Highfield customer service survey – thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who took part in our customer service survey earlier in the year. We appreciate the feedback and are delighted to report that the overall message was ‘keep on doing what you’re doing’.

That’s not to say there wasn’t some constructive feedback, and we’ll be working hard to improve those areas, starting with fewer emails! Hence this monthly round-up of our news instead of individual bulletins.

But it’s great to know that over ninety percent of you are happy with the level of customer service we offer, and we’re determined to get that up to as near one hundred percent as possible!

Of course, you don’t need to respond to the customer service survey to let us know how we are doing. We’re happy to hear your feedback at any time. We’re always open to suggestion on how we can improve our offer to you and our account managers are on hand every weekday to listen and respond to your feedback.

Make Highfield your People’s Choice

Family Business of the YearIt always feels nice to be told you’re doing a good job.

So much so that we’re delighted to be recommended for the Family Business of the Year Award.

As a proud family firm, we believe that family businesses are the backbone of this country. So it should be no surprise that we we pride ourselves on our family values.

We make sure those values run through every single thing we do. From how we run our business to how we treat our customers.

So with that in mind, we now need a special favour from you.

The People’s Choice Awards (Yorkshire)

As well as the Family Business of the Year Award, we’re also up for a special category called The People’s Choice Award (Yorkshire). This allows the public to vote for their favourite family business.

In short, we’d be delighted if you would vote for us as your ‘People’s Choice’ for Yorkshire.

If you’d like to vote for Highfield, just go to www.familybusinessunited.com/resources/family-business-of-the-year-regions/yorkshire-award/

Or if you’d like to know more about the awards, go to http://www.familybusinessunited.com/

Highfield Christmas closing dates 2017

‘He’s making a list and checking it twice; Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice‘…yes, it’s nearly Christmas, which means the tree is up, the festive jumpers are on and the mince pies are doing the rounds in the Highfield office (so many mince pies…!). 
But that also means we’re nearly upon our annual shutdown for the Christmas period. We’ll be closing at 5.30 pm on Thursday 21 December 2017, and reopening on Tuesday 2 January 2018. Unfortunately that also means any enquiries we receive between these dates won’t be responded to until the office reopens. 
If you have orders that are urgent and you require before Christmas, please make them before 1 pm on Wednesday 20 December 2017. These orders will be dispatched on a next-delivery.
If your order isn’t that urgent but you still need it delivered over the Christmas period, be sure to place it before 2 pm on Thursday 21 December 2017. Any orders placed after this won’t be dispatched until the New Year. 

As always, we’d like to thank you for your continued support over the last 12 months, in which we’ve been recognised as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) for apprenticeships, and took one of the top prizes at the Learning Technologies Awards in November for our e-learning. The awards are one the biggest in Europe, and open to some of the most famous digital names in the world, but the Highfield team beat them all to take the gold in the ‘Best use of learning technologies to ensure compliance’ category.

We also raised many more thousands of pounds for our chosen charity, Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA), and the important work they do. If you’d like to find out more or maybe make a donation yourself, go to www.victa.org.uk 

So finally, on behalf of the entire Highfield team, have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!

Highfield achieves ISO standard again

We’re delighted to announce we’ve been re-accredited under ISO 9001: 2008 for the ‘creation, development, implementation and management of all qualifications and associated materials’.

Highfield has partnered with the accreditation service provider Chamber Certification Assessment Services (CCAS) and will be working to upgrade the accreditation to ISO 9001:2015 early in 2018.

ISO9001 is a globally-recognised quality mark that is part of a wider series of quality standards (ISO9000). Developed and published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the standard set out what organisations must do in order to implement superior quality management systems, and recognises those already doing this.

We first received our 9001:2008 certificate back in on 2014, and this accreditation shows that we still put standards first.

Bernie Zakary, Highfield’s Director of Qualification Development, said, ‘I am incredibly proud of this accreditation as it demonstrates the hard work put in daily at Highfield to make sure quality and high standards are first and foremost. It’s also a recognition of the talent and dedication we have here in the Highfield team and will give our customers confidence that our commitment to the very highest of standards continues’.

Find out more about Highfield at our new event

new eventWe will be holding a number of events across the UK to introduce you to Highfield and provide further information on our family values, policies and benefits, as well as guidance and support on our registration process.

The events will also provide a platform for feedback to discover how we can continue to improve our services, products and/or qualifications, to become both your awarding organisation and product provider of choice.

The session will also include a food safety update delivered by an expert speaker, focusing on key topics and current issues within the industry.

Dates and locations are:

Friday 9 December 2016 – Doncaster

Food safety presentation delivered by Sarah Daniels

Monday 12 December 2016 – Newcastle

Food safety presentation delivered by Jude Hutchison

Tuesday 3 January 2017 – London

Food safety presentation delivered by Richard Sprenger

Thursday 5 January 2017 – Walsall

Food safety presentation delivered by Richard Sprenger

Tuesday 17 January 2017 – Belfast

Food safety presentation delivered by Professor Chris Elliott

Tuesday 31 January 2017 – Wales

Food safety presentation delivered by Euan MacAuslan

 Areas covered in each event will include:

  • How to switchover from CIEH to Highfield, and our support for you during that process
  • The range of qualifications we offer, and areas for development
  • An introduction to the Highfield team and some of our subject matter experts
  • Highfield future and the move over to the RQF
  • How we provide ongoing support to centres
  • Associated training materials from Highfield International
  • A food safety update from a subject matter expert
  • How can we improve our service, products and qualifications
  • What you want from an awarding organisation

Each morning event (09:00am – 12:00pm) is FREE to attend and is open to not only CIEH customers, but also training providers who would like to find out more about delivering qualifications from Highfield. It goes without saying that we would welcome any of our current customers who would like to attend, it is always good to catch up, receive feedback and see how we can improve.

To book yourself and/or your colleagues on to this event, please visit here. Alternatively, you can secure your place by calling our Sales team on 0845 226 0350 or by emailing the Events team at events@highfield.co.uk. Spaces will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Book now to avoid disappointment!

We hope that you can join us for what is sure to be an extremely informative event.

Lord-Lieutenant marks Doncaster business’s Queen’s awards

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Mr Andrew Coombe, The Queen’s personal representative, was on official duty this October as he marked a Doncaster-based business’s achievement of the Queen’s Award.

Directors from the Highfield Group were presented with a crystal bowl and commemorative certificate signed by the Queen and Prime Minister at an official presentation held at the organisation’s offices on 20 October 2016.

And guests, which included civic dignitaries, business leaders and VIPs, were treated to a performance by a choir from New College, Worcester, a school for blind and partially sighted children, on behalf of Highfield’s chosen charity, Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA).


(L-R) Chris Sprenger (Managing Director), Richard Sprenger (Chairman), Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Mr Andrew Coombe, Jayne Sprenger, Jason Sprenger (Chief Executive).

The Highfield Group, one of the UK’s leading education organisations, was announced as the winner of the award as part of the national celebrations to celebrate HM The Queen’s 90th birthday on 21 April.

Queen’s Award winners are chosen by a panel that includes the Prime Minister and leading figures from government and industry, making it one of the most sought after accolades for British businesses.

Highfield, which has three offices across Doncaster and employs over 200 staff, is the UK and Middle East’s leading suppliers of compliance, apprenticeship and work-based learning qualifications, training materials and e-learning.

It is one of the UK’s largest exam boards, and is actively involved in the development of the UK workforce and productivity, as well as contributing to government plans for three million apprenticeships by 2020.

The organisation, which has its headquarters on Heavens Walk, works with some of the biggest names in international business to help develop their staff, including PepsiCo, Nestle, Marks & Spencer and Superdrug, and each year supports over 2 million learners across the globe to achieve their educational aspirations.

Jason Sprenger, Highfield Chief Executive, said, ‘This is a great achievement for Highfield, and I was honoured to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire and accept the certificate and crystal bowl on behalf of the business and everyone here who has worked so hard to achieve it’.

Representatives from Highfield received the award in person from Her Majesty at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 14 July 2016, with this further presentation held to celebrate the achievement alongside colleagues, customers and partners.

For more information on Highfield, go to www.highfieldqualifications.com.

For more on the Queen’s Award, go to www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise/overview

Value of Leadership and Management within Healthcare Settings

In this article, Highfield’s subject matter expert for health and social care, Maddy Thomson, highlights the benefits of leadership and management training within healthcare settings.

High-quality care and skilled and qualified leaders and managers go hand-in-hand. In adult care, managers are not only responsible for the service provided to those who receive care and support, but also for supporting a team and influencing the quality of care across a service or organisation. Good leadership and management can transform an organisation, while underdeveloped leaders and managers who lack confidence can destroy it. So it’s important that leaders and managers have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills.

Social care organisations also need to develop strong leaders and managers to meet the challenges ahead amid the growing complexity of the social care sector. Adult social care faces challenges due to demographic changes and cultural change to innovate to provide individualised person-centred care across a wide spectrum of diverse needs. Dynamic and well-trained leaders and managers can be the catalysts for the changes that need to happen and provide the best response to the market place in a continued environment of efficiency drives.

The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England 2015 report estimated that managerial and supervisory roles accounted for 7% of jobs, approximately 115,000. This group included senior managers, middle managers, line managers, registered managers and other managerial roles not directly involved in providing care. The figure specifically for registered managers, who need the skills and ability to manage and prepare for CQC inspections, was 22,500.  Numbers are set to increase as demand for social care services continues to grow, and a clear qualification route for progression will be an important mechanism to support employers in growing the future managers they need.

However, career progression in adult social care is often thought to be problematic.  One key factor is the intrinsic difference in the nature of management roles as opposed to care and support work. Team members with excellent care and support skills at level 3 are primary candidates for promotion into management but many find themselves unprepared for the very different set of knowledge and skills required.  These diverse skills are reflected in the different focus of the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services as compared with the Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care. Many employers report that the gap between these is too great for learners and it presents a barrier to progression.

Employers have continued to call attention to the absence of this route direct from level 3 into management, which is the most common progression path. A new qualification is now being developed – the Level 4 Certificate in Principles of Leadership and Management for Adult Care. The purpose of the qualification is to provide a progression route into management roles in social care settings from a variety of starting points. It will also serve as an induction route for managers new in their post, ensuring that the Manager Induction Standards can be achieved in the context of accredited learning and assessment.

The qualification will be knowledge only, to allow as broad an audience as possible to achieve it including those who are not yet in management roles.

Skills for Care, which has initiated the development, will liaise with CQC to ensure the proposed qualification is understood as a recommended development route for new managers.

By providing progression into the management role, the qualification will aid career development from care and support into management, and from non-social care degrees into social care management.

The qualification will map closely to both Skills for Care’s Manager Induction Standards (as revised 2015) and to the successor qualification to the QCF Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services that is planned. It will therefore offer an aligned route into the key competence qualification for social care management and support managers in meeting CQC’s expectations for workforce development.

The new qualification is available in England only and likely to be eligible for funding through the Workforce Development Fund administered through Skills for Care. Highfield has been involved since the planning stages and has participated in the development of the qualification, which will be available later this year

Sources –  Skills for Care

Highfield qualifications approved for Local Flexibility Funding

We are pleased to announce that a further 45 Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance qualifications have been approved for local flexibility funding for the academic year 2016/17.

We now deliver a total of 94 local flexibility funded qualifications available as part of the Adult Education Budget, and anticipate that more qualifications will soon be approved for funding for the academic year of 2016/17!

We need your help!

The VARE project (Vocational Assessor Requirements in Europe) is an Erasmus+ project aimed at determining what requirements apply to assessors of vocational qualification across Europe. Are they required to undertake specific training, or should they be members of a professional organisation? Do they need to be subject matter experts? Are the requirements different if the assessment takes place in a classroom setting as opposed to a workplace setting?

The project aims to develop a catalogue of information on these requirements as well as highlight a number of examples for more in-depth case studies.

We would be extremely grateful if you could take the time to complete the following short survey on the requirements in your country: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NHJD3ST.  If you have any questions, you can visit the project website for information at www.vare-project.eu or email the coordinator Katherine (Katherine.latta@naric.org.uk).

Please note: the deadline to complete this survey is Wednesday 1 June 2016.

Many thanks for your invaluable contribution to this research.