West Midlands Specialist Provider Network for Business Profesional by nrg44159



Date                            24 September 2007
Subject                         West Midlands Specialist Provider Network for Business
                                Profesional Service Sector
Location                        North Warwickshire & Hinckley College - Bermuda Park
Time                            14:00
LSC office                      West Midlands Region
Publication intent              Public

Present                         Marc Hannis - Skills 4 Justice
                                John Hardwick - North Warwickshire and Hinckley College
                                Russ Henry - North East Worcestershire College
                                Derek Holloway - Asset Skills
                                Sian Houseago - Sutton Coldfield College
                                Roger Malpas - Stoke on Trent College
                                Patricia McDonough - AAT
                                Linda Morris - Telford College of Art and Technology
                                (attending on behalf of Roger Bull)
                                Mary Samuels - Halesowen College
                                Sarah Morris - Tamworth & Lichfield College
LSC staff                       Matthew Armstrong
                                Joy Bayliss
                                Tracey Brown (on behalf of Sara Holyhead)
                                Nigel Gaynor
                                Beverley McGillycuddy
Apologies                       Apologies have been received from:
                                Emily Vaughan, NSAFS

Item 1. Minutes of last meeting & Matters Arising
Action Re: LLN Attendance carried over

Action for ALL: Group asked to consider possible nominees for the HE Rep – any suggestions to
be forwarded to Joy Bayliss

Leitch slides were circulated

Item 2. Implementation of the Recommendations
Recommendations were sent out to group via email.

Learning and Skills Council West Midlands Region
15 Bartholomew Row Birmingham B5 5JU
T 0845 019 4143 F 0121 345 4503 www.lsc.gov.uk
Beverley highlighted the key points to the group they include:

The significant number of Soft Skills gaps (both hard to fill & skills shortage vacancies), that will
need addressing by the group

Work has begun on the Leadership & Management Balance Sheet review, which is an opportunity
for BPS to link into, to ensure that work is not duplicated; however we do not want to lose focus on
our own goals

Action for SH & MS: Feed outcomes from the L&M Balance Sheet into our group

Group discussed further potential Employer Engagement strategies:

Sarah Morris discussed work ongoing within her organisation re: potential marketing links with
Stafford Chamber and Staffordshire FineST (i.e. badge work as a chamber initiative rather than a
college one to increase interest)

One issue highlighted by the group is that the ILM qualifications available through Train to
Gain are NVQs which are not employers' qualifications of choice.

Many companies are willing to pay full cost for ILM qualification.

Marc Hannis commented that Leadership & Management qualifications are very important to Skills
4 Justice, as such they are currently running a pilot within the East Midlands that is looking at the
various ways in which the qualifications are/can be offered, and looking at what effect each of the
various qualifications on offer can have

Action for MH: email Beverley details of East Midlands pilot

Derek Holloway commented that many Employers within Asset Skills remit have developed VRQs,
which are preferred to NVQs

Work has began with Employer Networks such as Coventry First to develop approaches to deal
with a number of the issues identified by the recommendations

Funding Issues:

Is dialogue needed with awarding bodies re: changes to funding landscape?

Group agreed that there was a need to look at progression routes throughout the sector and
consider how they will be affected by changes i.e. the qualifications that are widely used, and how
they are paid (can they be funded by Train to Gain in future)

Get funding issues on the table early, understand what is/will be/will not be fundable in future

SSCs Sector Qualification Strategies will effect what qualifications will be funded


Group also needs to begin to consider ways forward re: dissemination of the recommendations

Sian Houseago commented that Sutton Coldfield College had conducted research regarding
methods of contacting employers and found cold calling to be far more successful than a mailshot

Cold calling had a 17% success rate with companies re: arranging appointments compared to flyer
success rate which was less than 5%

Minutes of meeting on 24 September 2007                                                Public Document
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Action for ALL: Group to consider further ways in which to disseminate information throughout our
sector and consider what works and what does not.

Item 3. Dissemination of the findings of the BPS Review
How do we ensure that the Balance Sheet is viewed by the correct people?

Hard copies should be sent to College Principal in each region

Sian Houseago offered to take copies to the AAT forum

Additionally group members offered to place PDF versions of the Balance Sheet review onto their

Action for ALL: Notify Joy Bayliss or Beverley McGillycuddy of any meetings or groups that may
offer a useful conduit of disseminating this information

Item 4. Update on financial Services Skills Academy
No lead provider has yet been nominated, announcement due shortly

There seems to be a great deal of genuine interest from employers, especially re: 14-19 diplomas
and apprenticeships

Item 5. Quality of Provision: Success Rates & SWOT Analysis of BPS WM Sector
A SWOT Analysis of sector was handed out to group and discussed.

Aim is for the group to consider the quality of provision, success rates within the sector and ways in
which both can be strengthened

The Group was asked to consider if they agreed with the points identified within each of the sub-

Comments made included:

Industrial cleaners: this could and should be both an opportunity and a weakness; we are in a
position to improve by working with Asset Skills to better understand the sector. It should however
not be a threat

Noted that there currently is a full L2 qualification available through Train to Gain

Train to Gain: the perception of this initiative is still off, it is deemed a threat by some providers,
we need to work to change this perception so that it is seen as the opportunity it is

There are however threats that will need dealing with (lack of funded ILM qualifications)

Prof/Awarding Bodies: Should be listed as both a strength and a weakness

Problems with qualifications need to be addressed – providers are not prepared for the changes in
the funding landscape which will affect current progression routes (not offering approved Train to
Gain provision)


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Service Sector - Minutes 24 September 2007
Reflect the fact that the Academy is a threat and an opportunity to providers, dependant on
whether they are involved in the consortium

14-19 Agenda:

Pivot table containing Regional success rates was distributed for comment by Joy Bayliss
Sub Regional success rates are reasonable, though high numbers are still not achieving

Action for SH: Look at success rates with members of the AAT forum

We want to explore the potential for outside support from QIA to support area of weakness in our

Inspection grades throughout the region are good

Apprenticeship Numbers:

While current apprenticeship numbers are low we need to be prepared for the anticipated increase
in demand in the near future.

Success rates in WBL are improving

Action for ALL: Nigel Gaynor proposed setting up a small group to review these potential areas
for improvement, an email will be sent out requesting volunteers for membership

Item 6. New Standard Update by Providers
Group told to “watch this space”, Sutton Coldfield College have recently been inspected/audited
and are currently awaiting feedback, which they are due to receive in December (group
commented that this is a very long turn-around)

Still uncertainty re: how Employers within the sector will react to the New Standard

Group were advised to tailor their application to the format set out by the West Midlands Excellence

Most providers are applying for New Standard as the CoVE status is due to be phased out

Item 7. Train to Gain Update
Performance in the West Midlands
Train to Gain representative Tracey Brown (attending on behalf of Sara Holyhead) discussed
current Train to Gain performance within the region

Action for Matt: Forward link to the Train to Gain Performance reports to members of SPN with
the minutes

Employer Engagements:

Skills Pledge was launched in June, 149 organisations from the West Midlands Region have
signed the pledge

Asset Skills have 30 employers committed, 2 have received there certificate

The West Midlands Region is ahead of its 2 year target re: Employer Engagements

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Service Sector - Minutes 24 September 2007
Majority of employers come from the Manufacturing, Health Care, & Retail sectors (collectively
making up 52% of employers engaged)


Our region has the second highest number of starts

Skills for Life start numbers and achievements are poor; however this is a national trend. Similarly
our Skills for Life Achievement numbers (990 achievements) are also low, though we are the
highest placed region

Starts and Achievements both require improvement; the Train to Gain team are reviewing the
information they have regarding early leavers to see if there are any particular trends present

Top 10 Providers were shown, group commented that it would be useful to show their target
numbers against those achieved (so that we can see how close to there targets they are)

Train to Gain Pilot
Level 3 Trials were discussed – 534 starts, though 33% of these are with one provider

Work is ongoing with the QIA, this is a national initiative offered to providers (or lead providers of a
consortium) to offer help in delivering Train to Gain and improving performance levels

Money is available for specific sector working, within our BPS sector we have begun to work on an
initiative with Asset Skills re: Employer Engagements

Item 8. WM Brokerage Update

Money has been set aside to fund Skills Advisors (formally called Brokers) to link with specific


Sarah Morris highlighted concerns raised by employers regarding confidentiality; Employers are not
prepared to allow a third party such as a broker access to highly sensitive and confidential
information. This is seen as a serious barrier.

Item 9. Any other business

Action for JB: Source whether other regions have SPNs set up, if so where?

Item 10. Date of next meeting

3 December 2007 – Sutton Coldfield College

Agenda items to be included:

LSC Statement of priorities, which will have been released by this time
Feedback on Sutton Coldfield’s application for the New Standard

Minutes of meeting on 24 September 2007                                                Public Document
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Publication no.           3
Meeting chair             Nigel Gaynor
Minute taker              Matthew Armstrong
Date created              5 October 2007
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Service Sector - Minutes 24 September 2007

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