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Apprenticeships

Coronavirus: Guaranteed funding needed for security training providers

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Calls have been made for the government to protect funding for independent training providers during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Apprentice trainers to the fire and security sector, Skills for Security, follows guidance released by the Department for Education (DfE) which states that policy “does not allow payment for services in advance of delivery”, which will mean that funding for apprenticeships cannot be made until the training has taken place.

Skills for Security, which operates under the British Security Industry Association, believes the omission of support from the DfE for apprenticeships and other skills training is a ‘complete turnaround’ after the Secretary of State guaranteed funding support for mainstream further education provision. The latest guidance excludes any independent training providers who deliver adult education, apprenticeships and other forms of training, although colleges will continue to receive guaranteed funding even though they are technically independent providers.

Skills for Security says there is concern that anyone providing this type of education is in danger of going out of business in the likelihood of a dramatic fall in attendance or the inability for apprentices to attend online training if their firm is providing key worker services and the demand on the apprentices’ time means there are unable to participate with the new online model.

Skills for Security are therefore calling for the Government to consider:

• All independent training provider contracts should be paid on profile whatever the current performance and levy apprenticeships paid based on the prior six months delivery

• If funding is maintained, providers will commit to not furlough staff relating to delivery thus saving the Treasury a significant amount of money.  

• Guarantee the next month’s funding to allow time to sort through the details and how the model might work.

David Scott, Managing Director, Skills for Security, said: “We are incredibly concerned that this omission of financial support will have a dramatic effect on our business as a leading provider of fire and security apprenticeships in our sector. Although we have had a 90% remote access participation for this week’s training, the following week at present is less than 50% and, based on the Government’s statement this will have a serious effect on our finances.

“If providers cease trading or furlough substantial numbers of staff then apprentices, learners and employers who want to continue training will lose their provider and many of these learners will be left with no support.  If we are unable to guarantee funding there is every chance the industry will lose capacity and increase levels of unemployed and a low possibility of upskilling those in the workplace.

“The lack of support from the DfE is not only going to affect our current financial and operational performance, but the long term effects may mean we will not be able to reach our full potential in ensuring the fire and security industry has appropriate number of apprentices trained. Before this impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the security industry reported a skills shortage of 30,000 engineers needed to service customer requirements. Skills for Security significant expansion in its training resources and provision ensured we can meet the increase in demand for apprenticeship training nationally.”

BSIA to host breakfast briefings on new apprenticeship framework…

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A series of free-to-attend and informative breakfast briefings hosted by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) are set to bring crucial information to employers in the fire and security sectors ahead of important changes to the way apprenticeships are funded in England and Wales. 

In partnership with Skills for Security, the first is scheduled to be held in Birmingham, with two further briefings are planned for early January 2017 in London and the north of England.   

Peter Sherry, interim director general at Skills for Security said: “At the end of 2016, the government’s funding framework for apprenticeships is due to change, with the introduction of a new ‘trailblazer’ operating model and apprenticeship levy. With many employers within the security and fire sectors set to be affected by these changes, the BSIA and Skills for Security wanted to provide valuable advice to help them understand how these changes will affect their business.” 

David Wilkinson, director of Technical Services at the BSIA, and Simon Banks, group managing director at CSL Dualcom and founder of the Apprentices for Fire and Security programme will join Sherry as speakers for the briefings; with topics under discussion include an introduction to the apprenticeship levy, how the BSIA and Skills for Security can help employers adapt to these changes, an explanation of what’s changing, and insight into the value of apprenticeships and the benefits for business.  

Delegates will have the opportunity to ask questions and seek advice from the expert panel on issues specifically relevant to their business.    

Registration to attend the event is free-of-charge and can be completed here

To download a full programme, click here 

Paul Sweeting

Guest Blog, Paul Sweeting: Why your engineering firm should invest in apprentices…

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If you’re involved in the UK’s engineering and manufacturing sector, then you’ll be well aware that it is an industry in the midst of a serious skills shortage. Without a pool of top-quality talent to choose from, many businesses are struggling to expand after being unable to find the right calibre of employee to suit their requirements.

Is there any way your business can find the talent you need move on to the next level in the current skills shortage? Here’s how we solved this problem at the Bradbury Group after grappling with it for years.

Bradbury’s expansion has been partially driven by our dedication to investing in third party accreditations (most notably LPS1175 physical security certification), which means we are reliant upon technical competency within our Research and Development department. While our turnover more than doubled from 2011 to 2014, one of the largest threats to our continued growth continues to be a difficulty in recruiting quality engineers.

To solve this problem and attempt to secure our long-term success, we decided to invest in nurturing our own talent. We established the Bradbury Engineering Academy in partnership with the local North Lindsay College in 2014, and six apprentices joined our R&D department in the programme’s first year. Each has gone on to secure a permanent role with us, and they are all pivotal members of our workforce that we simply wouldn’t have access to if we’d have gone down the traditional recruitment route.

Since the Bradbury Academy was founded, we’ve had access to a sustainable supply of engineers, with two more apprentices enrolling in the programme this April. If your business is currently suffering due to the skills shortage in the engineering and manufacturing industry, we would highly recommend that you take the development of employees into your own hands by recruiting apprentices. While they won’t have the knowledge and skills of someone with decades of experience in the industry, they’ll come in to your business as a blank slate, and consequently won’t have to ‘unlearn’ any habits they’ve picked up while working for someone else. As they’ll be looking at your process from the outside, they may also be able to see flaws that those currently involved with your business may be unaware of.

Furthermore, if you choose your apprentices well, they will always be eager to learn, bringing fresh eyes and an enthusiastic attitude to the role. This can help your established employees see everyday tasks in a new light, which can be a big driver of growth and innovation.

With there being no guarantee that the current skills shortage in the engineering and manufacturing industry will come to an end any time soon, the best way of securing your business’s long-term success may well be recruiting your own apprentices. Until changes are made to the education system and the stigmas attached to the word ‘engineering’ are tackled, this is set to be the case for years to come.

In conclusion, if you want to ensure your business has access to a talented pool of employees while your competitors struggle to fill important roles, consider investing in your own apprenticeship scheme in order to ensure your continued growth. 

Paul Sweeting, technical director at the Bradbury Group, holds a BSc in Engineering Design and Innovation from Sheffield Hallam University. With over 10 years’ experience in physical security engineering, Paul has played a crucial part in Bradbury’s rapid expansion.

Paul Sweeting.

Guest Blog, Paul Sweeting: Why your security engineering firm should invest in apprentices…

800 450 Jack Wynn

If you’re involved in the UK’s engineering and manufacturing sector, then you’ll be well aware that it is an industry in the midst of a serious skills shortage. Without a pool of top-quality talent to choose from, many businesses are struggling to expand after being unable to find the right calibre of employee to suit their requirements.

Is there any way your business can find the talent you need move on to the next level in the current skills shortage? Here’s how we solved this problem at the Bradbury Group Ltd after grappling with it for years.

Bradbury’s expansion has been partially driven by our dedication to investing in third party accreditations (most notably LPS1175 physical security certification), which means we are reliant upon technical competency within our Research and Development department. While our turnover more than doubled from 2011 to 2014, one of the largest threats to our continued growth continues to be a difficulty in recruiting quality engineers.

To solve this problem and attempt to secure our long-term success, we decided to invest in nurturing our own talent. We established the Bradbury Engineering Academy in partnership with the local North Lindsay College in 2014, and six apprentices joined our R&D department in the programme’s first year. Each has gone on to secure a permanent role with us, and they are all pivotal members of our workforce that we simply wouldn’t have access to if we’d have gone down the traditional recruitment route.

Since the Bradbury Academy was founded, we’ve had access to a sustainable supply of engineers, with two more apprentices enrolling in the programme this April. If your business is currently suffering due to the skills shortage in the engineering and manufacturing industry, we would highly recommend that you take the development of employees into your own hands by recruiting apprentices. While they won’t have the knowledge and skills of someone with decades of experience in the industry, they’ll come in to your business as a blank slate, and consequently won’t have to ‘unlearn’ any habits they’ve picked up while working for someone else. As they’ll be looking at your process from the outside, they may also be able to see flaws that those currently involved with your business may be unaware of.

Furthermore, if you choose your apprentices well, they will always be eager to learn, bringing fresh eyes and an enthusiastic attitude to the role. This can help your established employees see everyday tasks in a new light, which can be a big driver of growth and innovation.

With there being no guarantee that the current skills shortage in the engineering and manufacturing industry will come to an end any time soon, the best way of securing your business’s long-term success may well be recruiting your own apprentices. Until changes are made to the education system and the stigmas attached to the word ‘engineering’ are tackled, this is set to be the case for years to come.

In conclusion, if you want to ensure your business has access to a talented pool of employees while your competitors struggle to fill important roles, consider investing in your own apprenticeship scheme in order to ensure your continued growth.
Paul Sweeting, technical director at the Bradbury Group Ltd, holds a BSc in Engineering Design and Innovation from Sheffield Hallam University. With over 10 years’ experience in physical security engineering, Paul has played a crucial part in Bradbury’s rapid expansion.