HABC’s Mary takes centre stage

Mary playing the trombone on stage with Lesley Garrett and the Bel Canto Choir.

HABC’s Mary Golder got the opportunity of a lifetime recently as she appeared on stage with international soprano singer Lesley Garrett.

The quality assurance auditor accompanied the acclaimed singing star as part of the celebrations to mark 50 years of the Dore Male Voice Choir at Sheffield City Hall on 8 March 2014 in front of a packed house.

Mary accompanied Lesley Garret – also known as the ‘Doncaster Diva’ due to her South Yorkshire roots – on trombone, which she plays as part of the Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) Brass Band. 

 ‘Appearing on stage with one of the world’s most famous soprano singers was amazing,’ said Mary, ‘and a bit different to my day to day role of providing support and guidance on quality assurance and best practice to our centres.  Lesley Garrett was really nice and friendly, and an incredibly down to earth person.  It was a fantastic experience and a great way to help celebrate the Dore Mail Voice Choir’s 50th birthday’. 

Mary will also be playing with Leeds-based indie band Chumbawamba later this year as part of a touring show, Coal, as well as getting the opportunity to perform alongside Jarvis Cocker – someone the Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) Brass Band first encountered in 2013.

Mary said, ‘The band recorded a live score for Jarvis Cocker’s BBC4 documentary The Big Melt – which tells the story of Sheffield, the steel industry and the people who worked in it – on the opening night of Sheffield Doc/Fest in June 2013 at the Crucible Theatre, but there weren’t any trombones required that evening so we go the night off.  This time however I am hoping to get my chance to perform alongside Jarvis!’

The Sheffield City Hall performance with Lesley Garrett will be broadcast on Songs of Praise on BBC1 this May.


MP Rosie Winterton visits ‘Large Business of the Year’

Rosie Winterton

Rosie Winterton MP (l) with Jason Sprenger (Highfield Chief Executive – centre) and Christian Sprenger (right).

It was an education for Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton as she visited Doncaster’s Large Business of the Year, the Highfield Group.

Ms Winterton dropped in to the offices of Highfield to offer some New Year cheer and congratulate staff and directors on winning the ‘Large Business of the Year’ category in the Doncaster Chamber Business Awards in December 2013.

SpeakingwithJasonThe Doncaster Central MP was given a hands-on experience as she was shown how vocational qualifications such as NVQs and apprenticeships are developed, and how further education is helping to meet the needs of young people and workers in Doncaster and the UK.

Ms Rosie Winterton said, ‘I would like to congratulate Highfield on their award and am delighted to have had the opportunity to visit them and see for myself the work that they do.  Providing opportunities for people to obtain vocational qualifications and apprenticeships is important in helping people to gain employment and develop their careers, which in turn will help to grow our economy.  I am pleased that we have such a successful company in this field here in Doncaster’.

Jason Sprenger, Highfield’s Chief Executive, said, ‘It was a huge honour to welcome Ms Winterton to our office and have our recent achievements, including the Chamber award, acknowledged.  Highfield is a global leader in our specialised fields and we are delighted to have that recognised.  2013 was an incredible year for us – with nearly 80 new staff recruited and some incredible achievements in terms of the work we have done – including significant development within our apprenticeship offering.  We are confident that 2014 is going to be even more successful’.

WalkaroundThe visit from Rosie Winterton took place at HABC’s head office, Highfield House, Heaven’s Walk, Doncaster, on 10 January 2014.

SIV Ltd celebrates St. John Ambulance awards success

Sheffield International Venues

Andrew Snelling(Deputy Chief Executive for SIV Ltd), Rachael Pyecroft (Graves Training Centre Manager) and Mark Cowen (Graves & Heeley General Manager)

Sheffield International Venues (SIV) Ltd is celebrating after it beat nearly 300 other businesses to make it into the top 10 of the St John Ambulance awards.

The Sheffield sport, leisure and entertainment company – which is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and includes the Motorpoint Arena, Ponds Forge and Sheffield City Hall amongst its venues – finished as one of the finalists in the Organisation of the Year for First Aid Excellence category in the St. John Ambulance ‘Everyday Heroes Awards’, which recognises those who have used first aid to save a life and the individuals and businesses that have championed the cause.

Rachael Pyecroft, Graves Training Centre Manager, SIV Ltd, said, ‘It was a fantastic achievement for us to be a finalist and reach the last 10, as it acknowledges the hard work and dedication the team here have put into making first aid training a priority.  The recognition has reinforced our commitment to first aid and we’re determined that next year we’ll do even better’.

Ryan Beresford, Account Manager at HABC, said, ‘It’s always great to see clients recognised this way, and we’re delighted for the team at SIV Ltd.  They are seeing the benefits of using HABC qualifications, both in terms of what those qualifications give to individual learners and for the wider recognition they bring to organisations as a whole’.


Graves Training Centre excels in meeting all company training requirements including bespoke training packages.  Contact 0114 237 4563 for further information.

B&V Training Academy shortlisted for ‘industry Oscars‘

One of HABC’s Approved Centres is looking forward to its own ‘Oscar night’ after being shortlisted in its industry’s most prestigious awards.

B&V Training Academy, which worked with HABC to develop qualifications in Legionella, has been nominated in the 20th ‘Training Initiative of the Year’ category at the H&V News Awards – the premier awards ceremony for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning sector.

Now the Northamptonshire-based organisation – which beat serious competition to be shortlisted – must face a Dragon’s Den style interview in front of a judging panel in London before finding out if they have been successful at the awards ceremony on 24 April 2014.

Sarah Pallett, Training Manager at B&V Training Academy, said, ‘We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award as it is our opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the B&V Training Academy over the last 12 months.  We are immensely proud of the Ofqual courses we have designed and implemented in Legionella awareness and Legionella control, and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their support in bringing these courses to market’.

To find out how we stack up against our competitors for end-point assessment, simply visit here.

On the road with Highfield for National Apprenticeship Week

This March saw England’s employers and educators being challenged to get involved in apprenticeships as part of a week long effort to raise awareness of work-based learning.

HABC held free roadshows in five locations – London, Dudley, Doncaster, Manchester and Newcastle – as part of National Apprenticeship Week (3-7 March 2014), with delegates able to find out how apprenticeships can help to reduce recruitment costs, retain staff and improve performance whilst also showing a commitment to the local community and young people.

Ben Cressey, Director of Apprenticeships and WBL with delegates

It was a successful week overall, with a number of attendees at the events having since come back to us to say they are interested in offering apprentices and some now well on the path to doing just that.

Adam Glynn at the HABC apprenticeship roadshow in Dudley

Throughout the week HABC also played its part in the wider national campaign to raise awareness of apprenticeships across the board.  Firstly, we created this visual infographic to explain more about apprenticeships.

Then we filmed some video at AS Watson – parent company of Superdrug and Savers – to show how their apprenticeships are helping their staff and their business.

First up, Superdrug.

And not forgetting Savers…

We also had regular updates on our social media accounts using the hashtag #NAW2014 (and retweets by major partners such as the National Apprenticeship Service and the Skills Funding Agency).  From our Twitter timeline…

And we had quotes and endorsements from key clients, leaflets handed out at partner events, press coverage in trade and regional titles, and a new HABC blog (this one!).

So if you want know more about how we can help you with apprenticeships, just click here.

Highfield Leisure and Hospitality Week

This July sees the first Highfield Leisure and Hospitality Week (7-11 July 2014), with five CPD events covering food safety, health and safety, customer service, fire safety and pool lifeguarding.

Held at Academy House in Doncaster, we will be dedicating one whole week in July to further enhance your subject knowledge on key topics relating to the leisure and hospitality industries, giving you the benefit of the knowledge and experience of our team of top industry experts. 

And with each event worth CPD points, there is no better way to update your skills and knowledge in order to help your career, your business and your learners. 

We also have great discounts available for anyone looking to attend more than one of the workshops.

Dates are:

Monday 7 July                          Food Safety

Tuesday 8 July                         Health & Safety

Wednesday 9 July                    Customer Service

Thursday 10 July                      Fire Safey

Friday 11 July                           Pool Lifeguarding (FREE Event)


The more CPD events you attend during this week, the greater discount you will receive. Please note that our Pool Lifeguarding CPD Day is FREE of charge.

Prices are as follows:

HABC Centres
1   CPD Day £85
2   CPD Days £150 (£75 per day)
3   CPD Days £200 (£66.67 per day)
4   CPD Days £240 (£60 per day)
Non-HABC Centres
1   CPD Day £130
2   CPD Days £195 (£97.50 per day)
3   CPD Days £245 (£81.67 per day)
4   CPD Days £285 (£71.25 per day)

All prices listed are exclusive of VAT.

Attendance at all five days will entitle you to 30 CPD points.

Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

For further information or to book your place, please contact our sales team on:
0845 2260350; alternatively email: events@highfieldabc.com

Delivering apprenticeships with Superdrug and Savers

Recently Superdrug and Savers – part of the AS Watson Group – made the switch to HABC for all their apprenticeship needs.  As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2014 (3-7 March 2014), we spoke to Operations Manager Sue Johnston, and two learners, about how apprenticeships were bring real benefits both to the business and to young people.

Sue Johnston, Operations Manager, Superdrug and Savers

Superdrug and Savers‘For us, one of the main benefits of Apprenticeships is the up-skilling of our workforce.  Apprenticeships bring in new people who, given the opportunity and the right training, can become a key element of our succession plan. Great people means great service, which in retail can also have a positive effect on sales and the profitability of the business.

Our Apprentices gain a qualification as well as some very valuable life skills such as increased confidence, better communication skills and self-belief, all of which are transferable into any other workplace or further education scheme.

To any business considering taking on apprentices, I would say ‘Go for it!’ You are giving a young person an opportunity to develop their skills, get on the career ladder and gain valuable experience. The business also benefits from this experience. It’s a win-win situation.

I would say for young people considering an Apprenticeship; choose carefully and ensure the area you want to go into is right for you.  If possible, volunteer somewhere first to be sure.  But once you have made your choice, you’ll get a qualification, valuable experience, a chance of a permanent job at the end – all whilst getting paid….Why wouldn’t you?

Eighty percent of our completed Apprenticeships have gained a permanent role within our business, but one of our great success stories is Christy.

Christy became an apprentice after completing a 6-week Retail Traineeship through the Job Centre voluntarily, as she was registered unemployed.  She showed such promise during those 6 weeks that we offered her the opportunity of doing an Apprenticeship.  Christy completed her qualification over 12 months and gained a permanent contract. She has recently been promoted from being a Sales Assistant to a Store Supervisor – and she is still only 18!

We chose to work with HABC for Apprenticeships because of their customer service, their family atmosphere and the fact that they include you as a provider, rather than dictate to you.  So far it’s been an excellent experience and there is always someone to answer your questions.  We meet regularly to discuss our future and where to want to develop, and HABC fully support us in this.’ 

Christy Horsley, Superdrug (Apprenticeship: Retail Skills)
‘I chose an apprenticeship over other courses as I prefer to learn practically.  Classrooms never suited my learning style and doing an apprenticeship meant I was getting experience, as well as a qualification.

So far the best part for me has been passing my tests.  I was very nervous but with the support from my assessor and my manager, I sailed through each one first time.  I’m already achieving my goal of getting a permanent position as I have now completed my apprenticeship.  I am now a store supervisor, but I want to continue learning do more so that one day I may be a store manager, helping other people become what they want to be.

To any other young people considering an apprenticeship, I would say this is the best thing I ever did.  If you like being hands-on then take the opportunity, work hard and you will achieve your goals.  I did!’

Gemma Southcoat, Superdrug (Apprenticeship: Retail Skills)
‘I wanted to have a career, not just a job, so I though an apprenticeship would be the best way to start that process as it could lead to so much more.

Working with the team and the customers has been the highlight for me.  I am a trainee sales assistant and work with the public every day in small town so you get to know the locals.  I love the customer service part of this role as I can help people, learn new skills and I am so much more confident talk to people now than I used to be. 

I hope that my apprenticeship will give me the opportunity to stay in retail with my current employer, but if not with them then certainly in the same area of the business.  I want to progress and work towards being a manager of my own store one day. 

My apprenticeship has helped me now only with the knowledge of retail but also in myself.  I was quite shy to begin with, and now I am far more confident and outgoing.’

To find out why more and more organisations are moving to HABC for apprenticeships, check out the AS Watson testimonial video on Highfield TV:


Updated APLH course book and training presentation

NCPLH-PP-CDWe’ve updated our materials related to the APLH, with additions to the Level 2 Licensing Course Book to take into account recent changes to legislation and a redesigned Level 2 APLH Licensing Training Presentation to make it even more user friendly.

Suitable for use on Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) courses, the book focuses on key points and covers the Licensing Act 2003, personal licences, premises licences, protection of children, powers and enforcement, temporary event notices and responsibility in alcohol retailing.

The training presentations covers the same areas via a PowerPoint presentation, delegate and tutor thumbnails, handouts, exercises and a full set of lecture notes to guide trainers.

For more information and to see our wider range of products for the APLH England and Wales, click here.

A Question of Licensing for Scotland

SCPLHqof-book A Question of Licensing for ScotlandWith licensing such a hot topic in Scotland at the moment, Highfield has published A Question of Licensing for Scotland, an interactive and practical workbook to help train servers and sellers of alcohol. 

The book provides 2 hours of licensing training for staff who sell or serve alcohol (as required by Scottish law), and can be used by trainers to sell to Personal Licence Holders who are looking to train colleagues on-site.  Key topics covered include Scottish licensing law, powers of enforcements, licensed premises, protection of children and seller’s responsibility.

The book also contains a tear-out training record which can be used to demonstrate proof of training. 

To find out how we stack up against our competitors for end-point assessment, simply visit here.

Level 3 A Question of Health and Safety

l3-qof-hs-bookWe’ve updated our A Question of Health and Safety for Supervisors, adding new activities and updates to make it compliant with changes to RIDDOR and more engaging for learners.

The book provides an ideal way for supervisors to test their health and safety knowledge prior to attending a Level 3 course, or to prepare for an examination.  It can also be used to demonstrate retained knowledge as part of competency testing or refresher training.

For more information, go click here.