ALPS Alphi meeting with Chancellor

Network Manager, Sue Taylor along with Gary Hudson from I Choose Local met last week with Chancellor Of The Exchequer and Member of Parliament for Waverley, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP. Discussions included the potential for a Trainee’s bursary as a pre-apprenticeship programme and the value of Apprenticeships for school leavers at 16 as an alternative to full-time Further Education.

Surrey Skills Summit

We’re thrilled to announce that Surrey County Council is hosting the Surrey Skills Summit, and you’re invited.

The summit will take place on 10th November at Sandown Racecourse and has been designed to ensure that Surrey’s skills system continues to power the economic success of the county. The event will also launch the Surrey Skills Plan, providing attendees with the opportunity to explore key recommendations and actions together and focus on how the plan can benefit the local community and enhance Surrey’s skills system.

Register Here

Graduation 2022

After two years of delay through Covid, on 16th September we were back at Guildford Cathedral for our sixth Graduation Ceremony – and for the third year we partnered with GLF Schools to recognise the achievements of their newly qualified teachers alongside those of Surrey’s apprentices.

Over 150 graduates celebrated their awards in front of proud families, friends, employers and training providers, and a number of guest speakers including employers and apprentices themselves shared their experiences and journeys with the packed ‘congregation’.

The weather held out for us and as usual, the cathedral was a magnificent setting for this event. Thank you to everyone who helped to make it a huge success – and congratulations again to all the graduates!

Click Here to view and download more photos

Photography by Paul Wilson

HM Queen Elizabeth II

Along with the whole nation, we are deeply saddened by the news of the pasing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For over 70 years she selflessly carried out her duties in representing  the United Kingdom throughout the world and we join the whole country in sending our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family.

ALPS & Alphi will, of course, follow government guidance as it emerges regarding the period of national mourning. We will remain on hand to support members with anything they need, so please do continue to get in touch.  The Department for Education has advised that schools and FE settings should remain open during the period of national mourning. Any requests for leave of absence should be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account individual circumstances. The Department will be contacting sector leaders with further advice once details of the funeral are confirmed by the Royal Household.   Guidance providing the public, businesses and institutions with advice on the period of national mourning will soon be issued by the Cabinet Office and available on GOV.UK.

ADCN Annual Report

The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (ADCN) champions apprenticeships and diversity amongst employers. It works to encourage more people from underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities, women and members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to consider apprenticeships.

Lia Nici MP, has been appointed as Chair of the network, and is responsible for setting and shaping the network’s objective, working alongside the National Apprenticeship Service.

The report includes case studies of excellent practice in diversity and inclusion. Including real life examples of what businesses have done to achieve greater diversity and inclusion in apprenticeships.

To read the full report and see which employers are involved in the network, please click here

ITP Research by AELP

Sue attended the parliamentary reception on the 22/2/22 hosted by AELP and sponsored by Learning Curve Group, this research had involved ALPS members and I was pleased to be at the event with Jackie from Professional Training Solutions.

It was great to hear how Independent Training Providers (ITPs) contribute to the Skills System in delivering not only Apprenticeships but other fantastic programmes such as T Levels, Boot Camps and Study Programmes.  The research is a call for action for ministers to see the massive contribution ITPs make to the sector and they should not be seen as a fill-in where other provision is not available. There were speeches from Lord Aberdore, Martin Dunford (AELP), Steve Morris (Learning Curve Group) and Paul Warner (AELP) who shared the research in more detail.

The seven recommendations are:

  • Skills policy should concentrate on facilitating what works and not which type of institution delivers it.
  • Intervention measures must be reviewed and made equitable to avid disadvantaging learners that choose to study at each type of institution.
  • ITPs are well paced to engage learners and supply skills training at Level 2 and below, and policy should aim to proactively harness these strengths.
  • In policy design, less default reliance should be placed on traditional models of academic year classroom-based methodologies that limited the use of ITP strengths in engaging employers and enabling learners to reach their full potential.
  • Prior prioritisation should be made more equitable between GCSE and academic routes to literacy and numeracy, and work-based learning.
  • Government and its agencies must trust ITPs to continue to deliver high-quality and responsive provision.
  • ITPs bring a wealth of experience, expertise and industry knowledge that are vital to formulating the proper response to skills need of employers and learners alike. Policymakers and those designing the implementation of such policies must make better use of the attributions.

Click Here to read the full report

ALPS Update

ALPS works very closely with schools and colleges each week, delivering a range of Apprenticeship support activities under the ASK Programme. Last week we visited:

  • Matthew Arnold School, Staines – Workshop for 22 year 11s who all registered on the Find an Apprenticeship website
  • Reigate College Evening – Parent event for 520 year 12 parents
  • St Peters School, Guildford – 30 year 12s and 13s attended an Apprenticeship Workshop and registered on the Find an Apprenticeship website.

Graduation 2022

Planning is well and truly underway for this year’s Apprenticeship Graduation on Friday 16th September.  An initial planning visit to Guildford Cathedral has taken place, the gowning and photography company has been booked and save the date/invitation designs are being developed.  It is likely that for 2022 we will have 400 attendees being able to graduate and they will be limited to one guest each.

Surrey Skills Leadership Forum

The Surrey Skills Leadership Forum (SSLF), is a strategic leadership body which sets the vision and supports the development of a demand-led, inclusive Surrey skills system. ALPS Network Manager, Sue Taylor is Chair of the Provider Group.

Click Here for the Forum’s Terms of Reference

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.