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Jigsaw Training news & blog

Training leader strengthens management team

5/7/2017

Lancashire training specialist Jigsaw Training has added five new programme managers to its team as it strengthens its resource to meet increasing demands.

The new members of the organisation, with its headquarters at Preston, will add their skills to help meet the needs presented by the newly introduced Apprenticeship Levy as well as other learning requirements from its client base.

The managers, spread across the UK, manage the curriculum, the training programmes and the delivery team as part of their role.

James Blackhurst, managing director of Jigsaw Training, said: “These appointments have all been made internally amongst our existing staff, and gives us the resource to meet our customer needs for now and the foreseeable future.

“As a registered provider for the new Levy arrangement, we also need to make sure we have the skills and resource in-house to provide the relevant level of training.”

The new Apprenticeship Levy – introduced in April – must be paid by employers in England with a payroll of more than £3m and is charged at a rate of 0.5% of their annual wage bill.

Levy-paying employers are able to choose their apprenticeship training provider from a register of companies. Jigsaw Training has been through a rigorous assessment process to make it on to the register, which shows the specialist provider meets apprenticeship quality expectations.

Jigsaw Training is a specialist training company for the facilities management sector providing the complete package from training needs analysis through to the design, administration, delivery, management and evaluation of all programmes.

Collaborate and consolidate

5/7/2017

The new skills minister Anne Milton has acted quickly to reassure the sector that she wants to make work what already exists rather than march on with other initiatives.

We welcome her approach to work collaboratively for the future of employers and apprentices rather than try and forge new ideas for the sake of it.

There is a pressing need to ensure that the processes and structures already in place are sound enough and make sense after a busy period of apprenticeship reform.

She has also clarified a couple of areas and confirmed that a new procurement process for non-levy apprenticeship contracts would be launched soon and the previous procurement cancelled.

We also welcome her separate guidance document published concerning the 20 per cent minimum off-the-job training time for apprentices.

The new minister seems to grasp the need for consolidation with clear processes in the training and skills sector to allow the initiative on apprentices in particular to start working fully.

With skills gaps now affecting many sectors, and with Brexit bringing the prospect of tighter immigration controls, there are pressing needs to address these skills shortages quickly and clearly.

We would like to see levels of quality being maintained, while making opportunities available in larger numbers, and this is a more a case of let’s do fewer things well in this phase of change rather than lots of changes for the sake of change.

Apprenticeships: let’s be bold

23/5/2017

The initiative by the government to put apprenticeships well and truly on the map seems to have been well timed whether by design or not.

The new Apprenticeship Levy – introduced in April – must be paid by employers in England with a payroll of more than £3m and is charged at a rate of 0.5% of their annual wage bill.

Many employers have been quick to criticise the scheme as another burden coming on the back of minimum wage increases and auto-enrolment pension schemes.

But with skills gaps now affecting many sectors, and with Brexit bringing the prospect of tighter immigration controls, we need to address the skills shortages through whatever means whichever way this is achieved.

Indeed, the apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon says the government is giving employers more power to design schemes to meet their own specific needs.

Alongside the levy, the new Institute for Apprenticeships is to act as a watchdog that approves apprenticeship standards and assessments as the new drive aims to create three million new apprenticeships by the year 2020.

The options for young people to take another route other than university – and the costs that go with it – are at least opening with a diverse menu of apprenticeship types and levels. The new initiative can also help those already in employment with new opportunities.

We at Jigsaw Training fully support the efforts to increase the options for skilling and training young people – as well as older people – and we seek to ensure the quality of training is upheld at the same time as making it available to increasing numbers.

Getting this phase of the push on apprenticeships right is crucial and it relies on the employers taking action now to register and providers being prepared as we all enter this brave new era.

ENDS.

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