most relevant to ERSA members, with the prospectus stating that “places can use their funding to help reduce the barriers some people face to employment and support them to move towards employment and education.”

In the full prospectus, published by DLUHC, the Government set out its framework for allocating funds from the Fund, designed to replace former EU Structural Funding.

However, as confirmed in the prospectus yesterday, UKSPF will focus on communities and place and local business interventions in 2022-23 and 2023-24, with people and skills funding to follow from 2024-25.
Despite ERSA’s ongoing campaign to get this changed, unfortunately, the rigid timings remain. However, an important caveat has now been added: “In England, places will be able to select people and skills interventions from 2024-2025 onwards, or earlier where they meet the voluntary sector considerations outlined here.
The voluntary sector considerations state: “Lead local authorities have the flexibility to fund targeted people and skills provision in 2022-23 and 2023-24 where this is a continuing priority for 2024-25 and may be at significant risk of ending due to the tail off of EU funds. This flexibility may only be used where provision is currently delivered by voluntary and community organisations, having regard for the focus of the Fund and available funding.”

It is worth noting that this does not apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In these areas, funding for the ‘people and skills’ investment priority will be granted from 2022-23 onwards.

As outlined in ‘What Have We Got to Lose?’, ERSA’s portfolio of European-funded employment support, the majority of the case studies come to an end in March or April 2023. The continued insistence by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on using these timeframes mean that ERSA members should start liaising with their lead local authorities as a matter of urgency.

However, one major concern for ERSA and our members is for the organisations that deliver over a larger geographical area than the local authority areas that have been selected by the government. The prospectus set out that lead local authorities working together to agree and commission people and skills activity is “strongly encouraged”. However, this leaves many organisations relying on the enterprise of lead local authorities, leaving the future of many organisations and the people they support in limbo.

Similarly, if local authorities do not collaborate, which cannot always be easy due to the lack of avenues to facilitate this: will organisations have to make the same plea to several different lead local authorities in order to carry out vital provision? If this is the case, this seems incredibly counterintuitive to the government’s promise of “reducing levels of bureaucracy”.

Furthermore, the release of the Multiply prospectus is also welcome. However, the fact that this large amount of money could potentially impact on the level of people and skills funding for employment support is worrying and ERSA will continue to find out more on this topic.

ERSA’s work on UKSPF

Linking skills and employability provision

With the support of Shaw Trust and in partnership with AELP, ERSA is working on a piece of research on better linking skills and employability provision.

As part of this, we would be grateful for your participation in a short survey of up to 10 minutes, which will help us better establish the link between DfE and DWP funded provision.

Please complete the survey by 11 February 2022.

Research on better linking skills and employability provision

Start the survey now

Further information:

New research project from ERSA, AELP and Shaw Trust on Employment and Skills

Shaw Trust is delighted to be partnering with the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) to undertake an innovative new research project.

At a time when the skills and job markets are going through rapid change, providers and policy makers need the best available evidence to understand how to improve opportunities for jobseekers and learners alike. While there are clear overlaps between the learning and employability sectors, this new research will bring together the latest data and expert insights to identify how provision, policy and outcomes can be improved.

The research will assess:

  • What are the trends in skills and employability provision delivery over recent years?
  • How might these trends have impacted on each other?
  • What policies and actions would improve the overall effectiveness of delivery both now and in the future?

This timely research will include the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and identify practical solutions for the learning and skills sectors in early 2022.

Chris Luck CB MBE MA MPhil, Chief Executive of Shaw Trust:

“Shaw Trust is delighted to be supporting this new research with leading partners from both learning, skills and employability. Our aim is to reduce the cliff edges between different forms of provision to ensure children, young people and adults have the skills and employment support they need to get in and stay in good work.”

Elizabeth Taylor, Chief Executive of ERSA:

“As we look to fill vacancies in the UK, joining up employment and skills provisions has never been more important. The lessons learnt from the joint work between AELP and ERSA will provide a good base to encourage people to acquire new skills and apply for jobs. We also hope that this will inform commissioners to consider a joined-up approach to programmes.”

Jane Hickie, Chief Executive of AELP:

“AELP are delighted to be teaming up with the Shaw Trust and ERSA on this exciting new research project. Evidently, there needs to be better cohesion between Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Education programmes. This work will demonstrate how trends in skills and employability are developing – and exactly how we can improve opportunities for employers, jobseekers, and learners. We look forward to seeing the project’s findings in the coming months.”

If you would like to know more about this project, get in touch with Dr Andrew Morton via policy@ersa.org.uk.

New research project from ERSA, AELP and Shaw Trust on Employment and Skills

At a time when the skills and job markets are going through rapid change, providers and policy makers need the best available evidence to understand how to improve opportunities for jobseekers and learners alike. While there are clear overlaps between the learning and employability sectors, this new research will bring together the latest data and expert insights to identify how provision, policy and outcomes can be improved.

The research will assess:

  • What are the trends in skills and employability provision delivery over recent years?
  • How might these trends have impacted on each other?
  • What policies and actions would improve the overall effectiveness of delivery both now and in the future?

This timely research will include the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and identify practical solutions for the learning and skills sectors in early 2022.

Chris Luck CB MBE MA MPhil, Chief Executive of Shaw Trust:

“Shaw Trust is delighted to be supporting this new research with leading partners from both learning, skills and employability. Our aim is to reduce the cliff edges between different forms of provision to ensure children, young people and adults have the skills and employment support they need to get in and stay in good work.”

Elizabeth Taylor, Chief Executive of ERSA:

“As we look to fill vacancies in the UK, joining up employment and skills provisions has never been more important. The lessons learnt from the joint work between AELP and ERSA will provide a good base to encourage people to acquire new skills and apply for jobs. We also hope that this will inform commissioners to consider a joined-up approach to programmes.”

Jane Hickie, Chief Executive of AELP:

“AELP are delighted to be teaming up with the Shaw Trust and ERSA on this exciting new research project. Evidently, there needs to be better cohesion between Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Education programmes. This work will demonstrate how trends in skills and employability are developing – and exactly how we can improve opportunities for employers, jobseekers, and learners. We look forward to seeing the project’s findings in the coming months.”

If you would like to know more about this project, get in touch with Dr Andrew Morton via policy@ersa.org.uk. 

Select Committee report on adult literacy and numeracy

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ERSA welcomes the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee report on Adult Literacy and Numeracy, in particular the Committee’s recommendation to launch a high-profile campaign to tackle low levels of adult literacy and numeracy in England.

The Committee found that adults struggling most at English and maths were often not aware of the free training and tuition, offered nationally for any adult who wishes to study English and maths up to and including GCSE level. ERSA fully supports this recommendation and believes in the importance of addressing adult skills needs to better support jobseekers and improve progression in work. 

Key recommendations made in the report by the Committee include:

  • Government investing and promoting family learning schemes—where parents learn, and encourage their children to learn.
  • Government taking a more flexible approach to the way in which skills in adults are measured.
  • Implementing a more uniform assessment of skills when an individual claims for unemployment benefit.
  • There should be appropriate cross-departmental support in developing and implementing adult literacy and numeracy policies and programmes. This should include a civil servant in each relevant Department acting as a champion for adult literacy and numeracy.

Government publishes Framework for Delivery of Traineeships

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The government has published a ‘Framework for Delivery’ for Traineeships. Traineeships are designed to support young people to develop the skills and workplace experience they need to gain apprenticeships or other sustainable employment. The Framework provides guidance to providers on the aims and future direction of the proposed Traineeships programme and ERSA welcomes this opportunity to support those young people not in employment, education or training.

ERSA responded to the Traineeships consultation earlier this year and is pleased to see many of our recommendations reflected in the Framework. In summary:

  • The Framework outlined that providers who currently deliver provision for 16-19 year olds and hold a contract with the Education Funding Agency will be able to deliver traineeships.
  • Traineeships will be seen as a route towards apprenticeships and other job opportunities and will  be available for young people aged 16-19 and for young people with Learning Difficulty Assessments up to academic age 25 from August 2013. Government will then look to extend traineeships to young people aged up to 24, with a timetable to be agreed in due course.
  • ERSA is pleased to note that the three key elements of the programme, work experience, building key skills and work preparation are all present within the Framework.
  • We are also pleased that  government agrees with our position that Traineeships should be flexible to address the needs of individuals and encapsulate the needs of local labour markets. This flexible approach will maximise the appeal of the programme to employers and increase the amount of Traineeships which can be made available to young people.
  • ERSA is encouraged to see that, while employers offering work experience placements will be obliged to offer a final interview and feedback at the end of the placement, the interview will not have to be specifically for a job or apprenticeship opportunity. ERSA believes this will maximise the number of employers who can participate.

 

Traineeships framework

ERSA’s response to the Traineeships consultation