Apprenticeship East Sussex minutes: 16 June 2021
Date: Wednesday 16 June 2021
Time: 10am to 12 noon
Location: Microsoft Teams
See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.
Actions from this meeting to be taken forward
1. Introductions, minutes and issues raised at last meeting
Brief introductions. The actions and minutes from the previous meeting were approved.
2. Partner updates
ST – Updated that EBC local labour agreements for Lewes and Eastbourne include targets for apprenticeships which ST is struggling to secure within the construction sector despite promoting incentives, Transform, TRAC and alternative training through NVQs. Asked what the group could suggest to drive up apprenticeship take up in construction.
SB – Noted the college are seeing a high number of construction apprenticeships but SMEs and microbusinesses within the trades are a different audience to tier one contractors and their supply chains. Contractors may be deterred by the length of time required to take on an apprentice. Asked if T-level industrial placements provide another option.
ST – Confirmed that T-level and work experience targets are also required in the local labour agreements and contractors have been put in contact with Matt Roberts at East Sussex College Group (ESCG)
SB – Suggested a change in procurement questions to ask companies to evidence what social value added to their last project and to provide a referee to confirm this.
CB to refer the suggestion of evidencing previous social value outputs in procurement at SES Construction Task Group and Social Value sub-group.
VF – Noted the university is seeing interest in Construction degree apprenticeships, but slow in converting interest into commitments for September starts. Longer-term commitments for HE are proving harder to secure from employers following the pandemic. Trade apprenticeships are easier due to shorter length and seen as essential to deliver projects.
VP – Agreed that accountability is essential within social value. Suggested rewards for employers when they transfer levy to their supply chain. The Transform project have recently held a supply chain event for levy paying organisations for 40 SMES to promote levy transfer. Another event is planned. Noted an upcoming meeting with TrAC to better support the shorter-term commitments and look at new flexibility in Construction apprenticeships.
SB – Highlighted the potential for better messaging around apprenticeship flexibility available to all training providers. Offered to work with ST on this messaging, and that the college can front end training and then release apprentices to the employer better prepared.
MB – Noted upcoming South East Construction Expo and Pipeline East run by Sussex Chamber of Commerce, and that ST could investigate council representation at the event.
MB to send details of Construction Expo to ST and SB.
DK – Updated a strong finish to the year for new apprenticeship cohorts at Plumpton with healthy numbers for September starts. It is unclear if this has been driven by the £3,000 financial incentive. Plumpton are looking to introduce new apprenticeships in equine and fishmongery with potential partnerships with employers in Newhaven or Hastings. A Farmworker standard will replace the previous Livestock programme. Noted high demand for butcher apprentices and struggle to fill employer vacancies. Hadlow College Group merger with East Kent College has resulted in demand from employers from the whole of the South East to engage with apprenticeships and need to diversify delivery to meet demand.
KB – Confirmed that DWP are willing and able to promote any apprenticeship vacancies.
SB – Updated that targets for September starts likely to be met. Noted some complexity with overstayers and delays to End Point Assessments (EPAs) due to COVID, timetabling of physical EPAs for certain trades and courses could be complex with new students starting as well. ESCG have 33 live apprenticeship vacancies currently.
VF – Updated that student recruitment numbers are increasing but overall numbers may be slightly below target. Employers seem wary to engage in longer-term workforce commitments. New Construction degree apprenticeships are proving popular, but the Quantity Surveying apprenticeship still has low take up despite being highlighted as a skills gap by the Construction task group. The university will be attending the Sussex chamber construction sector event to talk about the degree apprenticeships. Noted the Senior Leadership apprenticeship has been revised with a new standard with an option to build on postgraduate credit.
Noted UoB’s recent advertisement for a Level 3 Business Administration Apprentice received only one application and will have to be re-advertised. Welcomed support from college partners to promote this role.
The university is also focussing on higher technical awards at Level 4/5 through the Institute for Apprenticeships with a digital suite and technical science suite planned.
CB to raise the Quantity Surveying Apprenticeship at the Construction Task Group and ask how to promote the course to the sector.
VP – Noted many construction employers busy and therefore delays in communications.
VF – Agreed and if employers miss the September start deadline, they will be waiting for the next enrolment period in a year’s time.
RM – Highlighted YES have 1,000 year 11 young people and 1,200 year 12 young people on caseload currently who have been flagged as ‘at risk’ of not transitioning to FE. YES can promote vacancies to those better suited to Level 3 apprenticeships than a college course.
KB – Suggested to share vacancies to promote through DWP.
3. T-levels update
SB – ESCG are offering a range of T-levels, including:
- Health which has involved working with 4 local NHS trusts, including the University of Brighton Hospital Trust and Sussex Health and Care Partnership.
- Construction and the Built Environment and are looking for employer industrial placements for students in first year of study.
- Digital from Hastings campus and in partnership with employer, De La Warr Pavilion.
- Childcare, which is closest to the previous study programme and employers understand their role in developing individuals.
MB – Highlighted the Glenigan database which details contractors operating in the area and what stage projects are at. Could be used to source T-level placements for Construction.
4. Sub-group update (Apprenticeship Roadshow/Graduation ceremony)
VP – The Transform apprenticeship programme will run until Dec 2023. The project includes delivering 2 Apprenticeship Roadshow events a year, which will be online this year. The first was held on 11 June for school pupils, designed to be watched in the classroom and promoted by the Careers Hub. It included general information about apprenticeships and hearing from a panel of employers, providers and apprentices.
The second event on 14 July is aimed at adults, young people and parents/carers and will follow a similar format, as well as promote live apprenticeship vacancies. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to promote current live vacancies through the Roadshow.
A recording will be on the Careers East Sussex following the event.
For a 2021 Apprenticeship Graduation Event, tentative dates have been reserved at the Welcome Building in Eastbourne. A final decision about whether an in-person event is possible will be made in July. This event will be sponsored.
SCTP are running a Brighton and Hove virtual graduation event on the 30 June, hosted by John Young and will feature Albion in the Community talking about apprenticeships, and a current B&H council apprentice and a live Q and A. The event will have a traditional role call online and awards. Target of 50 sign ups.
VP to circulate Roadshow information to members to promote through social media channels and to employers with live vacancies.
VF – Highlighted that is the Roadshow is to be kept as a recording to view on demand, individuals appearing in the footage would need to complete a new consent form.
CB – Confirmed that a consent form from East Sussex County Council can be circulated. The film would be available to watch on Careers East Sussex until the next Roadshow in 2022.
MB to share East Sussex County Council consent form with VP.
5. Apprenticeship data update and priority setting for 2021/22
CB – Outlined data in report circulated for the meeting. Noted the data was to end of academic year July 2021, halfway through the pandemic so not the full picture. The DfE are reviewing data releases. Asked if should continue to show 2016/17 data for trend line.
SB – Noted the downward trend shown started before the pandemic with the loss of Level 2 and 3 standards, alongside increase in higher level apprenticeships. Noted 2016/17 had the highest level of apprenticeships as sign ups pushed through before the reforms in May 2017.
VF – Noted steady and positive growth in degree apprenticeships since 2016/17 is part of the same trend, and employer demand is reflected from 2017/18.
SB – It is hard to split data across frameworks and standards for information around completions. Asked CB to confirm with data team if the learner count is based on the postcode of the training provider, employer or learner.
VF – Highlighted the good news of growth in higher level apprenticeships.
CB – Noted the previous AES action plan aligned with the against SES priorities:
- Promoting careers information, advice and guidance
- Helping young people into world of work
- Promoting gender and equality in different sectors
- Stimulating uptake on apprenticeships
- Encouraging employer input in to the curriculum where possible
The SES priorities are due for a reset in the coming month. AES members need to decide if want to review the AES action plan in light of these – hooked to SES priorities or set out against AES own action plan or strategy. Suggested that this is a key area for discussion for the September agenda.
Cllr M – Noted previous 100 apprenticeships in 100 days campaign led by local MP lobbying local businesses which achieved 181 in 100 days. Asked if the group were able to lobby MPs to do similar.
SB – Noted that vacancies are currently very hard to fill, especially in hospitality. Therefore a campaign may generate more demand and yet not the supply to fill the new vacancies. Noted that some unemployed or furloughed individuals may not be looking for work yet. Suggested waiting to reassess the landscape in autumn.
Cllr M – Asked what has changed; are schools retaining students for A-levels?
CB – Noted the Task Groups are also reporting skills/labour shortage. Many EU workers have returned home through the pandemic and then not returned post-Brexit.
MB – Hospitality recruitment is an all age problem as general staff numbers reduced and this may have a knock on effect on quality of training for apprenticeships in businesses.
VF – Highlighted 80% of the future workforce are in the workforce now, focus on adults not just young people.
Cllr M – Noted employers leaning towards older employees as seen to be more reliable and have workplace experience. Noted the challenge for over 25s to return to an apprenticeship salary. Suggested an incentive scheme for employees to mirror employer incentive success.
RM – Noted organisations offering Kickstart placements include a level of wrap around and brokerage support. Asked about any plans for wrap around support for apprenticeships brokerage? Highlighted that applicants are often unsure how to apply and undertake an interview. Is DWP set up to do this?
CB – Agreed the need to understand how much support NCS and CXK can offer, particularly to adults. Unemployed people should be covered across YES, CXK, NCS and DWP.
RM – NCS is one-off, one-hour of support. Noted Restart providers will have a key role in employability support.
SB – Noted 16 to 18-year olds are difficult to fund in pre-employment and SWAP-type programmes that provide employability support. However, most apprentice applicants should get application guidance from their training provider.
VP – Highlighted traineeships as an important preparation as a type of pre-apprenticeship programme which is longer and can offer this support. Suggested incentivising traineeships paid at £10 a day.
CB to add AES priority setting and Action Plan to agenda for next meeting.
CB to note employability support for applicants at apprenticeship application stage under potential priorities for Action plan at next meeting.
AOB (any other business)
SB – Suggested the group involve the lead contractors from the JETS and Restart programme.
CB to contact and invite JETS and Restart leads join AES membership.
VF – Noted that she will be leaving the University of Brighton in July and thanked members for enjoyable discussion through this group over the years.
CB – Thanked VF for all her input into the group and wished her luck in her new role.
Date of next meeting
Date of next meeting: Wednesday 15 September 2021
Time: 10am to 12 noon
Location: To be confirmed
Attendees and apologies
- CB - Caroline Bragg, East Sussex County Council (Chair)
- Cllr M - Councillor Murray, Eastbourne Borough Council
- CB - Clare Buckle, Wealden District Council
- DK - Dan Karlsson, Plumpton College
- KB - Karra Brenchley, DWP
- MB - Matt Brill, East Sussex Careers Hub
- RM - Ryan Matthews, YES/CXK
- SB - Stephen Burkes, East Sussex College Group
- ST - Sara Taylor, Lewes and Eastbourne Councils
- VF - Viki Faulkner, University of Brighton
- VP - Vanessa Potter, Sussex Council of Training Providers
Sarah How, East Sussex County Council
Ana Christie, Zoe Sorrell