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CONTACTS Editorial Office Distinctive Publishing 7th floor Aidan House Sunderland Road Gateshead NE8 3HU Telephone 0191 4788300 Note: The views expressed by contributors and correspondents within Skills Pledge North East are their own. Skills Pledge North East and Distinctive Publishing cannot accept liability for any views placed via this medium. Feedback can be sought via the contact details above.

John Graham Managing Director

John Neilson Group Sales Director

Lorraine Hawthorne Sales Manager

Martin Williamson Creative Director

Produced by Northumbria University 185550/10/06training and self development.

WELCOME TO ISSUE NUMBER01. Chris Roberts, Regional Director of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) North East - The employer offer While it is clear that more and more employers across the region are realising the sound economic sense of investing in the skills of their workforce, the message is not hitting home to all. Getting this message across is the key challenge facing those involved in the learning and skills agenda. Training is vital for organisations if they want to maintain an edge in today‘s competitive business environment. Employers are committing more money and time towards training and there is an increasing awareness of the benefits of a better skilled society. The LSC, along with its key partners, has made a great deal of progress in changing employer perceptions about the importance of workforce development and the impact that it can have on the bottom line and the regional economy as a whole. But we need to keep going. The Train to Gain service is helping thousands of employers in the region access training at all levels, right through from Skills for Life qualifications in literacy and numeracy to higher level skills and leadership and management qualifications – and now everything in between due to the recently announced new funding flexibilities Since the service was launched in 2006, more than 5000 businesses in the region have been engaged and 12,000 learners have achieved qualifications. The North East is the top performing region in terms of learner achievements, pro rata to the size of the region. Employers are spending time and money on upskilling their workforce and showing their commitment by making the Skills Pledge, an initiative led by the LSC aimed at encouraging employers to invest in the skills of their workforce. Since the Skills Pledge was launched in the North East last June, more than 100 employers have made the commitment to up-skill their employees. The LSC now funds Apprenticeships for all ages after launching Adult Apprenticeships for those aged 25 and over at the beginning of the year; and hundreds of people from across the region were given employment, training and a future in one fell swoop this month when Nissan started 600 new recruits at its Sunderland plant on the Apprenticeship programme. The new recruits will be helping build the Qashqai, Micra and Note models. Equipping employers with the skills they need to be competitive in a global market is the key to the future economic success of the North East. For more information about the employer offer call 0800 015 55 45 or visit n


18. 24. 32. 42.

2. news 0 04. put your money where your mouth is 06. tyne metropolitan college 10. five steps to a robust coaching programme 14. new accreditation system launched 16. one north east 18. championing the new engineering diploma 22. out of control 24. ten quick tips to greater time management 26. profile: hartlepool college 27. ncfe 28. north east leads the way 30. nissan’s new 600 32 getting that dream career 35. baltic training services 36. baltic boost bakery industry 38. employers and apprenticeships 42. a fact sheet for providers



GoSkills calls for Skills Targets GoSkills, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Passenger Transport, has called on the Government to include provision for setting skills development targets for drivers and other customer-facing staff in the Local Transport Bill, as between passenger transport executives and bus operators. GoSkills’ recommendation came in written and oral evidence presented recently to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee. GoSkills also suggested making enhanced arrangements for skills in taxi and private hire, including the attainment of a uniform minimum level of skills, a requirement for obtaining taxi and private hire licences, and continuing training for further professional development. Peter Huntington, GoSkills’ Chief Executive, said: “Obviously skills are important to the passenger experience and the Bill itself seeks to address quality through improved partnerships between operators and PTAs, here is an area

where partnership would be especially beneficial.” Mr Huntington also said that the taxi and private hire industries had no consistent national approach to skills and that the draft Bill offered an opportunity to have a public discussion on the issue. Responding to a question from Chairman Gwyneth Dunwoody on how training might be funded, he said: “We are negotiating with the Learning and Skills Council in England to make funding available for self-employed drivers through the Train to Gain scheme. ESOL and basic skills training, I think, under the Government’s new arrangements, will continue to be free of charge to the user where they are supported on an individual basis.” Mr Huntington went on to say that two things needed to be done; firstly, that the bar to entry to the industry should be raised by having skills requirements built into the licensing process; and secondly, to have ongoing training and challenge

people to attain that level. This would, he said, start to improve quality and improve the image of the industry, thus leading it to play its full part in the local transport mix. n


Membership Alternative to Levy GoSkills, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Passenger Transport, today welcomed the Government’s new plans for upskilling Britain’s workforce. World Class Skills, published today in response to the Leitch review of skills, contains measures for increasing the role that employers play in developing skills and includes driving the reform and development of vocational qualifications. Peter Huntington, GoSkills’ Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that the government has embraced the recommendation that employers, working through their SSC, should have a greater influence over qualifications and skills policy. The network of SSCs offers them the ideal vehicle to get their issues and needs understood and addressed.

The Leitch Implementation Plan offers more influence over the skills system for employers. In return Government will expect employers and individuals to take greater responsibility for skilling and upskilling.” GoSkills has also welcomed the option available in the plan that allows sectors to use voluntary schemes such as membership and skills passports rather than training levies if deemed more appropriate. Peter Huntington, added: “In our sector there is no appetite for a compulsory levy and we are very pleased to see that the Government has listened hard to our representations. Our employers are already seeing how useful a skills passport is through our own GoSkillsPlus membership scheme and we fully expect more to come onboard.”

Commenting on the Government’s response to his review, Lord Leitch said: “I am delighted to welcome the plans the Government has announced today to make this nation a world leader in skills by 2020. The actions set out in World Class Skills shows that Government is putting skills at the very heart of its agenda. That is absolutely the right thing to do. Improving the skills of our people will help us to seize the opportunities globalisation presents, secure a prosperous future for our businesses, and for individual adults and their families. Today’s plan marks a golden opportunity for skills and the future prosperity of this country. Government and its delivery agencies must now work in partnership with employers and individuals to realise that vision.” n

Semta, the sector skills council for the science, engineering and manufacturing technologies sector, has today announced details of a new £65m partnership with government to deliver urgently required skills training for employees in these sectors. Through Semta, companies can access grants of between £500 and £1800 per employee depending on what qualifications and training is needed. Support will be geared mainly towards development of lean manufacturing skills to make small and medium sized companies more competitive. A lack of skilled workers is costing the country around £700 million a year in lost productivity, according to recent Semta research. In the pharmaceutical and bio science sector there are skills gaps of 29% and in engineering this is 18%. The companies who should benefit most will be those with under 250 employees who may struggle to determine how skills investment can improve their business. Semta advisors will help them identify where their business needs improved staff skills, set improvement targets and measure the impact. Unlike larger companies, they will also be eligible for grants to develop Management and Leadership. The new agreement will allow participating employers in England to train through programmes including Train to Gain and Apprenticeships. In addition, existing workers, of all ages, will be able

to learn new or more advanced skills, which will allow them to progress their careers and improve productivity and competitiveness.

GOVERNMENT EARMARKS £65MILLION TO SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES SECTORS SKILLS SHORTAGES ARE ESTIMATED TO BE COSTING ENGLAND £700 MILLION A YEAR Philip Whiteman, Chief Executive of Semta, said: “Our partnership with government will deliver real economic benefits to science, engineering and manufacturing. To overcome significant skills gaps and make businesses more competitive, employers need access to funding for innovative programmes like Business Improvement Techniques. These not only upskill workers in a sustainable way, they also put employees on the qualifications ladder and provide measurable bottom line profits from quality, cost and delivery.”

Semta’s pilot activities have found significant benefits. For example Kettering based Cooney Marine which employs 70 people producing stainless steel parts and fittings for yacht building, trained staff in Business Improvement Techniques. This resulted in a 123% improvement in delivery and a 139% rise in valued added per person. And Jackson and Keay which employs 70 people at sites in the East Midlands and North West testing low and high pressure receptacles was supported by Semta in developing lean techniques and tools such as continuous improvement and kanbans. Their staff not only gained NVQ Level 2 qualifications, they also improved delivery lead times by 200%, productivity by 48% (man hours per unit), and attendance by 30%. The £65m will be available from the Train to Gain budget; up to 30% of the budget for level 2 and level 3 learning will now be available to train employees who already hold GCSE or A-level equivalents but who need more specific, or more upto-date, business qualifications. Government investment in Train to Gain will rise to over £1 billion by 201011, supporting over 800,000 learners to improve their skills and gain new qualifications. Employers who are interested in finding out more about the new funding are encouraged to contact Debbie Brown or Michelle Henderson of Semta on 01740 627000 n



Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is by Dave Anderson

I’ve never met a salesperson, manager or business owner who wasn’t interested in being more successful. I’ve met plenty who weren’t committed to it. There’s a huge difference between being interested and committed. Listening to people talk about their dreams and seeing them light up as they describe what they want to achieve and what they want to become is exciting until you ask them what price they’re paying to make it happen. The blank look that follows that question is revealing. Some people seem to think that life will come along and power them to new heights and all they have to do is steer. People truly committed to growing to their maximum potential know they must invest in themselves. They don’t wait for their company to send them to training or buy them books, tapes or videos. After all, that would be surrendering their potential to the whims of others. Committed people on the journey to greater success put their money where their mouth is. They pay the price for success. They don’t wait for anyone else. They take matters into their own hands. They accept responsibility that if it is to be, it’s up to them. It’s sad to see so many pretenders in the workplace: people who talk the talk about becoming more successful and then sit back and wait for it to happen. It’s as though they expect some type of “success tooth fairy” to come at night and transform them from a dreamer to a doer. But switching from dreamer to doer takes action, focus and commitment. People who are truly committed to reaching the top in their field work as hard on themselves as they do on their job. Spending money on their own

education is a priority: it’s not at the mercy of what’s left over after other extracurricular indulgences are paid for. Ben Franklin said that if you would empty the coins of your purse into your mind, your mind would empty even more coins back into your purse. If you’re not as successful as you’d like to be, ask yourself what price you’re paying to make it happen. Keep in mind that success is not a one-time payment: it’s a lifetime installment plan. What haven’t you been willing to do to become more successful? Be honest. Do you find reasons why not to invest in yourself rather than finding reasons why you should? What success resources have you invested in lately, and are you committed enough to actually use them? Whether you become more successful and grow to your fullest potential is totally up to you. You’re not a victim and no one is standing in your way. There is plenty within your own control that you can do to increase your success-if you’re committed. If you are committed, you’ll begin taking action immediately. If you’re merely interested in being more successful, do everyone a favor and quit talking about it. When you’re ready to put your money where your mouth is, when you’re ready to pay the price for investing in your own greatest resource-you-then just do it. Your walk will talk for you. You won’t need to say a thing. n

“When you’re ready to put your money where your mouth is, when you’re ready to pay the price for investing in your own greatest resource-you-then just do it”


The Career Development Centre @ TyneMet is a newly realigned Centre for Adult Learners Our aim is to provide quality education and training to improve people’s skills and knowledge base in order to help them find work, to keep them up to date or to improve their career prospects. We are a demand led department, meeting the needs of employers and employees to ensure that the skills and training delivered improve the potential of the work force. hrough our three directorates, we offer a wide range of programmes in a variety of industries, and our remit continues to grow and develop in line with commercial needs. Operating throughout the year and not just during term time, these courses offer a cost effective way for you to develop the potential of your staff and to improve competitiveness, performance, productivity and motivation across the business.

The Directorate of Pre Employment offers courses in literacy, numeracy and ESOL and a wide range of courses designed for learners returning to work and study.

offsite in a range of training environments and employers’ premises at times to suit the workforce needs, contributing to the regional drive to meet the level 2 and level 3 qualification targets. With our team of dedicated, enthusiastic trainer/assessors and workforce consultants we can advise and support your organisation promising you and your employees a rewarding and positive experience at Tyne Met. An ambitious and inspirational programme of work is currently within the work force brief, working with childcare and foster carers, floristry, education through initial teacher training qualifications, hospitality and catering, holistic therapies, electrical installation and fitness instruction as a sample of the breadth delivered on site with structured programmes supporting the career change opportunities presented to our learners.

The Directorate’s key aims are to:


n Engage learners returning to work and study n Increase the opportunities for learners to undertake Skills for Life qualifications. n Create closer links with employers to deliver the Skills Pledge. n Increase the ways in which Tyne Met College works in a collaborative partnership with other key agencies such as Jobcentre Plus, Working Links, Princes Trust and North Tyneside Council to provide a cohesive approach to improving skills and employment opportunities. n Deliver a variety of ESOL courses to provide the opportunity for people whose first language is not English. Improving their employability chances.

We are committed to the national Skills Pledge, having signed it on behalf of our own staff and are able to offer complete bespoke organisational and individual training needs analysis. We will work with you to understand your requirements in building a tailored programme of learning.


DIRECTORATE OF WORK FORCE DEVELOPMENT Workforce Development @ TyneMet supports employers and employees in the work place. Tyne Met is able to offer tailored training packages to meet individual requirements. Working


TYNEMETROPOLITANCOLLEGE 07 TRAIN TO GAIN We have excellent success rates and strong on going partnerships with our clients, representing our commitment to a quality learning experience. Train to Gain forms a significant role within the Work Force Directorate. 2006/2007 success rate at 83% is significantly higher than any other regional or national success rate statistic. Through close working partnerships with employers and trainers and ensuring we have the right learner on the right programme, a successful journey is started; providing the employee with the confidence and support to succeed. DIRECTORATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND ACCESS Universities @ TyneMet offers a unique Higher Education experience. Focussing on teaching for learning, the directorate stimulates participation and success in higher level skills with an emphasis on employability and vocational learning. A highly supportive and inspirational learning environment, excellent partnerships with local Universities and a bespoke access provision are all factors helping to raise aspiration within the region. We offer a wide range of Foundation Degree, HND and Teacher Education courses. These programmes are designed through collaboration with organisations including employers, higher education institutions and colleges, enabling students to make an immediate contribution to the workplace. Higher Education changes lives for the better – not only do government statistics show this but our students tell us how gaining higher level skills has increased their life chances and raised the standard of living for them and their families.

Pre Employment (Engage)

Hajara Literacy & Numeracy

“It has improved my confidence and my English and IT Skills and helped me to meet other people from different backgrounds. I am looking forward to my future in the UK and aim to study for a degree in Early Childhood Education in the near future.” Ugandan-born Hajara was forced to flee persecution in her native country in 2004, leaving behind her life as a qualified teacher. Granted asylum in the UK with her husband in 2005, Hajara enrolled on courses through TyneMet College to develop her basic skills (Literacy and Numeracy Levels 2). She is now working towards CLAIT and Teaching Assistant Level 2, having passed Level 1 with flying colours.



Jack Oliver NVQ Level 3 in Pharmacy Services “I am delighted with this course; it is very interesting and I like learning something new but which has direct relevance to my job. I’ve found the tutors to be approachable and friendly. Being a modern apprentice will definitely open up new opportunities for me.”

Workforce Development (Development)

After completing a degree in Biotechnology Jack decided to change career direction. He joined an Advanced Modern Apprenticeship scheme which offers him the chance to continue earning while retraining for a career in Pharmacy. As part of the scheme, Jack now works as a trainee Pharmacy Technician at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital where he is working towards an NVQ Level 3 in Pharmacy Services. Jack also attends TyneMet one day per week to do a BNC Pharmacy Services course to gain the underpinning knowledge and key skills required for his job.

Katherine Lowther NVQ Level 2 in Engineering “I’d always loved working with my hands at school but wasn’t sure how this could translate into an actual career. My Apprenticeship changed all that; because I’m based in a real workplace it’s opened my eyes to a whole world of new jobs I never even knew existed. Now, because I’m working towards a qualification at the same time, I know that my Apprenticeship is taking me a step up the ladder I want to climb.”

Katherine left school at 15 with no qualifications. Returning to college aged 19, Katherine began to give more serious thought to her career prospects. Having inherited a love of hands-on practical work from her mechanic grandfather, Katherine applied for an Apprenticeship at SCA Hygiene in Prudhoe. As a fullyfledged apprentice Katherine attends TyneMet as part of her training towards a Performing Engineering Operations NVQ Level 2 and BTEC National Certificate in Operations & Maintenance.

Jonathan McCutcheon: Service Management student

Higher Education (Progress)

I had been working as a System Administrator for about four years, basically staying at the same level. I wanted to develop my career and progress into management so I decided to do a Foundation degree course in Service Management. I chose TyneMet because I wanted to learn and work at the same time. The course covers areas such as: personal development, marketing, service quality, business innovation and design. I feel I have learnt a lot, both in terms of knowledge and experience, and I soon felt ready to take on new challenges. With my new confidence, I applied for, and was accepted as a Practice Manager of Brunton Park Medical Group. It is a small but growing practice which has really challenged me but I have the confidence and experience that I’ve gained on the course to help me. The Partners of the practice were intrigued at the structure of the course but deem it advantageous to provide continued support for me. When I’ve completed this course, I am looking to further my education by attending the final year at Sunderland University to get a BA (Hons) in Applied Management.

Career Development @ TyneMet There’s a career with your name on it..... Why not tap into our funded training that improves skills at no cost to employers *, kick started with a computerised Training Needs Analysis in a large range of occupational sectors Including: Pre-Employment skills for life skills for work emPloyability WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT HOSPITALITY AND CATERING WASTE MANAGEMENT AND RECYCLING BUSINESS ADMIN AND CUSTOMER SERVICE EDUCATION TRAINING AND WORK BASED LEARNING CARE AND EARLY YEARS SCIENCE AND PHARMACY ENGINEERING HAIR, BEAUTY AND FLORISTRY LAUNDRY AND CLEANING HIGHER EDUCATION FOUNDATION DEGREES IN: LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT SERVICE MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANCY COMPUTING AND MANY MORE...

We can give you : n Customised training n Flexible delivery systems n Solutions to gain an advantage over competitors n Qualifications from all industry sectors

Contact Joan Wardle: Business Manager for Career Development E: Telephone 0191 229 5306 Embleton Avenue Wallsend Tyne and Wear NE28 9NJ

*subject to meeting funding criteria



Five steps to a robust coaching programme There are contact centres that run highly successful coaching programmes which reap tangible benefits, such as increased motivation; improved service levels; better customer service; lower staff turnover and better quality of calls. There are others that make an attempt at introducing coaching, but find that it simply doesn’t deliver the benefits they had hoped for. So, what exactly makes a coaching programme successful? Analysis of several schemes reveals that there are five steps that can pretty much guarantee success:

suggestions that can contribute towards success, not to mention the influence they may have on getting their members to accept your new scheme.



GET BUY-IN FOR THE SYSTEM There’s nothing like a total lack of co-operation to ensure something never gets off the ground. It sounds elementary, but you really need to make sure that everyone is in agreement with what you are trying to achieve. Not bothering to communicate is an easy way to ensure your programme never gets off the ground. Your agents, on hearing their calls are to be listened in to, are likely to become suspicious and feel rather hostile, so its essential that you communicate with them — and that this communication is not designed to frighten them. In one contact centre I visited the team leader said he was going to sit down and explain the new coaching system to his team. I was encouraged; sure that he would use this opportunity to alleviate any possible worries of his agents. However, at the meeting he told his team sternly that this system meant he could now collect evidence that would allow him to fire people or give written warnings. A fear culture ensued and the project was doomed. Just as vital as agent buy-in is getting support from senior managers. Someone senior taking an interest, lending their support and asking for updates is virtually guaranteed to enthuse people and encourage them to do things properly. If you work in a unionised environment, it might help to get the union actively involved. They sometimes have useful

EMPLOY AN EFFECTIVE SCORING SYSTEM At its most basic, good coaching is about the consistent and accurate scoring of agents’ calls. Now, developing a scoring system may seem time-consuming and complicated, but the danger with not having one is that one could argue that the programme is unfair and inconsistent. It’s essential that you ensure there is a high level of consistency in the marking of calls. A particularly useless example of a scoring system I discovered looked like this:

n n n n n

Listening skills Excellent listening skills 4 Good listening skills 3 OK listening skills 2 Poor listening skills 1

The trouble with these vague measures is that those managers measuring the quality of the calls didn’t really have a clue what distinguished excellent from what was OK — and the agents were even more in the dark. A much better example I found in a contact centre that had a good, long-term coaching system in place was more specific:

“It’s essential that you ensure there is a high level of consistency in the marking of calls”



Listening skills

through half-day briefing sessions so everyone had a clear idea of what is being measured.

Indicators of excellence: Doesn’t interrupt; customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves; clarifies information received; repeats back key information to ensure accuracy; uses verbal nods; notes always accurate Indicators of poor performance: Wrong or inaccurate information taken down; important information from customer not repeated back; long silences with no verbal nods. It’s easy to see why this scheme was more successful — team leaders used the scoring system as a basis for coaching and there was a clear picture of what was considered effective listening and what was considered ineffective listening. The scoring booklet, or bible as it became known, took three days to put together and involved team leaders, managers, agents, union reps and took into account customer feedback.

STEP 3 PLACE COACHING AS HIGH ON YOUR TEAM LEADERS’ LIST OF PRIORITIES AS POSSIBLE Obviously, you should ensure your team leaders actually have the time to coach. Many organisations make the mistake of ladening them with reports and admin, telling them that these things are important and form their key work objectives. But shouldn’t their objectives reflect their role in developing and motivating their team? Team leaders need to know that the support and encouragement of their agents is what will be rewarded. Again, you need to be specific in the objectives you set so that you have something to measure their performance against when it comes to their review. It’s no good just saying something like “lead your team” as an objective. One operational manager I spoke to gave his team leaders the objective “to monitor a minimum of three calls per agent per month and use the results as a basis for delivering one coaching session per agent per month.” He then ensured that he regularly asked the team leaders how it was going and asked to observe some of the sessions. He even asked the agents how they enjoyed the coaching. These easy steps resulted in an eight per cent reduction in staff turnover and increased call quality by 22 per cent.

STEP 4 ENSURE TRAINING IS IN PLACE You cannot make the assumption that your team leaders know how to assess calls and give feedback. Very few can effectively do both, so you need to provide the appropriate training. One of the successful programmes I saw during my analysis ensured that all team leaders attended a two-day course on call assessment and coaching technique. Not only that, but the contact centre manager insisted they be observed delivering their first session, given feedback and then accredited to coach on their own when they reached a particular standard. They also put all of their agents

“ One operational manager I spoke to gave his team leaders the objective to monitor a minimum of three calls per agent per month and use the results as a basis for delivering one coaching session per agent per month ”

STEP 5 MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS In the long term, various members of senior management (but probably the finance director specifically) will want to know what improvements have been made to the contact centre as a result of coaching. They (quite rightly) will want to see a return on the money and time invested. One centre, which had considerable success with their programme, ran a pilot with half their agents to demonstrate that the programme influenced some of their key performance indicators. That way, they had concrete evidence to justify the existence of a scheme that really was helping their agents — and their customers. This ROI evidence will also help you ensure coaching is not seen as something pink and fluffy that doesn’t really add value to the operation — and should mean it can’t easily be dropped when other ‘more important’ things come along. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine what could be more important than equipping your centre with a motivated and competent workforce, measurable improvements in performance and better customer service. And these are precisely the rewards an effective coaching programme can bring. n



New accreditation system launched to address UK skills gaps Training Quality Standard brings trainers and employers together to develop skills that employers really want raining providers and employers have come together today to formally launch a new certification system that will deliver specialist excellence in training provision to help address the UK’s skills gaps. The Training Quality Standard certification system has been designed to recognise and celebrate organisations delivering the best training and development solutions to employers. The Training Quality Standard will address the need for ‘economically valuable’ skills as raised in the Leitch Review of Skills which found that many qualifications currently on offer do not train learners in the skills employers actually want and need. The Learning and Skills Council believes that the Training Quality Standard will help to tackle the current mismatch between the competencies required by employers, and those the qualifications system provides. The system was developed and is accredited by employers, ensuring that the criteria set for achieving the standard actually reflect what employers want. Skills Minister, David Lammy today officially launched the Training Quality Standard at an event held at the Hilton London Metropole – congratulating 31 new providers from across the country

who have recently achieved the standard. Supporters of the new accreditation system who attended the event included the Confederation of British Industry, Regional Development Agencies, the Association of Learning Providers, Sector Skills Councils and DIUS representatives. Speaking at the launch, David Lammy said: “I am delighted to congratulate the 31 new providers who have achieved the Training Quality Standard. Training is at the heart of any successful enterprise and by bringing training providers and employers together to deliver economically valuable qualifications we will make high quality skills training accessible for all. The Training Quality Standard highlights excellence in training provider responsiveness and will be a mark that employers can trust.” The Training Quality Standard highlights excellence in the two most important areas as identified by employers n n

Provider responsiveness to employer needs Provider excellence in a particular vocational area

A key development of the standard from previous accreditation system is that it is not attached to public funding or investment and will be open to both publicly and privately funded organisations providing

Higher and Further Education. Jaine Clarke, Director of Communications, LSC, said: “Crucial to creating skills that employers really need is a reform of the existing qualifications system, to ensure that training given by employers and training providers is directly relevant and addresses the skills gaps in the marketplace. “There are numerous benefits of this new standard to both employers and providers such as increasing the quality of training provision, while encouraging employers to invest more in training. I hope this motivates others to follow suit and work towards achieving the new standard.” One of those who has achieved the standard, Kevin Phelps, Operations Director, Land Rover said: “Going through the process of achieving the Training Quality Standard has delivered real benefits for us as it allowed us to step back and assess the way we deliver training. It is easy to continue doing things the same way but the standard forces you to look at all aspects of training delivery and make improvements.” The Training Quality Standard launched informally in 2007 and has been extremely well received to date by the sector, with over 50 providers having applied for the standard and 31 having received it. n Courtesy of

“I hope this motivates others to follow suit and work towards achieving the new standard”



RECRUITMENT SERVICE OPENS UP WORLD OF WORK A recruitment agency is helping long-term unemployed people back into work with the support of One NorthEast.

People Acumen is exploring ways of combining the opportunities offered by County Durham’s smaller enterprises with the ongoing task of getting more people to move into long-term work. The service is being run by the Acumen Development Trust, the brainchild of Kate Welch, and has been made possible with £850,000 of Single Programme funding from the regional development agency. The service is based out of Acumen’s new base on the South West Industrial Estate in Peterlee, but also has two outlets at Seaham and Bishop Auckland, with a third planned for Stanley. Margaret Fay said: “The work done by Kate and her team at Acumen cannot be underestimated. Not only does the

organisation target those people who are out of work and help them find sustainable employment, but it also works to boost skills levels, which is an essential element of the economic regeneration of our region. “People Acumen has been created to address the unemployment issues in the County Durham area, and to also meet the needs of local employers looking to expand their workforce. But what’s exciting about it is that it doesn’t just aim to match out of work individuals with employers who are seeking staff, it also provides them both with support to ensure the match is as long lasting as possible. “In effect, People Acumen is about promoting and driving sustainable economic growth, a key aim of the Regional

Economic Strategy, and therefore I am delighted One NorthEast is supporting it.” Acumen Development Trust was founded in 2003 to address the issues of economic inclusion and to provide a third sector solution to add to the public sector support available for learning, enterprise and employment. In acknowledgement of the work it has done to reduce levels of unemployment and raise skills levels, particularly in the East Durham area, Acumen won the 2006 LSC Working in the Community Award for encouraging people into learning. Kate Welch, a One NorthEast board member, was honoured with an OBE in the recent New Year Honours list for services to social enterprise in the North East. The work of the Acumen Development Trust is linked closely to the RES, which aims to reduce the proportion of the North East workforce which are currently economically inactive and increase employment rates to around 73 per cent – which means getting between 61,000 and 73,000 extra people into employment by 2016. To date People Acumen has registered more than 1,000 clients, and has worked with more than 100 employers to place 230 people into employment.

For more information please contact: Leanne English, press office, One NorthEast, on Tel: (0191) 2296738, 07917 232678, or email:, or Sonia Graham, marketing officer at Acumen, on (0191) 5878005.

Reaching New Heights in Skills The development of higher level skills in North East England is a crucial component of delivering the ambitions for economic change and growth set out in the Regional Economic Strategy (RES) and RES action plan for the region. The development of higher level skills will bring significant benefits to the region and is integral to enabling its economic growth. It will improve its competitiveness and productivity by addressing skills shortages in key areas and improving the capacity of North East businesses to be creative and more innovative. Driving the availability of high level skills, particularly in strategically important sectors, is imperative for the region. The challenge is particularly significant in the North East because the region has an even lower proportion (by nearly five per cent) of the working age population when compared to the national average with Level 4 skills. There are significant benefits to businesses and employers in addressing the higher level skills needs. Research indicates that: n There is a strong link between higher level skills of employees and levels of innovation in an organisation; n There is a direct correlation b e t w e e n higher level skills and organisational productivity; n Developing the higher level skills in the workforce will improve the competitiveness of a business; and n Employees appreciate the opportunity to improve and develop their higher level skills and as a result increase their levels of job satisfaction. It is important the employers commit to the higher level skills agenda and illustrate that commitment in a number of ways, including; n Investment in HLS provision; n Commitment and support to employees ( time and finance); n Identification of the HLS that will be

of benefit to the organisation; and n Working with providers to develop relevant curricula. A key strategic aim for the region is to support employers and providers (universities, colleges and private providers) to work together to facilitate demand led provision in higher level skills and ensure that employers are at the heart of the higher level skills agenda. Related to this is the need to ensure that providers are supported in creating the capacity and capability to deliver the higher level skills needs and requirements of employers. One NorthEast, the Learning and Skills Council North East and the Higher Education Funding Council for England have supported a number of regionwide programmes and activities through significant strategic investment over the last two years or more. The investment – around £18.2m between April 2006 and September 2009, nit including mainstream and other recurrent and non-prescribed HE funding – has seen on the supply side new regional and institutional employer gateways to providers being established, innovative models of HE delivery to engage a broader range of employers being tested and internal systems and processes being reconfigured as part of a more demand, employer-led approach to higher level skills. On the demand side, Business Link North East, which integrates the Train to Gain skills brokerage alongside the general brokerage, has been created to build the demand from regional employers for higher level skills. There is a need to ensure that employers are able to access the provision of skills they need for their businesses and employees. The systems, processes and procedures that are in place in the skills

environment are often seen by employers as being too complex and too difficult to access. In order to address these concerns the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has created a Business Support Simplification Programme to make it easier for employers to find their way through and access appropriate funding and programmes. There are many good examples of successful activities in the North East. Avecia Biologics Ltd identified a training need for a degree level programme in Advanced Protein Training. A course was designed by Durham University and a successful bid was made for Pathfinder funding which enabled the creation of a 2 day CPD programme comprising of a mix of laboratory based demonstrations, practical activities and lectures. The programme was designed to: n Support the development of an adaptable workforce that is able to respond to technical changes arising from Avecia’s continually evolving processes, products and services; n Widen individual skills, particularly those from non biological backgrounds; n complement existing in-house CPD provision designed to retain existing staff and to attract new recruits. What should employers do now ? There are a number of proactive steps that you as employers can take including contacting Business Link North East for support and advice or approaching your local university or college for business solutions. Enhancing higher level skills will have a significant impact on the bottom line. Your business needs higher level skills to compete globally and the support is available on your doorstep


CASE STUDY: ROLLSROYCEPLC 19 he Engineering Diploma is an important new qualification for 14-19 year olds designed to give young people a foundation in engineering principles. Developed by industry with support from employers and other stakeholders, the Diploma is a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application that will prepare young people for entry into work, apprenticeships or further study. It will be available at three levels: Level 1 equivalent in size to 4-5 GCSEs; Level 2 equivalent in size to 5–6 GCSEs; Level 3 equivalent in size to 3 A levels. Selected schools and colleges in England will begin delivering the Engineering Diploma from September 2008. Among employers backing the Engineering Diploma at senior management level is RollsRoyce plc. The company is also involved in the developmental stage of the diploma through Semta. Margaret Gildea, Executive Vice President of Human Resources – Operations and UK Employment and Skills Policy, is committed to the Diploma as a means of reaching more young people with clear messages about engineering, whilst allowing them to keep their options open. “It should help to bring a real awareness to young people of what engineering is about in a way that is not just vocational or academic but embraces both,” she says. “The Diploma is important because it gives people from age 14, whatever their ability, a route they can take through engineering that will get them to where they might want to get: be that higher education or an apprenticeship and further education, it really doesn’t matter at that stage. With 14-19 learning, keeping options open is absolutely essential.”

Championing the new Engineering Diploma

Recruitment In addition to developing existing employees, Rolls-Royce has a regular intake of new entrants, including young people from age 16 to 20 plus. Engineering Diploma holders are likely to feed into the company’s recruitment patterns in a number of ways. “People with diplomas will make a difference to recruitment,” says Head of Learning Services, Graham Schuhmacher, a member of the Employer Steering Group that has been leading the development of the Diploma with Semta. “If they can come along to an interview and show what they’ve achieved, demonstrate their knowledge, they will be ahead of people who can’t. Does it get them an automatic offer? No – but it does give them a very good chance.”

Rolls-Royce’s key strategy for recruiting apprentices at age 16 is through the Young Apprenticeship schemes the company has been helping to deliver for 14-16 year olds. “Our experience is that Young Apprentices are hard workers and good achievers. Schools tell us that their motivation improves as they see the links between maths, science and communications and the world of work,” says Graham. “I believe the Level 2 Diploma will do the same and enthuse young people about these subjects so our main plans for the 16-year-old cohort will be Young Apprentices and Level 2 Diploma holders side by side.” Similarly, the Level 3 Diploma, along with A Levels, will contribute to Rolls Royce’s recruitment of those aged 18+ onto foundation degree courses and into technical staff roles. It will contain the academic rigour required to prepare people for higher education. “The Level 3 engineering content we’ve developed is a very strong one that will get people into a good university,” Graham comments. Rolls-Royce also recruits the best engineering graduates from around the world. The fact that the Diploma should inspire students to higher engineering degrees at good universities will be very helpful, the company says.

“With fourteen to nineteen learning, keeping options open is absolutely essential” Supporting education Rolls-Royce engages with the world of education in many ways, including working with pupils as young as five years old – “to attract pupils at age 14 means we’ll have had to do some work earlier with schools,” Graham explains. Involvement with the Engineering Diploma is another strand of that engagement. “We want young people to make positive decisions based on data. The point about the Diploma is that it links theory learnt in school with practical activity. It gives us the opportunity to refocus our support for schools and education by supporting young people who are really interested in the STEM (science, engineering, technology and maths) subjects.”

20 CASE STUDY: ROLLSROYCEPLC Margaret believes that time spent in the working environment as part of the Diploma will provide a richer experience for students than the traditional work experience, since it is focussed around learning and the application of science, maths and communication. She says: “For some students it will be what brings those subjects to life – because they can see how they can be applied. I remember as a little girl when I did elementary arithmetic I pretended I was in a shop to make it feel real. There are people who feel better about things if they can see an application. The Diploma will be just as valid for those who want to do an engineering degree and don’t need to understand that much about the world of work.” Experienced in the health and safety requirements when dealing with young people through its Young Apprenticeship delivery, the company envisages making its training workshops available as a safe, protected environment for Diploma students. Helping young people see what a clean and modern environment the company provides should help attract more young entrants – and a higher proportion of girls – it is hoped. Keeping close to teachers is also important, according to Margaret. “The more teachers understand the world of engineering by seeing how things really are, the more chance we have of them sharing their enthusiasm with students. We’re looking for high ability: getting that message into schools and colleges is very valuable.” Overall, Margaret believes that employers throughout the sector will benefit greatly from the improved skills and education standards the Diploma will bring. “I hope, through Rolls-Royce’s involvement in and contribution to the Diploma’s development, we can ensure it will deliver on its potential for the sector, and employers of all sizes will have the chance to recognise the increased capacity for employing young people with a relevant grounding in the world of engineering.”


“The Diploma will be just as valid for those who want to do an engineering degree and don’t need to understand that much about the world of work”

Semta Semta is the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies, covering 76,000 businesses employing 1.4 million people in the UK. Semta works closely with Sector Strategy Groups to drive improvements in productivity by transforming skills. Semta is part of the Skills for Business network of 25 Sector Skills Councils, each one an employer-led, independent organisation. n



Out of Control? When staff turnover at a certain financial services company reached 25%, they had to take action. At exit interviews they asked staff why they were leaving and, surprise, surprise, most said they were leaving for more pay. So the company improved their remuneration packages. And guess what? It made not a scrap of difference.

The company realised that people were saying one thing, but feeling another. So, with the help of external consultants, they used regression analysis and workforce psychology to find out the real reasons why people left. It transpired that, because the organisation had been through a period of huge change, staff felt unsettled and were looking outside the company for job security. So it was all about career prospects, not money. Citing pay as the reason for leaving is simply the easiest thing to say at an exit interview. Few people are brave enough to criticise their manager or the

way the company is run. After all, they’ll still need a reference. I’m not suggesting you should hire a team of consultants to help you unpick your own attrition problems, but there are lessons to be learnt here. And they’ll cost much less than unnecessary salary increases. Firstly, employees need to know there is the potential for them to broaden their experience within the company. Even sideways moves with no salary increase will make people more likely to stay. Knowing that they don’t need to leave to gain greater experience

provides a real incentive to stay within the company. When popular, high-performing staff leave, those left behind feel uneasy. It sends out a message that there are better prospects elsewhere and breeds negativity. This makes it even more important to retain talented staff. But if, despite your best efforts, you do lose good people, make sure staff have someone to go to with problems or to talk about their supervisor’s departure. When recruiting, bear in mind that some people are serial job flitters. Check how long people have stayed in previous jobs and avoid those who never stay in

“ When recruiting, bear in mind that some people are serial job flitters. Check how long people have stayed in previous jobs and avoid those who never stay in one place for long”

one place for long. The longer people stayed in previous jobs, the more likely they are to stay with you. It goes without saying that you’ll give people the best possible start with an induction programme and training. However, research shows that people who felt overwhelmed early on were more likely to leave within six months. So, don’t overload new recruits and, crucially, give them regular feedback. Employees don’t necessarily know they’re doing well unless you tell them. Wait too long and you may never get the chance. Pay alone won’t send staff rushing

for the exits — unless it’s particularly poor — but people do view an incentive programme as a positive thing. The size of the reward is not as important as the feeling of inclusion and commitment by both the individual and the firm. On average, businesses invest 50 to 60 per cent in people, yet we don’t seem to measure the return on that investment. Let’s face it, in an aggressive marketplace where everyone is beating everyone else down on price, people are your only true and enduring competitive advantage. If you apply the strategies used to analyse investments in other parts of the business, such as equipment

and technology, you’re more likely to be able to make a sound business case for a new recruitment strategy. Stop relying on anecdotal evidence and don’t make assumptions. Our financial services company assumed they knew why staff were leaving. They were wrong. Remember, people leave because some companies aren’t nice places to work. But of course, no-one will ever tell you that. n



Ten Quick Tips to Greater Time Management

Kouzes and Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, estimate that a leader has only nine minutes of time in-between interruptions. This being the case, if you don’t structure your time well in advance each day you’ll find yourself working off someone else’s inbox while you grow more frustrated that your own work piles up before you. Effective leaders don’t allow their busy days and vast responsibilities to overwhelm them. Rather, they become masters of their own time and schedules through disciplined and conscientious effort. Here are ten tips and insights that will help you leverage your time for optimal results: 1 Understand that you are surrounded by other people’s agendas each day: your boss’s; your employee’s, your family’s, your customer’s, your vendor’s and your friend’s. Thus, if you don’t fill your calendar with your own priorities, the time you have chosen not to manage will come under the influence of those around you. 2 Say “no” often. Realise that your daily schedule reveals two things: those things you’ve decided to do and those things you’ve decided not to do. Every decision to do one thing is at the same time a choice not to do a dozen other things: to say “no”. Healthy leaders politely, and regularly, say no to many of the opportunities

presented to them. They know that opportunity doesn’t equal obligation. In fact, the best leaders say no much more often than they say yes. They do so tactfully: saying no to the opportunity and not to the person and even offering an alternative course for the person when possible. 3 Always “sleep on it” before committing to a new obligation. Don’t get caught up in the emotion of a moment and cavalierly take on new responsibilities without thinking it through. Don’t let your mouth overload your back. What is on your schedule right now that you should have declined or turned down? Learn from it and don’t be so impulsive next time to make someone else’s life easier by saying yes while you further burden yourself. 4 Develop disciplined, effective routines. Some leaders categorise “routines” as dull and unpleasant and go to great extremes not to get locked into them. Yet, the most effective leaders use well-thought out routines to make sure priorities aren’t getting overlooked. Peter Drucker said, “Routine makes unskilled people without judgment capable of doing what it took near genius to do before.” If routine does this for unskilled people, imagine what it can do for you.

5 Remember that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. Relentlessly delegate, automate and outsource administrative tasks. Stop doing the wrong things well and often. 6 When an unexpected visitor stops by your office to chat (vendor, whiner, gossip and the like), stand up and remain standing. If you stand they are not likely to sit down and thus more likely to state their business and leave quickly. 7 Rip and read. Take the trade journals and magazines you get and go through them one time, ripping out the stories you’re interested in and throwing away the rest. Place these articles in a file and carry them in your briefcase to read while you’re waiting for appointments, in airports and so forth. Not only will this make it easier for you to keep fresh on current events in your down times, it will reduce the clutter stacks of periodicals and newspapers make in your office or home. 8 Block off time, preferably in the morning, where you do not take calls or look at the computer. In this hour or two, execute your priorities. As you attack the “main thing” early in the day, you can remain more effective throughout the day regardless of how harried things become.

9 Finish your day before you start it and evaluate and adjust at the days end. Review the “game film” of each day through your mind for five minutes before you go home and make adjustments on your calendar to make the next day more effective. By planning your days and weeks in advance you walk in each morning with more focus, confidence and resolve. 10 When at home, give your family focused attention. The good news is that as you follow the tips in this piece you’ll be more effective at work and will be more likely to have a life away from the workplace. Don’t answer the phone during meal times. If the people in your charge can’t handle things in the time it takes you to converse and eat with your family then get yourself some real help. The ten tips presented here don’t take genius but they do take discipline, resolve and mental toughness. They will require that you add more structure to your day—and to your life. In today’s undisciplined, make-it-up-as-you-go times, structure is missing in many lives and in organisations. But don’t wince at the thought of more structure because structure is a good and necessary discipline. Without structure, you’ll never develop to your fullest potential. n



TRAIN TO GAIN Dominic Vizzard started his role as Business and Training Advisor for Hartlepool College in December 2007 following 6 years of experience working with businesses and education. ‘My main responsibility is to work closely and build partnerships with businesses throughout the North East Region who require training, support and advice.’ explained Dominic. ‘Hartlepool College offers a wide range of training and services, designing and delivering courses specifically tailored to industry or individual requirements. We can train staff at a time and place to suit you, either at your workplace or at the College. There is the option of intensive, short courses or less intensive long courses, leading to inhouse or professional qualifications as well as Higher Education courses, including foundation degrees and diplomas.’ ‘Many courses are subsidised and some can be provided free of charge through Train To Gain. We even allocate some of our adult budget to a company, providing over 60% funding on some courses. From the first meeting I can support a business in allocating possible funding opportunities through to identifying a training plan for the organisation.’ Dominic is frequently asked how good their training really is, which he says is very easy to answer, ‘The College has effective employer partnerships with over 120 local companies. Our engagement with employers and the quality of delivery was rated by Ofsted as ‘Outstanding’. We have been recently placed in the top twenty colleges for work based learning in the whole of the UK, and we are one of the first College’s in the UK to be accredited with the Quality Training Standard.’ Working across all sectors of industry, with organisations such as Middleton Grange, Heerema, Huntsman Tioxide, Expamet, Corus, Hartlepool Borough Council and TMD Friction to name a few. Dominic actively seeks to place apprenticeships in the following fields; Engineering (including Process), Construction, Motor Vehicle, Catering, IT and Business Administration. ‘The end goal is to ensure a business receives training that is relevant and ultimately beneficial to the organisation.’ For further information contact Dominic Vizzard, Business and Training Advisor, Business Development Centre, Hartlepool College, Tel: 01429 292888, Email: n

A CUT ABOVE THE REST NCFE’s customised awards are proving to be a cut above the rest after helping a Tyneside-based hairdresser launch her own qualification. Ann Ahmed used NCFE’s unique accreditation scheme to launch the Level 2 Hair Care and Style award, which gives nationally recognised certificates to customised training. She said: “This award gives anyone interested in hairdressing the opportunity to find out if they actually want to pursue a career in the hair and beauty industry, whilst gaining a nationally recognised NCFE certificate. “I decided to accredit the course through NCFE as I have previously worked with the organisation and it is a very professional business which I feel gives credence to any award. I used to run my own adult training company when a friend asked me to give her a hand in her salon. This led me to train as a hairdresser and I have now combined these careers so that we can train people in hairdressing and give them a nationally recognised certificate upon completion.”

The award covers cutting and styling hair using various techniques and fashions. It is aimed at people considering hair and beauty as a career option and hairdressers looking for a refresher course.

To find out more about NCFE’s customised awards please call Anne Railton, Accreditation Leader, on 0191 239 8083 or email

BECOMING RECOGNISED AS AN AWARDING BODY NCFE is to host a one day conference in response to Lord Leitch’s recommendations on ‘Recognising Organisations’ and the government’s subsequent document, ‘World Class Skills: implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England’. The event, taking place on 24 September at One Whitehall Place, London, will focus on the government’s decision to extend awarding powers to employers, colleges and training providers to offer their own qualifications. Leading industry speakers will examine the process of becoming a ‘recognised organisation’ and offer solutions to employers, colleges and organisations interested in accrediting their own training. Speakers confirmed so far: n John Landeryou - Chair of the Vocational Qualifications Reform Programme and Director of Learning,

n n n n n n

Quality and Systems Directorate, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills Mary Curnock Cook - Director of Qualifications and Skills, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority Simon Witts - Director of Safety, Quality and Training, Flybe Mark Carton – Managing Director, Adessi Marketing Paul McGowan - Partner, Employment Law, Watson Burton solicitors Chris Hughes CBE - Chair, NCFE Alasdair Downes - Director of Business Development, NCFE.

Delegate fee: £95 per person (includes lunch and refreshments). To book your place visit To find out more about the event please contact Jenny Nicholson, Events Manager, on 0191 239 8064 or email



north east

leads the way The North East is leading the way in helping employers train their workforce through the Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) Train to Gain service. ew figures published by the LSC show that the North East is the best performing region in the country in meeting its target for engaging with employers and is also best at penetrating the market –working with more of the region’s total employers than any other region in the country. The North East is also excelling in other areas and is one of the most successful in the country in ensuring employers that are interested in getting involved with Train to Gain actually sign up to the service. The region is also working well in reaching hard to reach employers* and the achievement rates of learners in the region is also among the highest in the country. Chris Roberts, Regional Director, LSC North East, said: “Our Train to Gain service is already a real success story, helping many employers and individuals in the North East. Last week saw the publication of the Leitch review and Lord Leitch highlighted the Train to Gain service as an example of the initiatives already in place that are having an impact on skill shortages. These figures demonstrate that here in the North East, we are making real progress in implementing Train to Gain, which is good news for individuals, employers, local communities and the region’s economy. Since Train to Gain was introduced in April, some 1,457 employers in the North East have become involved with training their staff and more than 4,000 individual learners have been involved with training. Launched in the North East by Coronation Street’s Roy and Hayley Cropper (actors David Nielson and Julie Hesmondhalgh) Train to Gain

aims to help organisations get the training they need to stay ahead in a competitive environment by improving the skills of the workforce. Mr Roberts added: “Lord Leitch set down ambitious challenges to employers, learners and to those who work with them and the LSC is in full agreement that we need to seize this opportunity and ensure that the ambitions of being world-class in skills are met. It is a challenge to be world-class, but these figures demonstrate that we are making progress. There is still a great deal to be done, however, and our Train to Gain service is a major weapon in the skills battle.” n Courtesy of

“Since Train to Gain was introduced in April, some 1,457 employers in the North East have become involved with training their staff and more than 4,000 individual learners have been involved with training”



NISSAN’S NEW 600 Hundreds of people from across the North East have been given employment, training and a future in one fell swoop as Nissan puts 600 new recruits at its Sunderland plant through the Apprenticeship programme. As the government publishes its draft Apprenticeship Bill today (Wednesday, 16th July), Nissan Motor Manufacturing has announced that 600 men and women taken on last month, some of whom were unemployed or receiving benefits, will be studying for an Apprenticeship. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) North East now funds Apprenticeships for all ages after launching Adult Apprenticeships for those aged 25 and over at the beginning of the year. The majority of Nissan’s new recruits fall into this category with the oldest being 53. The new apprentices, whose training is being provided and assessed by Gateshead College and NETA training Group, will be helping build the Qashqai, Micra and Note models. They will be studying for an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) Level 2 in performing manufacturing operations and Key Skills in English and maths Level 2. Steve Pallas, Training & Development Manager at Nissan’s Global Training Centre at the Sunderland plant, said: “This is by far the highest number of apprentices we have taken on at any one time. Nissan is proud of its reputation as a world class operation and there is no doubt that a major reason for our success is the capability of our staff. We have been able to achieve a highly trained and productive workforce through investing in training that provides our people with the necessary knowledge and skills to sustain and improve our business. Putting our new employees through the Apprenticeship programme highlights our commitment to up skilling our workers and the fulfilment of our Skills Pledge promise to our staff.” One of the new recruits is Barry McDonough, 26, from Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. Before joining Nissan, Barry

was self employed in the demolition trade but he felt the work was irregular and without prospects. Barry, who is involved in the manufacturing process making doors and panels, said: “I left school without many qualifications and I never thought I would go back into learning again. I certainly didn’t think I would be doing an Apprenticeship as I didn’t think the pay would be any good. The money is great, I’m enjoying the job and the future has never looked so bright for me.” John Duffy, age 29, from Prudhoe has a degree in Industrial Products and Design. Before joining Nissan, he worked for a car modification company in Newcastle. John said: “My previous job was a good job but I had progressed as far as I could and I wanted a job with a future. My current role at Nissan involves checking the safety of cars for the road and involves a great deal of responsibility. I would never have thought there were so many checks involved before a car can go out on the road! This job is enjoyable, has an excellent wage and great prospects for the future. I have really landed on my feet.” Gareth Carulei, age 26, from Hartlepool, worked at a call centre before joining Nissan but he wanted a job with more prospects and was also keen to have more physically active roll. His current role involves working on car suspensions. Gareth said: “After doing my GCSEs and A levels, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I’m really enjoying the work here and I’m keen to move up through the company and hopefully one day become involved in health and safety. I never imagined that I would be doing an Apprenticeship - the pay is so much better than I would have imagined. When we all started, we were a bit dubious as we

thought it would be like going back to school, but we’re all thoroughly enjoying the job and the training. I am getting the chance to work in various different areas in the company and there’s always something new to learn.” Chris Roberts, regional director, LSC North East, said: “This is a fantastic example of an employer investing in the skills of its workforce. A successful Apprenticeship programme is essential if the country is to equip employers and individuals with the skills they need to be competitive in a global market. Apprenticeships are excellent value for money for employers, providing highly trained, productive and committed members of staff. They are also good for the individual, providing training, prospects and a wage. “The Apprenticeship programme is a huge success in the North East and a key route to help employers achieve a workforce with the skills they need to succeed. More and more people are completing qualifications through the Apprenticeships programme in the region, but we need more employers to come forward and employ apprentices. Nissan’s obvious commitment to the programme highlights how it can benefit employers’ and their example should be followed.” Skills Minister David Lammy said: “Apprenticeships provide first class training not just for youngsters, but for people of all ages – and are a great way for employers to gain a competitive edge by developing world-class skills. I congratulate Nissan for engaging so enthusiastically with the revived and expanded apprenticeships programme, and wish the new recruits the very best in their future careers.” A recent survey conducted by the LSC highlighted the business benefits of the Apprenticeship programme with 77 % of

employers believing that Apprenticeships make them more competitive and 76 % saying that the programme provides higher overall productivity. Some 83% of employers said they relied on their Apprenticeship programme to provide the skilled workers they need for the future. Since opening the Skills Academy for Automotive, Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics in 2005, Gateshead College has formed a strong and productive partnership with Nissan. Based in Team Valley, the £5.5 million building incorporates a complete training centre for Nissan apprentices, including simulated production lines, a rolling road for vehicle

testing and specialist welding facilities ensuring the apprentices receive tailored training and are fully equipped to industry level standards. David Cheetham, principal at Gateshead College, said: “It is a great compliment to have one of the world’s biggest vehicle manufacturers choose Gateshead College to train its staff and this new intake of apprentices demonstrates the effectiveness of this strong partnership. “Our apprenticeship programme has the highest success rates in the region and we are dedicated to helping organisations identify their training needs and offering them tailor-made solutions.”

Frank Ramsay, Chief Executive of NETA, added: “NETA has worked in partnership with Nissan and Gateshead College for a number of years in the delivery of training to Nissan employees. The adult Apprenticeship programme is the latest example of Nissans commitment to workforce development and provides a superb opportunity for individuals to gain employment, skills and qualifications.” For more information about the Apprenticeship programme, call 08000 150400 or visit uk n Courtesy of

Front row (l to r): apprentices John Duffy and Barry McDonough and back (l to r) apprentice Gareth Carulei, Frank Ramsay, Chief Executive, NETA, Chris Roberts, Regional Director, LSC North East, David Cheetham, Principal of Gateshead College, and Steve Pallas, Training & Development Manager at Nissan’s Global Training Centre at the Sunderland plant



GETTING THAT DREAM CAREER IS EASY ACCORDING TO ONE IN FOUR BRITISH TEENAGERS New research commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) to highlight its Education Maintenance Allowance has revealed that a staggering quarter of English teenagers believe that education is not important in achieving their goals –showing that today’s teenagers clearly need a reality check when it comes to pursuing their dream career. The research found that over a quarter (26%) of 16-18 year olds questioned in the survey believe that it is easy or very easy to secure a career in areas such as sports, entertainment or the media; a perception, no doubt, influenced by the seemingly easy path to fame followed by the likes of David Beckham, Lily Allen or Leona Lewis. Today’s survey results also showed that many teenagers see perceived ‘instant careers’, such as becoming a footballer, a TV celebrity or a pop-star as being far cooler than careers such as becoming a teacher, a politician or a chef, which appear to require more hard work. The most popular careers include those in entertainment and TV (18%) and the media (14%), while the least popular careers included those in the military (2%), manufacture (3%) and sales (4%).

However, the reality is that most jobs whether they are looked upon as being cool or not, require good levels of qualifications. In fact, for those interested in pursuing a career in the music or media industries, achieving Level 2 is a prerequisite even for an entry point position. For example, to be a runner in music production or broadcasting, a Level 2 Audio-Visual Industries Induction is desirable. Highly competitive industries such as advertising will not even consider applicants unless they have a Higher National Diploma or a degree. Laurence Bell, founder of Domino Records, the label that is home to world famous acts the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, agrees that hard work and the right qualifications are vital to success. He says: “It has not been easy to get where I am today. We’ve been working since 1993 to make Domino Records a success. Too often you see labels, bands and artists come quickly into the limelight, but how long do they stay around for? “At Domino we’ve worked hard to establish a label that has long-standing relationships with artists and it shows in our impressive roster, with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand

choosing Domino above major labels; but we need people with the right skills and qualifications behind us to make it a success. My advice would be to think about your chosen career and research the right qualifications to lead you into that career. Getting experience working in the industry will also help. The worst thing you can do is sit around and wait for it to happen simply because you have seen it happen to a few lucky celebrities –who, by the way, probably won’t even be around in a few years time!” Only a quarter of those questioned in today’s survey (25%) stated that a high level of education or skills was a key to securing their dream job. Surprisingly 45% would trust their natural ability, and nearly half (47%) would rely on being in the right place at the right time rather than work to secure the correct qualifications or skills required to reach their goals. When asked what, if anything, would help them stay on in education, respondents stated that more support from their family (13%) and more time (12%) would be a good start; while over half (56%) replied that financial support would be the biggest help overall,

It has not been easy to get where I am today.

“It has not been easy to get where I am today”




“Staying on in learning can make an overwhelming difference to your future”

Baltic Training Services are a private Training Provider based in the North East of England. We were established in 2006 and specialise in the design and delivery of vocational learning for employers and individuals. We work closely with local employers to assist their employees in gaining the skills and qualifications that enable them to progress in their careers. We provide a delivery medium that allows local and national employers access to Government/ European funded training opportunities. We deliver training in the following sectors: n n n n n n n n

Performing Manufacturing Operations (PMO); Distribution, Warehousing and Storage Operations (DWS); Business Improvement Techniques (BIT); Business Administration; Health & Social Care; Customer Service; Carry & Deliver Goods; A1 Assessor Award

We can offer work based learning opportunities for employers and their employees through “on the job” observations and assessments. Our training can be tailored to suit the needs of individual employers to ensure that our unique approach can meet their specific needs and requirements. We deliver distinctive training packages that include NVQ qualifications and additional training courses that enhance the learning journey for individual employees. All of the training that we deliver is fully accredited by City & Guilds, OCR and EAL, all of whom are nationally recognised awarding bodies. Upon successful completion of training individual learners will receive a certificate that is recognised by Industry in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. Baltic Street, Hartlepool TS25 1PW T: 01429 852136 F: 01429 852170 E: showing that funding such as Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) can help. EMA exists to encourage young people aged 16-18 who have left, or are about to leave, compulsory education, to carry on in learning. Eligible young people can receive up to £30 a week to spend on their studies. Rob Wye, National Director of Young People`s Learning and Skills says: “Staying

on in learning can make an overwhelming difference to your future. Those who leave learning at 16 or earlier and without the minimum set of qualifications (at least five A*-C GCSEs or the vocational equivalent) may face unemployment, social exclusion and certainly won’t walk into that dream job; but by continuing to learn and taking advantage of funding such as EMA, you will give yourself the best possible chance.”

Whatever your chosen career, staying in learning and achieving a Level 2 qualification will equip you to make the best start possible. There are more choices now than ever before in terms of courses and ways of getting qualified so there is bound to be something to suit everyone. To find out more visit – uk/ema n Courtesy of




BALTIC BOOST BAKERY INDUSTRY There has never been a better time for employer’s to take advantage of the Government’s commitment to up skill the nation’s workforce. With unprecedented levels of public money now available to assist employers identify and implement training solutions to address their immediate skills shortages. The Train to Gain initiative has been at the forefront of Peters Bakery training solutions, partnered with Baltic Training Services, a northeast based Training provider who specialise in work based learning programmes, Baltic Training have worked alongside Peters to focus on their training needs. Baltic training have engaged with Peters Bakery employees and successfully delivered NVQ Level 2 in Performing Manufacturing Operations and are currently in talks with them to roll out NVQ Level 2 in Carry and Deliver Goods to their drivers. They recognise the benefits of training and having their skills accredited and also they felt valued. Peters Bakery, HR Manager, Joanne Carr said “Baltic Training have provided a bespoke framework for the Company to work with, which enables the team members within our production facility to easily identify the areas of knowledge required to prove that they are fully competent in both manufacturing operations and company procedures, including health

and safety and equal opportunities.” Joanne continued: “Our staff have shown increased levels of morale, greater understanding of processes and procedures, increased staff retention and employee job satisfaction. Baltic Training ensured that the program was kept to an agreed timeframe and that minimal disruption was caused whilst observing the operations on-site.” “As a nation we all must work together to bridge the skills gap that face us all in the UK, through work based vocational learning we can address this issue by delivery good quality bespoke training packages to north east based companies” said Chris Adair, Baltic Trainings Business Development Manager. Train to Gain is an excellent initiative where through accessing funding the majority of the training is delivered free to the Employer. Managed through one of many regional LSCs (Learning Skills Council) this has become a useful tool for both Training providers and employers to use to up skill their employees.

“ Our staff have shown increased levels of morale, greater understanding of processes and procedures, increased staff retention and employee job satisfaction”



Employers & Apprenticeships Apprenticeships are an integrated programme of learning leading to the acquisition and application of the skills, knowledge and understanding required by employers. “If you have only ever considered recruiting graduates directly from university, I recommend the apprenticeship programme as a very credible complementary alternative.” Peter Stacey, O2 Apprenticeships are the solution of choice for top employers in IT, Telecoms and Contact Centres including BT, Orange, O2, Fujitsu and EDS. Don’t just take our word for it, view case studies of employers and their apprentices. Your business can use Apprenticeships: n To train and develop young people to suit your business. n To deliver a structured programme of qualifications, aided by funding from government. n As a fast-track route from entry to management roles and/ or an Honours degree. Improving Business Performance The Apprenticeship Task Force led by Sir Roy Gardner, recently published their research and findings into the value of Apprenticeships for business. View the full report at www. They found that Apprenticeships improved business performance for companies and specifically in the following areas: Profitability: BT plc calculated a net financial benefit of £1300 per apprentice per annum compared to non-apprentice recruitment Competitiveness: The Institute for Employment Research found that Apprenticeships improve companies’ market performance.

“Apprenticeships deliver well rounded, business-knowledgeable people, totally committed to the company. They provide a positive return on investment, are more commercially aware and understand the need for growth of the business” BT

Productivity: Apprenticeship employers find that apprentices make an early productive contribution to the business within 6 to 9 months. Quality: Xerox UK’s confidence in the quality of the training is demonstrated by their preference for using former apprentices on client contracts that exceed £1million. Employers find Apprenticeships are an effective way to instill company values and good practice. Retention: Where apprentices can see a career route within an organisation, they are consequently more willing to stay with that employer

40 FEATURE BAE Systems business case Business description: BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defence aerospace systems in the air, on land, and seas. The company employs more than 90,000 people internationally and generates annual sales of over £12 billion through its wholly owned and joint venture operations. In order to meet its demand in the UK, BAE Systems typically recruits c280 ‘New Starters’ per year. BAE Systems deliver apprenticeships in Engineering and Business Administration at NVQ Level 3 and employ around 1000 apprentices. UK/Apprentices/index.htm

FEATURE 41 cope with a high learning curve on many safety critical products. Apprentices who start their working life with the Company have a higher buy-in to company values.

Productivity Apprentices are self-motivated, ready to take the initiative and go into problem-solving mode, therefore reducing production time for the work they do by up to 25%. Typically, they show better performance than external recruits. This results in less wastage of high value materials (worth more than £100,000). Apprentices make fewer mistakes once qualified and evidence shows that apprentices complete tasks correctly at a rate of 85 % right first time compared to 60% for external recruits.



Advanced Apprenticeships are a critical element of the Young People Strategy and complement the Graduate entry programmes, foundation degrees and University entry. In 2006 272 apprentices were recruited and the current completion rate in engineering is 92%.

BAE Systems save up to £1 million per annum by training apprentices rather than externally recruited employees, as apprentices cost 25 per cent less than training nonapprentices.

Career Development The Apprenticeship programme develops 80 per cent of the attributes required to grow into future key roles. Mike Turner (Chief Executive) started as an apprentice, as did several senior managers.

Company values Apprentices have proved over the years their ability to adapt to differing cultures across business units and working practices across the varying product base. They

Increased competitiveness BAE Systems’ support to the product typically lasts 25 years post- product-introduction-to-service. The Apprenticeship programmes allow BAE Systems to underpin the key skills needed long term to meet its customer needs.

Diversity BAE Systems works with schools and career advisers to break down gender segregation in engineering; the career road show reaches over 10,000 students per year. n Courtesy of



A Fact Sheet for Providers Introduction The purpose of this Business Case is to support employers when explaining to them the requirements of the Retail Apprenticeship / Modern Apprenticeship frameworks including Key Skills. This Business Case provides: n n n

statistical data about the sector and its literacy, language and numeracy needs the impact to retail businesses of staff not possessing these skills at an appropriate level benefits to retail businesses where staff possess these skills

Background Data n There are approximately three million people represented in the retail sector – 500,000 based in head offices / distribution centres and two and a half million based in stores. Around one and a half million are employed in sales and store operations roles. Three-quarters of part-time retail jobs in UK are filled by women. The retail sector is one of the best sectors for employing older people. n There are over 300,000 retail businesses in the UK. Only 0.1% of these are large employers, employing more than 250. However, these businesses employ over 60% of people working in the sector. The great majority (95%) of businesses in the sector are small businesses, employing less than 50 people. n The retail sector has a major shortage of qualified employees. Fifteen percent of those working in retail have no qualifications compared with 10% in the economy as a whole and it can be taken that a high proportion will have literacy, numeracy and language skills needs. n It is estimated that 11% of employees in the sector have numeracy and literacy skills up to level 1 only (level expected of a 13-year old). n Looking at hard-to-find skills in this sector, research suggests it is difficult to recruit people with literacy and numeracy compared to the national average. Over 36% of retail employers find it difficult to find employees with the desired levels of Literacy Skills and 31% for Numeracy skills (NESS 2004)

The Business Impact n A report published in March 2008 by Learndirect showed that the UK’s three million retail workers lose an average of £33

n n n n n n n n n n

each through problems checking bills and calculating mobile phone tariffs. It also found that almost half (46 per cent) of retail workers use their fingers to add up and 35 per cent do not trust their own calculations Businesses could also be paying the price of their employees’ skills gaps and this latest study backs up Skillsmart Retail’s own research that shows that numeracy and literacy skills gaps are high amongst front line staff in the retail sector The level of skills required within the retail sector is dependant on the individual job. For example, a sales assistant, who also works on the cash desk, will be expected to have literacy and numeracy skills at level 2 (level expected of a 16-year old). Other costs to employers in the retail industry include: poor customer relations difficulty in advising customers on products difficulty in following product information sheets failure to replenish stocks at the correct level giving incorrect change to customers dispatching incorrect stock high recruitment costs due to staffturnover

This is as well as additional costs to business each time an employee leaves in fees, unproductive time, reduced customer services and new staff induction time. n A well-known supermarket found that poor numeracy skills amongst their distribution staff were the main reasons for incorrect orders being sent out. Similarly another company found that ‘bad picking’ was a major cause of poor stock taking results– employees with numeracy skill needs were unable to accurately count the product and dispatch correct orders.

Key Skills within Apprenticeship Frameworks in England and Wales n Within the Retail Apprenticeship / Modern Apprenticeship in England and Wales the requirement is for the following Key Skills to be achieved: Retail Apprenticeship/Foundation Modern Apprenticeship: m Key Skills at minimum Level 1 in Application of Number and Communication


Advanced Apprenticeship/Modern Apprenticeship: n n n

Key Skills at minimum Level 2 in Application of Number and Communication The learning required to achieve these qualifications will enable apprentices to carry out essential tasks effectively Apprentices working in the retail industry who have these Key Skills at level 1 will be able to do the following:

m m m m m m m m m m m

Inform the right person promptly when a security risk is identified Follow company procedures for securing premises, stock and cash Understand what is to be received into storage and make sure that all the documentation is complete, accurate and up-todate Check deliveries to confirm that the type, quality and quantity of goods are correct and identify any discrepancies in the delivery Update the stock control systems and make sure that documentation is complete and accurate Order sufficient stock to maintain the correct levels Accurately find out what the customer wants, through appropriate questions and give the customer information about the goods Label products correctly and check that the information on the label is legible, accurate and legal Accurately identify the price of items and clearly and accurately inform customers of the amount due Confirm the cash amount given by the customer and the change to give them. Adopt behaviour to respond effectively to different customer behaviour

(Source: drawn from n Apprentices in the retail industry who have these Key Skills at level 2 will be able to do the following: m m m m m m

Provide prompt and accurate reports of any incidents that happen in the workplace and follow procedures for dealing with incidents as specified by the organisation Explain to colleagues if they are unable to do what they are being asked and explain the reasons clearly and politely Seek accurate feedback from relevant people about how well they are doing their job Use information about sales trends and promotions to estimate the stock needed to meet casual demand Follow the organisation’s procedures for dealing with products that are damaged Communicate essential features and benefits of products and services to customers in a manner which promotes a buying decision and retains goodwill

m m m

Communicate with the customer in a way which makes them feel valued and respected Accurately work out the amount of stock needed, taking into account the stock already in storage, customer orders and estimates of casual sales Suggest realistic changes with regards to stock, to the right person and give reasons for recommendations

n Apprentices without these Key Skills at the appropriate levels may be unable to do a significant number of these tasks or will do them incorrectly. (Source: drawn from n n

A potentially serious consequences of employees with literacy, language and numeracy needs working in the retail environment include an inability to read operating instructions for machinery, tills etc. For example, an employee with literacy skills needs may not understand instructions to disable machinery before cleaning or refilling, leading to serious injury. In general, tell-tale signs of an employee with literacy, language or numeracy skills needs include:

m m m m m m

opportunities not being taken reluctance to contribute in or even attend team meetings unwillingness to take on responsibility or promotion hostility to changes or introduction of new working procedures inability to present their position lack of understanding of written instructions

Benefits to Business n n n

Employees who have addressed their skills needs can operate much more effectively and efficiently. For example: ensure their own actions reduce risks to health and safety; promote and maintain service delivery standards; develop and maintain positive working relationships with customers and colleagues; control the use of stock; dispatch stock correctly and follow procedures. Other benefits to business in the retail sector include: increased accuracy in ordering and rotating stock which means less wastage; fewer customer complaints; less absenteeism; greater ability and confidence to participate in training and take on increased job responsibilities; job carried out correctly first time as procedures followed and understood. Employees will also be more likely to stay in their job and prevent additional costs involved in recruitment fees, unproductive time, reduced client services and new staff induction time. n

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