Provider Action Group Meeting
Tuesday 10th March 2009
LSC Sussex, Brighton
Present: Susan Forsyth, Joanne Fowler, Dawn Imms, Paul Mitchell, Debbie Ross,
Tim Sorensen (Chair), Julian Stevenson, Mark Syrett, Gill Timlett, Mike Ward and
Apologies: Lynette Baldwin, George Chapman, Tricia Iverson, Aileen Jordan,
Mike Maloney and Paul Stoggles.
1. Welcome and Introductions
Paul M advised that Caroline Dumbell was now focussing on working with
providers on success rates so it was no longer relevant for her to attend PAG
meetings. Tim welcomed Debbie Ross from Sussex Training.
2. Minutes of Meeting – 11.2.09
The minutes were agreed.
Matters Arising – these were noted as follows:
(2) Mark had obtained a JCP Pack concerning Local Employer Partnerships –
some 2000 employers had signed up for LEPs although employers only needed
to advertise a vacancy via JCP to count as ‘signed up’. Offer of £2k to
employers taking someone one who had been unemployed >6 months. Also
15-day work trial leading to employment would access T2G/funding. Talk of
relaxing the 6-month rule in the present economic climate.
Action: Paul M to ask LSC if relaxed 6-month rule would apply to
(2) Sue asked about the arrangements for the certification of the NVQ when out
of work following redundancy. It was agreed that this could be an issue but
would have to be discussed with the relevant awarding bodies/SCC.
(2) Paul Stoggles (Action) had provided details of the 3 JCP employer
engagement leads – Julie Curtis (ESx 01424 452286), Steve Benwell (B&H
01273 647443) and Julie Devlin (WSx 01903 545512.
Action: Tim to make contact with regard to employer referrals.
(2) Tim (Action) had amended and circulated the PAG Terms of Reference.
Action: Paul M to put on SCTP website together with revised PAG membership
(6) Paul M (Action) to speak to Sadie Brown again regarding the redundancy
lists that were completed by providers.
3. Progress Reports
Paul M – Public Sector activities as follows:
Working with Councils and NHS on their apprenticeship strategies – this might
delay short-term apprenticeship recruitment while strategies filter down through
Regional LSC Provider Survey – had asked providers to submit apprenticeship
numbers and locations - good response from Sussex providers.
Action: If possible, all to let Paul M have a copy of individual response.
Action: Paul M to feed back survey outcomes to the membership.
Established good link with Sarah Hardman at WSCC who had announced
commitment to 200 apprenticeships over the next 2 years.
WSCC area employer referrals were now being sent to Tim.
Positive discussions with Joe Davenport and Mike Eaton at BHCC and
attendance at apprenticeship strategy event (with Tim) on 24/2. Mike was
meeting with interested providers. Maybe 30 apprentices/year of which 25
could be existing staff? Mark S queried whether BHCC had a policy of only
recruiting 18+ year olds.
Action: Paul M to find out about any age restrictions.
Sue raised the issue of initial fixed term apprenticeship employment contracts
with councils – which she felt were inconsistent with apprenticeship principles.
ESCC had taken on Youth Work Apprentices via Sussex Downs College with
more recruitment projected.
Sussex Training Consortium of Borough’s and District’s were linking
strategically with LSC. Paul M to meet with Paul Stoggles and John Collins
(Rother DC) to develop a joint approach.
Joanne added that Lewes and Eastbourne councils had some apprentices and
Gill added that Crawley Borough also had some but a strategy was not
Sue asked about the issue of council’s opting for ‘in-house’ apprenticeship
delivery contracts. It was agreed there was a chance of this happening and that
members should ensure that Local Authorities were aware of the services that
they could provide especially as LA’s would become the commissioning bodies
A close partnership with the Skills SE Brokers was needed so that cross
referrals could be maximised. There was some concern that employers might
think that it was easy to access funding directly from the LSC.
Action: Paul M to offer information to Skills Brokers to ensure that the extensive
responsibilities of direct contracting are understood. e.g. OFSTED inspections.
Action: Tim to add to PAG Action Plan.
Paul M chairing ALP SE PSO (Public Sector Organisations) group on 26/3 to
share what was happening about engagement, best practice and issues.
Intention to broaden PSO activity to include further public services including,
Fire, Ambulance and Justice departments.
There was a discussion about NAVMS – providers were concerned about some
aspects of the operation of the system. It was agreed that this would be
proposed as an agenda item for the next SCTP members meeting on the 30/4.
Tim – private sector activities as follows:
Meeting with BHCC Connexions to establish referral process.
Looking at post-16 ‘early leaver’ and destination data with BHCC Connexions to
identify possible apprenticeship candidates and also earlier intervention at
college via course tutors/lead workers. The same applied across Sussex and
may yield high numbers of potential candidates.
Employer referral routes were now working from Skills Brokers, Local
Authorities, Connexions and EBP’s – currently pursuing around 18 (as at (16/3)
with additional direct employer leads. Most were not straight forward and were
being referred to providers as appropriate for further information and to give the
employer a choice of provision – or, referral to LSC/SSC if no framework.
Wrote article for Eastbourne & District Chamber of Commerce newsletter that
was circulated during Apprenticeship Week to 600+ members – one referral
already from this.
Subsequently presented to 60 members at an EDCC lunch including JCP.
Abridged article sent to Hunters Recruitment in Shoreham to be included in
April newsletter and sent to 80 key clients.
Copy of EDCC article to be included on FSB (Branch) website and abridged
version to be published in FSB Sussex Newsletter – approximately 8k
members. Delivering workshop at FSB EXPO on 29/4 at East Sussex National
Golf Club (supported by Les W). Also, potential invitations to other
Same article prompted invitation to speak at Worthing Chamber of Commerce
breakfast meeting at Northbrook College on 27/2 – around 56 members
present. Two referrals from this.
Attended BHCC apprenticeship strategy event (with Paul M) on 24/2 that
helped to establish some good links – subsequent meeting with YOT team to
explore progression routes for E2E clients and possible apprenticeship for a
client ‘mentor’. Await details of new employer referral via EBP.
Further meetings with Skills Brokers and also Business Link looking at referrals
and future CPD opportunities following restructuring after 1/4. Agreement to
maintain informal referral process for the time being.
Met Rebecca Muggeridge (with Paul M), Corporate Skills Broker – very little
activity with larger private employers to date so will be looking at this in more
detail following a meeting with CEO of CADIA on 25/3.
Attending City College Employment & Training Fair immediately after PAG
meeting to extend networking and support providers.
Attending Regional Apprenticeship Champions day on 12/3 to network and
share best practice.
PAG Members – activities as follows:
No specific reports received.
Gill asked about the lack of coherent LMI in terms of key sectors and
employers? Joanne said that information was available from a variety of
sources but work was needed to break it down.
Action: Tim to add to PAG Action Plan with request for Sussex LMI forecasts to
be covered at a future SCTP Meeting.
4. Developing Programme Led Apprenticeships
PLA’s were part of Priority 3 activities on the Development Plan being led by Tim.
LSC were keen for these to develop and one option was to explore potential
provider collaboration (especially college/independent) where demand was
evident. A number of issues were discussed:
Two routes – either ‘employer responsive‘ with 6-months to find an employer
(but affected provider MLP if not) or, ‘learner responsive’ (FE funded) but
unable to convert to apprenticeship before completion of the course. Providers
agreed that due to finance and quality issues, PLAs were ‘too risky’.
Sector Skills Councils would not normally issue framework unless apprentice
was employed this limiting the use of non-employed routes.
The meeting expressed concern over the rigidity of funding that needed
redefining to make this route viable.
Also, for all programmes, a longer lead-in period was needed to look at recruits
before counting in success rate data – this would allow providers to open up
more opportunity without risk.
Action: Paul M to raise the issues of PLA funding and processes at next ALP
5. How can FE Sussex/SCTP support the work of Training Providers and
make a lasting difference?
It was agreed that current activities were assisting with the long-term
development of additional apprenticeship opportunities and that this work
needed to be sustained.
Sue – providers needed help with increased employer engagement.
Action: All to let Tim have details of any specific geographic/sector areas that
could be included as part of Priority 1 activity.
Les – needed to get the apprenticeship message into non-traditional sectors
e.g. solicitors, accountants, distribution etc. Tim added that this was one of the
things he was looking at in his discussions with FSB/Chambers.
Joanne – question of Level 2 skills becoming too generic/wide e.g. customer
service, business admin and losing occupational focus and relevance – not to
6. PAG Action Plan
Review of initial objectives/actions detailed 11.2.09 – Progress as follows:
Progression Agreements – specifically entry-level learners, e2e and access to
Action: Lyn and Dawn to instigate initial discussions.
*Dawn - NACRO were looking at apprenticeships over 2-years and progression.
E2E=20 weeks, needed roll on/roll off starts as learners going back onto NEET
because no part-time jobs. Dan Shelley (BHCC) looking at an ‘Entry to
Learning’ programme but candidates needed to be NEET and required action
planning. Level 1-E2E left a gap into apprenticeship – not all joined up.
Action: ALP SE to be asked to review financial gaps between E2E and
*Joanne – SDC looking at peer mentoring/coaching and building progression
routes for IF’s and YA’s.
*Tim – looking at issues affecting YOT clients (work experience) and early post-
16 leavers (potential apprentices now in work). Real opportunities to be had
but destination data required action.
*Joanne – SDC was working with 3 larger employers to look at involvement as
part of CSR strategies.
*Dawn – issues required a significant investment in time to take the young
person forward. Possible routes via voluntary sector – although no pay.
*Dawn – NACRO Region was not previously employing any apprentices itself!
First PLA now started in Kent. Possible scope for an admin apprentice in
Action: Dawn to let Tim know if this apprenticeship went ahead.
Future of Apprenticeships-in-Sussex – value of concurrent updating with
NAVMS? Inclusion of sub-contractors?
Action: Paul M/Tim to discuss at the next SCTP members meeting on 28/4.
*Paul M – confirmed that SCTP members had voted to retain the site for the
time being (site receiving over 3k visits/month).
Action: Providers to keep their AIS entries updated by feeding amendments to
Resources for Growth – Mike W had raised the issue of training providers
needing a financial incentive (similar to T2G) to increase apprentice starts.
Action: Paul M/Julian to discuss at ALP SE and with Sadie Brown at LSC.
*Paul M would be discussing this at the next ALP SE meeting
Flexible Delivery – to promote the conversion of existing staff to undertake an
Awareness Raising – to encourage employers to consider new areas of
apprenticeships alongside existing provision e.g. business/admin in an
Additional objectives/actions? – noted as follows:
Information for Skills Brokers – to enable them to understand the complexities
of direct contracting.
Action: Paul M to approach Skills Broker manager.
Request for better LMI – to assist with planning.
Action: Paul M to approach speaker from Sussex Enterprise for next SCTP
PLA Funding Levels – to look at maximising this opportunity by minimising
Action: Paul M to discuss at next ALP SE meeting.
7. Any Other Business
None. Tim and Paul M thanked everyone for attending.
8. Date of next meeting
Dates of monthly meetings to the end of July 2009 as follows:
Wednesday 22nd April @ 10.00am – NOW AT BURGESS HILL
Tuesday 12th May @ 10.00am
Wednesday 10th June @ 10.00am
Tuesday 14th July @ 10.00am
All meetings to be at the LSC offices, Queen’s Road in Brighton unless indicated.