This Week's News 14.07.17

Recruiting college leavers with a level 2 Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ)

When considering taking on a college leaver as an Advanced Apprentice, it's important that you test the standard of their hairdressing skills. You need to satisfy yourself (and ITS) that they are capable of level 3 work when their experience of salon life might be quite limited. When we receive an application form from a college leaver to be an advanced apprentice, we will request to see the results of the trade test. It is up to you to decide what the test will be but a straight forward cut and finish should provide the evidence to make a judgment. To keep things simple, we suggest you keep a simple record of the trade test that notes the details of the date, the service(s) covered, the outcome (i.e. is s/he ready to be an Advanced Apprentice?) and the name of the person making the final decision.

Online Payments

We've been working hard behind the scenes to update our accounting software and add the option for online payments. With the funding changes introduced on the 1st of May and more payments changing hands, partner salons contributing to training and ITS passing on incentive payments, we wanted to make the process easy, quick and secure so we've teamed up with Go Cardless. Invoices for training costs and remittances for incentive payments will be sent to you electronically so please makes sure we have the correct email and that emails from ITS do not go into your spam. We will be asking all employers for their bank account details so that the £1,000 government incentive payment for 16-18 year olds can be paid directly to you. If you receive an email requesting information that you are not happy to send electronically please call the office and give us the information over the phone.

Travel costs for Apprentices to be covered?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Transport, Jesse Norman MP, has revealed that options are being explored with regard to meeting travel costs for apprentices as the government "does not want the costs of travel to deter young people". The written answer, given in response to Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, can be found on this link.

Most eligible employers not yet on levy system

Less than half of the employers eligible to register on the government's apprenticeship system had done so by the end of May this year, new government statistics suggest. A total of 8,200 accounts were registered by May 31, according to figures published for the first time by the Department for Education on 6th July - but figures published by the DfE last August estimated that 19,150 companies, which represent just 1.3 per cent of all employers, would be eligible to pay the apprenticeship levy. This suggests as many as 11,000 large employers have yet to sign up with the online service that enables them to spend their levy funds. Read more

Is there a maximum workplace temperature beyond which employees cannot be expected to work?

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3004) state that, during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings should be reasonable. However, the Regulations do not provide a maximum workplace temperature. The Health and Safety Executive previously defined an acceptable zone of thermal comfort for most people in the UK as lying "roughly between 13C (56F) and 30C (86F), with acceptable temperatures for more strenuous work activities concentrated towards the bottom end of the range, and for more sedentary activities towards the higher end". What is reasonable will depend on the nature of the workplace and the activities undertaken.

Workplace smoking ban 10 years on: common employer queries

On 1st July 2007, England introduced a ban on smoking in enclosed public places, including most workplaces. Ten years on, what are the most common queries from employers on smoking at work?

  • Do I have to provide an outside smoking area on our premises for staff who smoke?
    There is no legal requirement for you to provide smoking shelters, or any other outside smoking area where employees can smoke. If you do choose to provide a smoking shelter, to comply with smoke-free legislation, less than 50% of the total wall area must be enclosed. Planning permission may be required from your local council, and you should ensure that the shelter is accessible to disabled workers.
  • Can I prevent homeworkers from smoking at home?
    While you cannot stop employees from smoking in their own homes, you could take steps to discourage them from smoking during working hours, for example as part of a staff wellbeing initiative. However, the rules are different where homes are being used as a place of work by more than one person, or visited by members of the public in the course of work. In those circumstances, you are within your rights to prevent homeworkers from smoking during working hours.
  • I have a few members of staff who take long breaks outside to smoke. Can I prevent them from doing so?
    Employees who smoke have no special status in terms of rest breaks. Working time legislation simply requires that adult workers whose daily working time is more than six hours have an uninterrupted rest break of at least 20 minutes. Beyond this, it is up to you to decide the exact time and length of breaks. You should clamp down on smokers who bend the rules, for example by taking lengthy smoking breaks. This could include warnings for staff who take extended breaks without permission. A failure to do so could lead to resentment among your non-smoking workforce.
  • Can I take disciplinary action against an employee who is caught smoking on our premises?
    As long as smoking rules are made clear to employees, there is nothing to stop you from taking disciplinary action against an employee who is caught smoking on your premises. The rules could be made clear to employees via no smoking signs and as an example of misconduct in your disciplinary procedure. In some cases, a warning may be appropriate. For example, an employee caught smoking in the toilets could be given a warning at first. However, summary dismissal may be justified if there is a serious safety breach. For example, a petrol station worker who smokes near a petrol pump is clearly committing gross misconduct.
  • I have an employee who is trying to quit smoking, and has requested permission to use an e-cigarette in the staff room when it's raining. Should I agree to the request?
    Strictly speaking, smoke-free legislation does not apply to e-cigarettes. There are pros and cons of allowing e-cigarettes at work and it is up to individual employers to set their own rules on e-cigarette use at work. Some employees use e-cigarettes, or 'vape', as a step towards stopping smoking, and employers may wish to support employees by allowing e-cigarette use. Use of e-cigarettes may be feasible in workplaces where staff do not work near others, and there are no discernible safety risks. However, the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown. In many workplaces, such as open-plan offices, e-cigarettes will be an irritant to other workers.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Annual Report 2016/17

FGM, female circumcision, cutting or sunna - is when a female's external genitals are cut away. This is abuse, and it is illegal in the UK. FGM can be extremely painful and dangerous.

  • Between April 2016 and March 2017 there were 9,179 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken.
  • 87% of these attendances were in midwifery or obstetrics services, where this was reported.
  • Data for the treatment area was recorded for 6 in every 10 attendances.
  • The average age of the patient was 31 years.
  • 95% of the women and girls first recorded in the data in 2016/17 had undergone FGM before they were 18 years old.
  • This information was recorded for 3 in 10 women and girls.

FGM can cause:

  • really bad pain
  • shock
  • bleeding
  • infections such as tetanus, HIV and hepatitis B and C
  • organ damage.

Girls and young people may be told that:

  • FGM will increase fertility
  • it's just 'what's done'
  • it's something your parents have had, so you should too
  • FGM is the only way to get a husband
  • Not having it would bring shame to the family

There is no religious or medical reason for FGM. Cultural reasons are sometimes given but FGM is abuse and a criminal offence. Children are not always told that it's a criminal offence, but they have the right to be safe and get help.

What is the NSPCC FGM helpline?

Childline is part of the NSPCC. And we work together to help young people. NSPCC wants to make sure you get support if you or someone you know is worried about FGM so they've got a helpline just for these kinds of worries. You can contact the NSPCC helpline by emailing ku/gro/ccpsn//plehmgf or calling free on 0800 028 3550 If you're abroad you can call +44 800 028 3550 but check call charges first.

Team ITS warmly welcomes these learners who started their Apprenticeships this week

Hayley Young Level 2 Hair Professional Apprenticeship Philip Hussey, Guildford
Shannon Blows Level 2 Hair Professional Apprenticeship Toni & Guy, Woking

Congratulations to the following learner who completed her Apprenticeship this week

Courtney Ford Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship Cabello, Frimley


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