Youth Employment UK Northamptonshire Business Breakfast – 28th April 2016

Youth Employment UK held a Business Breakfast at Kettering Rugby Club this week. Existing members came together with local and national employers and providers to discuss the latest apprenticeship policy.

We had the pleasure of being joined by Gemma Gathercole who is head of Policies, FE and Funding at OCR. Our guests included:

  • 3AAA
  • AELP
  • Babcock Training
  • FG Solicitors
  • Havering College
  • Heart of England Training
  • Key Training
  • Learndirect
  • Midland Fork Lifts
  • SEAC
  • SENEL from Northampton University
  • The Bennie Group
  • Tresham College Corby

Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO and Founder of Youth Employment UK began the morning sessions with a welcome to our guests. Laura-Jane then delivered a passionate talk about the reasons she founded Youth Employment UK, the Youth Friendly Charter and the many benefits of becoming a Community Member.

The discussion moved on to Apprentices and how they are good for young people and businesses alike. There is a clear financial case for employers as apprentices in some sectors have proven to add up to 300% return on investment. For young people the opportunity to earn and learn has never been so good.

We discussed the issue that young people have around the lack of opportunities such as part time jobs, paper rounds and cuts to work experience within schools to help them become work ready. Laura-Jane said employers need to become much more “youth friendly” and see how they can support young people rather than criticise the lack of work skills.

Gemma Gathercole began her presentation by stating that the launch of the levy is a year away and there are still more questions than answers. Please see the attached slides to view the whole presentation. Gemma‘s presentation.

The room was then opened up for discussion and these are some of the points that were made:

SEAC were “concerned and scared by how close it is to the levy being implemented and still no one has answers or aware of a lot the processes”

Stephen Ram Kissun – AELP “the AELP Website has an area to help organisations understand the levy, there is a series of papers and guidance notes available”

The Bennie Group “It is hard enough to find young people who want to develop skills sets such as fork lift truck driving or mechanical repairs as many young people want office based roles. The impact the levy has on funding for SME’s might make this even more difficult”

Heart of England Training “All of the SME’s that we deal with have said that they cannot to take on any apprentices when the levy kicks in”

SENEL who work with young people who have learning difficulties said “our young people might not be classed as work ready so finding placements is even more difficult, with less opportunities being created they are worried about the impact it would have on their young people”

3AAA said “I have been working to build a relationship with a client for a long time, I have recently lost this client due to my lack of knowledge around the levy, this lack of knowledge is not my fault, it is just not being made available for people like myself to help support our businesses”

Laura-Jane asks if there are any good stories –

Olivia Boddington from Key Training and a YEUK Youth Ambassador said “our business is selling traineeships into organisations and we have had a great uptake from local businesses, these offer the opportunity for young people to become work ready. We have done so well that we are expanding into a new office”

Youth Employment UK were able to bring local businesses together in one room to discuss concerns and find out how as part of the Youth Employment UK Community we can encourage partnership and joint working so we can stay ahead but also serve the interests of more young people.

Last week youth Employment UK and its members met with Nadhim Zahawi (the Prime Ministers adviser on Apprenticeships). He talked about the work he was doing to promote apprentices as being just as good or even better than a degree in University. He is working to create more opportunities for young people, helping them to earn whilst they learn, gain life skills, learn responsibility and have a career at the end of it.

A concern from Youth Employment UK is the impact that the levy will have on employers recruiting 16-18 year olds on level 2 standards. We are worried that employers who have to contribute to the cost of training will look to secure a more immediate return by training existing or older staff.

Youth Employment UK is also concerned that the rising cost of university at the same time as apprenticeship routes become more appealing will mean there will soon be more candidates for apprenticeships than opportunities. I came across this article in the Apprentice Eye newsletter and it made me wonder if the speculation and lack of information being provided around the levy is a causing more concern than necessary?

If you would like to attend or exhibit at these kind of events in your local area for free then register for membership here



For further information: Contact us by phone on 01536 680916 or email us at

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