This Week's News 28.04.17

Would you like to be an Independent Apprenticeship Examiner?

If you are interested in becoming an Independent Apprenticeship Examiner, check that you meet the criteria (see page 5 of the hair professional assessment plan) and email ofni/fhn//seiriuqne with information about your skills and experience together with your contact details. These will be passed on to the Awarding Organisations which are approved for the qualification.

The minimum wage has gone up - but are apprentices receiving it?

The minimum wage for apprentices changed on 1st April, rising from £3.40 per hour to £3.50 per hour which is probably very welcome for 16-18-year-old apprentices. We set ourselves a challenge: could we find 15 job adverts on the government's apprenticeships portal advertising the wrong rate in 15 minutes? If we could, we reckoned that might constitute a problem. In the end, a 15-minute scan on 12th April uncovered 11 separate apprenticeship adverts featuring illegal wages - not total endemic, but not statistically insignificant either. According to the Low Pay Commission's report: "The 2016 survey shows that the vast majority (83 per cent) of apprentices, where an assessment can be made, are paid at or above the appropriate NMW rate" - suggesting that 17 per cent were not. This is up from the 14 per cent found during the 2014 survey, which was based on telephone interviews with 9,367 apprentices. In 2012, the Apprenticeship Pay Survey, which takes place every two years, found that 29 per cent of the 5,635 apprentices it interviewed were underpaid.

GCSE grades are changing

The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) was introduced to replace O levels in 1988. Other than the addition of the grade A* in 1994, and the frequent claims of "dumbing-down", little has changed. GCSEs are to be revised this summer with the first cohort of students to have been examined according to a new 9-to-1 grading structure. Three subjects will be graded 9 to 1 when students receive their GCSE results, while the others keep grades A* to G. GCSEs in England are being reformed and will be graded with a new scale from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest. Where currently there are four grades (A* to C) above the threshold for having to retake a GCSE, there will be six grades (9 to 4). And where there are currently four grades below the threshold (D to G), there will now be only three (3 to 1). Ungraded GCSEs will continue to be denoted with a U. English language, English literature and mathematics will be the first GCSEs to be graded from 9 to 1. Students with such grades will receive them on 24 August 2017. English language will include an assessment of speaking skills that will not contribute towards a student's 9 to 1 grade. Spoken language performance will be reported as a separate result, at the level of either "pass", "merit", "distinction" or "not classified". Another 20 subjects will adopt 9 to 1 grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019.

Handy 2-sided summary about apprenticeships

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Handy 2-sided summary about apprenticeships for employers

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Handy 2-sided summary about apprenticeships for parents

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Hair professional standard

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Hair professional assessment plan

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English and maths: double-whammy!

We've all heard the expression "use it or lose it" and this applies equally to our English and maths skills as it does to what we do with our hands as stylists. The next time one of your apprentices logs on to bksb to complete some English/maths tasks, why not suggest you sit beside them for 5-10 minutes to see what they are working on? The double-whammy is that 1) showing interest in what your apprentice is doing increases their motivation and 2) it just might help refresh what you learnt all those years ago at school!

NEW - apprentice support service

We understand the importance of a healthy and productive workforce and a happy, healthy apprentice is a more productive one! Kay Bolton who provided coaching support left ITS at Easter but we are very pleased 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.

General election 2017: five things to know about politics in the workplace

1. Employers can stop political campaigning in the workplace
Employers are quite entitled to prevent staff from political campaigning while at work, for fear of the disruption, or upset to colleagues or clients, this could cause.

2. Outside work, employees should generally be free to express political views
Outside working hours, employers are much more limited in the control that they can exert over an employee's political activities.

3. Employers can prevent political symbols being displayed at work
Generally, employers can enforce appropriate standards of dress in the workplace, including prohibiting items displaying support for a political party. Guidelines on this could be set out in a dress code policy, or a policy on political activities in the workplace.

4. Beware of the risk of politically motivated harassment
Now more than ever, employers need to be alert to members of staff harassing colleagues via political beliefs. Brexit has led to the increased risk of harassment against some nationalities, particularly Eastern European workers.

5. Employers can have rules on political activities in the workplace
Employers that are concerned about these issues in the run-up to 8 June can have in place a policy on political activity in the workplace.

The policy could ban:

  • political campaigning in the course of employment;
  • using the organisation's resources to assist with political activity;
  • expressing political views to customers or suppliers;
  • attempting to coerce others into holding any particular political opinion;
  • displaying political symbols;
  • implying that the organisation supports a particular political group or cause; and
  • acting against colleagues in a way that could amount to harassment or bullying, for example mocking a colleague's political opinions.

The policy should also deal with political activities outside work.

Electrician fined after apprentice left with life changing injuries

A Birmingham electrician has been ordered to carry out unpaid work in the community after his trainee fell three and a half metres through a plasterboard ceiling. HSE Inspector Gareth Langston said: "It's important that employers put the safety of their workers, especially young inexperienced apprentices, at the forefront of their plans and consider precautions when working at height. This incident could have been prevented if there was proper planning in place using boards above or scaffolding below."

Events Calendar

Partner salon network meeting
Date: Monday 8th May
Time 6.00-8.30 pm (registration and refreshments from 5.30 pm)
Venue: School of Management Building, University of Surrey, Stag Hill Campus, Guildford GU2 7XH
Further details: please speak with your ITS Trainer/Assessor or call us on 02392 591666

Photographic competition 2017 'Best of British'
Entry deadline: midday on Friday 30th June
Judging: Thursday 6th July
More details here (you will need to log in to gain access)

British hairdressing awards 2017
Entry deadline: Friday 23rd June
Awards ceremony: Monday 27th November
Download entry form

British hairdressing business awards 2017
Entry deadline: Friday 16th June
Awards ceremony: Monday 11th September
Download entry form

Salon International hair competitions 2017
Event dates: 15th to 17th October
Competitions: Barber of the Year, Rising Star, Bridal Hairdresser of the Year and Extensions Specialist of the Year
Further details

Team ITS warmly welcomes the following learners who started their Apprenticeships this week

Amy Luff - Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship - Emotive Hair, Reigate
Jade Fulton - Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship - Toni & Guy, Woking
Jessica Dixon - Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship - Macco Hair, West Byfleet
Jodie Forster - Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship - Leo Bancroft, Weybridge
Lauren Farrow - Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship - Toni & Guy, Woking

Congratulations to the following learner who completed her Apprenticeship this week

Maia McNabb - Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship - Dare Hairdressing, Reigate


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