Myerscough College - Innovation, change and progression

Lee Pricein Training & Education

As we push towards winter and the end of the first term, change is the key focus across not just work but all aspects of our lives.

The impact of Brexit is in the back of everyone's minds, and changes of leadership in the world powers only furthers the focus on change.

The circle of education is no different, with changes to funding policies a key focus for all those involved in the sector at all levels. In spring 2017, the way the government funds Apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to contribute to a new Apprenticeships levy, and there will be other changes to Apprenticeship training for all employers.

This issue we catch up with Katie Procter, Head of Apprenticeships at Myerscough College who shares the future vision for Apprenticeships, and also future plans at the College.

Katie said: "At Myerscough College, we are extremely proud of our heritage and reputation in land-based and sports education. The changes to Apprenticeships standards and funding very much present us with an opportunity to not only grow but to shape the landscape of Apprenticeship provision."

''More employer involvement in the planning and delivery of Apprenticeships, along with more employer ownership of team development is a key factor to us providing effective training to businesses, and building successful employer relationships."

"The upcoming changes to standards through Trailblazers, and the introduction of the Apprenticeship levy will ensure that all Apprenticeship schemes are relevant to each sector and role, and are what employers want in terms of workplace training. Employers will also play a more significant part in the planning and delivery of Apprenticeship programmes."

"It will also give us an opportunity to enhance our delivery and further develop brand Myerscough. The introduction of the levy will give larger employers an opportunity to work with providers on a national basis, shaping provision in a way that can deliver tried and tested benefits to their businesses."

"We are currently in discussion with several large employers looking to develop, standardise and enhance their training and succession planning, and we would welcome any employer within our training sectors to get in touch. We can help you every step of the way. The Government vision is to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, and at Myerscough College we are fully committed to playing our part in helping them achieve this objective."

Supporting employers with their Apprenticeship recruitment needs is a key part of the support systems offered to businesses who choose Myerscough College as their training provider. The recruitment phase is absolutely vital to the success of Apprenticeships and recruiting with integrity forms the key value base for any Apprenticeship. Ensuring the right learners are on the right programme at the right level gives both Apprentice, employer and training provider the best chance of success.

It's a Gold medal and 'Best in the UK' for Myerscough Apprentice Jacob at WorldSkills

Jacob Botting of Myerscough College has been announced as 'Best in the UK' in landscaping after winning gold at the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) WorldSkills UK final.

Second year Level 2 Landscaping Apprentice Jacob, employed by Bespoke Outdoor Spaces Ltd, impressed the judges with his build and beat off stiff competition from the other finalists.

Jacob competed alongside Aaron Byrne from Reaseheath College, Ross Conquest from Conquest Hard Landscaping, Josh Dow from SRUC Oatridge, Jonathan Long and Shea McFerren from CAFRE and Christopher Page from Dundee and Angus College. All progressed to the final of the competition after winning places at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July.

Jacob is part of the current APL (Association of Professional Landscapers) Apprenticeship programme, a sector-leading national training scheme run by Myerscough College in partnership with the APL and Landscape Skills Academy.

Having competed in knock out stages in May, and the semi-finals at RHS Tatton Park Flower show in July, the final seven had proven their skills to the judges to be in the running for the title of 'Best in the UK' at the Skills Show.

Judge Steve Smith of Shore Landscapes said; "This is my first time as a judge for APL WorldSkills and I am staggered at the level of expertise of these young candidates, it's really encouraging to see young people embarking on a career in landscaping."

During the final participants were marked on elements such as block paving, recessed drain covers, wood work (which included decking and fencing), planting, health and safety and the overall appearance throughout the three days. The finalists
were also tested on their knowledge to name ten of the plants that were included in the gardens.

Jacob was supported at the event by his College tutor James Fare who said; "It was fantastic to see Jacob achieve the Gold medal in Landscaping. He has shown significant dedication over the time he has been on the Apprenticeship and works for a supportive employer who is dedicated to training and development. I know that Jacob has a great future in the industry and as a college we are all extremely proud of his achievements."

Chief executive of Worldskills UK Dr Neil Bentley said: "Our research shows that Worldskills UK Competitions teach young people the employability skills that businesses are crying out for. By devising and managing skills competitions that are based on international standards, we can ensure more young people are being equipped with the right skills to help UK businesses better compete globally."

On receiving his gold medal Jacob said; "It's been an amazing few days and I think all competitors completed the garden build to a very high standard. I was really shocked when my name was called and to achieve Gold is beyond my wildest dreams. I would like to personally thank my employer, Myerscough College and the APL for their support and guidance throughout the competition and really hope I can inspire other young people to consider careers and Apprenticeships in Landscaping."

Employer Services Manager at Myerscough College, Lee Price commented on Jacobs success and the future of Landscaping Apprenticeships, saying; "To see Jacob receive his gold medal is something everyone is extremely proud of. He has shown great dedication throughout the competition and is a great example to other learners on what can be achieved."

"The WorldSkills ethos and its values are at the heart of our Landscaping Apprenticeship scheme delivered in partnership with the APL. The scheme gives Apprentices the opportunity to work in a safe environment, and to enhance their core skills amongst
their peers."

"This is the first time we have entered a learner into the Landscaping competition and we all wish to congratulate Jacob on his success. We are already looking forward to next year's competition."

WorldSkills UK competitions inspire Apprentices and young people to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills excellence to raise productivity and standards. These competitions equip young people with the skills to help UK business compete. Through working with partners in industry, education and government, WorldSkills UK competitions help to inform careers advice as well as benchmarking apprenticeship and qualification standards in the UK.

Whitgift School - Striving for Excellence; Creating Brighter Futures

Recently, we supported Whitgift School with the recruitment of two new Apprentices to join their successful Grounds team. Following a successful selection and assessment process, the school have employed Jack Watson and Craig Dean as the two new additions to the team.

Both will work under the direction of Head of Grounds, Daniel Ratling, assisting in the maintenance and upkeep of the sports facilities and grounds at the School.

Daniel shared his thoughts on the recruitment, saying; "We were looking to recruit two Apprentices to join our Grounds department maintaining the full range of sports surfaces at Whitgift. We approached Myerscough College because it's clear they are one of the leading institutions for Sportsturf Apprenticeships in the UK. The process was very straightforward and we were supported every step of the way. Ultimately, we have now ended up with two excellent new recruits who will have a bright future here at Whitgift School."
We asked Jack and Craig why they chose Apprenticeships and also their plans for the future.

Jack, aged 18 from Sutton said; "Having studied A levels I knew that an Apprenticeship was my next step. I want to learn and develop in a more practical setting and grow my career with an employer. This Apprenticeship gives me the chance to achieve this and also to earn a wage at the same time. I would definitely recommend Apprenticeships to others looking to get a start in new career path."

Craig, aged 25 from Wallington said; "I love being outdoors and have previously worked within the cleaning and support industry. When I saw this opportunity, I knew I had to apply. I now have the chance to learn a trade and gain recognised qualifications, and also to earn a wage at the same time. I am looking forward to developing in my new role and progressing my career at Whitgift School."

Welcoming the new recruits into working life at the school was Headmaster, Dr C.A. Barnett. Dr Barnett said; "It's fantastic to welcome Jack and Craig to Whitgift School. Whitgift is a friendly, challenging and inclusive learning environment and we are extremely proud of our grounds, gardens and estate. It's clear that Jack and Craig are passionate about working in horticulture and I personally wish them the very best in their new careers. I hope they are inspired by the commitment to high standards and also the exceptional progression opportunities available here at Whitgift. I am sure under the leadership of Daniel, and expert guidance from Myerscough College tutors, they will excel."

We assist employers with their recruitment and training all year round. Our roll-on, roll-off provision means that learners can start at any time, giving employers the opportunity to time recruitment and progression planning to suit their business needs.

Sportsturf Students sweep the boards

A Myerscough College learner has been honoured with a national accolade at an Industry Awards 2016 ceremony.

In an almost exclusively male dominated industry, Katie Croft recently completed her Level 2 Apprenticeship in Groundsmanship at Manchester City Football Club and was named winner of the Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year at the awards dinner.

It was a category that Myerscough College dominated, with fellow apprentice Daniel Bradley and degree student Elliot Wilson also nominated for the award. Elliot graduated from Myerscough this summer with a first class BSc (Hons) in Sportsturf Science and has recently entered the industry as a consultant. Daniel is currently an intermediate apprentice and was another recruited by the College's Employer Services team.

Now in its eighth year, the awards acknowledge the high standards achieved by volunteer and professional grounds teams as well as individuals at facilities ranging from grassroots to professional stadia level, plus contractors within the industry.

Katie said: ''I'm absolutely honoured to win Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year. I'm over the moon and I hope I can help more women into our industry!''

For more information on any of the programmes and provision at Myerscough College, please contact the Employer Services team on 01995 642255 or email