This Week's News 10.03.17

Next assessor course (TAQA) starts in May

Run in partnership with Waverley Training Services in Farnham, this course is for people who are, or will be, assessing learners for vocational qualifications and Functional Skills. For further details and how to book your place, please see TAQA information.

Guidance and rules for employers of apprentices from 1st May

For the very first time, the government has published new guidance and funding rules for employers of apprentices. Called the 'Apprenticeship Funding: Rules and Guidance for Employers' it applies to all new starts (whether frameworks or standards) from 1st May 2017. We strongly recommend that you are familiar with this guidance. For example, the guidance states that employers must check that the person has a genuine job and is eligible for an apprenticeship, spends 20 per cent of their time on off the job learning activities, is receiving the correct wage, has the correct apprenticeship agreement in place and can practise new skills in a real work environment. You can download a blank copy of the Apprenticeship Agreement template here.

Apprentice support service

We understand the importance of a healthy and productive workforce and a happy, healthy apprentice is a more productive one! Sadly, Kay Bolton will be leaving ITS at Easter so she will no longer be providing coaching support for apprentices. On a positive note, we are very pleased to announce that we are now partnered with Remploy to provide a new Apprentice Support Service so your apprentices have the support to overcome any difficulties they are experiencing and can remain a valuable asset to your business.

Photographic competition 2017 - Best of British

Photographic Competition 2017

Entries are now OPEN for this year's photographic competition! The closing date for competition entries is midday on Friday 30th June 2017 click here for details.

Advanced learner loans

We are approved to handle Advanced Learner Loans! If you are a UK resident, over 19, not an apprentice, and would prefer to use a loan to pay for the NVQ level 3 hairdressing and/or TAQA assessor award you can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan. Advanced Learner Loans are paid directly to us to pay for your learning. They are not means tested or subject to credit checks and anybody who meets the criteria will be able to apply for a loan regardless of their current employment status. If you are looking to get qualified but are finding it difficult to cover the costs of the training, an Advanced Learning Loan could be just the boost that you're looking for.

New wages rates from April

In 2017, the national minimum wage increases on 1 April not 1 October as it has done every year since its inception in 1999. This makes the rate rise coincide with that of the national living wage the minimum wage rate for people aged 25 and over which was introduced in 2016.

A poll of more than 1,400 workers found that 57 per cent did not know having money deducted from their wages to cover the costs of their uniform is unlawful if it takes their earnings under the national minimum or national living wage and 48 per cent did not know that tips cannot be used to top up pay to the legal minimum. From 1 April 2017, the national living wage increases 4.2% to £7.50 per hour and the national minimum wage for workers aged 21-24 increases 1.4% to £7.05. There are also increases for workers on the minimum wage aged 18-20 and 16-17; as well as an uplift in the rate for apprentices and the accommodation offset.

New national minimum rates of pay
£7.50 per hour - 25 years and over
£7.05 per hour - 21-24 years
£5.60 per hour - 18-20 years
£4.05 per hour - 16-17 years
£3.50 for apprentices under 19 or who are 19 or over in the first year of an apprenticeship

Example 1
Serena leaves school in June 2017 and starts on a three-month trial at a salon in July with the intention of starting an apprenticeship in October. Provided Serena is employed under an apprenticeship agreement rather than a contract of employment she can be paid the apprenticeship wage from the start. If she is employed under a contract of employment in July she must be paid the national minimum wage for her age (which is higher than the apprenticeship rate) and must have a new apprenticeship agreement when she starts her apprenticeship.

Example 2
Jaime completes his intermediate apprenticeship when he is 19 and progresses to an advanced apprenticeship. His employer is entitled to pay him the apprenticeship wage for the first 12 months because it is counted as a completely separate apprenticeship.

Hair professional standard

Download the standard

Hair professional assessment plan

Download the assessment plan

Any changes to functional skills postponed until 2019

The Education and Training Foundation has just published further information stating that any revision to functional skills will not now be introduced until 2019 a year's delay on the original plan. If this means a more considered approach and proper lead-time for providers to prepare for the new functional skills, great. What is fascinating is reading the three supporting reports following surveys and focus groups of employers, providers and learners. It is no exaggeration to say that the findings are incredibly positive about functional skills in their current format - it does raise the question of why we are considering changing them at all!

Sex education to be compulsory in all secondary schools

Pupils will be taught about safe and healthy relationships from the moment they start primary school, in a move expected to be widely welcomed by campaigners who have fought for issues like consent and sexting to be discussed with younger children. The government will amend its children and social work bill so all secondary schools, including academies, have to teach sex education from September 2019.

Young men and self harm

YoungMinds reports on a survey looking at the self harm behaviours of young men. The survey, commissioned by The Mix, Self-Harm UK and Young Minds and carried out by YouGov, finds that: 24% of 16-24-year-old men in the UK have intentionally hurt themselves; and 22% have considered self harm as a way of coping with a difficult situation or emotion. Source: Young Minds

Internet safety strategy

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that work has started on a new internet safety strategy for children and young people. Work will focus on four main priorities: how to help young people help themselves; helping parents face up the dangers and discuss them with children; the industry' responsibilities to society; and how technology can help provide solutions. Source:Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Preventing drug misuse

NICE has published a guideline aimed at preventing or delaying drug misuse by children, young people and adults who are most likely to start using drugs or who are already experimenting or using drugs occasionally. Recommendations include: skills training should be delivered to children and young people, as well as their carers or families; gyms, nightclubs and festivals should display posters and mount social media campaigns to highlight e risks of drug misuse.
Source: NICE
Further information: Drug misuse prevention: targeted interventions

Team ITS warmly welcomes those who started their Apprenticeships this week

Cherie Judd Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship Stone Hair, Poole
Jack Wells Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship Obsessive Hair, Basingstoke
Lee Stanford Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship Stone Hair, Poole


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