Apprenticeship East Sussex minutes: 4 October 2023

Apprenticeship East Sussex minutes: 4 October 2023

Meeting details

Minutes of Apprenticeships East Sussex Working Group

Held ON: Wednesday 4th October 2023 at 10:30-12:00, Teams

Attendees and apologies

Attendees and apologies
CB Caroline Bragg Chair - ESCC, Employability & Skills Strategy Manager
HG Heather Green DWP, Employment Advisor
SG Suzanne Green ESCC, Transform Project Manager
HGi Hayley Gillam DWP, Employment Advisor
AH Andrew Hall CEC, Skills and Technical Education Manager
DH Donna Harfield ESCG, Vice Principal Business Development
PH Peter Hoggan Plumpton College,
DK Dan Karlsson Plumpton College, Head of Business Partnerships
SK Stephen King Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP), MOU
VP Vanessa Potter SCTP, Executive Director
SS Steve Sefton University of Brighton, Business Development Advisor
ST Sara Taylor Eastbourne and Lewes Councils, Regeneration officer
IW Ian Whittle RESTART, REED in Partnership, Partnership Manager South
PW Paul Wright TRaC Apprenticeships, Director
HB Hannah Brookshaw ESCC, Partnerships and Projects Manager

1. Welcome (new members)

Introductions given for the benefit of new members attending.

2. Review of Previous Minutes & Actions

Agreed to carry over the action for Dan Karlsson to give a presentation to the next meeting and offer as a members update item for training providers related to the group’s action plan. DK shared the link to the Plumpton apprenticeship offer in the meeting chat.

Action 1: members update item to be added to next agenda.

Noted that the minutes of the meeting feature in the SCTP newsletter.

3. ATE national workshops – outcomes and next steps

AH shared a presentation on the outcome of workshops (attached with minutes).

CB noted the outcome that ‘Employer need’ is highest scoring, yet ‘Employer willingness’ was lowest across the country. Is this being fed back to the DfE that this is the greatest barrier for ATE? In East Sussex, the ATE workshop has been undertaken not just to inform the Careers Hub strategic plan, but to address challenges through the AES action plan, which the wider members beyond the Careers Hub seek to address collectively. One challenge AES identified was employer take-up several years ago and as a result applied for ESF funds to deliver the Transform programme to provide support to employers/SMEs to access apprenticeships and apprenticeship levy transfer as an incentive. This has also enabled us to link to other projects with tangible results – notably recent examples of NEET young people supported through the CEC funded Effective Transitions programme, undertaking work experience, gaining a job as a result and then being referred to Transform to support the employer and young person to convert this into an apprenticeship. However, the ESF funding expires in December. It would be useful if this type of gap/provision or ‘Employer willingness’ was fed to government.

AH – need to understand exactly what initiatives and projects there are in order to introduce/suggest interventions. Points/issues/challenges been raised through this group have been fed through, but it hasn’t gone as far suggesting or offering solutions that exist or could be developed.

PW posted in the chat to note that in recent discussions with DfE, they are running pilots in the north to test need for apprenticeship brokerage, still early days.

4. AES action plan review

A brief summary of the plan was shared by CB, this will be shared again with the minutes. There is one action point relating to the University of Brighton/LSIP that requires follow up.

DK asked in the meeting chat if schools take advantage of training staff through apprenticeships? CB – yes, they are increasingly utilising apprenticeships and noted that maintained schools are part of the ESCC levy, take up has been good.

DK asked if the 5% training contribution is a barrier, CB believes it is the wages.

5. Transform programme evaluation and future options.

SG & VP jointly gave a presentation (attached with minutes).

SG: overview of the programme and outputs to date / views from SMEs on the programme and service they’d received.

VP: programme methodology and pathway for businesses supported through Transform, include a video from an electrical apprentice and employer on how transform has enabled them to recruit apprentices, helping their business growth and supporting the next generation of employees.

VP – noted that the programme supports businesses with their workforce development plans.

AH requested that presentation on Transform is shared with him.


SG – current project funding ends in December 2023, there are 3 options for how it could continue:

  1. a) core Transform project service - £50-60K p.a.
  2. b) basic service – supporting businesses
  3. c) self-serve toolkit – not ideal option as businesses need the additional hand-holding support.

DH – Noted he would be interested to understand how many businesses are transferring their levy.

SG – small number only part as part of Transform. Part of the project was looking to bring on extra levy payers, however ESCC have taken part in the beta pilot for the Levy Pledge system through the Apprenticeship Service (AS) platform and there are several anomalies in the financial tracking and queries raised by ESCC that have not been resolved.

VP – said there are a number of employers who do have their own tracking systems in place, such as ESCC and some of the Levy payers they are working with, but it is not a straightforward through the Levy Pledge system.

6. Apprenticeship Graduation event – 16 November

VP shared a presentation on the 2023 East Sussex Apprenticeship graduation ceremony, taking place on 16 November 6 – 8pm, Welcome Building, Eastbourne.

Eligibility: Level 2–7 apprentices, living or working in East Sussex who have completed their apprenticeship in the last year.

Event includes keynote, as well as hearing from key employer and apprentice/s.

VP asked for thoughts on a cohort of apprentices to approach – looking for a hook - last year first year of social work apprentices as a special story.

SS – University of Brighton has 254 graduating, up to 120 of those could be in East Sussex with a large number from the healthcare sector, there could be some occupational therapists, teachers that could be explored. As a guide 2022/23 saw; 10 x Social Workers again; 12 Teachers; 3 x Senior Leaders; some occupational therapists; 1 x Podiatrist - and a large number of nurses at L5/6/7.

WG suggested following up with Mark Pope for Construction apprentices.

Action 2:

  1. a) Please send ideas/thoughts on an employer/apprentice to speak through to VP – considering construction as potential focus sector.
  2. b) VP requested that the group reach out and share via their networks – already reaching out through training providers, chambers, business networks, CITB, NHS, SES.

7. Provider update

A fuller members update will be provided at the next meeting.

  1. a) ESCG – successful September, over on the planned amount of learners, 300+ already registered. Launching new creative venue technician apprenticeship as a pilot in the next month following LSIP feedback, however increased numbers are needed as currently too few learners are registered.
  2. b) Plumpton – the college stagger starts throughout the year, currently 150 new starts, up on the forecast. Secured a new national partnership with energy providers. Arboriculture apprenticeship, the numbers have been down compared to 2021, however hoping this will increase. Nursery, bakery, agriculture numbers are increasing – with an improved gender balance on the latter (females making up half). National wine apprenticeship programme is launching with 20–22 starts.
  3. c) University of Brighton - Health course is full and at normal capacity, business and management uptake not quite there. Update on other numbers to be provided and added to minutes, if available.
  4. d) TRaC apprenticeships – take up in construction in South-East slower this year, in part due to business failures recently so the industry is suffering, however there is increased demand in property maintenance.

8. AOB/next meeting

Next meeting for January due to be set shortly.

Agenda items: National Apprenticeship week updates from members, provider/member apprenticeship updates, any new/national programmes members wish to share.

DK offered Plumpton as an in-person meeting venue.  

Action 3: DK to advise dates when available.

          Next meeting:

Wednesday 24 January 2024, 10:30 – 12:30, Agrifood Centre, Plumpton College.