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).

ll-and-group-1

(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

Government publishes new guidance on the apprenticeship levy

The government has released further guidance on the apprenticeship levy, providing a clearer understanding of how it will be funded, and the role employers and training providers will play.

From 6 April 2017, all UK employers that have an annual pay bill of over £3 million will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy to invest in apprenticeships. The funding will support people of all ages to gain high-quality skills and experience and help employers to offer more training opportunities and build a skilled workforce.

Here are the key points from the proposals today:

  • Employers that are too small to pay the levy will have to pay 10% of the training costs, with the remaining 90% paid by the government.
  • Employers with less than 50 employees will not have to pay towards the training costs of 16 to 18-year-old apprentices, which will be 100% met by the government.
  • Employers who take on a 16 to 18-year-old apprentice will receive an additional £1,000.
  • Employers and training providers who take on 16 to 18-year-olds or young care leavers with an education, health and care (EHC) plan will receive additional funding.
  • Employers will be able to use levy funds to retrain workers in new skills, even if they have prior qualifications.
  • Employers subject to the apprenticeship levy, who want to spend more on training than is in their digital account, will see 90% of their additional apprenticeship training costs funded by the government.
  • From April 2017, a register of training providers will be available to improve the link between training providers and employers. The proposed funding system will consist of 15 bands, each with an upper limit and which will range from £1,500 to £27,000. 50% of each apprenticeship programme must be delivered by a training provider.
  • Employers who are also training providers will be subject to Ofsted regulations.
  • Providers who have an Ofsted rating of grade 4 will be unable to provide apprenticeships.
  • Apprenticeship providers will no longer be rewarded with a double payment for each apprenticeship start.
  • The success payment (paid upon successful completion of an apprenticeship) will be replaced with a 20% completion payment, regardless of the final grade.
  • Apprenticeships will be available to everybody over the age of 16 at all levels.
  • Training providers who have apprentices enrolled on programmes that do not receive approval on the new register of apprentice assessment organisations will have their learners transferred to another provider. This is currently under consultation.

To help employers see how the levy and funding system would impact them, the government has also created a new online calculator.  This easy-to-use tool will allow employers to understand how much they will have to pay and how they could use their digital funds to pay for future training.

A consultation on the plans is now open, and will close on 5 September 2016. Employers and training providers are invited to have their say on the initial funding proposals to try to ensure that the final plans fully meet the needs of all those involved in the apprenticeship programme.

The final proposal on the apprenticeship levy is due to be confirmed in October 2016.

 

Important Qualification Expiration Reminder

Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance would like to remind all centres that the last date for new registrations for the HABC Level 2 Award in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillation (QCF) will be Thursday 30 June 2016. HABC approved centres will have until 21 July 2016 to complete their programmes (unless special considerations are applied) and apply for learner certificates.

This qualification has been replaced by the HABC Level 2 Award in Basic Life Support and Safe Use of an Automated External Defibrillator (RQF), which is supported by both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Skills for Health. It has also been approved for delivery to pre-16 year olds.

This is a 1-credit qualification, typically delivered over a half-day course (minimum contact time of 4 hours) and contains the following unit:

  • Basic Life Support and Using an Automated External Defibrillator

Please note: while in-depth AED training is not currently a compulsory component of first aid at work and emergency first-aid courses, the HSE welcomes AED training being incorporated into them. This is a stance that HABC supports and we strongly encourage our centres to consider this moving forward. Further information on the HSE welcoming the addition of AED awareness training into first-aid courses is available here.

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!

Concerns over SCPLH refreshers

HABC is urging SCPLH holders to undertake their refresher training as soon as possible after fresh concerns were raised about the number completing.

It is a requirement in Scotland that anyone who received a personal licence on or before 1 September 2009 must have completed refresher training by 1 September 2014.  However, there are concerns that only a small percentage of those affected have completed this, with some reports suggesting as few as 1200 of the 25,000 licence holders in Scotland having undertaken the training as of March 2014.

The failure to complete refresher training by the deadline could be potentially catastrophic for individuals and businesses, with the Scottish Government insisting that those who do not complete in time will have their licences revoked.

HABC is supporting a campaign by the Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism Consultancy (HLTTC)SCPLH-book to raise awareness of the issue and a number of initiatives to encourage licensees to complete their training in time.

Highfield has also recently published the Licensing Course Book, which is suitable for both licence holders and educators undergoing refresher training, and can be used as a reference manual once training has been completed.

For more information, click here.

Future qualifications

HABC LogoHABC has a number of qualifications currently in development and due for launch at various points throughout 2014.

Planned for launch by June 2014 are qualifications in the following areas:

Contact Centre

Custodial Care

Environmental

Food Safety

Fork Lift Truck

Health and Social Care

Horticulture

Manufacturing

Security

Taxi Driving


And currently being developed for launch by December 2014 are:

Food Safety

Health and Safety

Pool

Public Services

Security

For more information on all of the above, click here.