Tag Archives: business

Talent Abounds at Big Bang SW

Team Juno with The Lord Mayor of Exeter
Team Juvo win ‘Best CREST Award’ presented by The Lord Mayor of Exeter

Talent abounds at Big Bang SW which is the South West’s schools largest celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Held at the University of Exeter on June 21st and organised by Education Business Partnership SW its impossible not to be caught up in an upward spiral of inspiration and STEM possibilities.

Almost 2000 students from across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Swindon and over 60 local, national and international organisations and sponsors, including Beckton Dickinson, Babcock International and Spirent arrived to showcase their work and inspire one another. An amazing ‘Mega Class’ in the form of an interactive science session for 500 students, led by the National Space Academy, took place in the Great Hall.

The prestigious Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition was one of many awards to be decided at this event.  Camborne Science and International Academy (CSIA) were delighted that students attending Nexus, their Gifted STEM programme, won two awards.  The Best Crest Award which was sponsored by Exeter City Council and awarded by The Lord Mayor of Exeter, herself a Maths & Physics graduate was won by team ‘Juvo’ (Latin for help, assist, aid) . Their project resulted from their desire to solve a problem: “We are Year 7s and we have first-hand experience of being new arrivals in a huge secondary school and needing some help finding our way around…” (Gabriel Almeida, Max Anthony and James Belshaw). Team Juvo came up with the concept of how schools could use technology to communicate better with students, staff and visitors with interactive screens positioned around the site. They thought through how essential it is to engage with students, staff and visitors by tailoring profiles containing a range of Apps to suit the three user groups. The interactive screens offered site maps, newsletters and school information accessible to all; to individual timetables, co-curricular activity information, school bulletin, CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) reporting, Google drive and more, accessible to students; with other specific Apps aimed at teachers. “It’s like a digital friend who is always there to help you …” (Gabriel, Max and James).

As part of the Nexus Co-Curricular Programme, students will be learning how to develop Apps and look forward to Juvo developing their idea further. Mira Oates, Nexus Co-Curricular and Primary Coordinator was  understandably proud and excited by both the success of both teams. “Huge congratulations to all the students who took part and I am incredibly proud of them. I was quietly confident our students would win something because the quality of their ideas and their passion. The Juvo team have an excellent concept which I can genuinely see it successfully used in schools and other organisations”. (Mira Oates)

A full list of awards and the talented teams can be found here

 

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Degree Apprenticeships at the University of Exeter

Lucy & Quinten Digital Degree Apprentices 2017
Software Degree Apprentices (L) Lucy Spiteri-Beale (Renishaw PLC) & (R) Quinten John (Beran Instruments)

Korneel Verhaeghe – Partnership Development Officer from the University of Exeter writes:

This April marked the start of the new apprenticeship levy. Charged at 0.5% of payroll costs for UK employers with a wage bill of over £3 million, the Levy is part of the government’s commitment to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. This creates new and interesting opportunities for organisations both large and small to recoup their costs or take advantage of government funding by hiring apprentices.

The University of Exeter has responded to this new opportunity with its pioneering BSc Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship launched in 2016, and more programmes on the horizon for 2017 and 2018.

A 2016 report showed the average UK student finishes their degree with £44,000 of debt, making degree apprenticeships a welcome opportunity for many talented and enterprising students looking to gain a degree  without the burden of tuition fees. Through programmes of 4-5 years in duration, apprentices will gain a wealth of professional experience, earn a salary and enhance their lifelong career prospects. For employers, this offers new opportunities to attract high-calibre students while embedding them in the culture of your business, building loyalty and supporting growth.

BSc Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship

This trailblazing programme at the University is benefitting from a mix of students and companies, ranging from IBM, Renishaw and the Met Office to smaller businesses such as Beran Instruments and Aspidistra Software.


“The combination of residential and remote learning, allows our degree apprentices to combine university studies with a real role at IBM. We’re confident they are learning valuable digital skills and look forward to seeing how much they will achieve.”

Charlotte Fisher Morecroft; IBM


The programme is delivered through a unique model of residentials and online study, created in such a way as to minimise the impact on apprentices’ roles in the workplace. Students travel from across the country to the Exeter campus twice a year for several days to kick-start new modules, while the rest of the year is taught through online learning and lectures. Recognising the value of the extensive real-wold experience gained by apprentices, approximately one third of credit towards the degree apprenticeship is assessed through work-based learning.


“As a business we really value the blended learning element of the course which allows our apprentices to take full advantage of the earn as you learn element of an apprenticeship.”

Emma Portman; Renishaw PLC


Students on the Digital and Technology Solutions programme go through 2 years of core teaching, before taking modules relating to the specialist role-related pathway they are appointed to. They graduate as either a Software Engineer, IT consultant, Business Analyst, Cyber Security Analyst, Data Analyst or Network Engineer.

Throughout their course apprentices are assigned a mentor in the organisation and an academic mentor from the University, allowing for close monitoring of their progress, academic and pastoral needs.


“We have found the Apprenticeship Programme to be very well structured, with ample support and information being provided at all stages, resulting in an enhanced learning experience, and enabling us to transfer and implement larger corporate ‘best practice’ within our smaller SME environment.

Our learners have clearly benefited from the excellent working relationships formed with a variety of professional and experienced people, both in terms of other students on the course and lecturers.”

Peter Morrish; Beran Instruments


Large and Small Companies

Companies with a wage bill over £3 million a year pay 0.5% of this (with a £15,000 exemption) into an online account on a monthly basis. They can choose to benefit from this levy by hiring apprentices, in which case the accumulated money will go towards the tuition fees.

Emma Portman, Test and Training Manager at Renishaw, has enjoyed working with the University in recent years:


“Starting an apprenticeship scheme can be a long, complicated process and even though Renishaw has a well-established degree-level software apprenticeship scheme it was with some trepidation that we embarked on our new supplier relationship with the University of Exeter. However, from the very beginning they were engaged, focused and enthusiastic. Our support team ensured that we had all of the information we needed quickly and our first cohort of apprentices joined the Digital and Technology Solutions degree successfully in September 2016.” 


Companies not paying the levy can also benefit from this new system, as they will only pay 10% of the tuition fees, while the Government covers the remaining 90%. This provides smaller companies with a great and affordable way to grow their workforce, whether in number or in skill. Based on the BSc Degree Apprenticeship’s tuition fees of £27,000 over 4 years; this means small companies only pay £2,700 (10%); or £675 per year; to hire a new apprentice or to develop an already existing employee.

Beran Instruments, based in North Devon, currently has 1 student on the programme and has decided to hire another apprentice for the September 2017 intake. The company website boasts of their past success in hiring apprentices, some of which have now proceeded to managerial positions.

Peter Morrish, who joined the company in 1990 as an apprentice and is now a key member of the senior management team, cherishes the benefits of the degree apprenticeship on both the company and the student level:


“The Company has enjoyed various benefits from being involved with Exeter University’s Apprenticeship Programme, not least of which has been the significant level of development for the trainees as they have been able to apply theoretical learning to practical work applications from Day 1. The Company also benefits from improved access to a local high quality training provider, resulting in much greater communication and collaboration between the two organisations. The industry-focused modules relate closely to key business requirements.”


Students

The current students on the programme are very positive about the degree apprenticeship and see clear benefits to taking this route of vocational education:


Lucy

 

“Being able to learn on the job while also learning at uni is great. As the course has progressed I’ve found that the knowledge is beginning to overlap and is reinforcing my learning on both sides. I’ve also learnt a lot about time management – you have to make sure you keep on top of everything, which at times can be challenging, like with any degree.”

Lucy Spiteri-Beale; Software Degree Apprentice – Renishaw PLC

 

 

 


The result of the degree apprenticeship programme is an experienced graduate, with a skillset moulded specifically to the needs of your business, which has shown to lead to increased loyalty to the company.

Quinten John joined Beran Instruments as an apprentice in 2011 and is currently on the IT degree apprenticeship at the University of Exeter. He explains how the programme is benefiting both him and the company:


Quinten

“The flexible programme allows you to attend to work duties whilst learning in parallel, and enables you to specialise and develop particular skills to meet your own individual career aspirations and also the ongoing needs of the business.”
Quinten John; Software Degree Apprentice – Beran Instruments


If you would like to explore how a degree apprenticeship can benefit your organisation, please get in touch with Partnership Development Officer Korneel Verhaeghe (01392 72 62 25 or k.verhaeghe@exeter.ac.uk), who will gladly provide you with information and answer any questions.


“The only thing worse than training your employees and losing them, is not training your employees and keeping them.”

Zig Ziglar

New ‘Carousel’ Digital Marketing apprenticeship scheme with top Devon employers

Gemma - PR
Gemma – Carousel Apprentice with Cosmic, The Deer Park Hotel & River Cottage

 

Vicky Moss- Crump from Cosmic writes:-

Cosmic are advocates when it comes to apprenticeships. We took on our very first apprentice, Ben, in 1998 and he is still a valued member of the team. Since that time, apprenticeships have changed and Cosmic have evolved their offering to suit the needs of those looking for this type of work. In 2013, Cosmic secured funding to run their very own digital apprenticeship programme, which saw us employ six young people and gave us the opportunity to provide them with a wealth of digital knowledge. The apprenticeship enabled these young people to work on a variety of areas within our business. This includes website design and development, technical support, digital marketing and training; as well as the opportunity to gain placements with a number of our partners, including Mole Valley Farmers, Yarlington Housing and Eloquent Technologies.

Since then, we have been working with the Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board to look at different ways in which we can offer apprenticeships. We are all aware that there is currently a skills shortage within the digital sector. Many organisations recognise the need for digital within their businesses, but do not have the expertise to support these roles or do not need these roles on a full-time basis. With this in mind, Cosmic have designed an apprenticeship model which allows other organisations to benefit from Cosmic’s digital skills and offers a more flexible approach. We have called it the ‘Carousel Apprenticeship’.

In 2016, Cosmic held talks with several members of the Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board around this approach and it was agreed to move forwards with two other employers: The Deer Park Hotel and River Cottage.

So how does it work? Cosmic have employed a digital marketing apprentice; Gemma Spencer, who began the new programme in February 2017. Gemma attends college for 1 day a week and works at Cosmic for 1 day a week. During that time, she focusses on learning a range of digital marketing skills. She then works 1 day at the Deer Park Hotel and 2 days at River Cottage, allowing her to apply her learning to different organisations. The businesses benefit from a skilled digital apprentice and Gemma benefits from a wide range of learning through a number of organisations.

Already, Gemma is embracing the new way of working and has grasped the opportunity with both hands. She says, “I am looking forward to this new type of apprenticeship. Being able to work with different companies such as Cosmic, The Deer Park and River Cottage is a fantastic opportunity, giving me the chance to build strong relationships and gain as much experience as possible. One of the things I am looking forward to the most is being able to experience different working platforms, and interacting with so many different people. This will teach me to keep an open mind and have multiple perspectives for each company and their brand. Every day in the week will be something new with different surroundings and I’m more than excited for the opportunity”.

Joint CEO Julie Hawker said, “Cosmic has for many years made a major commitment to its own apprenticeship programme, and has offered new opportunities and employment to local young people. This new initiative to share our passion and commitment, as well as employment of apprentices with other local employers, is a fantastic development and one which we look forward to replicating many times in the years ahead.”

Managing Director of the Deer Park, Mark Godfrey advised “Deer Park are committed to the apprenticeship scheme and are proud of what we have achieved with our partners; River Cottage, Bicton College and Exeter College. We have had 6 apprentices working with us in the last 4 years and it’s great to see them all develop and move up the employment ladder with good qualifications.

We have been lucky enough to have apprentices from Bicton in our garden department growing produce for our River Cottage apprentices to cook for our 2 Rosette restaurant served by our Front of House apprentice from Exeter College. Now that’s a great example of plot to plate and growing your own!

And now working with Cosmic and River Cottage we have the great opportunity to have a Digital Marketing Apprentice working with us one day a week under a newly developed Carousel scheme, a fantastic opportunity for Gemma….”

All partners are delighted to be running this new programme and cannot wait to report on the programme at the end of 18th month scheme. Cosmic is extremely proud of the apprenticeships they have offered over the last 19 years. They will continue to look for new innovative ways in which to reduce the skills gap and enable other organisations to embrace technology through apprenticeships.

Full STEAMM Ahead

Grand Challenges - University of Exeter - June 2016
Grand Challenges – Tackling 21st Century Interdisciplinary Dilemmas Together at the University of Exeter – June 2016

Recently we have been discussing the complex and volatile world in which we live and work, and the increasing need for more interdisciplinary teams.

Locally, Innovation Exeter is focused on cultivating a City-region which is a world-leader in environmental data analytics.  This is an interdisciplinary area and results will be achieved by exploiting the presence of the Met Office, the University of Exeter, the Science Park, the Maths School and other critical assets. STEM∗ STEMM° STEAMM℘ are top topics. Naomi Climer, the president of the Institute of Engineers, values the mix of creative and technical skills in individuals. However, the skills and personal qualities which underpin and enable interdisciplinary working in these highly technical areas are vital across all sectors and at all levels. If we are to tackle the productivity challenge and be more fulfilled individuals we need to unleash confidence, communicate effectively, collaborate meaningfully and re-discover curiosity.

Our meeting of Employers, Training Providers, Facilitators and Funders on Friday 25 November explored the theme Full STEAMM Ahead! Interdisciplinary STEAMM teams with strong collaborative abilities are the way ahead. We enjoyed presentations from and discussions with:

Kerry Burnham Exeter Maths School Creative and interdisciplinary project work with the University, Exeter College and employers – the benefits of being stuck!
Louise Cole & Kevin Feaviour Imagine If – Assets for Success Soft skills in schools, colleges, universities communities and the modern workplace

louise-and-kevin-employment-skills-board-presentation-final

Rosie Bates Education Business Partnership STEAMM & the EBP – STEM Ambassadors, Big Bang etc

ehod-esb-ebpsw-full-steamm-ahead

Anka Djordjevic Grand Challenges – University of Exeter Grand Challenges interdisciplinary enquiry –led learning with leading academics and external specialists

full-steamm-ahead-grand-challenges-presentation-light-version

Jo McCreedie Careers & Employability – University of Exeter Internships & employability experiences

(Presentation to be added when technical glitches solved!)

Our main discussion points identified our need to:

  • Transcend silo mentality and cross boundaries
  • Ensure students experience breadth and develop interdisciplinary skills as study subject areas become more specific
  • Think beyond the immediate demand for STEM and not to fixate on ‘the now’
  • Focus on ‘Character, values and virtues’

We will need an interdisciplinary, creative, collaborative, innovative group to make this happen.

This was an interesting and informative start to what should be a Grand Challenge for Exeter and beyond.

Thanks to the Met Office who generously hosted this meeting.


∗STEM – Science Technology Engineering Maths
° STEMM – Science Technology Engineering Maths Medicine
℘ STEAMM – Science Technology Engineering Arts Maths Medicine

Tapping into ‘Untapped Talent’

160624-project-search Torbay graduates June 2016
Photo: Torbay & South Devon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Website – Project SEARCH graduate interns June 2016

Inspiration – Business Benefits and Positive Teams!

Ros Banfield, Equality & Employability Support Officer from  Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (top left in photograph) inspired all the participants of our ‘Tap into Top Talent’ Employer Breakfast on 5th July at the lovely Hannahs, Seale Hayne. Eight young people with learning disabilities from the local area have just graduated from the ground-breaking Project SEARCH internship scheme based at Torbay Hospital. Project SEARCH aims to remove the significant barriers faced by people with learning disabilities looking for employment and has had success all over the world. The business benefits a real desire to work, enjoyment of routine tasks, low absenteeism and especially for those living with autism close attention to detail and good levels of concentration. The positive impact of Project SEARCH has spread to the teams in which the interns work where mentoring, coaching and team identity improve and people ‘just seem sunnier’. This is the fourth year it has been delivered in Torbay by South Devon College, local social enterprise Pluss and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Practical Support and funding for individuals and businesses

Carolyn Horton and Jason Creed from the Department of Work and Pensions encouraged participants to consider the ‘Access to Work’ grant (up to £40,800 per year) to help with practical support to enable those with a disability to start or stay in work. The amount of the grant depends on need and eligibility but it can be used for taxi fares to work, adaptation or purchase of equipment, disability awareness training for colleagues or a workplace coach.

Marise Mackie from Pluss spoke enthusiastically about ‘Work Choice’ which is a government national programme delivered in this area by Pluss an organisation where people of all abilities are inspired and helped to achieve a career. Work Choice is for young people with disabilities between the ages of 18-24 and it can provide between £1137.50 and £2,275 per person to employers depending upon eligibility.

Thinking about Equality & Employment Law

Bethan Jones, from Michelmores provides HR support and advice on the full range of employment law issues, including unfair dismissal, redundancy, disciplinary and grievance procedures and HR policies and contracts. She was kind enough to talk about the key points to think about when employing individuals with Learning  Disabilities and Difficulties and she helped to alleviate some of the concerns participants may have had.

A place where disability is incidental

Debbie Slurman from Hannahs joined us to give us a potted history of Dame Hannah Rogers Charity which was founded in 1767 in Plymouth. Evolving through time the aim has been simple: to help enrich and empower the lives of children and adults in need. Debbie was inspirational. Although she confessed to not being practiced at the art of public speaking she had all participants wanting to know more and soak up her energy.

It makes so much sense …

The Employment and Skills Board believes in a ‘local world-class workforce where every individual matters’.  Apart from being the right thing to do, enabling people with Learning Disabilities and Difficulties or those living with Autism to work makes so much sense when we have almost full employment and individuals who really want to work and contribute.  Marise, Carolyn and Jason endorsed everything Ros said about the benefits to the workplace, the positive responses from the wider community and jobs well done.

We are grateful to Devon County Council for funding this event and we look forward to more ‘Untapped Talent’ events and positive outcomes in other locations!


Apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities

A taskforce on access to apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities, led by Paul Maynard MP has just published their recommendations all of which have been accepted.You can find the short report and response, ‘Apprenticeships: improving access for people with learning disabilities’ here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeships-improving-access-for-people-with-learning-disabilities

 

 

 

Untapped Talent: the employer benefits

Untapped Talent Logo

Untapped Talent: The Employer Benefits

Does your business require a high work ethic, low absenteeism and excellent attention to detail?

Despite many being keen to find work, more than 85% of people with learning disabilities (LD) or autism are unemployed. Many do not consider themselves disabled, some have mild disability issues, and the majority have untapped talents or skills that are desirable for employers.

Businesses that employ someone with LD can benefit from skills that include:

  • Reliability, conscientiousness and persistence
  • High levels of concentration
  • Accuracy, close attention to detail
  • Detailed factual knowledge and an excellent memory
  • Meticulous application of routine tasks

Traditional recruitment methods can often exclude those with learning disabilities, because individuals find it harder to communicate and understand. The Untapped Talent initiative is designed to help employers access this skilled and reliable workforce. This event will offer business tips on inclusive recruitment and answer concerns regarding employment law.

Fact: 7% of people with learning disabilities have a job. 65% want one.*

Untapped Talent: The Employer Benefits Business Breakfast 

Join us at this business breakfast for HR experts and business owners.

  • Tuesday 5 July 2016
  • Hannahs, Seale-Hayne, Newton Abbot, TQ12 6NQ07.30 – 10.30am
  • Free full sit down breakfast
  • This event is kindly being hosted by the Exeter & Heart of Devon Employment & Skills Board

PLEASE join us. Register at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/untapped-talent-the-employer-benefits-tickets-25344309512

Untapped Talent: The Employer Benefits Booklet

Please click this link to find out more about:

  • The Business Benefits
  • Why employing someone with LD or Autism is good for business
  • ‘Work Choice’ and ‘Access to Work’ grants and funding
  • What is a Learning Disability?
  • Emplyment support available to business
  • Free support for employers
  • 3 steps to hiring someone with a disability
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Different ways to get involved – Apprenticeships, Supported Internships etc
  • Other support and helpful links
  • Glossary of terms

*For data sources view: http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/myths-facts-and-statistics/some-facts-and-statistics.aspx

 

http://www.learningdisabilities.org.uk/help-information/Learning-Disability-Statistics-/187693/?view=Standard

BEEP benefits from RWC2015 Legacy

Guildhall RWC2015 donation
Cllr Rosie Denham awards cheque to BEEP Trustees

BEEP received a very welcome boost thanks to the sale of Rugby World Cup 2015 banners and bunting used to promote the tournament in Exeter. Pin badges, lanyards, mini balls and other accessories donated by Rugby England 2015 were also sold to raise money. Three England squad players from Exeter Chiefs, Jack Nowell, Geoff Parling and Henry Slade supported the sale by signing two limited edition rugby balls. Councillor Rosie Denham, Lead Councillor for Economy and Culture, presenting the cheque said: “The legacy of Rugby World Cup 2015 is strong in Exeter, and the sale of memorabilia will support the tremendous work of the BEEP programme, part of which is led by enthusiastic volunteers in the business sector to mentor and support young people and give them the confidence to adapt to the sometimes daunting world of work. The project began as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Legacy programme and has seen so much success for the young people that it has been adopted by the wider business community. This donation will go towards the next 10-day course once funds have been raised from other sources.” The Exeter & Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board aims to help create a ‘local world-class workforce where every individual matters’  and encourages employers to help BEEP make a positive difference to the lives of young people so that they can become part of a skilled and committed workforce.