Apprenticeship East Sussex minutes: 12 January 2023

Meeting details

Date: Thursday 12 January 2023

Time: 9.30am to 11am 

Location: Microsoft Teams

See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.


CB welcomed DMu to the meeting as due to technical difficulties, DMu was unable to introduce himself or join the whole meeting. Introductions were made by others present.

Actions from this meeting to take forward

Number Action detail Responsible
Action 1 Ensure updates on creative apprenticeships/entry routes are fed back to the Creative Task Group ALL as applicable 
Action 2 Discuss issues on land and environmental apprenticeship/careers resources. DK and Careers Hub
Action 3 Update on Youth Hubs at next meeting. ESCG/DWP
Action 4 Send questions for independent training providers to SCTP SBu
Action 5 Contact CllrM for more information on Green House project, particularly if interested in judging ALL as applicable 
Action 6  Contact CB and/or VPo to join Graduation 2023 Working Group/Give Feedback ALL as applicable
Action 7 Consider Apprenticeship Graduation marketing in the budgeting process CB/VPo
Action 8 Check that event updates are on Careers East Sussex events calendar ALL as applicable 
Action 9 Add study programmes to future agenda Secretariat 
Action 10 Respond regarding group membership, meeting frequency and format. Members

1. Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

Minutes were approved.

 DO advised that the university is working to provide offers in a progressive way. They wish to avoid duplication. As Brighton University no longer have an East Sussex presence, they are looking at an off-campus offer that can be delivered to support the workforce. This includes nursing associate degree apprenticeships.

DH invited EC to join the meeting to give an update on Youth Hubs. This was given during partners updates.

2. Partner Updates

DK advised Plumpton have had a good apprenticeships start for 2022-23. These are primarily their national contracts for butchery and bakery. Locally, it is a more of struggle. Many of the programmes lend themselves to new recruits, and businesses are either not recruiting or unable to recruit good candidates. A new Crop Technician level 3 Award will focus on organic crop production and is in association with the Soil Association.  

Plumpton have been nominated for an apprenticeship pathway award. They are looking to work with East Sussex College Group (ESCG) to add value. For example, butchery linked to Hospitality and Catering.

 DK reconfirmed that that Plumpton are happy to host a Skills East Sussex group meeting at the Agrifood centre. It has capacity for up to 300. Plumpton’s Business Service team will arrange conferences and training and it is linked to Higher Education (HE).

 DH said that ESCG have had good apprenticeship outcomes. Recruitment for 2022-23 is ongoing. There are employer events and marketing coming up. ESCG are working with the De La Warr Pavilion on a creative venue technician qualification. This is to open up routes into the creative sector for those who may not have considered it. It is part of the Talent Accelerator and still at the planning stage. Dan Wallman, creative and cultural stakeholder lead for the LSIP (Local Skills Improvement Plan) is keen to expand apprenticeships in this sector.

ACTION 1: CB asked that DH and others ensure update on creative apprenticeships/entry routes are fed back to the Creative Task Group – ALL (as and when)

Arrangements with a major employer are underway for a gas pilot. ESCG wish to do more employer engagement but ensure this is differentiated from the Task Groups.

More employers of various sizes are welcome on the sector Task Groups. Members can forward invitations and raise awareness.  

DH has not noticed a fall in level 2 interest. A recent Business Administration post had a lot of interest for example. This may not be the case with more niche areas. DK felt that the specialist nature of Plumpton’s offer is an issue. Employers do not necessarily provide the IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) that Careers Leaders and Hubs require. It is a known issue and work is being done on this. DH and DK agreed to catch outside the meeting regarding collaboration and apprenticeship recruitment, especially level 2.

ACTION 2: Discuss issues on land and environmental resources – DK/Careers Hub

EC stated that the Youth Hubs have been on college campuses since August 2022. There have been problems. The original contract was for JobCentrePlus (JCP) staff to come into them for young people to sign on and get advice. A lack of JCP staff has led to ESCG staff taking young people to JobCentres. The contract also started later than planned. Currently due to run until June/July 2023.

There were a lot of no-shows in December. Attendance has been poor at open and application days. What has emerged is that many of those presenting at Hastings have profound mental health issues. The issues in Newhaven are somewhat different.

More outreach work is needed. Care leavers, single parents and those in temporary accommodation (such as The Foyer) need to be reached and supported.

ACTION 3: To update at next meeting, review to take place at Easter 2023 – ESCG/DWP

DO advised that the University of Brighton has reviewed its admissions process. This is to increase engagement with SMEs and ensure they know what is needed to apply for programmes. Programmes offered include top-ups not just level 6. From September 2023, T-level completers are eligible to apply for courses.

The Sussex-Surrey Institute of Technology which links both the University of Sussex, Brighton University and the North East Surrey College of Technology (Nescot) has started work. Offers that will be available from Sussex and Brighton from September 2023 are two level 5 Higher Technical Qualifications:

  • Higher Education Diploma in Cyber Security Technologist (HTQ)

  • Higher Education Diploma in Software Development (HTQ)

and three level 4s:

  • Higher Education Certificate Business Analyst (HTQ)
  • Higher Education Certificate Data Analyst (HTQ)
  • Higher Education Certificate in Engineering (HTQ)

They want to establish that the current offers are relevant and what is wanted before too much expansion. There are existing offers which will form part of the IoT as well.

Regarding nursing programmes, these will take place off-campus. Discussions on how this will work, such as supervision are on-going with East Sussex health and care services.

 CW advised that the LSIP sector deep dives are due to take place late January. Sector workshops will then take place in early February to discuss the findings.

 VPo stated that SCTP has been awarded the contract to run ASK (Apprenticeships, Skills and Knowledge) once more. They are in communication with the Careers Hub about the schools not booked in for ASK. Schools requesting visits take priority for bookings, with the others approached afterwards.

Transform is now in year 3. Around 100 SMEs have been supported so far, making the target of 150 reachable. Planning for the 2023 Roadshows has begun. The White Rock Theatre, Hastings in June and The Towner in Eastbourne in July. These are excellent opportunities to advertise vacancies and for applicants to meet employers. Previous shows have led to successful applications from a range of people including returners to the workplace.

Moving on Up is due to end at the end of March 2023. However, its wraparound support and innovation may lead to additional funding being secured. In the meantime, employers are encouraged to refer people. This includes those who are in temporary accommodation and need support, even if able to secure a job independently.

 SBu raised the need for more surveillance of the roll-on/roll-off apprenticeship and technical qualifications that start throughout the year. These tend to be taken up by employees. A looming recession may see a decline and this needs to be monitored.

 VPo could capture anonymised data from member providers on this, for comparison with recent years. Anecdotally there is a reduced appetite to commit to permanent over short-term contracts.  This effects investing in training, especially if due to exceed the temporary contract.

ACTION 4: Send questions for independent training providers to VP for sending out – SBu

 CB advised that TRAC have expanded their provision beyond construction. Members discussed the complexity of the flexi-model. ST said it is difficult to negotiate and implement. It is recognised attractive to be used over a number of jobs over time. Agreed on the need to get more data.

 CllrM raised that he has been in touch with seven local builders and three schools to resurrect a schools event. He is not looking at this being what it was in 2010, but would like a lot of schools to get involved. It is aimed at pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 (ages 11-14). The aim is to develop or spark an interest in construction by building a house. This can be a miniature or large scale.

ACTION 5: Contact CllrM for more information, particularly if interested in judging – ALL applicable

3. Graduation Ceremony 19th October 2022 and 2023

VPo reported back on the ceremony which took place on 19th October 2022, 6.30pm to 8.00pm at The Welcome Building, Eastbourne.  There were 60 apprentices and 150 guests. Responses to the feedback survey were small but positive.

People liked seeing a range of apprenticeship levels (2 to 7) acknowledged. The social element was welcome. Lower scores tended to come from guests than apprentices or those attending in a professional capacity. Improvements identified around

  • timing (there were technical issues causing a delayed start),
  • higher impact reception desk (use banners, balloons and so on)
  • the roll call (which went reasonably well)

 A concern now is a potential decease in numbers with it being one year’s worth of graduates. This ceremony was the first since 2019.

VPo showed a promotional video. She asked for comments.

 DH, CB, SBu and others congratulated SCTP on how well it had gone. DH raised timing – a ceremony in November or December would allow colleges more time and capacity to give support after their September start. This would also give universities more time to follow up with their students. VPo and CB noted this. Agreed that a graduation ceremony working group start soon.

ACTION 6: Contact CB and/or VPo to join Graduation 2023 Working Group/Give Feedback – ALL

ACTION 7: Consider marketing in the budgeting process – CB/VPo

4. AES Action Plan

CB said that she has been reviewing how the Action Plan and the group works, and how they could work better.  One consideration is to expand the membership to independent training providers. We get very useful intel from SCTP but there are large providers who use different apprenticeship models and sit outside this.

SBu continued that meeting timing and frequency is another area to review. The meetings often do not cover everything planned. Proposals include meeting three times a year (termly) or a quarterly model. Are there standing items that should be on the agenda? Is 90minutes meeting length right?

5. National Apprenticeships Week

MR said that the Careers Hub are working with Talking Futures on parental engagement. There will be an online event at Claverham, and an in-person event at Saxon Mount.  Kim Byford of the De La Warr Pavilion will speak about creative apprenticeships. Information will be sent to parents/carers.

At East Sussex County Council there will be a meet the Chief Executive event. Social media will support the activities.

Plumpton are raising awareness of apprenticeships as a professional pathway, DK said. There will be a daily webinar during the week aimed at different audiences: employers, parents/carers, learners, applicants. They are also hosting information sessions for under-18s and over 18s and working with JCP.

 University of Brighton are having celebrations of existing apprentices, GO stated. They are also engaging with employers on co-designing courses to support workforce needs.

DH advised that there is calendar of events lined up for ESCG. This is due to be finalised the week after this meeting. Online, in-person and social media activity are all there.

Cross-promoting events and sharing hash(#) tags is encouraged.  

ACTION 8: Update events on Careers East Sussex where possible (schools and colleges have logins) or email to


6. Lobbying

CB raised that national changes mean that traineeships are now expected to be delivered through study programmes. VPo expanded that this is an issue as not all providers have access to AEB (Adult Education Budget) or study programme funding. Some are now lobbying to secure access to study programme contracts.

DH said that traineeships are tailored so eligibility is not that wide. ESCG runs pathways programmes to support this cohort. They can signpost to level 2 apprenticeships, but traineeships and study programmes are not like for like in delivery or experience.

ACTION 9: Agreed to discuss study programmes further at future meeting – Secretariat  

7. AOB (any other business)

ACTION 10: Members are asked to respond regarding group membership, meeting frequency and format.

8. Date of next meeting

Thursday 27th April 2023, 12pm-1.30pm 

Location: Online

Attendees and apologies


  • CB, Caroline Bragg, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager - Co-Chair
  • SBu, Stephen Burkes, Employability and Skills Project Manager, ESCC  Co-Chair
  • CllrMu, Cllr Jim Murray [part], Eastbourne Borough Council

  • CW, Claire Witz Skills Lead, Local Skills Improvement Plan, Sussex Chamber

  • DK. Dan Karlsson, Head Business Partnerships, Plumpton College

  • DH, Donna Harfield, Vice Principal Business Development, East Sussex College

  • DO, David Oloke, Head of Technical Education and Apprenticeships, Brighton University

  • DMu, David Murrell [part], Organisational Development, HR, Wealden District Council

  • GT, Geraldine Turton, Apprenticeship Hub Manager, Brighton University

  • HG, Heather Green [part], Work Coach Team Leader, DWP Hastings

  • IW. Ian Whittle Partnership Manager, Reed in Partnership (Restart)

  • LN, Lisa Nicolaides, Regional Manager (Career Management), CXK

  • MR, Matt Mainstone-Ryan, Enterprise Co-ordinator, Careers Hub

  • SK, Stephen King, Moving on Up, Sussex Council of Training Providers

  • ST, Sara Taylor

    Regeneration, Lewes & Eastbourne Councils

  • VPo, Vanessa Potter, Executive Director, Sussex Council of Training Providers


  • DM, Donnalyn Morris, Employability and Skills Project Officer, ESCC


None received.