Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce celebrated National Apprenticeship Week with a range of events, activities and promotions designed to recognise and promote the outstanding contribution apprentices make to local employers.
The Chamber’s mission to create business skills and jobs through its apprenticeship programme was the cornerstone of the series of events that took place throughout the national apprenticeship week with dozens of organisations participating in activities ranging from ‘graduation’ events to an engaging #AmbitiousApprentice social media campaign.
Celebrating achievement at MD Insurance
Festivities kicked off with an apprenticeship graduation celebration in Birkenhead-based MD Insurance, where several employees were presented with certificates of achievements having completed qualifications delivered by the Chamber.
Jacki Goodman, Joint Managing Director of MD Insurance and Learning and Development Manager Louise Edwards were delighted with the achievement of employees who had completed qualifications in business administration, team leadership and management.
Jacki stated: “We have grown our business ten-fold in the past three years and ensuring our 300 employees receive the skills and training to enable them to excel in the company is imperative to our growth and improvement aspirations. We are delighted to recognise the achievement of our staff and are extremely pleased with the support the Chamber has provided them throughout their qualification.”
Learners on programme, Martyn Evans and Alison Smith provided an insight into what life as an apprenticeship learner at MD Insurance has been like, with both expressing delight at the support they have received, with Martyn remarking: “undertaking the apprenticeship qualification has been a great benefit to me in improving my job performance and self-confidence. Our assessor, Angela, has been very supportive and has helped us all get the qualifications we have achieved.”
Doneis Ruddock, Head of Training and Employability at Liverpool Chamber Training stated: “MD Insurance is frequently discussed at our team meetings as an exemplar of training and development good practice. They provide access to learners when our assessors and trainers need it and have a wonderful atmosphere in the workplace that demonstrates a commitment to their employee’s wellbeing and development. It is a pleasure to work with them.
Preparing Employers for the Apprenticeship Levy
The Chamber welcomed more than fifty guests to the Richmond Hotel to detail the impending introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and changes to the funding and delivery of apprenticeships in the UK.
Guests heard from speakers from Weightmans, the Chamber of Commerce and the Richmond Hotel outlining the legal implications of the levy’s imposition and the approach that providers are taking to prepare for delivering the quality of apprenticeships demanded by government.
Sarah Hardy-Pickering, Learning and Development Manager at Weightmans and Mandy Higgins, Partner in Employment, Pensions and Immigration, detailed the anticipated costs that companies with more than £3m salary outlay will incur through the levy and the ways that employers will be able to access the fund into which they are paying through the recruitment and training of apprentices in the workplace.
Paul Cherpeau, Head of Business Engagement at the Chamber of Commerce, outlined Liverpool Chamber Training’s aspirations to become an outstanding deliverer of apprenticeships and the importance of a positive working relationship between the “tripartite” employer, training provider and learner.
Paul stated: “Liverpool Chamber Training currently delivers qualifications for more than 350 people across 180 employers in Liverpool. Like other providers of apprenticeships and training in the further education sector, we have to consistently drive up our quality of delivery to ensure our standards meet and exceed our customers in an increasingly competitive market. The relationships we have with employers is the most fundamentally important part of our provision.”
Stephen Hesketh, General Manager of the Richmond Hotel and a successful apprentice himself, advocated investment in apprentices to capitalise on their youth, energy and vitality when entering the workplace.
“As an apprentice myself, I learnt a great deal about how organisations in the hospitality industry worked and it put me in an great position to start my own business and become General Manager of a Hotel.”
Commenting upon the importance of apprenticeships, Jenny Stewart, CEO of the Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce referred to her career as “the longest apprenticeship in the history of employment” citing her acquisition of employment-based skills and experience, despite a lack of A-Levels and university education, as fundamental to her success in becoming Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce. “Apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to learn those great employability skills that can sometimes be missed through school and university and it is a privilege to provide training and support to so many young people through the Chamber’s apprenticeship programme.”
Celebrating Success at Wongs Jewellers
The achievements of five employees at City Centre-based Wongs Jewellers were recognised at a small celebration event during apprenticeship week.
MD Peter Wong invited Liverpool Chamber Training staff members to join successful apprentices in celebrating their successes in business administration, management and marketing.
Lead Internal Verifier and Assessor Sue Moister joined Commercial Manager Rich Daly to present the candidates with their certificates of achievement.
Commenting on his investment in apprenticeship qualifications, Peter said: “we’re a small business that requires every single person to contribute to its success. We need to ensure that our staff are receiving excellent training and experience to deliver an outstanding customer experience to those who visit us. Our experience has been excellent and we are very proud of our staff members who have achieved their qualification and have played such a positive role in the business.”
Your Future Careers
The Chamber has also delivered three ‘Your Future Careers’ Fairs, which are designed to raise awareness of the career options available to young people, including apprenticeships, at which more than 16,500 14-24 year olds have participated nationally so far.
The scheme works with local businesses to help bridge the gap between the worlds of education and work, to highlight the options available to students, as well as the skills needed to enter the workplace. So far, around 500 national businesses have participated in the scheme through Chambers of Commerce.
Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce has delivered exciting sessions in Maghull, West Derby, Knowsley and Liverpool City Centre, attracting over 50 businesses including; Santander, Merseyside Fire & Rescue, BT Communications, Heaney Watson Solicitors and more, with over 10 local schools benefiting from the events.
Lisa Humphreys, Talent Recruitment Executive at the Chamber, commented: “Your Future Career events provide a real insight to schools and pupils about what opportunities are available to them beyond the classroom. With young people meeting some of our most exciting employers it helps to give them an idea of what is possible for their future career prospects as well as information, advice and guidance on various FE, HE and Apprenticeship pathways.
“We’re excited to be rounding up our programme of career events with a large event at Goodison Park on 31st March between 10am and 4pm, with more than 40 participating employers and six schools taking part. The event is also open to anyone aged 14-24 who would like to come along and explore their career options.”
Delivering Apprenticeships for Ambitious People
The Chamber has a commitment to delivering apprenticeships for ambitious people with more than 275 people completing their qualification in 2015. The Chamber works with more than 180 organisations in the city and has developed an excellence framework to ensure quality delivery for learners and employers alike.
Events and Marketing Manager, Sarah Walker, stated: “Our #ambitiousapprentice campaign has been a great opportunity to celebrate the success stories of some of our learners. It’s so refreshing to see the positive contribution they’ve made to their organisations, they’re not simply doing a job, they’re building their future careers”.
The Chamber delivers apprenticeships for business administration, customer service, team leading, management, international trade & logistics, warehousing and marketing. Qualifications range from Level 2 to Level 5 and are available for young people entering the work place or for existing staff who do not possess a higher education equivalent qualification.