Tag Archives: sector specific

“Getting Talent is Getting Tough”

Getting Talent is Getting Tough
England’s working age population volume and rate compared with Devon’s rate.

Participants from thirteen local Public Sector employers met at the Met Office for an update on the Apprenticeship Levy and the introduction of mandatory employment targets which will come into effect in April 2017. Ben Neild’s first presentation set the scene for the morning, proposing that apprenticeships could  help to grow and keep local talent of all levels as “getting talent is getting tough”. The agenda included four informative and inspiring presentations – links below:

A round table discussion followed around three questions which elicited a great deal of interaction and notes! Here is a brief summary:

Q1 How do you work together and share knowledge and information?

Local Public Sector employers do not work together although there are groups and networks to which they belong. In addition internal collaboration can be a problem.

Q2 What would a Gold Medal Standard look like?

A Gold Medal standard apprenticeship would meet the business need, reduce resistance to cultural change, maximise the levy payment, provide evidence to enable further development, enhance collaboration and provide the apprentice with a quality learning experience with opportunities for employment and progression, whilst receiving a decent wage.

Q3a What are your next steps?

The next steps are for organisations: to understand their business and training needs and what the levy and the targets mean for them; to communicate this to Senior Management and identify dedicated resource and/or apprenticeship champion; and to consider working with other organisations to aggregate demand in order to negotiate with Training Providers and to share apprentices.

Q3b How can the EHOD Employment and Skills Board (ESB) help?

The ESB can help by informing and influencing organisations and by linking organisations either through identifying existing networks or by providing a facility to do so or similar networking events.

You may also be interested to read:

More follow-up information about the event will be shared with participants. Please contact oenone.thomas@exeter.gov.uk or 01392 265344 if you would like more information.




Welcome to Exeter RWC 2015 Host City

We are delighted to be able to share a flavour of over 1500 hours of training in less than 3 minutes! Please enjoy finding out more about this collaboration between Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board and Purple Cloud Consultancy following our successful bid for European funding. Just click the link:

Welcome to Exeter Video

81 tourism and hospitality organisations from Exeter and beyond took the opportunity to prepare to give a world-class welcome to the expected 165,000 RWC 2015 visitors by participating in a fabulous free day of training.

216 delegates enrolled on 16 courses held at Sandy Park to help their help businesses:

  • Maximise the opportunities for rugby-related business
  • Understand how to manage super-happy or unhappy rugby supporters
  • Promote places to visit in the area
  • Gain a competitive edge

Each delegate received:

  • A mini-tour of Sandy Park
  • A special Visit Exeter guide, a Host City pin badge and a certificate
  • The option of taking a free City & Guilds Level 2 qualification at the end of the day.

By all accounts RWC 2015 visitors from home and abroad have enjoyed their stays!

“firsthand knowledge will enhance the service”

Promoting RWC 2015 coming to Devon
Promotion of RWC 2015 in Devon

This pilot RWC 2015 Event Customer Service Training for Hospitality and Tourism sectors was highly successful. It received very positive and complimentary delegate feedback, exceeded targets, was within budget and developed a model which could be adapted for training in preparation for other significant events in this region and beyond.

Some learning points from the pilot are listed in the table below. We also carefully reflected on other areas including how to reach participants, the information required by Europe and the Skills Funding Agency on the application form, the “Logo Conundrum” (the Catch 22 of logo compliance) and collaborative working. The evaluation report is available in full below.

Learning Point Reason
Use the event venue or location if possible for the training It forms an important part of the learning
Encourage the event venue or location to positively support and engage with the training Ultimately the venue or location will benefit from the training and a positive relationship would add value to the programme
Encourage accreditation, make it free but not compulsory To reinforce value to employers and encourage individuals especially those attracting priority sector payments
Integrate event resources in to the programme delivery To acquaint the delegates with the material and demonstrate its usefulness
Use networks and multi-media for recruitment To reach a broad spectrum of potential delegates and reach those with which you do not currently network
Mix cohorts from different organisations For mutual benefit and more interesting discussions
Invest time in clarifying the funder’s requirements for paperwork at the outset despite the pressures to start to recruit In order to minimise irritation to delegates and work load of training organization

Some interesting facts and figures:

Participants 256
  •  Funded
  • Non-funded
  • Non-eligible
Percentage of target achieved (excluding non-eligible) 109%
City & Guilds Level 2 taken 203
Percentage of delegates undertaking accreditation 79%
Courses delivered 14
Businesses trained 80
Businesses with 1 or 2 delegates 55%
Mean rating of trainers 97%
Mean rating of overall course 91%

Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board and Purple Cloud Consultancy worked well together. Our approach leveraged our capacity to use networks, to quickly formulate the bid for the second tranche of funding and most importantly to access the initial funding opportunity and deliver excellent customer services training to the local hospitality and tourism industry. We would like to work together again!

You can read the complete  RWC2015Customer ServiceEvaluation here.

“Everyone should do it”

Host City Ball exeter Jurassic Coast

We are delighted to be able to offer 100 more free customer service courses to businesses in Exeter and the Heart of Devon in preparation for an autumn of international rugby. The original 160 places on customer service courses were booked in no time at all and the feedback was great. Fortunately, the Exeter and the Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board has been successful in securing additional European Social Funding through the Skills Funding Agency for a further 100 people to participate in these courses delivered by Purple Cloud Consultancy. Previously only businesses with less than 250 employees have been eligible for free full funding so we are thrilled that we can now offer 32 places to larger organisations.

The courses help businesses:

  • Maximise the opportunities for rugby-related business
  • Understand how to manage super-happy or unhappy rugby supporters
  • Promote places to visit in the area
  • Gain a competitive edge

In addition to the training each delegate receives:

  • A mini-tour of Sandy Park
  • A special Visit Exeter guide, a Host City pin badge and a certificate
  • The option of taking a free City & Guilds Level 2 qualification at the end of the day. 97% of the first 160 delegates have taken this opportunity.

Delegate feedback from the first eight courses has been very positive:

‘Everyone should do it’ Hotel, Leisure & Golf complex
‘Very thought provoking and made me think how I handle situations and how I can improve’ Holiday Park
‘A very motivating course’ Paintball Venue
‘Really good day – very useful and thought provoking’ Self Catering businesses owner
‘Very helpful, very engaging, we had a most enjoyable and beneficial day!’ Hotel
‘Very good and well presented’ Cruise company

Visitors greeted with world class customer service leave with a positive image of Exeter and the South West and are more likely to return. To find out more please select the appropriate contact below or email helen@purplecloudconsultancy.co.uk .

Business Size No. of places Find out more and book this course
Less than 250 employees 68 https://purplecloudconsultancy.digitickets.co.uk/category/2933
Equal to or more than 250 employees 32 Email helen@purplecloudconsultancy.co.uk .

Devon construction labour demand peaks April 2016

Graph showing Devon construction labour demand
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Labour & Skills Study January 2015 – Figure 3.6.1. Showing Labour Demand in Devon 2015-2019

Labour demand for construction workers in Devon is expected to increase from now until 2019, peaking at 17,000 workers in April 2016. At the moment there is a mismatch between labour supply and demand. So the challenge is to get the people with the right skills and knowledge in place to meet the workload. The dynamic is further complicated by planned re-development work in Plymouth and the construction of Hinkley Point C, the largest construction project in Europe.

Construction labour demand in the South West is expected to be 22,000 higher in 2019 than in 2014 representing an annual increase of 1.9%, higher than the UK average of 1.4%. Labour demand isn’t all about brick laying, it includes a huge spectrum of occupations:

Number of workers employed in a small sample of the 28 broad construction occupation groups (2014) for Heart of the South West (HoSW) (Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay)
Architects 830
Building envelope specialists 3,350
Electrical trades and installation 4,130
Non-construction professional, technical, IT, and other office-based staff. 9,500
Plumbing and HVAC Trades 6,200
Senior, executive, and business process managers 3,870
Wood trades and interior fit-out 9,140

The Exeter & Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board (EHOD ESB) have been working with local councils and the Growth Point team to maximise the potential for recruitment of local skills development and labour. Council leaders from East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council have now signed a concordat to align their approach to construction skills development and employment opportunities. This will set the expectation that construction companies and their sub contractors, whether new build or for maintenance, will invest in local skills development in the same way across all three council areas.

Over the coming months we will be:

  • Supporting the newly formed South West Shared Apprenticeships, an organisation set-up to employ apprentices who are then allocated jobs within a number of construction companies and contractors. Over a number of projects and over a two-year period apprentices will accumulate enough experience to complete Level 1 and 2 NVQs. Thus, removing the barrier for some building companies, who do not have sufficient work to employ an apprentice full-time.
  • Working towards the implementation of the Construction Industry Training Board’s ‘Client Based Approach’ which has clearly defined requirements in support of the development of a local skilled workforce through key performance indicators (KPI) for skills development and employment, commensurate with project type and scale.
  • Considering the benefits of a two stage procurement process through the Construction Framework South West for greater collaboration and localism.
  • Working with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and the Construction Industry Training Board to develop their construction employment and skills strategy.

The EHOD ESB has set out it’s mantra of ” Improving peoples’ lives through Employment and Skills whilst consciously reflecting that we are doing the right thing”. The size of the opportunity within the construction sector is significant. The proactive approach in tackling difficult challenges in an open forward-thinking collaborative approach, has begun to bear fruit, and it is vital that the momentum continues in order that the potential is realised.

Mark Shepherd, Chair of EHOD ESB said: “The success of this initiative so far, is a real credit to all those from Local Government, Employers, Funders and Facilitators whom without their contributions this would not have been achieved. For all partners this is a fantastic example of what proactive collaboration can achieve!”

Welcoming the World

Visitors on Cathedral Green Exeter with over-sized RWC 2015 ball
RWC 2015 – brings opportunities for a well prepared local hospitality industry

Exeter is hosting three international rugby matches at Sandy Park in September and October, attracting international and VIP visitors to Exeter and the Heart of Devon. Visitors will be greeted with world class customer service from businesses in Exeter and the Heart of Devon thanks to free customer service training courses which are being run from January to May by Purple Cloud Consultancy in partnership with Exeter and the Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board (EHOD ESB).

Helen Jones, training manager of Purple Cloud Consultancy, said: “It is fantastic that we are able to offer these fully-funded courses to businesses to help them prepare for this important event. Excellent customer service gives businesses a competitive edge and is vital for the businesses success and the success of a tourist destination. Those companies who deliver a great service will not only stay in business but they will continue to grow and also benefit the region by creating a positive, long-lasting and welcoming image of the South West.”

EHOD ESB secured full funding for the courses through the Skills Funding Agency from the European Social Fund.  The EHOD ESB hopes that it can secure additional funding to offer more of the same before the first match. With great feedback from the first five courses it is not surprising that all 160 places were filled quickly. Delegates say:

‘Having been on a lot of courses over the years this is by far the best!’ B&B owner
Excellent – so thought provoking’ Holiday Cottages owner
‘This is the best – far better than my extensive customer service training for a large well known reputable department store – I learnt more today in one day than in 5 years of ‘department store’ training!’ Attraction employee

The courses help businesses maximise the opportunities for rugby-related business, understand how to manage super-happy or unhappy rugby supporters and promote places to visit in the area. The vast majority of delegates have taken the option of taking a free City & Guilds Level 2 qualification at the end of the day. Each delegate receives a special Visit Exeter guide, a Host City pin badge, a certificate and a mini-tour of Sandy Park.