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Developing the Workforce in the Workplace

City College Plymouth Kings Road, Devonport, Plymouth, PL1 5QG T: 01752 305026 E:

If you require this newsletter in a larger type or different format please telephone 01752 305300.

From the Editor

Welcome to the latest edition of EmployerLink; City College Plymouth’s newsletter for employers.

Our focus in this edition is on National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). Read more on page one about NVQs and how they support work-based learning, leading to a well motivated and skilled workforce.

Our calendar of employer events continues to provide businesses with seminars and workshops, which are of real interest and benefit. Read how you can join us at one of our events on page five.

Our close working relationship with employers has resulted in a number of notable successes. Read on page two how we worked with Babcock to implement a programme of NVQs to support the company’s business administration function - the Babcock case study highlights the business benefits that NVQs can bring.

I hope you enjoy reading your copy of EmployerLink. We aim to keep you informed with all the latest education and training news, but if there is a topic you would like to see covered please contact the editor via e-mail at

The College’s newly refurbished construction centre was formally opened in December by TV sustainability champion, Charlie Luxton; read about the new energy centre on page three and how we are working with industry in the exciting new areas of renewable, solar thermal and PV.

Sharron Robbie Editor

Message from the Acting Principal Demands for a more flexible and responsive approach to workforce training and competency are supported through the increased breadth of offer in National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). You may not know that the achievements of our students in 2010/11 place the College first in the South West - and we are now ranked fifth out of all of the 223 further education colleges in the country*. The College has excellent success rates across its provision and with our apprentices currently achieving success rates The College really is delivering its vision to of 14% above the national benchmark; this marks City College Plymouth out as be the South West’s leading provider of outstanding. The South West is the highest innovative, skills-based, vocational performing region for apprentices, and the education and training. College - with nearly 1,000 apprentices - is the We are achieving this with the wonderful highest performing provider in the South support which we receive from employers and West. (Source: Quality Success Rate by being responsive to the needs of the database, as of November 2011.) external environment. We believe passionately It is vital that we and other education and that by providing the training and courses training providers support the wider which are required by businesses and by communities which we serve in order to working in partnership with our business support social aims and to aid economic partners we can ensure that the city and the recovery. The recent introduction by the wider region has the highly skilled workforce College of theworkspace, a dedicated centre it needs.

offering a wide range of workshops and support for students, supports our mission to build a better Plymouth through the delivery of high quality education and training which will enhance students’ employability prospects, and which is responsive to the needs of our communities. As we progress through 2012, the College will continue to build on the successes of the past year and embrace the new challenges and opportunities that present themselves. In particular, we will further consolidate our relationships with industry partners and key stakeholders in order to achieve mutually successful outcomes for industry, the College, for the city and its region and, most importantly, for our students.

Phil Davies Acting Principal * When compared with similar colleges’ achievements for 2009/10. Source: National Success Rate Tables 2009/10

The Benefits of Workplace Training - NVQs National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) - what are they?

NVQs can be gained at a variety of levels, one to five, with one being the lowest level. GCSEs are not required to undertake them, as level one and two are seen as equivalent to a GCSE grades A - C. The average time to complete an NVQ is six to eight months, but they are designed to be taken at a pace which suits both the employee and the employer.

Why use them? - the business benefits

NVQs are nationally recognised qualifications, which can be tailored to a specific role within a particular business sector or industry. Each NVQ is specific to the area of business for which it was intended, and is based upon competency; it is excellent for ensuring that employees have gained the relevant job related skills in order to effectively carry out the duties and tasks of a particular job. These work-based qualifications are delivered in the workplace, supporting the changing operational needs of industry which now requires a much more flexible approach to skilling and training. Employees undertaking an NVQ are fully supported not only by their employer but via the professional team of industry specific assessors at the College. The qualification is suited to those who may be starting their working career from scratch and who need to obtain the necessary skills to allow them to apply for certain positions. They are also appropriate for those who might already have a particular job but who may need additional knowledge and skills in order to progress further. Therefore, NVQs are appropriate for both adults and young people alike - they support task-based, practical, work related training which supports staff in achieving benchmarked standards.

“The great thing about working with the College was the fact that we were assigned a single point of contact who was able to understand our business and who quickly identified our specific training needs. Across a breadth of areas we now have over 21 employees who have completed NVQs through City College Plymouth.” Sean Duff, General Manager, Otter Nurseries In order for businesses to compete effectively and to exploit market opportunities it is important to ensure that the workforce is skilled, trained and competent in carrying out the day-to-day tasks required to operate effectively and efficiently. NVQs offer a number of benefits to business, including: • development of skills relevant to your business within the workforce • increased staff motivation • work-based learning - employees are learning on-the-job so there is no need to release staff from the workplace to attend college, meaning no costly downtime, workplace disruption or travel requirements • greater job satisfaction, leading to greater productivity, performance and competitiveness • improved staff retention, leading to lower recruitment costs • greater workforce competency and skill leads to greater business efficiency. Jon Morcom, Director of Plymouth’s Duke of Cornwall Hotel, cannot speak highly enough of the benefits NVQs bring to his business. “Since we started to use City College Plymouth for our training, staff

turnover has reduced dramatically. Our staff who are undertaking NVQs feel that they are valued and that they have something to aim for in terms of progression - they see employment within the Duke of Cornwall as a career rather than just a job.”

How we can support YOU and your workforce City College Plymouth offers a wide range of subjects which can be studied as NVQs, from advice and guidance through to warehousing and storage; there really is something for everyone. We support a number of businesses with some of their NVQ programmes, most notably: • Babcock • Bandvulc Tyres • Caretime Services Ltd • Plymouth City Council • Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Our team of Business Skills Advisors can help you complete a training needs analysis, helping you to identify any potential skills/competency gaps. They will also help you access available funding to help pay for any training. For more information on NVQs and how they can meet your business needs please call our Employer Response Team on 01752 305026 or visit

New Start Event Thursday 5 January, 4.00pm - 7.00pm Kings Road, Devonport If you are in employment or you are an employer and would like to find out more about National Vocational Qualifications and how they can help you, then please come along to our New Start Event and speak to our team of experts.


Babcock Case Study

Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd is owned and operated by Babcock International Group. Focused on waterfront support to the Royal Navy, including refit and maintenance of warships and submarines, the company is a major employer within the city. City College Plymouth and Babcock have a long history of working together, especially in the areas of Apprenticeships, engineering and higher education.

Once training was implemented and learners had started the NVQ programme, the College carried out periodic reviews with Babcock office managers in order to appraise them of staff progress and to answer any queries or issues that revealed themselves. This ensured that Babcock staff were making good progress and were on target for completing the qualification.

Babcock identified the need for uniformity across the skills and competencies within their administrative function. The company was approached by City College Plymouth who were seeking a partner to roll out a programme of training using National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).

Mike Reardon, Senior Manager at Babcock said: “As a company we recognised the benefits of the training programme as it would open up opportunities for staff on both a career and personal level. Every encouragement was given to staff undertaking the qualification with recognition of the hard work and dedication required to achieve success.

Working closely with Babcock, College staff were able to identify the appropriate NVQ units for 32 of their staff to study these units being the most appropriate and being seen as adding the most value to the business.

Mike continued: “The training has had a really positive impact on the staff who took part, with increased levels of confidence which has enabled them to take on new challenges within their day-to-day work activities.”

Delivering the training on-site during working hours made it accessible to all staff interested in participating. Beckie Rose, Group Secretary, said: “This course and the workshops were arranged to be completed within working hours, and although I had to do some study at home due to work commitments I did complete most of it at work! This for me was great as I am a single mum and I do not always get the time or peace I would need if I had to do this course outside of working hours.”

All the administration staff that undertook the training were successful in achieving this qualification. The training provided the staff with a real sense of identity and highlighted the valuable contribution they make within the Babcock Group.


Construction and Energy Centres Formally Launched College staff are being trained to deliver courses and workshops by ABB at its centre in Brussels, but it is not just students who will benefit from the wealth of technological innovation on offer at the Energy Centre …

The College has officially launched its refurbished construction centre and revealed its new ABB Energy Centre. Television presenter and sustainability champion, Charlie Luxton, formally declared the centres open at a ceremony attended by business leaders and industry insiders from across the UK.

World renowned for helping customers to increase industrial productivity sustainably, ABB will use it to showcase new products and technologies - and for the first time ever the company will be able to train staff both in Brussels and the UK, thanks to the quality of facilities and equipment available at the Centre. Other companies at the forefront of sustainable technology will have access to the facilities too, putting the College at the heart of low carbon technology demonstration and training for the benefit of both the regional and national economy in years to come.

The focal point of the redevelopment of the College’s construction faculty and other parts of the Kings Road campus, the ABB Energy Centre will set new standards in teaching and training in the use of low carbon innovations and products, benefitting both students and industry professionals alike. With the help of ABB’s expertise and knowledge, the Centre will be home to a range of new academic courses focussed on sustainability and renewable technology, designed to equip students with the kind of skills that will help drive the region’s economy of the future. Courses will include intelligent building control systems training, installation of solar thermal hot water systems and photovoltaic panels, and rain water harvesting - all demonstrated from 14 purpose-built bays, equipped with cutting edge, low carbon technology products and training systems provided by ABB.

James Haigh, General Manager with ABB, said: “The Energy Centre means a perfect synergy between industry, education and training in all facets of the sustainability agenda. This partnership gives us a wonderful opportunity to be at the forefront of training not only for those working in this sector today, but also the eco-skilled workforce of tomorrow.”

One of the bays will feature a SMART home; an interactive modern living space specially created to showcase the latest intelligent systems for delivering energy efficiency in the home.

As well as the ABB Energy Centre, students and industry professionals also have access to the Cowlin Trade Excellence Area. Part of the Balfour Beatty Group, Cowlin Construction has

The SMART home will showcase energy efficiency been has been a strong supporter of the College over a number of years and they were keen to be involved from the start. The workshops and teaching areas for the traditional trades of plumbing, painting and decorating, plastering, carpentry and bricklaying have received a make-over and the newly refurbished workshops now contain all the latest equipment and teaching aids to support student success. The College sees the construction centre as providing not only vocational training in the established trades, but also providing a hub where industry and education can jointly explore and learn about the new technologies within the renewable and low carbon industries, and this is borne out by John Bunker, Director with Cowlin Construction, who said: “We recognise how vital it is to fully embrace the sustainability agenda across all areas of the construction industry and this wonderful initiative gave us the chance to play our part in ensuring future generations of construction staff will be trained to the highest of standards in this very important area.”


Dartmouth Golf and Country Club are working with City College Plymouth on an innovative training programme utilising different funding streams to improve the skills and knowledge of their staff. The organisation has its own in-house induction training programme which helps new employees to settle in and provides them with an initial introduction into the business and the hospitality industry. Once past this first phase the management team at the Golf Club wanted a training programme that develops the individual, whilst ensuring that the Dartmouth Golf and Country Club work ethos is thoroughly embedded and reflects their standards. Working with the College’s Work-based Learning team, all new and existing staff were encouraged to undertake an assessment of their current skills. This resulted in several staff, some who have been working in the industry for a number of years, joining the Apprenticeship scheme and undertaking a range of different hospitality qualifications. The Apprenticeship funding has allowed the College’s specialist hospitality team to work with the Golf Club’s staff and managers to deliver training sessions whilst embedding skills and knowledge through the assessment process into daily operations. Alongside this, colleagues from the College’s Skills for Life team (maths and English) have worked with the apprentices on their literacy and numeracy skills whilst providing an opportunity for other employees that are not on the Apprenticeship programme to also up-skill in this area and gain an up-to-date qualification. The maths and English team is providing adult numeracy and literacy training and qualifications. They are working with a range of staff needs, including: • English for speakers of other languages • staff whose qualifications are out-of-date or lapsed • staff with no formal academic qualifications. This training underpins the Apprenticeship training programme by giving staff confidence and improved communication skills, all of which will help support the future developments and success of the business. Jamie Waugh, Managing Director at Dartmouth Golf and Country Club, said: “We are really pleased with the training that all of our team are receiving, especially as it is all carried out on the premises and is tailored around our business needs. The improvement in the literacy and numeracy skills of our staff will bring enormous benefits to our business as we develop and grow.” Clare Brown, Programme Area Manager for Maths at the College, added: “This pilot group has been brilliant and identifies the potential for us to up-skill and roll out support for other programmes of Apprenticeships and NVQs in different sectors and businesses.


We offer support to the business and the individual and have valued this opportunity to engage with employees that may have been excluded or disengaged due to prior learning experiences or levels of ability.” If you would like to find out more about Apprenticeships and how they can add value to your business please call our Work-based Learning team on 01752 251866.

SKILLS FOR LIFE If you or your staff are feeling a bit rusty or need help updating your skills in English and maths then City College Plymouth can help you. • All courses are FREE. • No entry qualifications are needed. • Students are given a personal programme of work, tailored to their needs. • Students are encouraged to take nationally recognised qualifications. • The courses run subject to numbers and can be delivered within your workplace if there is enough interest.

To find out more call 01752 305300

Employer Seminars

Employer Dinners A Great Way To Network Would you like to enjoy a fabulous four-course dinner? Want to hear from an interesting and informative after-dinner speaker? Do you want to mix with industry leaders and business owners to improve your business network?

Our employer dinners offer all this and MORE!

Continuing our focus on building strong, positive relationships with the business community, we are delighted to be hosting a number of employer seminars over the coming months. Each seminar will focus on a particular area of business and will feature industry experts.

Maximising Sales Leads Thursday 19 January, 6.00pm - 9.00pm Do you turn every lead you get into a sale? How are you ensuring that you maximise every opportunity? If you are a small business owner, or working in a sales environment, this seminar is for you. Guest speaker, Tom Wyness, Training Director with Competitive Edge, will guide delegates through the processes needed to achieve real results and will share his tips and tools in order to help you maximise potential sales.

Dealing Effectively with Customer Complaints

Dates for your diaries Apprenticeship Week Dinner Forage and Feast Monday 6 February, 7.00pm - 10.00pm Cité Restaurant, Kings Road, Devonport A fantastic evening where we focus on the success of the National Apprenticeship Scheme and the benefits apprentices bring to business. Watch a live cookery demonstration in our exhibition kitchen using foraged items from hedgerow and seashore before enjoying a four-course dinner in our training restaurant. Tickets cost just £25.00 per person and can be purchased by calling Sharron Robbie on 01752 305896 or by e-mail

Thursday 23 February, 6.00pm - 9.00pm How do you handle customer complaints? Do you know how to turn a complaint into a compliment? This seminar looks at complaint handling and how to effectively manage complaints using a variety of tools and techniques. The seminar is a must for anyone working in a customer service role, dealing with customers either face-to-face or via telephone or e-mail.

Tickets for the seminars, which will take place in our Cité Restaurant at Kings Road, cost just £15.00 (inclusive of a buffet). Places are limited so call 01752 305896 or e-mail to book today!

Interns on Project Search’s pilot year 2010/11 celebrated their successes at their recent graduation. The eight interns, who are all City College Plymouth students with learning disabilities, worked within Derriford Hospital and Serco, resulting in five of them gaining full-time employment. As Project Search moves into year two, City College Plymouth continues positive involvement in the partnership. The academic expectations enrich development of the students’ employability skills. Staff are impressed with the level of maturity and commitment to the course from the new interns. They combine a strong focus and desire to gain paid employment which is fundamental to success. College and Pluss staff continue to develop the service and their work has gained national and international recognition.


The Employer NVQs Help City Firm to Gateway Clean Up!

Would your business benefit from a more skilled and well trained workforce? Would you like to find out more about City College Plymouth and how it can help YOUR business? The College’s Employer Response team provides a single point of contact for employers. Their professional service includes: • help with accessing funding • training needs analysis • design of bespoke training to meet your company’s specific needs. Our recent employer survey highlighted that 85% of employers rated our service as very good or good, and 96% of respondents said that the training we offer provides good value for money. If you would like to see how your business could benefit from working with City College Plymouth please contact us on 01752 305896 or e-mail

Local cleaning firm, A.R. Yorke Ltd, is proud of the recent achievements of its team. All 22 staff were offered the opportunity to gain a qualification around their daily work - and it hasn't cost them a penny!

that staff are properly trained and qualified. We did have to spend some time with the assessors but it was really worth it - they guided us through the course and were really helpful and clear."

Fourteen members of the team have now completed the NVQ Level 2 Certificate in Cleaning and Support Services, with another four currently part-way through the course. The programme is delivered in the workplace which supports the onthe-job training that the business delivers, whilst ensuring that tasks are completed to a nationally recognised level.

Mary added: "I would definitely recommend this to others as I believe it would really benefit the cleaning world if every company had the opportunity to train their staff to such a high standard. The funding meant that we didn't have to pay for any of the qualifications, which is just fantastic."

Proprietor of the firm, Mary Yorke, said: "The staff are now much more confident and our customers are happy to know

If you would like to find out how YOUR business could benefit just like Mary’s then please call our Employer Response team on 01752 305026.

NVQ Success City College Plymouth has achieved outstanding success within its hairdressing Apprenticeship provision. Overall success stands at 97% which is 23% above the national average. This achievement has been gained through excellent monitoring of placement performance and effective employer engagement by College staff. Students receive great support from teaching staff and from their employers whilst studying

for the key skills and technical element part of their NVQ - this has led to them gaining high levels of skill and motivation. Julie Langmaid, Proprietor of Plymouth salon, Haircraft, said: “Liaison between College staff and the employer is magnificent, always promoting good communications and always professional and supportive.”

Mailing List If you have received a copy of this newsletter from a colleague and would like to be added to our mailing list, or you would like to be removed from our mailing list, please telephone 01752 305896 or e-mail your name, job title, company name and full address to

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EmployerLink Winter 2012  

City College Plymouth's employers newsletter

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