How to….with Highfield: prepare effectively for EPA with our guidance documents

Getting your head around the new world of apprenticeship standards and end-point assessment can be tricky for the uninitiated. But here at Highfield, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, and have published a range of completely free guidance documents to help you and your learners prepare effectively for EPA. 

Our Gateway Readiness Reports can be used to log the outcomes of your formal gateway meetings and be submitted to the end-point assessment organisation as evidence of your apprentices’ readiness to enter gateway and commence end-point assessment.

Meanwhile, our EPA Kits outline all you need to know about the EPA for each standard and provide an overview of the on-programme delivery requirements. In addition, they include authoritative advice and guidance for trainers on how to prepare apprentices for EPA and offer suggestions on different approaches. The EPA kits include:

  • a section focused on delivery, where the standard and assessment criteria are presented in a suggested format that is suitable for delivery
  • guidance on how to prepare the apprentice for gateway
  • detailed information on which part of the standard is assessed by which assessment method
  • a section focused on the end-point assessment method where the assessment criteria are presented in a format suitable for carrying out ‘mock’ assessments
  • suggestions on how to prepare the apprentice for each part of the end-point assessment
  • a practice test that you can use with apprentices

To download the Gateway Readiness Reports and EPA Kits, go to www.highfieldassessment.com,  click on ‘Standards’, then click on the standard you are interested in.You’ll find the downloads on each page.

Highfield Solutions: on-programme learning and off-the-job training – what does it all mean?  

This month at Highfield we’re shining a spotlight on apprenticeships. We’ll be covering everything you need to know from on-programme learning to gateway and the final stage of the process, end-point assessment.

The focus of this article will be the on-programme learning phase and the much talked about 20% off-the-job training. We’ll look at what is meant by off-the-job training, the activities that count towards off-the-job training and the support we can provide that brings a logical structure to on-programme learning.

What is off-the-job training?
Anyone involved in apprenticeships, whether as a learner, a training provider or an employer will have heard about the 20% off-the-job training. But, what does it actually mean?

Is it one day per week that the apprentice will be away from their place of work? Does the training have to cover anything in particular? Is there a way around this training?

The definition as defined by the ESFA in its funding rules is:

‘Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.’

Calculating off-the-job training
You can’t avoid the 20% off-the-job training. The apprentice, and employers, are expected to evidence that they have met this ratio. But, the off-the-job training element doesn’t necessarily mean one day per week or, indeed, training that takes place outside of the workplace.

Many employers are known to be put off apprenticeships due to a misconception that the off-the-job training must take up one day per week. The ratio is set in stone, but it is up to the apprentice, training provider and employer to agree on a system that works for them. Some may take the approach of one day per week, others may prefer to work in blocks of a few days or a week at a time. As long as the 20% ratio is evidenced, there is flexibility to deliver it to suit the needs of the employer.

What counts towards the 20%?
There are a number of ways that apprentices can carry out their off-the-job training. Some of which may be standard practice within the business they are joining.

There are a number of activities that count towards the 20% off-the-job training that are likely to be part of an employer’s standard process including:

  • staff induction – staff inductions are likely the first thing any apprentice will undertake when starting their apprenticeships. An induction likely includes procedural training for the role in which they are employed, training from human resources, understanding the company’s ways of working and ensuring they understand health and safety policies and procedures
  • shadowing and mentoring – when starting a new role many businesses implement a shadowing scheme in the early stages. Learning from an experienced employee that has carried out the role for a period of time
  • industry-specific training – for example product training for retailers or first-aid training for social care apprentices
  • industry visits – if your apprentice attends visits to partner businesses or meets with suppliers it can count towards the off-the-job training requirement
  • attending industry-related events – expose your apprentice to the wider world of work and allow them to attend conferences, CPD events and award ceremonies – not only do they get to experience fantastic networking opportunities and see how other organisations work (ideal for new suggestions and continuous improvement) but it also counts towards the 20%!

There are also several activities that can be carried out that cause minimal disruption to the business, and can be completed while the apprentice is still at their place of work but not carrying out their day-to-day tasks including:

  • work/study for the apprenticeship – working through workbooks, reading textbooks, watching training videos and completing assignments can all count towards the 20%, it doesn’t necessarily need to be completed away from the office, or be completed on the same day
  • e-learning courses that develop the apprentice’s knowledge and skills. At Highfield we offer Short Courses that build on skills such as communication, team working and managing conflict.

Finally, there are those training elements that likely take place away from the place of work, which include:

  • seminars/lectures – time spent with the training provider, this is often training that covers key aspects of the standard or mandatory qualifications and means time spent away from the workplace
  • role play – popular training practice in customer service training, this is particularly popular within the hospitality sector but may also be utilised within retail too. This can be particularly useful for covering potentially tricky situations

Highfield’s Solutions

Apprenti-kits
Highfield Apprenti-kits and E-kits are designed to provide structure to the on-programme delivery of the apprenticeship standards.

Mapped to the standards, our range of Apprenti-kits is:

  • broken down into manageable-sized modules that can be worked through at the apprentice’s own pace
  • cover all the required knowledge, skills and behaviours the apprentice is expected to demonstrate
  • evidence readiness for gateway and the move on to end-point assessment
  • written by industry experts with real-world experience of the sector they support
  • are available in paper and digital formats

We also offer the chance to enrich apprentices’ learning experiences with our Apprenti-kit and E-kit PLUS. This enhanced bundle contains additional resources including a health and wellbeing booklet, a safeguarding booklet and a choice of 5 e-learning Short Courses.

You can view our full range of Apprenti-kits and e-kits here.

E-learning
At Highfield our award-winning e-learning takes all shapes and sizes. A popular addition for apprenticeships includes our e-learning Short Courses. These can be bundled with our Apprenti-kit and E-kits to provide an enhanced training bundle for your apprentice, or used as stand-alone modules. Our Short Courses cover topics including team working, communication and managing conflict, which can be particularly relevant to an apprentice at the start of their career journey.

You can view our full range of Short Courses here.  

Next Steps
If you’d like more information on any of our apprenticeship or end-point assessment services, you can visit us on stand A4 at the AAC Conference in Birmingham between 27 – 28 March or, if you’re not attending, feel free to contact a member of our team on 0845 226 0350/01302 363277 or email info@highfield.co.uk.

 

Did you know…Legionella

Legionella affects around 500 people a year, and can lead to death. 

But there is still little understanding amongst the wider public of this disease, or how to prevent it.

So here’s 10 facts about legionella.

  1. So why is it called Legionnaires’ disease? Well, it is named after the American Legion, some of whose members caught it while attending a convention at a Philadelphia hotel in 1976.
  2. The legionella bacterium causes Legionnaires disease in humans, which is a type of pneumonia that produces inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs. These sacs then fill with liquid making it difficult for the lungs to transmit oxygen around the body via the bloodstream.
  3. Legionnaires’ can be contracted by inhaling droplets of legionella bacterium from a source that has been contaminated. However, it isn’t contagious and cannot be passed from person.
  4. About 90 percent of people who contract Legionnaires disease recover fully after a course of antibiotics.
  5. Legionnella grows in water between 20 to 45C. It multiplies quickly in artificial water supply and air conditioning systems, particularly those which have been maintained properly or are outdated.
  6. Symptoms of Legionnaires disease include tiredness, muscle aches, dry coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains, headache and fever. Life-threatening complications can include organ failure and septic shock, and kill around 10 percent of normally healthy people who contract the disease.
  7. People usually become ill between 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the legionella bacterium. Those with weakened immune systems are most at risk, along with smokers and heavy drinkers. It affects people over 50 more commonly, with with most deaths occurring in those 70 or over.
  8. Larger buildings with more complex water systems are more vulnerable, such as hospitals, office blocks and hotels. However, Legionnaires’ disease can also (more rarely) be found in showers, sprinkler systems and spas.
  9. A third of Legionnaires’ disease cases in the UK are contracted while overseas, mostly in the Mediterranean and tropical countries.
  10. Legionnaires disease is a notifiable disease, and there is a national surveillance scheme to detect clusters and outbreaks in England and Wales.

Want to know more about legionella? Check out our qualifications at https://www.highfieldqualifications.com/qualifications/compliance/legion

Food safety: Food Hygiene Rating Scheme – the drive for transparency

Continuing our series of blogs focusing on the line-up of top industry speakers presenting at the Improving Food Safety in a Changing World conference on 13 June in Birmingham, we spoke to John Barnes, Director at Enmoore Ltd, to find out what topics he’ll be discussing at the food safety conference.

In addition to his role as a Director at Enmoore Ltd, John is also a Strategic Advisor to the Shield Safety Group and a visiting lecturer in food safety at the University of Birmingham. Until 2015 John was Head of Local Delivery at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), and in that same year, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Society of Food Hygiene Technology (SOFHT) for his exceptional contribution to food hygiene and safety.

An environmental health officer by profession, John has extensive experience negotiating and implementing EU food law and chairing international meetings on food safety controls. He was part of the senior FSA team leading the response to the 2013 horsemeat incident and responsible for establishing its Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).

In his presentation Food Hygiene Rating Scheme – the drive for transparency – current issues, what next? John will discuss how the FSA have pushed for greater openness and transparency since its launch in 2000, seeing this as an effective way to drive behaviour change in the food industry. The FHRS has resulted in a significant improvement in the UK hygiene standard, with calls for a mandatory display in England similar to the arrangements in Wales and NI.

“FHRS has undoubtedly had a major impact on food businesses and significantly improved hygiene standards. Industry can expect continued pressure to improve transparency and information to both consumers and regulators. The presentation will cover the background to this: current FHRS safeguards for businesses, issues with delaying implementation of mandatory display of FHRS in England and what to expect in the near future.” John Barnes.

Find the full line-up of speakers and topics to be discussed at the conference on our website foodsafety2019.highfield.co.uk. Take advantage of our early bird offer and save £55 on the price of your ticket! Early bird offer ends 31 March. Book your ticket here.

How to…write a health and safety policy

You must have a written health and safety policy if you have five or more employees.

So how do you write one? Here’s a very brief guide.

Businesses usually put their policy into three sections.

  1. A general statement of intent, which establishes your commitment to implementing health and safety effectively and your expected outcomes.
  2. Responsibility and organisation. Who is doing what? For instance, who will carry out risk assessments?
  3. Arrangements. The details of what you are going to do in practice in order to achieve the outcomes outlined in #1. It should include information on how you will reduce or eliminate the risks of hazards in your workplace highlighted in your risk assessments. Staff training can be referenced here.

For more on our health and safety qualifications, go to https://www.highfieldqualifications.com/qualifications/compliance/healthandsafety

Could e-learning be the answer to your training woes? 

E-learning is the nemesis of tutors and trainers everywhere. At least, in the eyes of some trainers who see e-learning as a ‘rival’ to their day-to-day business. 

It takes learners away from the sanctuary of the classroom and the knowledge and experience of a trainer, who may have decades of real-life, hands-on experience within a subject area. An e-learning course can’t be a match for that experience, it can’t share the passion of the trainer. And without passion, and engagement, what use is e-learning?  

Of course, to a degree, that is true. Not the sort of acknowledgment you may expect from an award-winning provider of e-learning. An e-learning programme can not share the anecdotes of an experienced trainer with years of on-the-job experience. It can’t be funny, charming and oozing charisma.  But, it can be a useful tool in the training mix and offer benefits that perhaps you weren’t expecting…

Why should I offer e-learning?

Supporting safer workplaces
As a minimum a good e-learning course can be a useful tool for staff training. Ideal as part of a training programme, a staff induction scheme, or to provide knowledge leading to a full qualification, e-learning can help make your workplace safer.

Highfield offer a range of e-learning courses spanning subjects as diverse as communication and team working, to first aid, manual handling and fire safety.

Flexibility
Whether you’re a trainer, an employer/business or a learner e-learning is flexible to meet your needs. Highfield e-learning courses are accessible anytime, anywhere. If you have access to an internet connection, you can sit Highfield e-learning.

With no constraints in terms of classroom-based training, businesses can ensure that departments are always appropriately staffed, that training can take place at a time and place to suit their needs. Classroom sessions can be disruptive to the natural ebb and flow of a business. E-learning allows learners to take training at a pace that fits around their day to day workload.

Cost-effective
Save on expensive room hire, taking staff from their day to day tasks or having to turn down income as you don’t have a viable size class to deliver training.  Highfield e-learning courses are approved programmes and can contribute to the guided learning hours of a recognised qualification. Learners who wish to gain a corresponding qualification can sit the assessment at any Highfield training centre at a time and place to suit them.

For a complete digital solution you could utilise Highfield Works, our e-assessment platform saving you time, reducing paperwork and available at a time to suit you.

Time-saving
If your learners are utilising e-learning, particularly as independent study, it can free up your time. You won’t need to be stuck in a classroom and allowing you to spend time on growing your business, or indeed spending time with friends and family.

Additional Income
We offer reseller agreements for training providers and businesses who may wish to utilise high volumes of our e-learning. We provide the course at a discount price, and you can then sell the course to your customers. We can even support you and help you sell e-learning on your website.

Next Steps
If you’d like more information about how e-learning can work as part of your training mix contact us today call 0845 226 0350/01302 363 277, visit www.highfieldelearning.com or email info@highfieldelearning.com.

How to…with Highfield: Risk Assessment

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends the following five steps for successful risk assessment:

Step 1: Identify the hazards
Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how
Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
Step 4: Record your findings and implement them
Step 5: Review your assessment and update if necessary

But if you need a little extra help, we have qualifications in risk assessment available at levels 2 and 3: https://www.highfieldqualifications.com/…/co…/riskassessment

Plus, supporting resources: https://www.highfieldproducts.com/products/search/…

 

Food safety: Regulating our future – key changes for the industry and regulators

This June will see Highfield’s Improving Food Safety in a Changing World conference take place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. 

And as part of the build up to what promises to be the biggest and best food safety conference in the UK in 2019, we’re profiling our line up of top speakers and looking at what issues and topics they will be discussing.

Michael Jackson is the Head of Regulatory Compliance at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and has been working full time on the FSA’s Regulating Our Future programme since it was set up in February 2016.  He leads the teams developing the new delivery model for food law regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Prior to moving to this programme, Michael was Head of Local Authority Policy and Delivery within the FSA’s Northern Ireland office, where he was responsible for developing a wide range of legislation and policy in relation to food safety and food standards. He has been involved with the development and operation of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme since 2009 and led the project to make the display of ratings at food establishments a statutory requirement in Northern Ireland.

At the conference, Michael will be presenting an update on the progress that the FSA has made to transform the way the food industry is regulated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, highlighting those developments that are currently being rolled out into the regulatory model that will impact both local authorities and the food industry, and the key priorities for further work in 2019 and 2020.

Michael said, ‘The FSA is committed to transforming the way that the food industry is regulated and our aim is to develop a new model that is modern, risk-based, proportionate, robust and resilient. Throughout the project, we had adopted an open policy, testing our plans publicly with key stakeholders and this even presents an excellent opportunity to discuss progress and next steps’.

The Improving Food Safety in a Changing World conference takes place on 13 June 2019. For more information on the conference or to book your place, go to http://foodsafety2019.highfield.co.uk/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to…with Highfield: Legionella

Legionella is a killer. Here’s three top tips on how to reduce the risk.

1. Control the temperature. Hot water storage systems should store water at 60°C or higher. Distributed hot water should be 50°C or higher. Cold water delivered to the tap should be below 20°C.

2. Maintain and clean. Legionella will grow where water is allowed to stand unused above 20°C. This most often happens where services have been removed but pipework remains, or where services are used infrequently. Flush outlets regularly (including taps and showers), remove dead ends and clean cold-water tanks regularly.

3. Test and monitor. Water samples should be taken and analysed annually, or as defined during your risk assessment. Pay attention to high risk water sources such as stagnant water, as well as sentinel outlets (outlets that are closest and furthest from the mains entry point or storage tank).

You can find our more on our Legionella awareness qualifications here.

#askhighfield #saferworkplaces #legionella

Safer Workplaces: Manual Handling

According to HSE stats, manual handling is responsible for over one-third of all workplace injuries. Manual handling is defined as lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying a load.

The consequences of an injury can be serious for both the employer and the injured person.

Happily, Highfield offers a range of solutions to ensure that manual handling is carried out safely and effectively in your workplace!

Qualifications – the perfect way to evidence that your workforce has received appropriate training, Highfield offers a Level 2 Award in Safe Moving and Handling (RQF) qualification. The ideal outcome following an induction programme or, for those who require specific training in manual handling, the qualification can be completed in approximately 10 hours. 

Training materials – engage, educate and inspire learners working towards the Level 2 Award in Safe Moving and Handling, or deliver a thorough in-house training programme with our range of products. We offer a Safe Moving and Handling Handbook and a Safe Moving and Handling training presentation. 

E-learning – fit manual handling training around other commitments with our engaging and interactive manual handling e-learning course. Packed full of interactive exercises and games, media-rich content, interactive 3D scenarios, relevant photography and illustrations and content provided by industry experts, e-learning courses can be taken at a time and place to suit you. 

So if you’re looking to keep your team safe, get in touch and find out how we can help you.