0 Helping Others, Inspiring Futures, Achieving Excellence

Myerscough aerial viewAnother academic year draws to a close, and our full-time students head off to begin their first jobs in industry, or to take a well-earned break before returning for further studies. It's been a turbulent time politically but an exciting time for the College.


This article, we focus on the achievements of our staff and students and also give an insight into the future of Apprenticeships as we prepare for the new world of Trailblazer Standards and the Apprenticeship levy implementation.

Apprenticeship reforms and 'The Levy' at Myerscough College

The government has set a challenging target of recruiting 3 million apprentices by 2020.

Reforms to apprenticeships continue to gain momentum and we're now seeing the introduction of a new range of Apprenticeship Standards which will replace the current Apprenticeship Frameworks, which are being phased out. The newly formed Institute for Apprenticeships, which comes into power next year, will oversee the implantation of reforms and drive apprenticeship standards. Next April will also see the introduction of the Apprenticeships levy, which forms a key part of wider initiatives to increase business participation in Apprenticeships.

Businesses whose annual payroll costs exceed £3million will be required to contribute 0.5% of their payroll. Levy monies will help fund the recruitment of enthusiastic young people into the UK workforce as well as support the skills development of your existing employees.

Small businesses will continue to receive Apprenticeship funding via a new digital voucher system, and will continue to make a percentage contribution towards the cost of Apprenticeships. The new Digital Apprenticeship Service will allow employers to pay for their training via this voucher.

Myerscough College can help you minimise the risk and maximise the benefits of this levy.

Apprenticeship 'Trailblazer' Standards

The guiding principles behind the new standards are:

• Employer-led Apprenticeship standards that truly meet the needs of industry
• A simpler system of funding administered by employers
• Employer ownership of provider choice
The key benefits to employers of the reforms:
• Apprenticeship content is business specific and tailored to business needs
• Ownership of funding and buying power for training
• Access to higher and degree level Apprenticeships
Myerscough College are currently involved in the design and implementation of a number of new 'Trailblazer' Apprenticeship standards across the full spectrum of land-based provision and further announcements will be made once ready for delivery.

The Apprenticeship Levy

Key facts:

  • It will come into effect in April 2017.
  • Employers whose payroll exceeds £3 million will pay 0.5% contribution via PAYE
  • All employers will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against payment of the levy. This effectively means that the levy will only be payable on pay bills in excess of £3 million per year.
  • The levy will be payable alongside income tax and National Insurance.
  • Each employer will receive one allowance to offset against their levy payment. There will be a connected person's rule, similar the Employment Allowance connected person's rule, so employers who operate multiple payrolls will only be able to claim one allowance.
  • The levy will apply to employers across all sectors.
  • Pay bills will be calculated based on total employee earnings; it will not include other payments such as benefits in kind. It will apply to total employee earnings in respect of all employees.
  • Legislation to permit the imposition and collection of the apprenticeship levy will be introduced in the Finance Bill 2016.

If you have an annual pay bill less than £3 million, you will continue to have access to Government funding via the new Digital Apprenticeship Service which will be launched towards the end of 2016, early 2017.

Apprenticeship Levy Examples:

Example 1 - Employer of 250 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000: Pay bill: 250 x £20,000 = £5,000,000 Levy sum: 0.5% x £5,000,000 = £25,000 Allowance: £25,000 - £15,000 = £10,000 annual levy payment
Example 2 - Employer of 100 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000 would pay: Pay bill: 100 x £20,000 = £2,000,000 Levy sum: 0.5% x £2,000,000 = £10,000 Allowance: £10,000 - £15,000 = £0 annual levy payment

Please see the Myerscough College website for further updates or contact us for more information.


Myerscough Gardens in progress at Tatton Flower ShowWorld Skills final beckons for Myerscough College Landscaping Apprentice

A Myerscough College Landscaping Apprentice has made the national final of the 2016 World Skills competition. First year Level 2 Landscaping Apprentice, Jacob Botting, from Bespoke Outdoor Spaces Ltd, impressed the judges with his build at the annual RHS Tatton Flower Show, where he competed alongside the other finalists from across the country.

Jacob will now go through to the national World Skills finals which are held at the Skills Show in November, at the NEC in Birmingham. Jacob is part of the current APL (Association of Professional Landscapers) Apprenticeship programme, a sector-leading national training scheme run by the APL and Myerscough College.

Myerscough Jacob with Joe Swift at Tatton Flower ShowJacob was tested on his skills involving timber, brickwork and planting over an 18 hour period. He was tasked with individually building a full 6m x 2m garden, and was marked on the quality of the work and attention to detail by judges Jody Lidgard, Simon Abbott, and Steve Smith.
A spokesman for World Skills said: "The public interest in the competition this year was at an all-time high, with many members of the public requesting coverage on the BBC to enable them to see how the competitors had got on."

"The scores from each heat were all of a high standard and the judges and Joe Swift, who came to announce the result to the competitors, said he was impressed with the quality of the gardens and the talent the competitors have shown, especially considering the challenging weather conditions over the event."

Jacob said: "I'm really excited, and glad to be doing it inside next time! I'm looking forward to getting stuck in at the final. It's amazing to be part of the competition and I would like to thank my employer and also the tutors at Myerscough College for their time and support."

Meanwhile, Myerscough College Apprentices working for Foxcroft Landscapes were awarded gold at RHS Tatton this year for
their Nature & Nurture Garden as part of the young designer competition garden at the event.


Myerscough staff and students answer the DIY SOS call

Staff and learners from Myerscough College have played their part in the redevelopment of a Blackpool Children's Centre for the BBC programme, DIY SOS - The Big Build.

A Myerscough team joined other tradesmen to give their time and skills free of charge to complete the challenge of renovating the Blenheim House site on the Fylde coast. The building has been transformed from a run-down, neglected Victorian house, to a fun, safe and supportive environment where young carers are able to enjoy their childhood. The transformation will be documented in 'DIY SOS: The Big Build', a BBC Children in Need special, when the show airs on BBC One in mid-November.

Myerscough Director of Student Support Bernard Pendleton with Nick KnowlesThe staff and students, including volunteers from Myerscough's Bilsborrow and Witton Park campuses, as well as apprentices,
were tasked with helping to transform and landscape an acre of the garden, undertaking work including ground clearance, landscaping and planting in the gardens and new play area.

Myerscough College work-based tutor, Oliver Clarke, was also personally asked to build a special dry stone wall in the grounds, giving up several extra days of his time and expertise to further benefit the project. Oliver spent ten days in total on the site, undertaking some very long shifts to ensure that this part of the project was completed in time.

Myerscough volunteers were also responsible for driving the many workers to and from the site in a College minibus. The property is owned by Blackpool Carers Centre, a charity which receives BBC Children in Need funding to provide out-of-school respite and training activities as well as peer support for more than a hundred children and young people with caring responsibilities.

Two of the Myerscough College learners who helped with the project Alex Brobbin, 20, and Ryan Turner, 18, who are both apprentices in horticulture. They both work on grounds maintenance around the borough of South Ribble and took time out of their usual duties to assist on the build.

Ryan said: "It's great fun and really good experience to work with different people. We were on site for three days and basically started by clearing the gardens of brambles and weeds in preparation for the transformation work to begin."

Myerscough Apprentices Alex and Ryan with Nick KnowlesBernard Pendleton, Director of Student Support at Myerscough College, said: "It really is a fantastic, amazing project and we've met some amazing people. Huge thanks to all of our Myerscough volunteers for their efforts. We even had a visit from Pudsey bear and he thought we'd done a good job!"

Presenter, Nick Knowles, said: "We're aware this build is one of our most ambitious to date but with the help over 250 locals joining us to help change the lives of young carers in Blackpool, we've been overwhelmed with support to provide a new centre that will bring joy to some of the most deserving children and young people in the community."

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, designer, added: "I'm delighted to be part of this project. Making sure these selfless children and
young people are provided with a safe space to embrace their childhood is such an important cause."

Michelle Smith, CEO at Blackpool Carers Centre, said: "We were delighted when BBC Children in Need contacted us about potentially having our property renovated and ever since the DIY SOS team confirmed they would be coming to Blenheim House we haven't been able to contain our excitement."


Myerscough College tutor is named Turfgrass President

A Myerscough College tutor has been elected as the new President of the European Turfgrass Society.

Senior HE Lecturer, Stewart Brown, will hold the prestigious post for the next four years after being voted into the role at a meeting of the Society's General Assembly, which met at Salgados, Albuferia, Portugal for its 5th Research Conference.

The ETS are the premier organisation for Turfgrass research in Europe and its membership includes academics, researchers, professional turf associations, research institutes and commercial companies from around Europe as well as the USA , and further afield.
Stewart said: "I hope that Myerscough will support me in this period and I'm keen to see Myerscough as the centre for Turfgrass Research & Education in Europe. I believe there is great potential for student recruitment for our Higher Education programmes but also opportunities for research and development with partners in Europe."

Myerscough College Principal, Ann Turner, said: "Many congratulations to Stewart. It's not only a real personal honour in recognition of his work but also a reflection for the status of the College."

The objectives of the ETS include the spread of innovative applications and encouragement of a holistic view of turf, particularly with respect to its influence on urban and environmental quality. The organisation provides a forum to discuss technical issues related to the provision of turf surfaces.

Stewart will head up the board of the society and sit alongside experts from other European bodies including the University of Copenhagen, the Italian Golf Federation and the Norwegian Institute of Bio-Economy Research.

He adds: "The aims of the ETS fit in perfectly with what we offer in terms of sportsturf education at Myerscough College. I want us to encourage a systems-based approach to the study of turfgrass through multi-disciplinary groups working at different levels, and to consider turfgrass knowledge in the broadest sense, including its use in sport and leisure, its role in improving urban quality and its importance in the mitigation of environmental effects such as soil erosion."

For more details or to enquire about our provision please contact the Employer Services team on 01995 642255 or email employerenquiries@myerscough.ac.uk

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