Low cost but timely and profound interventions can prove to be worth ‘more than their weight in gold’. BEEP (Business Empowering Employment Programme) and REEP (Rugby Empowering Employment Programme) its forerunner can convert an initial investment of £550 to a potential saving of over £1 million in one generation.
Although, we may prefer to believe in the power of BEEP because it replaces despair with hope, confidence and potential, and alleviates inequality, we know that being able to make the economic case for ‘spending to save’ will win more support for BEEP. For this reason, and with help from Joe Walsh at Exeter City Council, we have developed a spreadsheet to calculate the cost of a variety of scenarios which illustrate ‘Spend to Save’. In order to do this we have made assumptions which are founded on information from reliable sources.
Young people who had struggled to find their way on to the training or work ladder, have through BEEP, together with support from their volunteer mentors, secured training and moved on to work which will benefit themselves, their communities and the local economy. The future looks positive for our apprentice bricklayer, our apprentice classroom assistant and our IT technician. But what if £550 hadn’t been spent and they had not been helped through the BEEP programme and by the volunteer mentors?
Joe says “By providing these individuals [BEEP mentees] with routes to employment the financial dependency on the state is considerably reduced and the money they earn will often be spent in the local economy on day to day goods and services.”
To find out more about BEEP how you can contribute and make ‘Spend to Save’ a reality please visit the BEEP website
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.
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.”
The current students on the programme are very positive about the degree apprenticeship and see clear benefits to taking this route of vocational education:
“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.”
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:
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org), 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.”
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.
Eight young positive people greeted guest employers and their trained volunteer mentors at the first BEEP celebration event on Friday 21 October. Without doubt employers, mentors and the Motiv8-SW team were ‘blown away’ by the young people who have so far struggled to make positive steps towards work. Their presentations to the audience and their confidence in answering some challenging questions was impressive. These young people have gained more than the Health & Safety and First Aid Certificates they have grown in confidence, become a team, thought about their own skills and aspirations, and planned a positive future. Chelsea said “BEEP is the best programme – I felt that the team genuinely cared for me and my future … Rob (the trainer) is the best”.
These eight young people will have their trained volunteer mentors to support them from now on as they transition towards employment.
Be part of BEEP. Beep is a charity without your support more young people like these, (who are potential mechanics, barbers, hairdressers, farm workers and graphic artists), will be left behind.
The Government has recently announced significant changes to Apprenticeships from April 2017. The changes are quite complex and far-reaching including Apprenticeship funding and incentives, delivery and direction, content, infrastructure etc. The most prominent message is a commitment to “3 million quality apprenticeship starts in England over this parliament”. For large public sector employers engagement will be mandatory, targets will be set and a levy charged.
This event is for local public sector employers to help them plan for the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy, targets and new processes. It is designed for employers who already employ apprentices and for those that will be new to it. The agenda includes:
Exeter & Heart of Devon Economic Update from Ben Neild, University of Exeter
The importance of the public sector to the local economy and an update on productivity.
Detailed briefing on Apprenticeships post 2017 from Richard Daulton, National Apprenticeship Service
The Employer Levy, the 2.3% Public Sector target, the Digital Apprenticeship Service, apprenticeship standards and funding.
‘Large organisations thinking on Apprenticeships post 2017’ from Ben Neild, University of Exeter
Moving to a systemic approach.
A private sector case study from Nigel Fenn from South West Water
Assessing your current situation, plotting skills gaps and future needs, new recruits and/or workforce development and establishing costs and targets.
Room for collaboration? A round table discussion chaired by Mark Shepherd (Chair of EHOD Employment & Skills Board)
Shared apprenticeships? Joint development of standards where they do not exist? Shared intelligence and information.
Lunch and networking
The Event Details:
It is essential to register for this event (see below). Due to The Met Office security requirements please note that non-British Nationals should have their passports with them. Please do not arrive unless you are representing a Public Sector employer and you have booked your place. Thank you.
Date and Time
25 May 2016 09.00 am for 09.30 am with lunch at 12.30 pm
The Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB
None. We are very grateful to the Met Office and to Exeter City Council for their support of this event.
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:
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!
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.
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:
Percentage of target achieved (excluding non-eligible)
City & Guilds Level 2 taken
Percentage of delegates undertaking accreditation
Businesses with 1 or 2 delegates
Mean rating of trainers
Mean rating of overall course
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!