Building consensus round skills and employment policies that work

My first conclusion from editing the report of the review meeting for phase 1 of the Conservative Political Forum Skills and Employment National Discussion Group was the importance of “leaking” the findings to begin the process of building cross-party support for the actions that matter most. The second was the importance of identifying how employers engage with programmes and the problems they face in doing so. Only then can we begin to make sense of the conflicting evidence as to what works, when and where and the pre-conditions for success. My third and fourth conclusions were that time is not on our side and there are unlikely to be many one-size-fits-all “answers”, only programmes of action to remove obstacles to freedom of choice and accessibility.

Below is my “leak” of the report. The main difference to the original is that I have removed the names of the participants, most of whom would  prefer to work on a non-partisan basis.

But successful implementation also requires that ministers instruct their officials to give priority to actions that involve co-operation across departmental boundaries and to listen to employers and respond to their needs, as opposed to telling them to do what the “experts” advise. That requires the use of party political channels to overcome natural Civil Service preference for policies which can be neatly compartmentalised within  departmental boundaries. Hence the importance of the approach taken by the CPF NDG and the need for other parties to look at similar approaches.

The summary of key points begins:

The successful implementation of innovative policies dependent on cross-departmental co-operation requires both ministerial and cross-party support to secure adoption, priority and continuity over changes of minister and governments as well as officials. The group has therefore devolved work to non-partisan groups. These are working  to deliver results and/or make policy recommendations and stage debate as part of Phase 2, starting on May 18th.

The other key points are:

  • Helping employers decide what to use/support to meet their needs/objectives: (section 1 below)

Founders4Schools has organised surveys into Ways that employers engage with careers education and  Barriers to engaging with careers education using the same terminology as the Careers and Enterprise Company to enable results to be collated with other sources and analysed by sector, size and geography. Please help distribute to enable response and first analysis by end April.

Linking Corporates to Communities and Welfare to Work to Career Pathways: (section 1 below, plus appendices at end) Positive Transformation Group is looking for employers to pilot processes to link welfare to work programmes to career pathways, using levy transfer and social values legislation along and across sector supply chains in, for example, digital infrastructure construction.

  • Levelling up “Right to Work” in the UK and/or “practice” in a regulated industry: (section 2 below)

The Better Hiring Institute is working with Home Office to establish robust on-line processes to “prove” right to work in the UK by the new deadline of September 30th . Those currently proposed cannot be used by the 20% of UK residents without a current passport and need revision.

  • Levelling Up on-line access: plans for “A National Connectivity Network” and improved guidance: (section 3 below)

UK broadband speeds are in the bottom third of OECD countries as rollout and take-up fall behind. The reasons include the failure to include economic regeneration and the needs of business, commerce, education, industry, land and property owners in policy and regulatory debate. Hence Country Land and Business plans to help create an inclusive “National Connectivity Network”.

  • The Role of Universities: Section 4 below)

Many universities are reviewing their futures in the face of financial pressure and conflicting expectations from government, staff, students, business and local communities. The intention is to help stage constructive debate, including at the party conferences, on the implications of a return to freedom of action, within what constraints:

  • Using Cyber as a cross cutting skill to pilot structural change. Dependent on support (Section 5 below)
  • IR35 has been blamed for exacerbating skills shortages from digital experts to HGV drivers by causing those with skills in short supply to retire early or move off-shore. It has also been said to have increased contractor costs and reduced choice without raising more tax revenue. A cross-party workshop on to look at the reality and possible ways forward is being arranged: (Section 6)
  • Rebuilding UK Educational Competitiveness: (Section 7)

There is growing debate between those who wish to revert to traditional methods and/or a “reformed” national curriculum as lockdown fits and those who see the opportunity for “a great leap forward” and “freedom of choice” as in other parts of the world. The BCS CAS portal offers a means to support balanced discussion involving educators, suppliers of content/services and employers.

Topics for Possible Policy Events, Studies and Papers as Part of Phase 2: (Section 8)

On May 18th we have scheduled a meeting to select two or three topics for studies to present to present to Minister by end June and possible discussion at the Party Conference.

  1. Processes to help employers decide what to use/support to meet their needs/objectives

A discussion group with employers on 31st March focussed on two questions:

  1. What types of career education engagement do you support?
  2. What are the barriers to you engaging with career education engagement?

before looking further at the use of available funding to further support and increase career education engagement. The aim was to confirm which elements of the workstream should be taken forward, and by whom and to provide narrative for 2 surveys:

Ways that employers engage with careers education

Barriers to engaging with careers education.

These build on work by the Careers & Enterprise Company and Gatsby and will be distributed by participants in the workstream and also driven through F4S channels of employer engagement. PTG has agreed to send these to their contacts. So too will the sector groups of the Better Hiring Institute, Participants are asked to help distribute the surveys to their contacts, hopefully including via trade associations like Tech UK and UK Finance, LEPs and other employer groups, including the FSB, to reach a full range of employers, large and small across the UK.

The following copy has been agreed to help promote the surveys:

As part of the Cross Party Forum discussion on careers education we seek to better understand the barriers faced by business and industry in engaging with career education, as well as examples of the career engagement activities that are taking place.  

To this end we have designed 2 surveys for employers to participate in to help us gather insights into the subject. To ensure alignment between education and industry we have used the same terminology as the Careers and Enterprise Company to facilitate data sharing and make collation easier.

The findings from the surveys will shape understanding of the issue and allow us to recommend initiatives,  breaking down these barriers and identify improved ways to communicate engagement opportunities thereby continuing to improve the life chances of young people. 

 We will be sharing our findings via newsletters and blogs and will make them accessible upon request so that you can reference them where appropriate.  

 We seek input from a wide range of business & industry, of all sectors and sizes to gain a comprehensive overview.  

 We would be grateful if you could complete the survey and / or forward to your professional networks and ask them to do the same.

PTG supports employers to access the full array of funding available for skills, training, early careers, employability, returning to work and recruitment – matching talent recruitment, retention & development requirements with available funding to minimise the friction in creating equal access to opportunity and representation for all society. It can help create prototypes with sustained impact for employers addressing skills constraints and other talent challenges, including pathways to sustainable employment & careers for the nation’s youth, those seeking to re-train and others returning to work. See first Appendix for the PTG Academy Overview

PRG also has processes to enabling larger employers to endow their charity / not-for-profit partners and strengthen their pandemic-affected SME supply chains through managed gifting of unused Apprenticeship Levy. Working with a range of community-based & focused organisations (including local authorities & housing associations) to offer access to structured learner journeys that incorporate sector-related & employer-specific masterclasses, mentoring from employer staff & subject matter experts and clinically-backed self-service wellbeing. See second Appendix for the Levy Gifting Service Overview.

PTG are in discussion with City Fibre on how to support the uptake of apprenticeships within their supply chain via collective cohorts. The aim is to prototype with a cohort of Construction & Infrastructure SMEs each with 2 – 3 learners on the same programme.  The intention is to also discuss the potential for CityFibre carriers & national partners (such as Vodafone, TalkTalk Business and Daisy) to gift unused levy to support skills development & talent retention within the CityFibre supply chain of SMEs to support the accelerated build-out their full fibre network. PTG are also in discussion with HS2 and Central London Forward to create a women-focused employability programme for the HS2 London Supply Chain in co-operation with Women Into Construction.

PTG also support the Prince’s Trust launching their first “Get Into Cyber” employability programme starting in September. The programme is being designed in partnership with a PTG preferred training provider and industry body: the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec). PTG has created a 3-week employability programme that includes and introduction to cyber security and the careers available, with a further 12-week Bootcamp upon completion of the “Get Into” Programme. They are now working with Princes Trust to identify UK-based employers who can offer junior cyber roles to successful learners, including apprenticeships, and are looking for support with this.

2. Levelling up access “Right to Work” in the UK and/or “practice” in a regulated industry

There has been considerable progress since the CSTF meeting on 22nd February, a report of which will soon be available.  Ministers and officials have been very helpful with regard to publicity for the work necessary to enable digital proof of the right to work, included with the publicity for their extension of the current on-line checks to September 30th . The challenge is that one in five of the population do not have the paperwork (e.g. a passport) necessary to use the new processes to obtain digital  “proof” of their right to work in the UK by the new deadline.  The proportion is higher in rural and coastal areas. There is also a generational divide.

The suggestion is for a workshop on the issues to produce a short brief to all MPs with a customised cover letter/e-mail using the latest census data on the proportion of their own constituency without a current passport. This ranges from barely 6 -7 % in some London constituencies to 25 -30% in rural, coastal and former mining constituencies.

In view of the need to work on a non-partisan basis with officials, the group are looking at the formation of an APPG and/or working via the DPA skills group. Either way there will be the need to resource the work necessary, perhaps using University researchers who are already looking at social, economic and digital divides. The forward agenda should also  link to the right to work to practice in regulated industries, e.g. the NHS and good practice in recruitment, including the public sector supply chain where some NHS trusts, let alone private sector agencies have used contracts akin to indentured servitude and/or debt bondage.

3. Levelling Up on-line access: plans for “A National Connectivity Network” and improved guidance

The UK is now 12th from bottom in a survey of 37 OECD countries with regard to broadband speed although it is fourth from top with regard to “affordability” (price v. average income). The relative UK performance with regard to affordability as opposed to speed reflects the priorities of Ofcom. When the legislation to create Ofcom was debated it was anticipated that its own performance and terms of reference would be reviewed by parliament within a decade. This has not yet happened.

Greatly improved access to fast, reliable broadband, both business and consumer remains a top priority for many backbenchers, particularly those from disadvantaged areas who thought they might benefit from “levelling up”. None of the suppliers appears interested in supporting party political, as opposed to non-partisan, activity although this may change now that INCA (the independent operators group) has appointed in-house public affairs advisors (additional to its previous outsourced contract). A write up of experience on the isle of Wight has been agreed and is expected to show that outsourced local authority highways and planning functions, using item of service contracts, remains a major obstacle.

Country Land and Business is working with DCMS to create a “National Connectivity Association” (NCA) for announcement in mid-April. The aim is to create a grouping which includes the Property and Business owners (Urban as well as Rural) who are left out of groups like the Broadband Stakeholder Group and UKFCF. The CLA aim is to widen education, communications and information in order to meet the public need and interest with consistent, simple and accurate messaging to mould perceptions and increase awareness and take-up of what is available.

There has been no progress with the production of clear, accurate and concise guidance for those seeking to organise socially inclusive skills outreach via and schools, village halls and community centres. However, some of those who organise broadband connections to the majority of UK schools may be willing to help with drafting guidance for head teachers and governors linked to the framework contracts used by local authorities and multi-academy trusts to ensure that statutory requirements, including for safeguarding, are met.

RM, EXA, Schools Broadband and LGfL already work with DfE officials and are among the largest UK-wide customers for “business” full-fibre connections, albeit these are often purchased via intermediaries. It will be suggested that they and their DfE contacts be invited to the NCA planning meeting, alongside the growing number of would-be full fibre providers and investors and other network/service operators like JISC and LINX who are all too often left out of such discussions.

4. The Role of Universities

Should the main role of universities be to gear people up for employment? Or to question what society does, including providing uncensored platforms for fringe views? What are their roles with regard to economic regeneration? Should these include targeted research and technical consultancy/support?  What about as hubs for local (or global) skills programmes for all ages?

It was agreed there is a need to look at the role of Universities from four perspectives:

  • those running them: all levels of staff including research and teaching
  • students: many types and levels
  • employers: whether as recruiters or partners for research, technology transfer etc.
  • national policy, including funding

We could begin very simply with an article for THE Campus to elicit interest, akin to that which Paul Baines has contributed on Universities’ role vis a vis Fake News . But that will only attract one group, academic staff. Given that this is a complex area in need of much research and analysis to collate views, let alone debate options, we need to begin by attracting resource and support from those serious about finding practical ways forward.

It was agreed to focus on finding channels for exploring the views of students and of employers with a view to staging debate across the three main stakeholders at the party conferences.

The issues of funding and/or resourcing should be treated separately because the last review was about whether the Universities were value for money, without addressing the questions of value to whom, for whose money.

A number of universities are seeking to move into cybersecurity and think the route is to compete for experienced cybersecurity lecturers and professors. But the supply does not exist. And to develop new lecturers with relevant PhDs will take too long. Therefore universities will need to get the necessary technical expertise from industry, including via guest lecturers/fellows who will organise and/or supervise the cross-training of existing staff using packaged materials.

Is it correct that the net “margin” to university departments from graduate level apprentices, using industry facilities for relevant work experience, is more than that from full time students, using universities facilities for practical work? If so, what are the lessons and/or implications?

What could/should government do? What is the role of policy: e.g. tax credits for business, executive education and/or, business dedicated programs?

What is the role of academic incentive/reward/programmes and hierarchies in encouraging or discouraging collaborative research? For example an individual/department is currently rated more highly on the current rankings for winning ten £100k “competitive” research council grants for prospective “publication” than for negotiating a “non-competitive” £10m research programme (including new equipment and/or research facilities) from an industrial “partner”.

5. Cyber as a cross-cutting skill to pilot structural change.

After the event on March 10th to launch the Cybersecurity Council to the City of London, discussion began on the potential to use the need for action to help students and employers make sense of cyber skills programmes and career paths (in local, national and global context) as a cross-cutting pilot (across regulated applications sectors like Finance) as part of 1) above (see page 2).

Issues include joining welfare to work programmes to the growing number of cyber security skills programmes, including “boot camps” and addressing the apparent reluctance of employers to provide placements for junior cyber security staff. The F4S survey could be used to help identify why and to inform those planning programmes to address cyber skills shortages accordingly. The DPA Cybersecurity Skills Group might be asked to be a non-partisan “host” for the necessary work, in co- operation with the Cybersecurity Council and others, e.g. the Cyber Resilience Centres.

We have yet to discuss the structure and/or leadership team for such a pilot but the aim would be to work with ISC2, ISACA, Comptia, the WCIT Security Panel and others. Meanwhile PTG is working with IISP and the Princes Trust on a “ Get Into Cyber” programme.

6. IR 35

A ZOOM workshop is being arranged using the following provisional copy:

“How should we address IR 35?  

 It has been causing increasing confusion in human resources departments for over 20 years and major Government departments (including parts of HMRC)  cannot get it right.

 During the pandemic it was blamed for everything from HGV driver shortages, through NHS staff problems and to IT programmes running behind schedule. 

 But is it really a problem? Can it be reformed? Can it be made to work? And what are other countries doing to resolve similar situations?

 The UK has traditionally been the place in Europe to be in a flexible workforce. With the growth of Fintech and working from home (which might in practice be a beach or hotel anywhere in the world with a good wifi connection) we need to ask how the UK maintains its Crown as the European centre for technology innovations, enterprising ideas, a flexible workforce and paying taxes.”

7. Rebuilding UK Educational Competitiveness

Recent discussion threads indicate the stresses caused by the failure of those “advising” ministers to comprehend the changes under way. The recent White Paper appears to be “an attempt to return to a pre-pandemic status quo with add-ons” with plans to use the Education Endowment Fund to widen the role of developing the curriculum outside the department. But the “OAK academy” is now only one among many. It also has a reputation for producing videos of teachers teaching instead of packages that use the new technologies to be inspirational.

There is a need to also engage the IET, Royal Academy of Engineering and Institute of Mechanical Engineering. There are severe shortages of physics, maths and CDT teachers and recruitment. Training takes time so there is a need to help existing teachers do better, including with planned and timetabled support from mentors and industry volunteers.

The presentation on the new BCS CAS Portal on March 8th went well. The on-line discussion facilities were used by over 1,500 teachers (out of a CAS community of 11,500) in February as a “safe space” for candid discussions. The structure allows for closed discussion by other communities. BCS would be happy to see it used to host discussions on STEM, CDT and/or wider educational issues, including the economies of scale, crowd sourcing, standards and the use of technology to take the drudgery out of running schools and classes to enable teachers to focus on education.

A follow up ZOOM, hosted by City University, looked at organising a hackathon to look at interfacing the BCS CAS portal to the London Grid for Learning, Institute of Coding and other sources of educational content and careers materials. The participants suggest an initial exercise for 10 – 15 teams from schools and universities to produce “proof of concept” apps to help pupils/students access useful content. If so, Invitations would go to interested Universities (including those with BCS Chapters) and via the BCS CAS community, Grids for Learning and similar communities. Employers and educational suppliers would be invited to sponsor, including awards, in return for suggesting problems to be addressed. A proposal is being worked up with a steering group from WCIT, City University and BCS.

The BCS presentation to the WCIT Education and training Committee was followed by one on an  educational maturity model used by a global schools chain (Cognita now with over 150 schools around the world) which has to operate in multiple languages, using different content according to “local” national as well as international curriculums and regulatory regimes.

At BETT this year it became apparent that the growth of international as well as national multi-academy trusts and franchises (methodologies as well as content, structure, curriculum etc.) is compounding the transformations under way (including to take over the drudgery of admin and back office and allow teachers more time to teach).

There appears to be widespread interest in relaunching debates and discussions on the future of education that went dormant when attention was focussed on short term response during lockdown. These can now be informed by the experiences, good and bad, during that period but must engage current (not just former) professionals and practitioners.

Meanwhile there has been much restructuring over the past couple of years locally and globally around multi-academy trusts, franchises and partnerships, including those built around well-known public schools looking to provide both local and global leadership (e.g. Sevenoaks, Dulwich, St Pauls, Eton… ) and the UTC and IB movements .  Some of those involved would welcome the opportunity to discuss their plans with their peers. But who are their peers?

It is suggested that WCIT Education and Training Committee could “host” physical meetings (in co-operation with City University for those with more attendees than its Hall can accommodate) and provide neutral chairmanship.

8. Topics for Possible Policy Events, Studies and Papers as Part of Phase 2

The aim was to begin the planning process for Phase 2, including identifying policy studies for presentation on May 18 with the aim of producing recommendations to Ministers by June- July for discussion at the party conference on October.

8.1 How to ensure skills programmes (including apprenticeships) better meet employer needs.

Possible topics included:

  • Tangible, employer supported proposals which balance flexibility, relevance, pastoral care, quality control and value for money (to whom) with regard to the apprenticeship levy.
  • Encourage employers to use standard/interoperable measures to record the training (including continuous professional development to keep up to date) by providing a modest reduction in employees and employers’ NI for time under training towards industry recognised qualifications and/or to maintain right to practice CPD, provided the time is also logged using inter-operable recording/badging standard.

Topics for presentation on May 18th to be decided in the light of support for and the responses to the two surveys:

Ways that employers engage with careers education

Employer survey. Barriers to engaging with careers education.

We should therefore seek to help promote these and get as many responses as practical by end April to back up proposals for May 18th 

8.2 How to ensure cross-departmental co-operation to progress socially inclusive “proof” of right to work and/or skills

This has to produce results before the summer break in order to meet the new Home Office September deadline to enable the use of “digital badging” to “prove” the right to work in the UK of those on DWP welfare to work programmes as well as of other legitimate UK residents/citizens without passports.

Subject to discussion with BHI and others, the way forward might be to:

  1. i) Ask the DPA Skills Group) to convene a meeting to produce a note for all MPs and Peers on the Right to Work problem, linking it to the Levelling Up and Welfare to Work Agendas.
  2. ii) Organise a workshop the provision of Home Office recognised right work credentials (with look up databases) to those on the welfare to work programmes organised under DWP Restart (plus other similar programmes).

Subject to progress with i) and ii) + feedback from in employers in the BHI Health/Care sector group

iii)  Organise a workshop to use examples from NHS and the Care Sector to link “Right to Work in the UK” to “Right to Practice in a regulated sector” with the aim of helping address the problems in the NHS and Care Sectors.

iv) Organise a briefing to all MPs on the lessons from the NHS/Care Sector workshop.

Then, subject to progress.

v) Use the outputs from ), ii)., iii), and iv). to plan Policy Studies for launch in May, to report privately to MInisters by mid-June for public presentation and response at the Party Conference.

Note that there may be more employer interest in Right to Work/Practice in other sectors, e.g. Financial Services, but the NHS will have wider political traction.

8.3 The role of joined up broadband policy (UK access speeds once again lagging behind rest of OECD) in levelling up skills and employment.

To be discussed after Easter with those planning the “National Connectivity Association”

8.4 Set Universities free to determine own destinies within what limits.

This is a good topic for discussion at the party conference, introduced by representatives of staff, student and employer interests. Ut is impractical, however, to expect any consensus on meaningful  recommendations by then.

8.5 Joining up the cyber, counter fraud, resilience and security skills agendas

8.6 What, if anything, should take the place of PAYE/RTI in the age of “flexible” employment?

8.7 What is the role, if any, of a “national curriculum” in an age of globally competing educational systems?           

There is little prospect of coherent or meaningful policy recommendations by the time of the party conferences. Instead we should support structured discussion via a combination of WCIT and BCS CAS. We also need to draw in the IET community and many others.

There is much going on with regard to digital, data science, AI, machine learning and cyber, some of it in the curriculum before coursework was abandoned to allow more focus on examinations.

We need to find time for projects and the tools of life, e.g. to build tools to measure the environment and then analyse the results, leaving teachers to measure that standards of maths and English demonstrated while doing.

There is a tension between the use of technology to assist child-centred education, tailored to stretch and the right pace and spot difficulties (as for adults) and better measure aptitude and attainment and the lessons from China regarding the difficulty of proctoring on-line examinations for those who have grown up learning how to “game” systems run by adults and avoid surveillance.

There is another tension between those who regard reforms to the national curriculum as the “answer” and those who believe it cannot be reformed in time or kept up to date.

There is head to head competition for pupil funding, resources and employer support between T Levels (Schools), Vocational IB (Schools) and  BTEC (Colleges)

Next Meeting

18th May, 7 – 8 pm.

This will comprise 3 or 4 short (5 – 10 minute) policy pitches with time for question and answer before a vote. We will ask those supporting proposals to put their contact details in the chat function.

Invitations will be sent to all CPF members and other target audiences

It is hoped to have proposals on:

  • Improving the flexibility of skills programmes to meet employer needs
  • Levelling up the Right to Work/Practice
  • Sorting out the problems with IR35.

We will remain open to a fourth, and/or reserve, topic.

Many of the audience will not know the background to proposals detail therefore these should be put across in a straightforward manner.

The event will be an opportunity and “deadline” for publicity so it would be good to put collateral online in advance, to help build up interest (and support) and have it available on the day.

Appendix: The PTG Academy: Connecting Corporates with Communities

The Talent Challenge

  • Ineffective and inefficient talent recruitment, retraining & retention is hindering business productivity, change, transformation, competitiveness, strength through diversity and sustainable growth
  • Disadvantaged communities with aspiration but without a sense of belonging are unable to access today’s job vacancies, benefit from mentored & personalised apprenticeship learning journeys, benefit from supported career paths and achieve a levelling-up
  • Mid-career, back office and manual staff are not able to confidently adapt and upskill ʹ accelerating and compounding the great resignation
  • The result is a lack of new starter job sustainability, career mobility and social impact that is inconsistent with contemporary responsible business objectives
  • The array of available government funding, community grants and philanthropic giving is not understood, directly used or, in the case of the Apprenticeship Levy, supportively gifted to charity partners and supply chain SMBs
  • Employers face a plethora of primarily regional training providers of varying quality each focused on a narrow set of generic Apprenticeship Standards & Levels, legacy recruitment approaches and Apprenticeship “starts” not “completions” – and who cannot customise solutions for the employer’s industry and their bespoke strategic training needs
  • As such, across many business sectors employers are burdened with vacancies in the tens to hundreds of thousands and unable to address their existing and future skills needs


PTG Academy Service

The PTG Academy Service is FREE to employers, incorporating:

  • Access to the entire range of funded Level 2 to 7 Apprenticeship Standards (including graduate study without the learner getting into debt), Traineeships Adult Education and Employability services, matched to the employer’s talent acquisition & development needs
  • Customised Learning Programme design, imbued with industry / employer-specific “masterclasses”
  • Access to and delivery quality governance of an ecosystem of high quality PTG-selected or employer-specified training providers ʹ eg. ESFA RoATPs for Apprenticeships (Universities,
  • Further Education Colleges and Independent Training Providers)
  • Supported and personalised confidence-building learner journeys geared to completions and employment – including a structured mentor programme, effective pastoral support & self-serve learner wellbeing & mental health platform providing evidence-based support
  • Modern learner recruitment ʹ such as social media influencer-led engagement with a deeply diverse Gen Z talent pool and working with a blend of local, regional & national community organisations to reach under-privileged citizens
  • Maximised use of available funding, including an end-to-end service to manage Apprenticeship Levy gifting by the employer to sustain its Charity partners and SMB supply chain through supporting their talent development



A FREE service for employers that offers much more than a generic Apprenticeship:

  • Bespoke programmes with tailored masterclasses with employer input
  • ESFA RoATP Training Provider-agnostic
  • Governance of Training Provider curriculum delivery & service performance
  • Personalised supported Learner Journeys geared to maximising completions ʹ such as structured mentoring to evidence learner skills acquisition & behavioural change, effective pastoral support & clinician developed self-serve learner wellbeing
  • Collaborating with EPAOs such as British Computer Society to ensure programmes meet end-point assessment with validation of apprenticeship completions
  • Apprenticeships matched to the employer’s talent acquisition & development needs – across Business & Administration, Care Services, Digital, Health & Science and other routes
  • Ensuring disadvantaged communities with aspiration are able to access jobs, develop skills, benefit from supported career paths and achieve a levelling-up



The PTG Academy – Levy Gifting Service


Why Levy Gifting?

  • All employers with an annual payroll of £3m+ pay the Apprenticeship Levy
  • In 2019-20 employers spent only £843m (30%) of their total £2.8bn Levy
  • The Levy is either partially used or mainly returned by many employers to HM Treasury
  • Alternatively, mid-large sized employers can deliver on their responsible business promise by gifting up to 25% of their Levy, equating nationally to £700m of the 201920 Levy
  • However, many mid-large employer organisations are not gifting their Levy – many don’t know they can gift, how much they can gift, how to transfer, who to gift to or how they can impact even further by participating in apprenticeship programmes made possible through their gifting
  • Charities, community not-for-profits & supply chain SME’s are ideal candidates for gifted Levy, especially as their income has been affected by the pandemic
  • Most are already struggling with ineffective and inefficient talent recruitment, cannot support their new starters to develop and are unable to retrain mid-career staff – and have staff progression & retention challenges
  • This is hindering their productivity, change, transformation, competitiveness, diversity and sustainable business recovery & growth
  • The PTG Academy Levy Gifting Service enables mid-large organisations to provide meaningful and measurable social impact, supporting their chosen Charities, not-forprofits and supply chain SME’s to address their existing and future skills needs


PTG Academy Levy Gifting Service

The service is FREE to gifting and receiving employers, incorporating

  • Access to the entire range of funded Level 2 to 7 Apprenticeship Standards (including graduate study without the learner getting into debt), matched to the receiving organisation’s talent acquisition &
  • development needs
  • Customised Learning Programme design, imbued with industry / employer-specific ‘masterclasses’
  • Access to and delivery performance governance of an ecosystem of high quality PTG-selected or receiving employer nominated ESFA RoATPs – Universities, Further Education Colleges and Independent Training
  • Providers
  • Supported and personalised confidence-building learner journeys that focus on completions and employment – including a structured mentor programme (with volunteer mentors from gifting organisation for even more impact) and self-service learner wellbeing & mental health platform
  • End-to-end service (including Levy transfer process support) to minimise the effort and maximise the social impact for the gifting organisation and receiving
  • Charites / not-for profits and supply chain SME’s



  • A FREE service to gifting and receiving employers
  • Mid-large sized employers can gift up to 25% of their Levy
  • Bespoke skills & learning programmes with tailored masterclasses
  • Apprenticeships matched to the receiving organisation’s talent acquisition & development needs across Business & Administration, Care Services, Digital, Health & Science and other routes
  • ESFA RoATP Training Provider-agnostic
  • Governance of Training Provider
  • curriculum delivery & service performance
  • Supported Learner Journeys – gifting organisation-provided mentors and self-serve learner wellbeing
  • Aligned to the gifting employer’s socially responsible business objectives, providing meaningful and measurable social impact through supporting their chosen Charities, notfor-profits and supply chain SME’s to address their existing and future skills needs



The PTG Academy – Supported Learner Journeys



  • The PTG Academy Mentoring Programme facilitates question-led advice and guidance to be provided by mentors to learners, aligned to each stage of the learning journey. It evidences the mentor’s opinion of the learner’s changing attitudes, behaviours and personal development from programme start through to completion. It also provides additional and more frequent interventions (learner / mentor as well as learner / skills coach), including the mentor imparting their professional experience, to support programme progression, achievement and completion
  • The mentoring is designed to enable the learner’s skills & behaviours to evolve, supplementing the core curriculum knowledge. The mentor questions are intended to help the learner understand how they are applying their acquired knowledge & skills. It is not necessary for the mentor to be familiar with the curriculum, and a blend of internal (employer) external (industry expert) mentors can also be supported
  • Initially, mentoring will take the form of 1 : 1 matching of learners with mentors. However, over time, using the platform provided (MentorXchange) the learner can create their own ‘mentoring network’ based on a pre-defined set of skills & topics aligned to each apprenticeship programme.
  • PTG provides end-to-end support to the learner / mentor community – learner & mentor onboarding, finding & connecting with a mentor, obtaining mentoring session feedback, in-platform messaging between learners & mentors – with a unified data repository for robust reporting and programme governance.


  • Apprenticeship completion rates nationally are low – 58.7%, and the year before, it was 46.9% achieved.
  • Our supported and personalised confidence-building learner journeys are geared to completions, achievement rates, sense of belonging sustainable employment – including a practical pastoral support and self-serve learner wellbeing & mental health platform providing evidence-based support
  • The clinician-developed Wellbeing platform (Rightsteps) is designed to be both educational and supportive, enabling learners to increase their self-knowledge and wellbeing awareness, improving their ability to spot the signs of poor wellbeing in themselves and others
  • The platform supports users to self-manage their wellbeing through evidence-based resources and strategies accessed within a secure and confidential online environment
  • The platform educates and supports learners whilst providing both the employer and training provider with the evidence required to demonstrate the holistic wellbeing needs of the learner are being met both proactively and reactively throughout their learning journey: Rightsteps Wellbeing


Tailored Masterclasses

  • Apprenticeship Programmes are imbued with thought-provoking subject matter expert-led masterclasses, in the form of group workshops and learning sessions to provide inspiration and high-quality focused content tailored to each specific apprenticeship standard
  • An example is the Compassionate Leadership Academy (CLA) Programme mapped into the Level 5 Operations / Departmental Manager Apprenticeship, providing a unique inspirational apprenticeship combining 17 masterclasses and 30 online modules
  • Our aim is to ignite passion into the profession of management which Manley Hopkinson (Founder) of CLA achieves relating his experiences from expeditions to the North Pole, skipper of the BT Global Challenge and his life as an Officer in the Navy and Hong Kong Police
  • For preliminary information, see: Register for the Compassionate Leadership Academy Manley Talks

and the Compassionate Leadership Academy


The PTG Academy: Managed Service & Programme Governance



Data Center
Data Management