By Jane Hickie | Managing Director | AELP :
Welcome to this week’s Countdown!
Even under normal circumstances, July and August are a strange time for our sector, with the holidays starting just as many young people begin to think about their first steps in post-compulsory training and employment opportunities. This year however, the sector is not only facing up to this happening just when the economy has almost completely stalled – the shocking but unsurprising statistics about apprenticeship starts in May is evidence of that – but we are gearing up for the new apprenticeship incentives from 1st August designed to try and do something about it; the Kickstarter scheme, expansion of Traineeships, and the prospect of other significant procurement exercises are all hoving into view. Certainly over this summer, almost everyone will be spending their work time trying to find ways to mitigate the impact of lockdown just gone, and trying to prepare for a “new normal” – whatever that may look like – in the weeks and months ahead.
AELP will of course be here to support all of you over that period – the Board and the Senior Management Team will be out there as much as ever, making sure that government and its agencies don’t lose sight of the importance of the sector and the vital contribution that you will be making to revive the economy. With that in mind, our Business Recovery Conference planned for 9th and 10th of September could not be coming at a better time as our agenda planning is engaging with some very senior officials and is focused on what our sector knows is important and wants to hear about as we head into the crucial autumn period of 2020. If you haven’t booked your place yet – and remember you can get up to 10 of your staff signed in for each booking you make – then you really should as this could be a pivotal event for our sector in recovering from all that we’ve just been through. Make sure you have a look at the article a little further down and we look forward to seeing you online!
It was good to see so many members tune in to last week’s member exclusive session with the ESFA, delivered by Jonathan Childs, talking about the Government’s Economic Statement and the new Plan for Jobs. This was the first in a series of webinars we are running with the ESFA to help keep members informed and the next webinar is on the 14th August themed on Traineeships, which members have told us is an area they want to find out more on and will be looking to get involved in moving into the Autumn.
Elsewhere it has been a relatively quiet week policy-wise; we have cleared up some confusion regarding what was being paid for under the 16-19 Tuition Fund, and untangled some points about redundant apprentices – details of both of these are in the Policy section. We also have a couple of surveys out at the moment that are looking at various aspects of how you all coped with lockdown and what your support needs are going forward – a few minutes of your time to fill in these would be extremely valuable and much appreciated, the details of which are in the Research section below.
On a personal note, Mark has had his last day at work at AELP. I am sure I speak for all of you in extending our thanks for the tremendous work that he has put in during his tenure. Although these are challenging times, I am really excited about our prospects going forward. I have been meeting key people and organisations to build even further on the fantastic work AELP has been doing over the last few years. I even managed some (socially distanced) real-life meetings which felt like a novelty! Thanks for all the good wishes I’ve received, I’m very grateful.