Apprenticeship East Sussex minutes: 13 October 2022

Meeting details

Date: Thursday 13 October 2022

Time: 9.30am to 11am noon

Location: Microsoft Teams

See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.

Actions from this meeting to be taken forward

Number Action detail Responsible
Action 1 Provide feedback following meeting with ESCG Hub lead to discuss Youth Hubs and The Beacon. SBu
Action 2 Provide update on Brighton University work with East Sussex Health Care Trust. DO
Action 3 How best to integrate with the Careers Hub to get the updated apprenticeship message out SBu

1. Introductions, minutes and issues raised at last meeting


SBu asked for introductions and welcomed DB to this meeting in his role as an Employer Advisor at JCP. 

Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

Minutes were approved.

2. Sub-Group Updates

Graduation Ceremony 19th October 2022

VPo provided an update for the ceremony which is on 19th October 2022, 6.30pm to 8.00pm at The Welcome Building, Eastbourne. Various sponsors are now engaged which include:


  • East Sussex County Council
  • East Sussex College Group

Event Sponsors:

  • NCFE Awarding Body
  • SEAAN (SE Apprentice Ambassador Network)
  • OHM Energy

 Event Overview:

  • Anticipate 61 Graduates and 180 Guests to attend
  • Opening address from Councillor Rupert Simmons
  • Apprenticeship Champion Employer – Ian Moore, Production Manager, Rampion Offshore Windfarm
  • Interview – Social Work Degree Apprenticeship spotlight
  • Graduation Rollcall
  • Special awards
  • Final Keynote speaker - Donna Harfield, Vice Principal, Business Development, East Sussex College Group

 VPo advised, following discussion with students, there would be gowns available for students to wear to have photographs taken.

SBu confirmed that previous events had been very successful and emphasised the importance of the event.  

 CllrMu thought that it was important to have gowns made available to ensure that apprenticeship students look the same as degree passing students and recognises the amount of work they have put in.

DH also advised that getting 61 graduates enrolled was a result of a lot of work and effort from the people involved. 

VPo thanked all providers for their support.  SBu – wanted to ensure that all involved were thanked for their input and hard work to make the event happen.

3. Partner updates

University of Brighton

DO advised they are taking a strategic approach to their apprenticeship provision and listening to employers therefore they are not expanding the portfolio at the present time.

GT confirmed that numbers were generally the same as last year.  There is a new course offer for Diagnostic Radiography with Physiotherapy starting next September.

SBu mentioned UoB’s move away from Eastbourne and asked whether there was opportunity to work with East Sussex Healthcare Trust. Could UoB provide an update for the next meeting?

ACTION 2: Provide update on Brighton University work with East Sussex Health Care Trust for the next meeting - DO

Plumpton College

DK thought their numbers forecast for this year were quite conservative and that they had a good start to the academic year.  Local businesses are expected to have fewer starts with reasons being cost of living or uncertainty within certain industries. However, the national market has grown with companies like Tesco (Butchery), National Trust and RHS requiring levels 2 and 3 apprentices.  Plumpton’s new bakery which is opening in January will also provide additional courses.

There are six new pathways being offered within the food and drink process operator apprenticeship standard which will be delivered 100% in the workplace (in line with employer expectations).

The equine program is proving popular with seven different pathways. 

The General Farm Worker, which replaced Stock Person, has two pathways with a progression route to livestock or crop technician. 

There have been some difficulties with local recruitment. Volumes are down for some standards including bakery where numbers last year were very high but this year numbers have vastly dropped.  They are working with various partners to try and improve the situation and have also opened an educational hub in partnership with the Education Futures Trust in Hastings.

There are also a number of capital builds and Plumpton invited the group to come and see the facilities.

SBu suggested that it could be a good venue for a face-to-face meeting in the future. 

East Sussex College Group (ESCG)

DH advised there were a lot of tenders being processed at the moment and have just opened the green hub which was part of the strategic development fund.  Apprenticeship starts for September were as expected. 

The college is also working on a number of provisions in specialist areas which will be confirmed and updated at a later date.   

Sussex College of Training Providers (SCTP)

VPo discussed there was a lot of development within the green agenda and that more specialised career opportunities were opening up with new apprenticeship standards being offered.  SBu discussed it was important to continue working with Careers Hub and working with schools to ensure careers advisors are aware of what is on offer.

ACTION 3 – How best to integrate with the Careers Hub to get the updated apprenticeship message out - SBu

SBu provided feedback on a recent exercise that was carried out which involved interviewing an internal apprentice.  The person mentioned the very helpful information, advice and guidance they were given on the apprenticeship program by their job coach at Reed.  IW advised he would pass the comments back to his team.  He also mentioned that the executive coaches who are now taking on another role which includes self-employed and apprenticeship leads.  Until recently, there were only involved in the high earning vacancies. He also thought that there was focus on apprenticeships for adult learners.


4. West Sussex Inclusive Apprenticeship pilot feedback

VPo advised that Coast to Capital and SCTP worked together to provide a webinar on providing inclusive apprenticeships, this was for employers with a focus on additional support and adjustments that can be made in the workplace to accommodate this offer.

The webinar was delivered live and then recorded and made available to employers in the Coast to Capital area.  The feedback advised 100% found the webinar extremely useful with 80% advising they would take forward inclusive apprenticeship processes and 75% requested further information. 

The webinar provided:

  • Information about inclusion and inclusive apprenticeships
  • Apprentice and inclusive employer testimony, including social value and ROI
  • Live audience Q&A

Employer Webinar  

SBu asked whether there were any training providers involved.  VPo advised it was for employers although there was a training provider at the event. 

DO asked about providers generally across the spectrum. He noted that Ofsted were getting more interested in how they are interfacing with employers and that this would be a very good way of moving forward. 


5. AES Action Plan and areas of focus for discussion

T-Level/Apprenticeship progression

DH had put together some statistics from the whole of last year’s cohort.  Of the 36 learners that completed T Levels in the prior academic year 42% went to university, 44% went into employment but only 11% went into an apprenticeship.  The figures would indicate therefore that there is a low percentage of students going into apprenticeships.

It is important that the progression pathways are mapped to help plan for the future and also ensuring that learners are aware of their next steps. 

It is also very important that the prestige of apprenticeships is highlighted, putting them in parity with others options so they are not seen as a second choice.

SBu advised that due to T Levels being level 3 and there being a limited level 4+ offer available locally mapped to the existing T Level sectors that the move into University or employment was the more likely outcome.

How do we focus on 16 – 18-year-olds and support them into entry roles?

SBu asked whether 16 – 18-year-olds were being left behind following the reduction of Level 2 apprenticeships.

DH agreed that there is still a need for level 2 entry routes which are still being reduced for apprenticeships

Transform Update

VPo provided a brief overview of the transform project.  They are aiming to work with 150 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to support them in accessing unspent apprenticeship levy from large local providers

Apprenticeship Service for SME

SBu asked if the roll out of the new apprenticeship service to SMEs had been difficult.

DH advised that the tools available were acceptable and it was really the same system, just slightly different. However, it is difficult to get small businesses to use the system and the administration burden is very high.

ASK (Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge) 2022/23 – Engaging with Schools and Colleges

Not covered during this meeting due to time.

AOB (any other business)

None raised.

Agenda item:

Co-ordinate feedback on apprenticeship experiences

Date of next meeting

Date of next meeting:

Thursday 12th January 2023, 09:30 – 11:00.

Location: Online 

Attendees and apologies


  • SBu, Stephen Burkes, Employability and Skills Project Manager, ESCC CHAIR
  • CllrMu, Cllr Jim Murray, Eastbourne Borough Council
  • DB, Daniel Burgess, Employer Advisor, JCP Hastings
  • 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
  • GT, Geraldine Turton, Apprenticeship Hub Manager, Brighton University
  • IW, Ian Whittle, Partnership Manager, Reed in Partnership (Restart)
  • JB, Jo Buckley, Vice Principal, Plumpton College
  • LR, Liisa Robinson, Employer Advisor JCP Hastings and Bexhill
  • VPo, Vanessa Potter, Executive Director, Sussex Council of Training Providers


  • DM, Donnalyn Morris, Employability and Skills Project Officer, ESCC
  • SG, Sue Gothard, Clerk


  • CB, Caroline Bragg, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager, ESCC