Savers announced as Top Employer for Retail

HABC approved centre Savers was announced as one of the UK’s top 100 employers for school and college leavers at the fourth annual awards ceremony, held at London City Hall on Friday 27th May 2016.


The awards ceremony celebrated all aspects of learning and development, including career progression, training and skills, as decided by feedback surveys completed by apprentices and school leaver trainees nationwide who have recently completed their qualification programs.

Savers was recognised as ‘Top Employer for Retail’, beating the likes of Harrods and Boots to receive the top accolade. The organization also won ‘Best Level of Support’ and ‘Best for Job Satisfaction’, as well as taking the runner-up spots in two further categories, ‘Best Training’ and ‘Best for Skills Development’.

Further information about the awards and a full list of winners can be found here.

You’re Invited!

Highfield will be on the road again this summer, exhibiting at several industry events where you’ll be able to meet and speak to members of the Highfield team about our bespoke services, view a selection of user-friendly training materials written to support our qualifications, learn more about our digital solutions and see first-hand how working with Highfield can provide added value to your business.

You can come and see us at any of the following events:

Safety & Health Expo


The Safety & Health Expo is targeted at professionals working within the health and safety industry. The 3-day exhibition allows delegates to discover the latest innovations and products from leading organisations within the industry, network with like-minded colleagues, receive updates on critical legislation and accumulate CPD points.

Date: 21-23 June 2016 Venue: Excel, London Stand: U1720

Health +  Care


Health + Care is not only the largest national event for health and care in the UK, but also the most comprehensive event for sector professionals. The Commissioning Show, The Residential Care Show, Technology First and The Home Care Show are all part of the event, so attendance at Health + Care will provide delegates with the opportunity to network with key sector stakeholders.

Date: 29-30 June 2016 Venue: Excel, London Stand: B46

AELP National Conference 2016

Booth 28 - HABC - Artwork

This conference features key speeches from government ministers, senior officials and leading academics. There will also be several workshops and an exhibition. The conference is aimed at all those who work within the employment and skills sector and who want to be at the forefront of future developments within the industry.

Date: 27-28 June 2016 Venue: Novotel London West, Hammersmith Stand: 28

If you would like any further information regarding any of these events  or you are planning to attend any of them and would like to arrange a meeting with a member of the Highfield team in advance,  please email

We hope to see you soon.

It worked for me: Highfield Apprenticeship

Rob started working for Highfield in 2012 as an IT apprentice. Demonstrating excellent potential, he secured a permanent position with the company following his apprenticeship placement to become a developer within our e-learning team. Like many of his colleagues within the company, Rob has risen through the ranks of the company due to this exceptional commitment and talent, and he is now set to commence managing a new team of IT apprentices later in the year.

Rob profile pic

What were your responsibilities as an apprentice?

During my apprenticeship I was responsible for providing outstanding customer service in both internal and external technical IT support. I was also responsible for the design and creation of the range of new Highfield Apprenti-kit products.

What attracted you to an apprenticeship?

Being able to earn whilst I learn, gain new skills and invaluable experience and obtain qualifications in a professional environment.

What skills and experience did you gain from your apprenticeship?

During my apprenticeship I worked alongside all areas of IT picking up skills and experience in customer service, internal and external technical IT support, product design and development and basic programming.

What did your position involve?

My position involved providing online and over-the-phone technical support to our customers that have purchased our electronic products; I would also provide support to our internal customers looking after their hardware and network systems. I was also in charge of creating a brand new range of products called Apprenti-kits that would help thousands of other apprentices complete their apprenticeships too. These were paper-based at first before I later developed an electronic version that could be completed on a computer device.

What is it like to work for Highfield?

It is a pleasure to work for Highfield and alongside all of Highfield’s employees, we are a tight-knit company inside and outside of the office. There is never a dull day and we are always very busy, which is not a bad thing!

What was the highlight of your apprenticeship?

The highlight of my apprenticeship was when I had finished my very first product, that I knew would help so many other apprentices throughout their apprenticeships.

Do you feel that an apprenticeship was beneficial to your career?

Without completing my apprenticeship at Highfield I would not be in the position that I am in now 4 years on, I am soon to manage my own team of apprentice e-learning developers where I can use my own experience as an apprentice to help guide them through their journey.

How would you describe your apprenticeship in 3 words?

Challenging, enjoyable and rewarding.

As a former apprentice, what advice would you give to anybody considering an apprenticeship?

Go for it, there are so many fantastic opportunities in apprenticeships, you can earn a wage whilst gaining invaluable experience and qualifications, and make sure that you choose an apprenticeship in the area that you want to build a career within and that you will love and enjoy.

It worked for me: Highfield Apprenticeship

To mark National Apprenticeship Week and to celebrate the significance of work-based learning, we’ll be speaking to members of the Highfield team about their apprenticeship experience.

Emily profile pic

Prior to starting her apprenticeship in 2012, Emily studied graphic design at college. After completing her studies she was looking for a solution that would allow her to continue her studies in a working environment, which led her to an apprenticeship. Emily was attracted to the Highfield design apprentice role due to the variety of professional projects she had the opportunity to work on. During her apprenticeship, Emily demonstrated a strong work ethic, becoming a fundamental member of the Design team, from which she secured a full-time role with Highfield as a junior designer.

What attracted you to an apprenticeship?

I had just finished two years of studying and felt that I needed to do something a little more practical, which is why an apprenticeship shone far brighter than any university course did.

What did your position involve?

My position really was to get involved and learn from my colleagues. When you first go into an apprenticeship you need to learn how the company itself works and from then on once you have learnt the essential skills, will start to find your place in the team (it just sort of clicks).

What is it like to work for Highfield?

It is a great adventure; you are rarely doing the same type of job. You will get to work on all types of projects with different team members for multiple clients.

What were your main responsibilities as an apprentice?

I looked after the event material, the setting of exam papers and creating a newsletter for Highfield. After a few weeks I also got the chance to join in with other activities such as photo shoots, which I found to be great fun. This was helpful as I got to work with other team members learning what they did in their day-to-day jobs.

What skills and experience did you gain from your apprenticeship?

I have gained so much from working at Highfield it would be hard to pin point only a few items to talk about. Within my initial 12 months I progressed so far and learnt how to produce products and each process that goes into doing so.

What was the highlight of your apprenticeship (biggest achievement etc.)?

I believe my greatest highlight was being offered a full-time position at Highfield. I felt that I had become part of the team and part of the Highfield family.

Do you feel that an apprenticeship was beneficial to your career?

It was really the greatest thing for me at the time as I don’t think I was ready to go to university. I was a rather timid person before I started working at Highfield and over the years I have grown so much both professionally and as an individual. I feel that this has been one of the greatest things I have done in my career so far and am looking forward to future endeavours.

How would you describe your apprenticeship in three words?

Super, smashing, great!!!

As a former apprentice, what advice would you give to anybody considering an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship was so much better for me as I was learning on the job, completing live briefs, being tutored by others with more experience than myself and growing as a person instead of sat in a classroom. Overall I would say consider an apprenticeship with Highfield as my experience here was so helpful for me and I do feel I found myself at Highfield.

HABC events for 2015

HABC has a number of events lined up for summer, covering a range of subjects and aimed at trainers, educators and sector professionals.

For more information on each event and details of how to book, click on the location and date links.

First AidRegulated First Aid Qualification Assessor and IQA CPD Training
Latest guidance for assessors and IQAs of HABC’s updated first-aid qualifications.
HABC Centres £50.00 + VAT
Standard Price £65.00 + VAT

DUDLEY 23 July 2015
NEWCASTLE 6 August 2015
DONCASTER 2 September 2015

Fire Safety

Fire Safety Event
Train the trainer event for those looking to deliver HABC’s fire safety qualifications.
HABC Centres £95.00 + VAT
Standard Price £155.00 + VAT

DONCASTER 5 August 2015

Admin event

Admin Support Event
Event to assist delegates with administrative tasks involved with being a HABC Centre, plus the chance to meet members of the HABC account management team.

CARDIFF 12 August 2015
STIRLING 6 October 2015
LONDON 24 October 2015

Pool Lifeguarding

Pool Lifeguarding Trainer/Assessor Conversion Day
Conversion days to allow pool lifeguard trainers/assessors to deliver the HABC Level 2 Award in Pool Lifeguarding (QCF).

BRISTOL 3 September 2015

Education and training

Education and Training 19 September
Aimed at Centres currently delivering (or planning to deliver) the HABC Level 3 Award in Education and Training (QCF) and the HABC Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (QCF).
HABC Centres £50.00 + VAT
Standard Price £65.00 + VAT

LONDON 19 September

Meeting the security challenge with the HABC National Conference

security challengeHighfield Awarding Body for Compliance (‘HABC’) will be putting the focus on security at its conference later this year with a line up including Professional Security Magazine, New Scotland Yard and Bosch UK Holdings Ltd.

Held at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester on 13 November 2014, the HABC National Conference will feature a security seminar – sponsored by MITIE, Marks & Spencer and – with insights and updates on training, legislation and compliance from some of the top names in the industry, including:

•    Mark Rowe, Executive Editor, Professional Security Magazine;
•    DCI Mick Neville, New Scotland Yard;
•    Tony Shepherd, Protection Security Officer, Bosch Holdings UK Ltd;
•    Bob Betts, MD, Elite Academy of Security Training/Elite Bodyguard Ltd;
•    Andy Walker, HABC Security Consultant; and
•    James Rockley, HABC Business Development Director.

Jason Sprenger, HABC Chief Executive, said, ‘The security industry faces huge challenges over the next 18 months and is constantly under scrutiny.  Our line-up of speakers will provide delegates with a detailed update on industry developments covering everything from legal changes to practical guidance including information on working with the police, overseas delivery, CCTV and training innovation’.

The conference is expected to attract an anticipated 600 delegates including blue-chip corporate clients and brand names, leading industry experts and educators and trainers.

The security seminar is one of seven that make up the entire conference covering a number of sectors including apprenticeships, fire safety/health and safety, first aid, food safety, licensing and  pool lifeguarding.

Cost per attendee is £135+VAT for HABC Approved Centres and £195+VAT for non-Centres, with discounts available for early and multiple bookings.

For more information, click here, call 0845 226 0350 or email


Law, legislation and licensing at the HABC National Conference

Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) will be putting the latest and proposed legislative changes to the industry under the spotlight at its conference later this year, with a line-up including the Institute of Licensing and the Scottish Grocers Federation.

Held at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, on 13 November 2014, the HABC National Conference will feature a seminar on licensing issues throughout the day – sponsored by the Alliance of Quality Licensing Trainers (AQLT) and Marks & Spencer – with insights and updates on training, legislation and compliance from leading experts including:

proposed legislative changesJohn Drummond, Chief Executive, Scottish Grocers Federation;



Jon CollinsJon Collins, Chairman, Institute of Licensing Ltd;



Peter CoulsonPeter Coulson, Editor of the Licensing Review, co-founder of the M&C Report; and



Mike WroeMike Wroe, Director, HABC.



Jason Sprenger, HABC Chief Executive, said, ‘The licensing sector faces a number of challenges right across the four nations, both now and in the future, from the legal to the operational.  Our speakers will be addressing those issues and providing guidance for operators and educators on how to meet those challenges’.

The conference is expected to attract an anticipated 600 delegates including blue-chip corporate clients and brand names, leading industry experts and educators and trainers.

The licensing seminar is one of seven that make up the entire conference covering a number of sectors including apprenticeships, fire safety/health and safety, first aid, food safety, pool lifeguarding and security.


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.


On the road with #NAW 2014

And so we’re back in the office after a long and busy week supporting National Apprenticeship Week 2014, with five roadshows across England taking in London, Dudley, Doncaster, Manchester and Newcastle.

It’s been a successful week, and we think we’ve helped a few businesses make the leap and decide to get involved in apprenticeships. We were particularly impressed by how involved many of the people we spoke to already were in helping young people and learners, and we certainly took our fair share of questions. We’ll pull together the best ones and post them on here for everyone to have a look at.

Our next apprenticeship event is at our National Conference at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester on 13 November. We hope to see you there, but in the meantime, here’s some pics from last week’s events.

HABC’s apprenticeship challenge for England’s employers and educators

England employers

England employers and educators are being challenged to get involved in apprenticeships this March as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of work-based learning.

Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) will be showing employers and educators across the country how great businesses are made by apprentices at five free events around England as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2014 (3 March to 7 March).

The events and locations are:

  • London – 3 March
  •  Dudley – 4 March
  • Doncaster – 5 March
  • Manchester – 6 March
  • Newcastle – 7 March

 And the awarding organisation – which is one of the UK’s top ten educational bodies – will be demonstrating how apprenticeships can help businesses reduce recruitment costs, retain staff and improve performance whilst showing a commitment to the local community and young people.

Jason Sprenger, HABC Chief Executive, said, ‘We’ll be challenging employers and educators across England to get involved in apprenticeships, and inviting them along to find out more.  We’ll show how by putting apprenticeships and learners at the centre of everything you do, you can improve the bottom line of your business whilst giving young people genuine career opportunities. 

Apprenticeships give young people the chance to learn a trade whilst earning money and working towards a recognised qualification.  They also give employers the chance to mould and develop the future workforce in a way that meets the needs of their business.’

Sue Renny, Apprenticeship Programme Manager at AS Watson UK – parent company of Superdrug and Savers – said, ‘We have been delivering apprenticeships for more than six years now.  The focus for us is our 16-18 school leaver programme, where we offer young people an opportunity to take the first step into the world of work whilst working towards a nationally recognised qualification, in this case a retail skills level 2 apprenticeship.

Our success rates have been fantastic and we have been able to offer almost 75% of our apprentices a permanent role on completion of their qualification – more than 30% of these being offered supervisory roles.’ 

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