Apprentices need financial support just as much as employers, training boss urges

Trainees and apprentices need financial support even more than employers who are now being offered £3,000 for every apprentice they take on – that’s the verdict of one of the Midlands’ leading training experts.

Chris Luty, managing director of Black Country-based training group BCTG, said that while the increase from £2,000 to £3,000 was welcome for employers, young people choosing a Traineeship to prepare for an Apprenticeship Job get no financial help.

“Employers are concerned that the young people taking up a Traineeship often have little or no money for travel or food to eat during the time they are at work. Some are going a full day without food, and struggle to pay for public transport to get to training opportunities.

“The Government is investing heavily in the Traineeship programme, which provides an essential stepping stone for young people. Apprentices earn a wage, but currently Traineeships don’t receive anything.”

“In some cases, employers are helping, and in our case BCTG, via The Apprenticeship Works, is effectively funding young people by providing incentives. However, this is a hit and miss approach and doesn’t help all young people who need support to develop the skills needed to move on into long term employment,” he said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has increased the bonus to employers to £3,000 for every apprentice they take on, regardless of age, and provides a £1000 to companies who provide Traineeship Work Experience.

Mr Luty added: “There are no conditions attached to how the money can be used, but it is up to the employer to choose whether to keep the money or use it to support the individuals they take on. There is the opportunity to provide travel or uniform costs, or provide vouchers for the canteen where there is one, but this is left up to the individual employer.

“This means that not all apprenticeships or training opportunities are equal and we need to see stronger guidance on how the Government Grants could and should be used.”

He said the support was vital as the total number of apprentices on schemes fell by more than 20,000 between 2018-19 and 2019-20 as the firms made staff redundant on enrolled them on the furlough scheme as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded.

Firms that have taken on apprentices since 1 April this year are able to claim the enhanced allowance back from the Treasury. The boost to incentives was announced in the Budget earlier this year as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs to boost UK employment as the country emerges from lockdown and the economy begins to recover.

Ends (429 words)

For further information, please contact:

Chris Luty, Chief Executive Officer,

BCTG Group, European Business Park, Taylors Lane, Oldbury, B69 2BN. Tel: 0121 544 6455

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR – mobile 07990 978257.

Eight refurbished laptops donated to needy families in East Midlands by BCTG Group

Black Country-based training group BCTG Group has donated eight fully refurbished laptops to needy families in the East Midlands.

BCTG, which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults with training each year, handed over the computers to Home-Start North West Leicestershire, which helps families with young children who are going through challenging times.

The laptops, which would otherwise have been scrapped, were overhauled by business IT specialists Declaro Support Ltd, based in Stourbridge, which devoted two to three hours of expertise to each machine free of charge.

Pamela Moretta, manager at Home-Start North West Leicestershire, said: “To receive donations of expensive equipment like this is the equivalent of pennies from heaven for our charity.

“Each laptop will go to a family that desperately needs one to allow children to do their homework, to help parents look for jobs and enable them to access financial help.

“We really appreciate the gift from BCTG and also want to thank Declaro Support for generously refurbishing the machines free of charge.”

Sarah Matthews, group operations manager at BCTG, said: “One of our staff volunteers for Home-Start and was discussing how the families they help often struggle to do things we all take for granted because they have no access to technology.

“We realised that we had a number of old machines that were no longer being used, and so we asked Declaro Support, the IT company we use, how easy it would be to service them before donating them to charity.

“Declaro decided they also wanted to be part of our efforts to help this charity and did all the necessary work for nothing as their own donation.

“We very grateful to everyone as Declaro who helped and everyone at BCTG is pleased that the end result will be helping families to access the education, jobs, financial help and other services they need.”

Declaro Support explained that it sorted through more than two dozen old laptops at BCTG and found eight that would be suitable for Home-Start to use.

Lee Matthews, technical director at Declaro Support, said: “BCTG is one of our customers, and after discussing this with them we decided it would be great to help out rather than seeing these laptops simply discarded to landfill or shoved to the back of a cupboard.

“I am a firm believer in karma, and that if you do things out of the goodness of your heart then good things will also happen to you.

“We chose the best out of the old bunch and got our apprentice Craig Russell to spend about a week of his time over the period of a month to restore them to full working order.”

Mr Matthews added: “We’re delighted they are going to such a good cause and were really pleased to have played our part.”

Ends (467 words)

For further information, please contact:

Chris Luty, Chief Executive Officer,

BCTG Group, European Business Park, Taylors Lane, Oldbury, B69 2BN. Tel: 0121 544 6455

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner at ASAP PR – 07990 978257

Note to editors:

BCTG Group is a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and also includes Performance Through People (PTP Training), The Apprenticeship Works, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions and Further Training.

Overall, the group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds. These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management and team leading.

Skills boost needed now – not 2025

The head of one of the Midlands’ largest training organisations has called on the government to speed up plans to enhance and support skills development.

Chris Luty, managing director of BCTG based in Oldbury, said: “We broadly welcome the government’s commitment to Lifetime Skills and a Lifetime Loan Entitlement – but this needs to happen more quickly, not from 2025 as proposed.

“It is essential that employers are central to local planning for skills, but there needs to be sufficient flexibility in what and how government funds this to ensure we see real benefits on the shop floor.”

He added that as well as focussing on colleges, the government should notignore the key role that Independent Training Providers (ITPs) play in delivering high quality, highly flexible workplace skills.

“Already ITPs deliver the majority of apprenticeships as well as a range of adult education training, so are well placed to support this major government policy,” he said.

BCTG Group is a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and includes PTP Training, trading as Performance Through People, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions, Further Training and The Apprenticeship Works.

The group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds.

These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management and team leading.

Ends (253 words)

For further information, please contact:

Chris Luty, Chief Executive Officer,

BCTG Group, European Business Park, Taylors Lane, Oldbury, B69 2BN. Tel: 0121 544 6455

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR – mobile 07990 978257.

New open days start at BCTG’s Construction Skills Centre in Midlands

BCTG Group, one of the top training specialists in the Midlands, has arranged a new series of “open afternoons” for potential trainees and employers.

The new monthly events start from 1-4pm on Friday 21 May at the Construction Skills Centre at Kelvin Way Trading Estate in West Bromwich.

With the timing closely linked to the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, there will then be additional open afternoons on the last Friday of every month from June onwards.

The centre hosts the theory and practical elements of skilled jobs like bricklaying, painting and decorating, plastering, roofing and cladding, as well as other courses.

Lisa Kelly, the business development manager at BCTG, said: “Now that people can start visiting again, we thought an open afternoon would be a great way of showing potential trainees how they can join the world of work.

“We’re inviting people in for a look around, a taster session if they wish, and even to sign up for next courses on the day.

“We’re also hoping to attract employers to take a look at the centre if they are interested in recruiting trainees and apprenticeships for their business.”

Ms Kelly explained that the Construction Skills Centre was targeting the government-funded training spaces at three groups of students living in the Midlands:

  • 16 to 18-year-olds taking basic, pre-apprenticeship training courses
  • post-18s taking Level 3 apprenticeship courses, and
  • adults wanting to reskill or upskill.

She added: “With HS2’s ongoing progress alone, the construction industry estimates it will need an extra 50,000 trained workers.

“Even without that, the growth in housebuilding in this region, let alone the constant construction work underway in Birmingham, has created an urgent need for young building workers.

“Our Construction Skills Centre in West Bromwich can cater for up to 80 people at a time on a range of roll-on, roll-off courses, and we hope to be training hundreds of new people in the next few months.”

The BCTG open days will be operating in a COVID-19 safe environment, with appropriate social distancing applied.

Anyone interested can find out more can call 0121 544 6455 and select option 1, or there are more details on the BCTG website at www.bctg.org.uk.

Ends (365 words)

For further information, please contact:

Lisa Kelly, TAW Agency & BCTG Business Development Team Manager

T: 0121 544 6455 Option 1

E: lisa.kelly@theapprenticeshipworks.com

Note to editors: 

BCTG Group is a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and includes PTP Training, trading as Performance Through People, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions, Further Training and The Apprenticeship Works.

The group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds. These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management and team leading.

Bond Wolfe launches BW Media as property group teams up with See You Social

Bond Wolfe, the multi-disciplinary property consultancy headquartered in Birmingham, has invested in a digital marketing business as the company looks set to expand its national and global influence.

The firm has taken a 50% stake in See You Social, which provides digital marketing strategy, implementation and guidance for businesses in the UK and across the world.

The company, which has been rebranded BW Media, has clients not only in the West Midlands and UK but also as far afield as restaurants and aesthetic brands in California, USA.

The business was founded in 2018 by Craig Upton and has now grown to seven staff. It provides the full range of digital marketing services for some of the West Midlands’ largest property institutions and organisations, plus a diverse clientele across the globe.

He has been joined on the BW board by chairman Gurpreet Bassi and director Bobby Bassi. The company is now based in Bond Wolfe’s headquarters building at 75-77 Colmore Row at the heart of the Birmingham central business district.

Gurpreet Bassi said: “Our experience both on the agency and the auctions side during the past 12 months has been that West Midlands property is gaining a worldwide audience.

“We have been clients of See You Social since its inception and so have seen for ourselves the reach, range and results that Craig and his team can produce.

“As we grow the Bond Wolfe brand, this is a logical step designed to enhance our communications.”

Craig Upton said: “Our discussions with Bond Wolfe grew out of the work we were carrying out with them. They understand our skillsets and were keen to add our range of services across all digital marketing to the Bond Wolfe brand.

“And the opportunity to place the business physically at the heart of the Birmingham business community was also too good to miss.”

The news comes as Bond Wolfe Auctions announced a record amount raised for a UK livestreamed auction with its 31 March result which totalled over £30.2 million.

Both the auctions and the commercial agency sides of Bond Wolfe have been reporting increasing interest in Midlands and UK property assets from investors abroad. A Hong Kong-based buyer paid £1 million in the February auction for an industrial/office investment at Island Works, 122 Holyhead Road, Birmingham.

Ends (381 words)

For further information, please contact:

Craig Upton, Chief Executive Officer,

BW Media, 5th Floor, 75/77 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2AP

0121 716 6300

Email: info@bondwolfemedia.co.uk

www.bondwolfemedia.co.uk

Notes to Editors

BW Media is a full-service digital marketing agency specialising in social media management and advertising for customers worldwide. With a diverse client base across multiple sectors, our team executes their knowledge of digital marketing strategy and implementation to deliver performance-focused campaigns that meet clients’ objectives. BW Media is a jargon-free agency that strives to be a fundamental extension of our customer’s business.

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR – 01608 651203 or 07990 978257.

Eurosource help dozens of apprentices enter childcare with East Midlands nursery group

An expanding East Midlands children’s nursery group has developed its workforce with more than two dozen apprentices in the last 18 months, thanks to help from Eurosource Solutions.

Eurosource, part of the BCTG Group, specialises in the childcare sector and has trained as many as 25 apprentices across four White House Nursery group sites in Derbyshire since September 2019.

This has included ten apprentices at the White House Nursery in Oakwood, six at its Alvaston nursery, another six at its Borrowash site and three in Alfreton.

Thirteen of these apprentices have since completed their courses and have continued to develop their careers either at White House Nursery or elsewhere, with another 12 apprentices still completing their programmes.

Julie Smith, Quality and Development Manager at the White House Nursery group, said: “As a fast-expanding business, it’s been crucial for us to find and develop the right candidates for our frontline childcare roles.

“We have high quality demands for our staff dealing with children and using the services of a specialist provider like Eurosource gives us confidence that we are recruiting and training the best people.”

Eurosource Solutions, based in Staffordshire, was set up in 1989 and has become widely recognised as best UK providers for training and development in the childcare and healthcare sector.

Rachel Dawson, business development officer at Eurosource Solutions, said: “We’re so pleased to have such a good relationship with the White House Nursery Group, where we know the apprentices will receive high quality training.

“We’re thrilled that so many of our apprentices have since qualified and are now excelling in their careers with White House or elsewhere in childcare.”

She added: “We’re passionate about the development of both individuals and organisations, and pride ourselves in delivering quality development solutions and support that adds measurable value for organisations.”

Ends (300 words)

For further information, please contact:

Rachel Dawson, Business Development Officer, Eurosource Solutions Limited

Leeds House, 79a High Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 1PS

info@eurosourcesolutions.com 01782 711927

Prepared and issued by Steve Dyson of ASAP PR – 01608 651203

Note to editors:

Eurosource Solutions is a partner of the BCTG Group, a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire, and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and also includes PTP Training, trading as Performance Through People, BCTG Ltd, The Apprenticeship Works and Further Training.

Overall, the group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds. These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing, and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management, and team leading.

Ashas and Zen Metro inundated with early bookings as lockdown ends

Birmingham and Solihull’s most popular restaurants are experiencing a sell-out surge in bookings for tables when the hospitality trade is allowed indoor guests from 17 May.

The multi-award winning Ashas, which has restaurants in Birmingham city centre, Solihull Manchester, Dubai and across the middle East plus Zen Metro in Birmingham, have been inundated with website traffic reaching record levels.

Paul Bassi, chairman of the Brandasia Group which operates all the Midlands outlets, said they had had to allocate extra staff to the reservations team to cope with demand.

“Lockdown has been an awful time for the hospitality business, but now we really can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and our loyal customers are responding and telling us they can’t wait for their fix of the finest Asian food at Ashas and Zen Metro,” he said.

From 17 May restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs can reopen for indoor dining, with two households permitted to mix indoors with the “rule of six” reintroduced.

Mr Bassi said they had used the lockdown periods positively, using the time to revamp and refurbish their restaurants and also take a look at their food and drink offerings.

Ashas, named after the legendary Indian singing star Asha Bhosle, is a celebrity hotspot where the Rolling Stones celebrated Ronnie Wood’s birthday and other celebrity guests have included leading chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Paul Rankin and James Martin, and a host of Indian, Bollywood and sporting stars from around the world, including boxer Amir Khan, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Anil Kapoor, and many Premier League footballers, international cricketers and pop stars.

“The Asha’s Experience, our signature presentation at our Asha’s restaurants, is now an even more opulent night out, with a more varied range of dishes and number of courses available in this superb tasting menu.

Zen Metro has won major plaudits every year since it opened and was crowned Lux’s Best Thai Restaurant Birmingham in 2019, won the Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Best Oriental Restaurant 2018 (finalist in 2019) and is rated one of the best Thai restaurants in Birmingham by Three Best Rated website.

You can make your own reservation by visiting www.zenmetro.co.uk or calling 0121 200 1911, or for ashasbirmingham.co.uk on 0121 200 2767, or www.zenmetro.co.uk on 0121 200 2767.

Ends (446 words)

For more information, please contact:

Paul Bassi, Chairman,

Zen Metro

Asha’s
12-22 Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 3LX

0121 200 2767

www.ashasbirmingham.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/AshasBirmingham

https://twitter.com/Ashas_UK

https://www.instagram.com/ashasuk/

https://www.youtube.com/user/WAFIRestaurants

 

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01608 651203, or mobile 07990 978257.

Thursfields advises DRPG as the Worcestershire communications agency sets its sights on US market

The corporate and employment teams at Thursfields Solicitors have advised Worcestershire-based creative communications agency DRPG on its latest acquisition.

DRPG has bought London-based screen content agency A-Vision which provides film and video, production and digital services to clients including Apartments.com, CoStar Group and Avaya.

Gareth Burge, director and head of corporate at Thursfields, said: “This is a key strategic acquisition for DRPG. With a team of ten people, and 80% of A-Vision’s business in the USA, this will complement the opening of DPRG’s new offices on the East Coast later this year.”

Thursfields’ team included Mr Burge and solicitor Joe Rollins from the corporate team, with Helena Morrisey, director of employment and HR law, advising on employment issues. The A-Vision deal, for an undisclosed sum, is the latest in a series of acquisitions Thursfields has advised on for DRPG.

Dale Parmenter, group CEO of DRPG, said: “Over the last 12 months we have seen massive investment and change across the group.

“This latest acquisition comes at an  extremely exciting time for DRPG. A-vision is a well-established, innovative agency, and has achieved success across the globe with its work. We are very much looking forward to welcoming them into our team and working together.”

Andrew Smith, creative director at A-Vision, said: “We already had a great working relationship and mutual respect with Dale Parmenter.

“Joining DRPG will expand opportunities for A-Vision, DRPG and the brands with whom we both work.”

David Price and Mark Squibb of accountants Price Pearson advised DRPG on tax and accounting issues.

Ends (255 words)

For further information, please contact:

Dani James, Business Development Manager, Thursfields Solicitors

Email: djames@thursfields.co.uk

Tel: 01905 677066

Or

Andy Skinner at ASAP PR – 01608 651203, mobile 07990 978257.

www.thursfields.co.uk, Twitter – @Thursfields, LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors

Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms, with more than 140 staff in five offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands. Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Solihull and Birmingham.

Thursfields joins top membership group at Black Country Chamber

One of the region’s leading law firms has joined The Platinum Group at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce as it continues to grow in the region.

Thursfields Solicitors’ upgraded membership will give it the opportunity to increase networking at a senior level and to lobby key decision makers.

The Platinum Group also shares knowledge with like-minded business leaders and works collectively to promote the region and tackle its challenges.

Nick O’Hara, chairman of Thursfields, said: “We have been a loyal member of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce for many years, and so becoming a member of The Platinum Group was the next logical step for us.

“We are looking forward to the great opportunities this will give Thursfields to have even more access to the region’s leaders, helping them to follow strategies and make decisions that will benefit the entire business sector.

“The Platinum status will also enable us to share our expertise and experiences with fellow members by hosting events such as free legal webinars, and we will also be keen to learn from our peers in businesses in other sectors.”

Gail Arnold, head of The Platinum Group at Black Country Chamber, said: “We are delighted to have the chance to work even more closely with Thursfields, gaining the benefit of their expertise and offering them input and insight through senior networking across the Black Country.”

Ends (229 words)

For further information, please contact:

Dani James, Business Development Manager, Thursfields Solicitors

Email: djames@thursfields.co.uk Tel: 01905 677066

Or

ASAP PR – 01608 651203, or 07990 978257.

www.thursfields.co.uk

Twitter – @Thursfields

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors

Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and most reputable law firms, with more than 140 staff in five offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands. The firm provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. Thursfields has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Solihull and Birmingham.

Midlands training group wins £1m+ contracts to deliver 400 traineeship places

More than 400 young adults will be found traineeships in various industries across the Midlands thanks to £1 million-plus of government contracts won by the region’s leading training group.

The BCTG Group has received the funding through two of its subsidiary companies, with £710,000 won by BCTG Ltd and another £300,000 going to PTP Training.

The investment from the government’s National Apprenticeship Service will support 400-plus traineeship places from 1 February to 31 July 2021, targeting unemployed aged between 19 to 24.

A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement and can last from six weeks up to a year, with the aim of getting young people into work.

Employers can claim £1,000 to cover the costs of providing the work placement, and currently up to another £3,000 if that trainee then becomes an apprentice.

Chris Luty, chief executive of Black Country-based BCTG, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the government on this substantial programme which aims to move young people into jobs quickly – usually within six to eight weeks.

“We will be recruiting for the traineeships in a range of sectors including construction, healthcare, digital and IT service, leather manufacturing, childcare, administration and logistics.”

Mr Luty said that each young person involved would be provided with skills training, vocational qualifications , English and maths and work experience to get them ready for an apprenticeship or job if they don’t have the appropriate skills or experience.

To do this safely, BCTG will be currently providing the training online, building up to the work experience.

He said the traineeships project was one of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s big initiatives for his recovery plan, with the aim of finding each trainee an apprenticeship or job.

Mr Luty, whose BCTG group supports the training of almost 10,000 young people and adults each year, added: “We take the safety of our trainees very seriously, so we vet all employers in advance to check their COVID-19 safety measures.”

Young people can find out about the scheme here www.bctg.org.uk/individuals/traineeships-/, and interested employers should visit http://www.bctg.org.uk/employers/traineeships-/.

For more information, email traineeships@bctg.org.uk or call 0121 544 6455.

Ends (352 words)

For further information, please contact: 

Chris Luty, Chief Executive Officer,

BCTG Group, European Business Park, Taylors Lane, Oldbury, B69 2BN. Tel: 0121 544 6455

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner at ASAP PR – 01608 651203, mobile 07990 978257

Note to editors:

BCTG Group is a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and also includes Performance Through People (PTP Training), The Apprenticeship Works, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions and Further Training.

Overall, the group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds. These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management and team leading.