Guildford Employer Event

ALPS out and about again!

It was so good to be back out with the Apprenticeship Hub on Friday at the major employer event held at Guildford’s prestigious Harbour Hotel.  The event was sponsored by the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, The Hub, Federation of Small Business and ALPS.  The event was attended by 100 delegate and there were interesting speakers from Nikki Morgan of the NHS and Angela Richardson, MP for Guildford.

The Hub reported that many employer leads were picked up and the team will be working through these to ensure that employers are matched to providers and the vacancies are filled as soon as possible.

This was the first event for ALPS in eighteen months, and lovely to see so many faces again – providers, employers, apprentices, partners and more!

Sue Taylor, Network Manager

Images by Paul Wilson Photography

APPG Annual Report

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Apprenticeships has published its Annual Report.

One of the recommendations states:

“The Department for Education should continue to promote the work of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Scheme and support the delivery of a mentoring scheme which could be undertaken with each regional network.”

View/Download the APPG Report Here

£7m Flexi-jobs Fund Launched

The Government has launched the £7m Flexi-jobs apprenticeship fund along with the response to the consultation which closed at the end of May.

Further details can be viewed here:

Apprenticeships have to be at least 12 months long; so some employers in sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles, such as agriculture, construction and creative sectors including TV, film and theatre production, have found it challenging to unlock potential apprenticeship starts.

An extensive consultation exercise took place, seeking the views of employers, sector bodies, existing apprenticeship training agencies and apprentices themselves to inform the development of this policy and our plans for its implementation.

Welcome to GK Apprenticeships

We are delighted to welcome GKA as the latest member of ALPS.

GKA provide apprenticeship programmes in the digital IT and project management disciplines. We offer Level 3 and Level 4 programmes across areas such as Data Science, Cloud and Networking, Artificial Intelligence, Software Engineering, Cybersecurity, Devops and Project Management.

For more information Click Here

Welcome to The Skills Network

We are delighted to welcome The Skills Network as the latest member of ALPS.

The Skills Network is one of the most successful providers of online learning solutions in the UK. Distance learning supports educators, employers, and learners across the UK, and internationally, by developing and delivering effective, innovative skills training and published educational content. The Skills Network has a variety of innovative products and services for your organisation.

For more information Click Here

Apprenticeship Virtual ‘Breakfast’!

The annual Apprenticeship Breakfast sponsored by the Federation of Small Business and the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network was not able to go ahead in the usual way due to COVID.  We would normally be mooching around very expensive cars at Mercedes Benz World but for this year, it was in our homes and on the TEAMS platform!

The meeting was chaired by Sue Taylor, Network Manager of ALPS and despite the change of format there were over 100 attendees! We were honoured to welcome the Skills Minister, Gillian Keegan MP who talked very positively about apprenticeships sharing her own pathway and how she started as an apprentice.  Nikki Morgan, Learning and development Manager of Frimley Health and Kelly Green, a Learning and Development Apprentice shared their story of working in the NHS and the challenges during the pandemic. Kelly’s story about changing careers and being given the opportunity to retrain was particularly inspiring.

Alison Galvin, HR Director at Invotra, who were the 2019 SME winners nationally for their contribution to apprenticeships, shared the story of the ethos of having apprentices within the organisation and Ryan Taylor who started his career on a Level 3 Software Apprenticeship showed us that anything is possible as he is now studying towards a Chartered Management Degree and has high aspirations to forward his career with Invotra.

Jodi Fair Manager of the Enterprise M3 Skills and Apprenticeship hub launched the new initiative and We welcome this new resource to the area, we will now have a place to send employers ensuring they will have the best opportunities in being matched to an employer and we hope we will be able to maximised the levy transfers to small and medium sized enterprises.

ALPS in Skills Hub Partnership

£3 million hub secured for apprenticeships and training in Hampshire and Surrey


Apprenticeships and skills training opportunities for jobseekers in Hampshire and Surrey will be given a welcome boost following the announcement of £3 million in new funding from Hampshire County Council and the European Social Fund (ESF)

Councillor Roz Chadd, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, welcomed the announcement, commenting: “This is fantastic news. The funding will help us to work with the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership to develop the Apprenticeship and Skills Hub, complementing the model operating successfully in the south of the county. 

Helping young people to develop core and employability skills to access better jobs in our future economy is a key element within our Employment and Skills Action Plan, developed in response to COVID-19. Additional funding, such as this from the European Social Fund, enables us to provide training linked to meeting skills gaps and apprenticeship opportunities in the local job market. In this way, we can target help to those facing the biggest barriers to employment.”

Hampshire County Council successfully bid for the £3 million project to deliver the Apprenticeship and Skills Hub, tendered by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (EM3 LEP). Over the next three years, this Hub will provide at least 360 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and other apprenticeship levy-paying employers, with an impartial service to source apprenticeships and develop their workforce to both improve productivity and reduce the skills shortage.

Dr Jamie Mackay, EM3 Skills Strategy Manager said: “The EM3 Skills and Apprenticeship Hub builds on a need, identified through research in our Revive and Renew Action Plan, to match employers with people looking to re-skill or start a new apprenticeship. The scheme recognises the urgent need to make it easier for workers to re-skill in areas where there is an identified skills gap and help them back to work as soon as possible.”

Local businesses in Hampshire and Surrey can access support and request more information by contacting Hampshire County Council’s Skills and Participation Service. Email:

As part of Hampshire’s Employment and Skills Action Plan, the County Council has set out a commitment to work with employers, schools, colleges, training providers and universities to promote apprenticeships as a route to developing new skills, securing, and sustaining employment, and improving business performance.

The partnership established for, and supporting, this project comprises:

• Hampshire County Council’s Skills and Participation Service
• Association of Learning Providers Hampshire & Isle of Wight (ALPHI)
• Association of Learning Providers Surrey (ALPS)
• Surrey Chamber of Commerce
• Federation of Small Business
• University of Winchester
• University of Surrey
• EM3 Growth Hub
• Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
• Rushmoor Borough Council
• Surrey Employment & Skills Board

FSB Kickstart Webinar

ALPS’s Network Manager, Sue Taylor, was on the panel of a webinar for SMEs run by Federation of Small Businesses a few days ago to provide valuable information on the Goverment’s Kickstart scheme and its link to Apprenticeships. This communication was received from Ray Abrahams of Surrey FSB.

Dear Sue

Nearly 300 SMEs registered to attend our webinar on the Kickstart Scheme and Apprenticeships which took place this morning.

Firstly, a huge FSB thank you for being a panellist and updating so many SMEs on the benefits of hiring an apprentice. You answered many participant questions which show a huge interest in apprentices going forward. Last week Mims Davies MP and Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions made it perfectly clear in a meeting that the Kickstart Scheme and Apprenticeships go hand in hand and are both a major ingredient to assist our economic recovery.

You expertly made that point and this was evidenced in the chat as you promoted the apprenticeships programme. Many thanks Sue. Very informative.


Ray Abrahams
Development Manager, Surrey 
Federation of Small Businesses

Cognassist Logo

Welcome Cognassist!

A very warm welcome to our latest new member…

Cognassist is a unique SaaS platform focused on helping every learner reach their full potential and empowering learning providers for the future.

Our cloud-based platform identifies neurodiversity in under 30 minutes, provides personalised learner journeys which increases learner success, and delivers neuroscience training to enable providers to drive real change.

Incentive Payments *Update*

From today, employers can apply for incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice. Lots of organisations have already expressed an interest in this support, so please make sure to look at how this can benefit you.

You can get the payment in 3 steps

  1. Hire new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021.
  2. Apply for the payment after you’ve added new apprentices to your apprenticeship service account.
  3. You’ll be eligible for 2 equal instalments after the apprentice completes 90 and 365 days of their apprenticeship.

Any size, any sector

Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice are available for any organisation, no matter the size or the sector. The important thing is that they hire an apprentice who:

  1. is new to your organisation
  2. starts their contract of employment and their apprenticeship with you between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021

Get up to £2,000 for each new apprentice

For apprentices aged:

  • 16 to 24, employers will receive £2,000
  • 25 and over, employers will receive £1,500

Employers can spend the payment on anything to support their organisation’s costs, from facilities and travel to uniforms and salaries. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment already given to help employers meet the needs of some groups of apprentices in the workplace.

Click Here for to Apply

New Incentive Payments

The Government recently announced incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice. This support is available for any organisation.

Any size, any sector

Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice are available for any organisation, no matter the size or the sector. The important thing is that they hire an apprentice who:

  1. is new to your organisation
  2. starts their contract of employment and their apprenticeship with you between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021

Get up to £2,000 for each new apprentice

For apprentices aged:

  • 16 to 24, employers will receive £2,000
  • 25 and over, employers will receive £1,500

Employers can spend the payment on anything to support their organisation’s costs, from facilities and travel to uniforms and salaries. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment already given to help employers meet the needs of some groups of apprentices in the workplace.

Click Here for More Information

Welcome WhiteHat

A warm welcome to our latest member, WhiteHat!

WhiteHat is a tech startup on a mission to create a diverse group of future leaders. They are doing this by building an outstanding alternative to university through apprenticeships. 

WhiteHat focuses on three core areas: giving employers a framework for measuring potential outside of academics and work experience through their platform; bringing incredible content from around the world into applied learning programmes; growing an apprentice community to enable young people to build social capital and strong professional networks. 

n the UK, WhiteHat is at the forefront of enabling companies to use the apprenticeship levy to train a diverse group of future leaders in the technical skills they need.

GOV.UK Whatsapp Service

Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

For more information, go the click HERE

Apprentices On The Frontline

Some apprentices are playing a vital role in the fight against the current COVID-19 pandemic. Some apprentices are key workers and are even having to move out of the family home in order to continue safely working.

Weir Training have today paid for and delivered a food parcel to one of their apprentices who is working long shifts, cannot purchase food due to panic buying shortages and having no money until payday!

Our admiration goes out to all essential workers, including the apprentices, who are working so hard to keep us all safe. The rest of us can help to protect them by Staying Home.


Our thoughts are with our members, learners and all stakeholders during this extremely difficult time. We are reviewing the situation daily and continuing to operate within the limitations of Government advice and restrictions.

The Federation of Small Businesses has developed a vital online resource with Advice and Guidance or Small Businesses and the Self Employed (Click Here) and of course regular updates can be found on the Government’s GOV.UK website.

Please do everything you can to stay safe and healthy and to protect the health of others.

ALPS Meets Jeremy Hunt MP

Sue Taylor attended a meeting with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) last week and had the opportunity to voice our members’ concerns with Jeremy Hunt MP.  Time was limited to just an hour, and there were many other topical points of concern to FSB members, but the important issues were raised of Level 2 Business Administration Standards and of provider funding difficulties in Health & Social Care, which he duly noted.

As a back bencher, Mr Hunt may now have more available time to concentrate on these and other local issues and it is intended that ALPS will be represented at any future meetings to monitor progress.

Employer’s Breakfast Event

‘Everything you need to know about Apprenticeships

Friday  7th February 2020
7:45am – 10:00am

 Mercedes Benz World

 Brooklands Drive, Weybridge KT13 0SL

 Free parking is available on site

Come and enjoy the wonderful surroundings of Mercedes Benz World and enjoy a light breakfast with the opportunity to talk to Training Providers, Apprentices and Employers.

The event this year, is being run by the Apprentices themselves and is being held at the end of Apprenticeship Week!  Come and hear from the award-winning Apprentice Employer of the Year, Invotra.  You will hear from Invotra Sales and Technical Apprentices about their experiences of working in as apprentices in their sector and how the company’s Apprenticeship Scheme enhances the business.

Apprentices from Aquiva will also be sharing their experiences including Surrey’s first ever Architectural Apprentice.

In addition, important Information will also be shared from the National Apprenticeship Service on the new Digital Apprenticeship Service for SMEs.

To reserve your place for this event please email

Event organised by ALPS in partnership with FSB

SME Apprenticeships Update

SMEs to benefit from access to the apprenticeship service

With immediate effect the ESFA is expanding access to the apprenticeship service to employers who are not one of the existing 22,000 levy-payers using the service already. This will be of enormous benefit to SMEs connecting with apprenticeships across England.

Non-levy payers will now have greater ownership, visibility and involvement with apprenticeships, funding and access to a wider range of high-quality training providers. This will mean that SMEs – that form 99 per cent of the businesses in the UK – will be in greater control of the apprenticeships that they engage with.

The early transition – from now until March – will be an initial test phase, during which time we will undertake large scale testing, seeking feedback from smaller employers and training providers. During the transition in 2020 we will continue to run contracts with training providers so smaller employers have a choice around how they access apprenticeship funding, joining the apprenticeship service when they feel they are ready.

During the test phase, additional funding will be made available for up to 15,000 new starts through the service.

As we enable smaller employers to use the apprenticeship service, we are introducing the ability for them to reserve a funds for training. This will allow us to forecast, monitor and manage apprenticeships funding within the overall budget for apprenticeships. To manage a gradual transition from contracted training provision to employers arranging their own apprenticeships through the apprenticeship service, employers will initially be able to reserve funding for up to three apprenticeships.

Smaller Employer Engagement Team
Education and Skills Funding Agency

Invotra Wins National Award!

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that one of our members, Invotra, won the SME Employer of the Year award at last week’s National Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony held at Billingsgate Market in London.  This is a very competitive category with many entries and Invotra absolutely deserve this win; at their offices in Woking, apprenticeships are at the heart of their business growth.  The company support ALPS in many ways, speaking at events, always endorsing apprenticeships from an employer’s perspective and providing support for the Graduation too.  I think you can see by the smile on Alison’s fact, how much this means to her and the team!  CONGRATULATIONS!

Apprenticeships Ambassador Network Website

The South East Apprenticeships Ambassador Network (SEAAN) has launched its new website.

SEAAN is a group of employers, whose main aim is to engage new businesses to commit to apprenticeship delivery in the South East of England. The Apprenticeships Ambassador Network inspires and influences people
to choose apprenticeships, as a route to create business and individual success across the country.

Visit the new website here