PRESS RELEASE: Man Utd legend kicks off Highfield conference in winning style

Doncaster education firmA Doncaster education firm kicked off its biggest ever conference earlier this month – with an assist from football legend Denis Irwin.

The former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland star was guest of honour and star speaker at a pre-conference charity dinner hosted by the Highfield Group to launch its conference, held at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, on 13 November 2014.

The conference, which was headline sponsored by Marks & Spencer and ProTrainings, brought together nearly 600 delegates from across the training and education sector in the UK to discuss the latest changes to vocational learning and apprenticeships.

Speakers and sponsors included names such as ASDA, City of London Corporation, Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust (DCLT), Food Standards Agency (FSA), Laing O’Rourke, MITIE, New Scotland Yard, Security Industry Authority (SIA), Serco, Staples, Superdrug and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The dinner, held the evening before, helped to raise funds for Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA), which supports blind and partially sighted people under the age of 29. Guest of honour Denis Irwin, who was a key part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering Manchester United team in the 1990s and early 2000s – making over 500 appearances between 1990 to 2002 – spoke about his career and took questions from the audience.

Jason Sprenger, Highfield Chief Executive, said, ‘It was a great honour to have one of modern football’s true legends and gentlemen as our special guest and to kick our conference off in wining style. We raised over £4500 on the night for VICTA, which is a fantastic achievement, and welcomed nearly 600 delegates to our conference the next day to discuss the numerous changes and issues affecting the training and skills sector. It’s testament to how far we have grown that we were able to attract some of the biggest and most recognisable names in industry to either speak at or sponsor our conference, and we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback received’.

The Highfield Group, which publishes training books, materials and e-learning solutions, and develops vocational qualifications and apprenticeships, has expanded rapidly to become one of the country’s leading educational companies, employing nearly 250 staff at three sites across Doncaster with a further office in Dubai.

Notes to editors:
1. The Highfield Group offers hundreds of publications and titles, with over 2 million sales per annum. It has developed over 200 qualifications covering a wide variety of industries including customer service, health and safety, licensing, security, stewarding, retail, logistics, catering and hospitality through its awarding organisation arm, Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance Ltd.
2. The money raised for VICTA will go towards helping the charity in its work to provide equipment, services and events that support blind and visually impaired children and young people develop socially, emotionally and educationally, as well as offering their parents a vital network of assistance andinformation.
3. Denis Irwin’s honours during his playing career include 7 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 1 League Cup, 4 Charity Shields, 1 UEFA Champions League title, 1 Cup Winner’s Cup, 1 European Super Cup and 1 Intercontinental Cup, as well as 56 appearances for the Republic of Ireland, including 2 starts at the World Cup USA 1994.

‘1 in 6 workers need mental health support from bosses’ warns expert

mental health support1 in 6 UK employees will experience a mental health issue during their working life – and need support from their employer to tackle it – will warn one of the UK’s top mental health support experts at a conference this autumn.

Poppy Jaman, Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), will tell delegates at the HABC National Conference on 13 November 2014 at Old Trafford Stadium that employers should train staff in mental health first aid so conditions such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks can be better identified and supported by appropriately trained employees.

Mental ill health covers a range of conditions, each with specific signs and symptoms. Mental health first aiders (MHFAiders) are trained to be aware of these and guide the affected person to relevant support. Ms Jaman will argue in her speech that mental health first aid and physical first aid should go hand in hand, and that all businesses should have employees able to provide support in both areas.

‘With 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health condition in any one year and depression and anxiety affecting 20 per cent of the UK working population, it seems sensible that mental health first aid should be considered as important as physical first aid, both in the workplace and in society generally’, said Ms Jaman.

‘Very sadly, in recent months the media has reported a number of high-profile people completing suicide – each as a result of poor mental health. These serve as stark reminders of the tragic consequences that mental ill health can have on an individual and those around them’.

She added, ‘Raising awareness of mental health and the risk of suicide continues to be as important as ever, but much like physical first aid, the situations that an MHFAider might encounter are not always life threatening. Put simply, if an employee breaks their arm in the workplace, the first point of call will be the trained physical first aider. If the same person showed signs of having a panic attack, who would be qualified to support them?

By training people in mental health first aid, we are teaching participants how to spot the signs and symptoms of the most common health conditions and how to guide the affected person to appropriate support. With 77,000 people in the UK already MHFA trained, our mission is to train 1 in 10 people in England to be qualified MHFAiders’.

Christian Sprenger, HABC Managing Director, said, ‘Sadly mental health in the workplace is a growing issue, but one that employers are able to contribute to positively. Having staff appropriately trained so that they can help their colleagues, support them as necessary and point them to professional help can contribute to the overall wellbeing of both employees and businesses as a whole. Poppy Jaman is the UK’s leading advocate for mental health first aid, and her presentation will be of huge interest to anyone involved in the issue of employee welfare and mental health’.

Notes to editors:
1. Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (‘HABC’) is one of the UK’s leading Awarding Organisations for vocational qualifications.
2. The first aid seminar is one of seven that make up the HABC National Conference covering a number of sectors including apprenticeships, fire safety/health and safety, food safety, licensing, pool lifeguarding and security.
3. Cost per attendee is £135+VAT for HABC Approved Centres and £195+VAT for non-Centres, with discounts available for early and multiple bookings.
About Mental Health First Aid England:
4. MHFA England is a Community Interest Company, established in 2009.
5. MHFA is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid training and provides participants with the skills and confidence to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and effectively guide a person towards the right support services.
6. As well as the standard MHFA course, the organisation runs a number of bespoke courses including Youth MHFA, MHFA Lite, Armed Forces MHFA and MHFA Workplace.

Apprenticeships4England to warn of ‘decrease in apprenticeship opportunities’ at conference

Apprenticeships4EnglandOne of the UK’s leading voices on apprenticeships – Apprenticeships4England – will warn conference delegates this autumn that proposed funding reforms will lead to a decrease in apprenticeship opportunities.

Lindsay McCurdy, Chief Executive of Apprenticeships4England, will tell delegates at the HABC National Conference on 13 November 2014 at Old Trafford Stadium that over half of businesses believe they would be forced to decrease the number of apprenticeship places they offer when the funding reforms come into place in 2015/16.

The stark statistic comes from the Apprenticeship4England Impact Funding Reform Survey conducted earlier this year, which asked businesses and training providers for their views on the proposed changes.

Key findings from the report show that:

  • 51% of businesses respondents think their organisation will see a decrease in apprenticeship uptake;
  • Over half of training providers believe engagement with businesses will decrease by 50% or more;
  • That 42% of businesses plan to walk away from apprenticeships completely once the new funding reforms are implemented;
  • 84% of respondents believe that employers should be able to choose whether they handle funding or not; and
  • 88% of all respondents believe that apprenticeship opportunities will be reduced overall.

Lindsay McCurdy said, ‘What the proposals mean for the apprenticeship training sector, businesses and learners remain to be seen, but the statistics are there to see and reflect the deep concern across every part of the sector. I very much look forward to being part of the discussion at the HABC National Conference in November, and to hear if the opinions of the delegates match those of the Apprenticeship4England Impact survey’.

Jason Sprenger, HABC Chief Executive, said, ‘We have had 12 months of significant change in the apprenticeship sector, with more to come in 2015 and 2016. Out apprenticeship seminar at the HABC National Conference 2014 will bring clarity and insight to a range of issues from current and future apprenticeship developments, the constraints that providers find themselves facing, the support available and leadership training for deliverers – all within the context of the recent changes’.

As well as Lindsay McCurdy, the apprenticeship seminar at the HABC National Conference will feature speakers from the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), the UK Commission for Education and Skills (UKCES), the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), One Stop Stores, Superdrug parent company AS Watson and Whistl (formerly TNT Post).

Notes to editors:
1. Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (‘HABC’) is one of the UK’s leading Awarding Organisations for vocational qualifications.
2. The apprenticeship seminar is one of seven that make up the HABC National Conference covering a number of sectors including fire safety/health and safety, first aid, food safety, licensing, pool lifeguarding and security.
3. Cost per attendee is £135+VAT for HABC Approved Centres and £195+VAT for non-Centres, with discounts available for early and multiple bookings.

Changes to magistrates’ courts fines

Changes to the legal system can have a dramatic impact on the way you do business. Whether it’s to do with the overall compliance of your organisation, the impact on staff or customers, or the cost and impact any changes may have, it’s vital you stay up to date with what’s happening.

One recent change has been the removal by the government of the £50,000 upper limit on fines that can be imposed by magistrates’ courts. We asked top legal firm, Nabarro LLP, who supply HABC Approved Centres with a regular health and safety law update, to explain more.

‘The Government has recently announced that it will remove the £5,000 upper limit on fines imposed in the magistrates’ courts. It is the government’s view that financial penalties, set at a level without the current maximums, are an effective way of deterring and punishing crime. One of the aims of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (the Act) is to remove elements of the law that fetter the courts’ ability to make a decision over sentencing. This increase is the first made since 1991 and is provided for in the Act.

When the changes come into play, they will apply across all business sectors and will affect a very wide range of legislation, including commercial, company, financial services, competition, property, health and safety, and environmental laws. Companies and their directors may have to reconsider their approach to any offences which up until now may have been treated as relatively minor because of the low fines involved.

Recent developments
Gavel by Salvatore VuonoThe Act received Royal Assent on 1 May 2012 and was primarily introduced to deal with the reform of civil litigation costs and funding. It allows for a certain degree of adjustment in relation to existing legislation. Under the sections pending commencement, the Secretary of State will also be granted various powers to:

  • Disapply the new provisions;
  • Create new caps;
  • Increase fixed fines; and
  • Increase fines currently defined with reference to the standard scale.

In accordance with these powers, two statutory instruments were published in draft form on 10 June 2014. These draft pieces of subordinate legislation and the relevant provisions of the Act are intended to come into force at the same time.

The draft Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Disapplication of Section 85(1), Fines Expressed as Proportions and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2014 disapplies the Act’s provision permitting an unlimited level of fine and provides alternative provisions for a specified list of legislation. The Regulation also states how penalties that are expressed as proportions of amounts of £5,000 or more will be treated under the new regime.

The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 and Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 are not excluded under this Regulation, so, as it stands currently, magistrates will have the power to impose unlimited fines once the Act comes into force.

The draft Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Amendment of Standard Scale of Fines for Summary Offences) Order 2014 will amend section 37(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 1982 to increase the maximum fines on levels 1 to 4 on the standard scale by 400 per cent.

Aims and impact
The maximum fines currently available to magistrates depend on the seriousness of the offence committed. In general, the penalty for offences committed under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 or the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 are currently up to £50,000, £20,000 or £5,000 in the magistrates’ court. In the Crown Court, fines can be unlimited. In relation to some of these offences, the magistrates’ court also has the power to impose a prison sentence of a maximum term of six months, or longer in the Crown Court.

In the paper released by the Ministry of Justice, Increasing the Magistrates’ Court fine limit – Equality Impact Assessment, it is noted that one per cent of all fines in the magistrates’ court, and around 60 per cent of all fines of £5,000 or over, are issued to organisations. It is suggested that the rule changes mean that organisations will be differentially affected relative to individuals. The new Act will permit magistrates to impose larger fines and to deal with more cases themselves, without incurring the time and monetary costs of committal to the Crown Court’.

Nabbaro will be contributing a speaker to the HABC National Conference at Old Trafford, Manchester in November on the subject of health and safety. For more information, click here.

HABC National Conference – Spotlight on Staples and Pendle Leisure Trust

With just weeks now until the HABC National Conference in Manchester on 13 November 2014, we asked Robin Clayton, UK Health and Safety Manager at Staples, and Karen Bracewell, Training Manager at Pendle Leisure Trust, to explain more about why both their organisations are getting involved.

Spotlight on Staples

Spotlight on Pendle Leisure Trust

HABC at the AELP Conference

HABC AELP LogoHABC made an appearance at the AELP National Conference 2014 earlier this summer, taking its place amongst some of the biggest names in the training sector.

Held on 2 and 3 June 2014 at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith, the conference offered organisations the opportunity to debate the government proposals to reform skills and employment programmes, as well as look at future apprenticeship developments and traineeships.

AELP-2014-00056Hosted by Cathy Newman, presenter of Channel 4 News, the event featured a range of speakers from the education and training sector and the world of politics, including the then Minister for Skills and Enterprise Mathew Hancock MP, Minister for Employment Esther McVey MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Education Select Committee Graham Stuart MP, and the Shadow Minister for Skills, Liam Byrne MP.

Through the event, staff based on the HABC stand spoke to hundreds of delegates who came to find out more about the work we do, the qualifications we offer and the support we provide.

HABC will be holding its own conference this November at Old Trafford, Manchester, where AELP Chief Executive Stewart Segal will be appearing as one of the key speakers at our Understanding the apprenticeship agenda with HABC seminar.


Last chance to book your place at the HABC National Conference 2014

National ConferenceIt’s less than three months now to the HABC National Conference on 13 November 2014 at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester.

And whilst places are rapidly filling up, we still have a few discounted tickets available – but for a limited time only!

With seven seminars on the day, top industry speakers and an expected 600 delegates, the HABC National Conference is promising to be one of the must-attend events of the year.

Covering apprenticeships, fire safety and health and safety, first aid, food safety, licensing, pool lifeguarding and security, you’ll hear from some of the top speakers in the world of training and business as they provide you with all the latest updates, tips and insights on the most important issues facing you and your organisation today.

Plus, a number of our seminars will also cover changes in the training landscape – from funding and legislation to apprenticeships and employer involvement – explaining the why and when of the changes, and where you fit into the bigger picture and can make the most of those changes.

Discounts and options still available include:

  • Paying by instalments;
  • Buy one, get one free; or
  • 30% single booking discount.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you, our staff have even put together a little video inviting you to come along!

So what are you waiting for?

To take full advantage of these last-minute discounts and talk to us more about the options available, just drop us a line at or call us on 0845 226 0350.

HABC Conference – The Video

It’s just three months now until the HABC National Conference at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester on 13 November 2014.

And to get you all (and ourselves) into the spirit of things, we created a staff video inviting you along!  So watch the vid, put some faces to names you’ve possibly only ever talked to on the phone, and find out why you should definitely come along and see us this autumn.

Press Release: Safety first with the HABC National Conference

Stadium Promo 2Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) will be putting safety first at its conference later this year with a line up including Marks & Spencer, Laing O’Rourke and the City of London Corporation.

Held at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester on 13 November 2014, the HABC National Conference will feature a seminar – sponsored by Staples and – on health and safety and fire safety, with insights and updates on training, law and compliance from some of the UK’s top experts and educators.

Confirmed speakers so far include:

• Tom Armstrong, Laing O’Rourke;
• Steve Bethell, Laing O’Rourke;
• Mark Lewis, Head of Trading Safely & Legally, Marks & Spencer;
• Dr Jim Marsden, Director, Ignis Associates Ltd;
• Lukas Rootman, Nabarro LLP;
• Oliver Sanandres, Corporate Health and Safety Manager, City of London;
• Martin Woodsworth, Head of External Quality Support, HABC; and
• Wendy Nixon, HABC Consultant.

Christian Sprenger, HABC Managing Director, said, ‘There are still many businesses that dismiss health and safety or fire safety as red tape, yet when done properly it contributes to the overall effectiveness and efficient running of a business and shows staff and clients alike that their welfare is being looked after.

Our seminar features experts and educators with a proven track record in getting businesses not just onside, but in turning them into the biggest advocates of good health and safety and fire safety practice’.

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

Press Release: Free conference for lifeguarding qualifications

Lifeguarding QualificationsOne of the UK’s top qualification bodies will be hosting a free pool lifeguarding qualifications seminar for sports and leisure professionals later this year as part of its national conference.

The Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) National Conference takes place at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester on 13 November 2014, and will feature a day-long seminar focusing on the HABC Level 2 Award in Pool Lifeguarding (QCF).

Since its launch in 2011, a number of organisations have switched to the qualification, including Lifespan UK, which provides training for Virgin Active, as well as Holgates, Sport Central Northumbria University and Aquafyn Training Ltd.

The qualification has also proven popular with leisure trusts across the country, including Carlisle Leisure Trust Ltd, Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, Jesmond Community Leisure, North Country Leisure and Pendle Leisure Trust.

Christian Sprenger, HABC Managing Director, said, ‘The free seminar will be an ideal opportunity for sports and leisure professionals to find out more about the qualification and us as an organisation, especially in terms of the support and materials we can offer, and the expert team we have. We’ll also be able to help any organisations not already offering the qualification but wanting to do so’.

Attending the seminar will allow pool lifeguard trainers and assessors to deliver the HABC Level 2 Award in Pool Lifeguarding (QCF), providing they meet all the nominated tutor and assessor requirements. Delegates will also receive complimentary copies of The Pool Lifeguard Handbook, A Question of Pool Lifeguarding and the First Aid Handbook.

The pool lifeguarding qualifications seminar – sponsored by sponsored Carlisle Leisure Ltd, Jesmond Community Leisure, North Country Leisure and Pendle Leisure Trust – is one of seven that make up the entire conference covering the apprenticeships, fire safety and health and safety, first aid, food safety, licensing and security sectors.