Agenda and draft minutes

Select Committee - Apprenticeships - Wednesday, 23rd January, 2013 1.00 pm

Venue: Swale 2, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Theresa Grayell  01622 694277

Note No. Item

13:00 - 13:45 pm


Interview with Danielle Sparkes, Senior Technical Clerk, and Mary Leadsham, Apprentice Technical Clerk, Building Control, Dover District Council pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Additional documents:


Please introduce yourselves and tell us how you came to be where you are.

(DS)  I am currently a Senior Technical Clerk in Building Control at Dover District Council.  I started work at Canterbury City Council in a two-year Apprenticeship and was promoted after one year. In this Apprenticeship I achieved an NVQ Level 3 qualification.  I found out about the Apprenticeship from the careers advisor at school.  I worked for Canterbury City Council for six years and then moved to Dover District Council.   I mentor Mary, and the other Apprentices at Dover have their own mentors.   While I was working at Canterbury I did a degree in Business Admin, which took me three years.  The City Council funded this. 

(ML)  I was in the sixth form at a Boys’ Grammar School (GCSEs were undertaken at a Girls’ Grammar) and was starting to follow the academic route on the way to university.  I did one year of A Levels and then left to do work experience, initially with horses, which is what I thought I wanted to do at that time. I worked with horses for two years and then wanted to change to do office-based work. I looked at the job centre for information and found the Apprenticeship in Building Control.  As I had never worked in an office I knew I would need to build up suitable skills and qualifications, and this was an ideal opportunity to do that.  I have been in my Apprenticeship for 10 months, and have almost completed a Level 3 NVQ.  I have looked around at other work opportunities and getting into other things certainly seems easier now I have this qualification. I have the NVQ and BTEC in Business Admin.  I have done this in less than one year but that has been long enough for me to do it without feeling hurried.


Does the time an Apprentice takes to complete an NVQ vary?

(DS) It depends on how much time they can spend at work on gathering the evidence they need to build their NVQ portfolio.


Did you have a choice of which college you went to, to do your training, and how did you choose?

(DS)  I was at Canterbury City Council in my Apprenticeship and they chose the college for me, based on the course I wanted to do.  There were other colleges I could have gone to but they chose the nearest one that had a good profile for that course.  Dover District Council draws applicants for Apprenticeships from their Partner College – K College. The recruitment of Apprentices is college-led but the interview and selection process is employer-led.


Were you pleased with the quality of the college?

(DS)  Yes, I had good support there.  It’s important to have a good quality partner college and college course.


How would you identify or define quality?

(DS)  By the support that I had, and by the support I can see that Mary has had.


When you were recruited as an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

14:30 - 15:15 pm


Interview with Anne McNulty, Executive Director, Education Business Partnership (EBP) Kent pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Additional documents:


Please introduce yourself and EBP.

EBP Kent is a company limited by guarantee and also a registered charity. It has been in practice for 22 years.


Can you tell us about Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG)?

IAG is a compulsory part of the offer for KS4 students (school years 10 to 13).  There is much work going on in the county.  It is not true, as some people believe, that nothing is available now that Connexions has ceased to operate.  Schools are very creative and resourceful in developing programmes to deliver IAG and create a vision for their students.


This morning, EBP was in a school in Westgate, at which the whole day was given over to IAG.  Representatives from 100 employers were in attendance, and by the end of the day, every student will have attended 4 workshops, covering all sectors, and spoken to 14 different employers.  The whole school staff is involved, which sends the message to students that their progression is very important and valued by the school. During the day, every Year 11 student (180) had a one-to-one interview with an employer to help them understand what an employer expects. We will give them whatever range of information they require. EBP’s work has not been damaged by the loss of blanket coverage; what is important is a detailed knowledge of Labour Market Information (LMI).  LMI brings many good opportunities but it can be a barricade to overcome, and IAG is the means by which this barricade can be overcome.


EBP has full contracts to deliver IAG in eight Kent schools.  One member of EBP’s staff can speak Makaton, so we are able to include the Royal School for the Deaf as one of our customers. We find that parents often have out-of-date information, but some interviews are done with parents present too.  From September, there will be some more IAG delivered directly from employers, which will further complement the work being done currently by schools, the EBP and employers. Delivery of good quality IAG needs visionary schools and committed employers and support of professional staff.


One employer has a £2m bid with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to do IAG work, which is very exciting.


LMI is a blueprint of IAG.  LMI should not be a barricade to IAG but it is, in certain income sectors.


LMI indicates that the primary employers for East Kent and West Kent are different, ie in Thanet, a primary employer is the health and social care sector, while in West Kent it is an executive office job in London.  We need to open the doors to enable aspiration, not raise aspiration.


The Rotary Club where I am a member does mock interviews with students at schools in Thanet.  We see a lack of confidence and self-esteem in young people, which seems to be a failure of the education system.  This is worrying.  I think it is difficult to match young people with jobs via Apprenticeships.

Schools  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.