This Week's News 09.03.18

Reminder - apprentice minimum wage increase from April 2018

The national minimum wage for apprentices will rise next month, from £3.50 to £3.70 an hour. This is a 5.7% increase, above UK inflation. This rate applies to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. Apprentices must be paid at least the national minimum wage rate if they're an apprentice aged 19 or over and have completed their first year.

City & Guilds Announces New Talent Portal for Apprenticeship Vacancies

City & Guilds has unveiled their new TalentPortal to assist with filling your apprenticeship vacancies. TalentPortal is an on-line recruiting tool that lets you search candidates based on the sector they want to work in, their location and experience. The new system also allows for posting your vacancies for potential candidates to view.

It is a pay-as-you-go platform which requires the purchase of "credits" to advertise: one credit allows for your vacancy to be posted and two credits will allow you to advertise and then proactively search for candidates. The standard price for two credits is £95, but there is an introductory offer of two credits for £45 until 31 March 2018. Please see the fact sheet for more information or contact moc/sdliugdnaytic//selaslatigid.

ITS will continue to promote your apprenticeship vacancies on Recruit an Apprentice at no charge, but appreciate that you may want to self-fund this new platform from City & Guilds.

When is it too cold to work?

If you are wondering whether it is too cold to work, temperatures in indoor workplaces are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Read more about this here. It is also worth visiting our Frequently Asked Questions on workplace temperature. You can also read HSE's statement on severe weather causing frozen pipes in workplaces

Make sure you submit a RIDDOR report for a workplace accident

RIDDOR puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences.

Get clarification of what incidents require a RIDDOR report here.

If you need to find out how to make a RIDDOR report for a workplace accident visit here.

GCSE new grading scale: factsheets

Updated information about the new GCSE grades for parents, employers and further and higher education providers.
GCSE new grading scale factsheets

Supporting your apprenticeship recruitment

To help you reach the widest pool of candidates recruit an apprentice is a free portal to advertise apprenticeships opportunities. This connects employers with potential apprentices seeking vacancies through find an apprenticeship. This is the primary platform that young people and adults are signposted to in order to find apprenticeships. We work with you to add your apprenticeship vacancies to recruit an apprentice. Please contact us for further information info@its-ltd.net or call 02392 591666.

Recruiting young people - are expectations realistic?

Unemployment rates for young people remain statistically worse than they do for any other age group or demographic while at the same time salons are struggling to hire and engage young people.

Young people say they face three main barriers:

  1. Not knowing what careers are available to them
  2. Unable to find work experience although many employers require it
  3. Education does not appear to be providing them with the skills they need to access employment.

Question your expectations

Think about what you really need. Adverts for apprenticeship roles often require a host of skills and experience which young people either struggle to understand or have only limited experience of. If you require a motivated young person, think about how you are expecting to see this through your application process. How many skills are you looking for and how many are vital? How scary have you made the interview process? It's also worth remembering that some young people will automatically deselect themselves if they don't believe they meet ALL of the criteria you set out.

Help is available

To save you time and expense, we have created a range of Word templates that can now be downloaded from our website and altered to suit your needs. They include a job description for an apprentice, a trial day feedback form, an interview checklist and lots more! See what's available here.

Ofqual opens apprenticeship assessment consultation

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation is looking for views on end-point assessments. It is consulting on the conditions, guidance and requirements for the apprenticeship end-point assessments it regulates.

DfE 'plain sloppy' at policing apprenticeship minimum wage adverts

Adverts on the government's apprenticeship search site are not being effectively policed to ensure they advertise legal wages - and the shadow skills minister has accused it of being "plain sloppy". The apprenticeship national minimum wage is rising from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour in April, but it has been discovered that this detail is often overlooked on the DfE's Find An Apprenticeship site. There are many vacancies with start dates after April 1 which are illegally offering the old minimum rate - and beauty therapy apprenticeships at various levels are particularly culpable. Of 17 vacancies with April start dates, 10 were offering to pay the old minimum wage, a shocking 58 per cent rate of non-compliance. Dr Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union, is appalled that history appears to be repeating itself, after similar errors have appeared in adverts before previous minimum-wage rises. "It's disgraceful that the government is allowing apprenticeships with wages under the national minimum to be advertised on its own website, particularly when it has been alerted to the fact in previous years," she said. "It is time that the government got its act together to ensure that it advertises apprenticeship programmes at the legal rate of pay."

That's special treatment all right: Accounts committee lays into Learndirect

Learndirect was indeed given special treatment because the government considered it too big to fail, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has concluded in its final report on the saga. The scandal engulfing the nation's biggest provider has engrossed the sector for nearly a year, and the PAC's round-up asserts that it still "holds the whip-hand" over Whitehall and demanded more definitive action. The PAC's chair Meg Hillier said that there had been a "shocking message" to taxpayers and learners when the government "propped up" a "failing education provider" instead of stopping its funding. She had put the wheels in motion for an investigation back in September when she referred the case to the National Audit Office (NAO). At this point, Learndirect had been given an 'inadequate' rating by Ofsted in a report published in August, following a long legal battle to suppress it, including an injunction. The Department for Education then allowed it to retain its contracts for almost a year - much more than the usual three-month termination period - and Learndirect is expecting to receive over £105 million in 2017/18. The government and Learndirect have attempted to defend themselves ever since, denying it received "special treatment and claiming it acted in the best interests of the tens of thousands of learners involved. Seven months on and after the NAO's report on the debacle, Ms Hillier has laid waste to this flimsy defence insisting that the provider leveraged its sizeable contracts across Whitehall to stay afloat.

She believes Learndirect's failure should act as a wake-up call for the government to get agrip on individual contractors that grow so large they become too big to fail. "In the case of Learndirect, thousands of learners have been let down amid poor oversight by the government and at significant public expense," Ms Hillier said. "There has been disruptive legal action and, finally, a scathing Ofsted report. Yet, still Learndirect appears to hold the whip-hand." Having awarded the provider several vital contracts for a variety of public services, including with the Home Office, the PAC found the government had been restricted in its ability to take 'decisive action' when the company's apprenticeships provision began to fail.

NUS apprentice extra card

Apprentices are able to make many of the same savings as full-time students through a discount card from the National Union of Students (NUS). The NUS Extra card gives saving on over 140 brands for £11 per year. Employers can now also bulk-buy cards at a discounted rate to provide as a free benefit to their apprentices. For more information contact: ku.gro/sun//dracecitnerppa.

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