Serco apprentice first in England to complete new aviation qualification

Serco apprentice Brook Bloomfield, who has become the first ever to complete the new Aviation Ground Operative Standard apprenticeship in England.

Serco apprentice Brook Bloomfield has become the first ever to complete the new Aviation Ground Operative Standard in England, passing his training with a distinction. 

Brook joined Serco as a Level 2 Aviation Ground Operative Apprentice working at RAF Brize Norton in June 2017, a job role he describes as his life ambition.

The apprenticeship was delivered by Serco in partnership with Highfield Assessment, which is part of Highfield Qualifications and recognised as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO).

Aviation ground operatives work to ensure the efficient and effective arrival, turnaround and departure of aircraft. Safety, security and compliance with aviation regulations are at the heart of the role and the focus of day to day duties.

Brook’s apprenticeship has given him 18 months of on the job practical experience working alongside more than 40 colleagues that make up the Serco Ramp Services team at the RAF base.

Brook said, ‘I’ve wanted to work in aviation since I was old enough to talk, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and, it’s my life ambition so when I saw this opportunity come up with Serco I jumped at the chance.

With this being the first time the new Apprenticeship Standard has been delivered we have had to navigate our way through the new requirements, but I love this job, it ticks all of my boxes and I’m so proud to be where I am now.’

Airfield Services Manager Mark Cridland, who along with his two Ramp Trainers has been responsible for managing the delivery of Brook’s Aviation Ground Operative apprenticeship said, ‘This has been an exceedingly challenging yet rewarding project.  My Training Supervisors and Brook should be proud of what they have achieved; between them, they have set an exceedingly high standard for those that follow, to replicate’.

RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is the Royal Air Force’s largest station and is used as the main Air Point of Embarkation (APOE) for deploying UK troops overseas. Serco have delivered a range of services on behalf of the MOD at RAF Brize Norton for more than 20 years.

For more information on the Level 2 Aviation Ground Operative Apprenticeship Standard can be found here

For more on Serco, click here

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!

Government confirm final funding proposals for Apprenticeship Levy

funding proposalsFunding Proposals

This week the government confirmed the introduction of the apprenticeship levy from April 2017.

The levy will be payable by all UK employers that have a wage bill of more than £3 million. Employers will have to pay 0.5% of their pay roll costs, and these payments will be collected by HMRC from April 2017.  Employers that are not eligible to pay the levy will continue to receive government support towards apprenticeship training and assessment.

Following an open consultation with employers and training providers, the government has confirmed the final funding proposals of how the apprenticeship levy will work. While much of the guidance reiterates points that were announced in August, adjustments have been made to ensure that the reforms benefit more employers, providers and apprentices.

Key features from the updated funding policy include:

  • employers and training providers who take on 16 to 18-year-olds or 19 to 24-year-olds, who were in care or who have an education, health and care plan, on an apprenticeship framework or standard, will receive a £1,000 payment from the government
  • employers will now have 24 months to spend the levy funds within their digital account before they expire, extended from the 18 months originally proposed
  • higher funding bands for STEM apprenticeship frameworks; this has increased by 40% for level 2 and 80% for level 3
  • non-levy paying employers will only have to contribute 10% to the cost of training and assessment, with the remaining 90% funded by the government
  • employers with fewer than 50 employees who do not pay the levy will receive full government funding if they take on apprentices who are 16 to 18 years old, 19 to 24-year-old care leavers, or 19 to 24 year olds with an education, health and care plan
  • a commitment to introduce the ability for employers to transfer funds within their digital account to other employers in their supply chain and sector by 2018
  • training providers will also receive an additional cash payment equivalent to 20% of the funding band maximum where they train 16 to 18-year-olds on apprenticeship frameworks
  • the 15 funding bands have now been confirmed, which range from £1, 500 to £27,000
  • additional funding support up to £600 for apprentices who live in disadvantaged areas to ensure that the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship is open to everyone, regardless of where they live, their background or family circumstances
  • training providers will be able to claim a flat rate of £471 direct from the government if they deliver English or maths, so that all apprentices have a basic knowledge of each subject
  • training providers will be able to claim up to £150 of additional funding on behalf of apprentices who require extra support because of a learning or other disability

If you are still unsure about how the levy will impact your business, or still have unanswered questions, please contact a member of the Highfield Assessment team today on sales@highfieldassessment.com.

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

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.