HE Bites

HE Bites


A round up of bites from in and around the world of graduate and early-years talent.

125% increase in female mechanics leads to nationwide call for female apprentices

A site connecting car garages and repair centres with drivers has released internal data, which shows a 125% increase in the number of females working as mechanics since 2011.

WhoCanFixMyCar.com asked its garage network if they employed any women as mechanics, and if so how many. Almost a tenth (9%) of the garages and repair centres answered that they employ a female mechanic, compared to just under 4% in 2011. 93% of garages surveyed indicated a positive impact from their female mechanic team, demonstrating the value of female mechanics.

In response to the survey results, WhoCanFixMyCar.com has launched an awareness scheme for young girls and women, by working with its network of 11,000 garages to find them training and employment opportunities.

Make volunteering part of student life

A charity is calling for those intending to continue with their education to consider giving the gift of voluntary service while they study.

National volunteering organisation, Royal Voluntary Service is keen to welcome more students into its own volunteer family, but also wants to encourage young people to think about making volunteering, more generally, a part of student life.

In particular, Royal Voluntary Service wants to inspire more students to volunteer to support the NHS and help relieve some of the pressure it faces.  The organisation believes volunteers can play a vital role in the NHS - improving patient experience and allowing staff more time to care.

Positively, recent research conducted by YouGov for Royal Voluntary Service found a desire amongst students to do their bit for the NHS. Almost a third (32%) of full time students questioned in the poll said they would consider volunteering to support the NHS in the future.

Royal Voluntary Service volunteers support the NHS in a number of ways. This includes providing support and companionship on-ward to older patients; helping older people just out of hospital to settle back in to home life and serving patients, NHS staff and visitors in one of the charity’s many hospital shops, cafes and trolleys.   There are various roles available, offering flexibility to work with the student’s timetable.

UK universities recognised for excellence in cyber security research

Three UK universities have been recognised as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR), highlighting the country is leading the way in cyber security skills.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) have identified the University of Kent, King’s College London, and Cardiff University as having first-rate research with scale and impact.

The universities will now join 14 other institutions in a scheme forming part of the Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, which is making the UK the safest place to be online and helping to support the country’s thriving digital economy.

The universities will now have the opportunity to bid for funding to develop cutting-edge research in cyber security, including at Doctoral level, as well as attend annual conferences and workshops.

The scheme aims to create a better understanding of the strength of the UK’s academic capability in cyber security and identify areas where there are research opportunities or technical gaps. It makes collaboration between academia, business and government easier, and helps make sure cutting-edge research is turned into practical products and services. This includes developing tools to tackle mass marketing fraud online and better understand cyber criminals.

Hermes launches 'Warehouse to Wheels' national apprentice programme

Hermes UK, the consumer delivery specialist, has launched a nationwide apprentice programme designed to provide new opportunities for its employees whilst helping to address the country’s driver shortage. Warehouse to Wheels is a 12-month programme which enables existing staff members to undertake their LGV training and progress to join the company’s driver team.

The company has enrolled 69 people for year one of the initiative, with an average age of 29 years old. Training will take place during working hours with ‘graduation’ in Autumn 2019, in time for their peak season. The programme has been launched across the entire Hermes depot network with individual roll out plans agreed with each depot.

Jill Maples, HR Director at Hermes UK, said: “We, like everyone else in the sector, are aware of the challenges of recruiting LGV drivers and therefore are planning for our future. This initiative not only enables us to provide a fantastic new career opportunity for members of staff, but will also develop a team of drivers that we know will have received fantastic support and training. We wish all of our apprentices on the Warehouse to Wheels programme to the best of luck!”

Wincanton teams up with Eversheds Sutherland to offer BAME law students work placements

Wincanton, the largest British logistics provider, is working with Eversheds Sutherland to offer five Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) law students week-long work placements.

Wincanton and Eversheds Sutherland will help undergraduate university students and graduates get an insight into a career in law from a private practice and in-house perspective. This will run from 10-14 December 2018.

During the week, students will work with lawyers from both companies. This will give them first-hand experience of law work and allow them to find out what sort of tasks lawyers undertake daily.

Students will also be given an insight into what to expect during an assessment process and how to best showcase their abilities.

Gatehouse Bank invests in the future of UK Financial Services with launch of Gateway apprenticeship scheme

Gatehouse Bank has launched its first apprenticeship scheme, with six A level students taking the first step in their career in Financial Services and joining the Shariah-compliant challenger bank.

The ‘Gateway’ Apprenticeship Scheme was jointly developed by Gatehouse Bank and early careers specialists, Visionpath, with aspirations to open up a world of opportunities in ethical finance for A-level qualified young people.

The new arrivals join the Bank following a four-month selection process which involved the Bank holding engagement sessions in schools, assessments and Gatehouse Bank staff providing one-to-one mentoring sessions over a five week period to ensure potential apprentices gained a greater understanding of the career opportunities in Banking.

The apprenticeships will last up to 18 months with the six apprentices joining various departments across the Bank including, Treasury, Risk, Specialist Finance and Marketing & Communications.

Bentley recruits future generation of experts

Bentley Motors has welcomed its new intake of apprentices, undergraduates and graduates to its 4,000-strong workforce as the company prepares to celebrate its centenary year.

The 83 new recruits cover commercial areas such as Sales and Marketing, Communications, People and Digital, Finance and Purchasing, as well as the traditional Engineering and Manufacturing departments.

Commenting on Bentley’s Future Talent, Dr. Astrid Fontaine, Member of the Board for People, Digitalisation and IT at Bentley Motors, said: “As we reflect and celebrate the significant achievements of this company over the past 100 years, it is more important than ever to look ahead and prepare for the next chapter. This starts with recruiting the next generation, our experts of tomorrow, who we welcome and join an already highly-skilled, motivated and passionate workforce.”

Out of the 83 new recruits, 40 apprentices start training at the company’s headquarters in Crewe, bringing the current number of apprentices to almost 140.

Half of the apprentice intake will follow a three or three and a half-year Advanced Apprenticeship programme while the rest will study for a Higher or Degree Level Apprenticeship. This includes three former students of the Crewe Engineering and Design University Technical College (UTC), of which Bentley is a supporting partner.

Twelve graduates will follow a two-year development programme which will see them working on key business projects that will serve as starting blocks for successful business and engineering careers.

The undergraduate scheme, with 31 new recruits, offers a 12-month development programme focused on degree students looking to complete a year out as part of their studies.

Government support to boost skills and prosperity

The government has announced a package of measures to support business to boost skills, growth and prosperity in the new economy.

The Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged government support for apprenticeships, adult training, to boost management skills in small businesses, and to ensure the UK’s world-class regulatory system is fit for the future.


The Chancellor announced a package of reforms and £95 million increase to the Apprenticeship Levy to ensure it continues to help business train people with the skills they need for the new economy.

Management skills for small firms

The government’s recent productivity review found the UK’s thriving small business community is facing a management skills challenge. To address this, the Chancellor announced £20 million will be invested in networks to enable small businesses to learn from each other and from world-leading firms. Over 100 mentors from companies, such as GSK, Amazon, KPMG and Siemens, have already signed up to offer their management expertise.

He said a further £11 million will pay for a training programme that will build the necessary management skills lacking in many SMEs. This will help 2,000 businesses in its first year, with an ambition to train 10,000 people per year by 2025.

Adult skills/National retraining scheme

The government wants to work with employers to give every worker the opportunity to upskill or retrain for the new economy. The Chancellor pledged £100 million for the first phase of the National Retraining Scheme, announced in the last Budget, which will be rolled out next year.

He said this will include a new careers guidance service with expert advice to help people identify work opportunities in their area and what they need to do to get the skills to land the job. This will be backed up with state-of-the-art courses combining online learning with traditional classroom teaching to help people develop the key transferable skills for jobs of the future.

Independent review into utilities regulators

The UK has a world-class regulatory system which protects the interests of consumers. But it needs to be fit to respond to the challenges of the future to remain cutting-edge. Therefore the Chancellor announced he will commission the National Infrastructure Commission to carry out an independent study of the telecoms, energy and water regulators. This will ensure they have the ability to encourage investment, promote competition and innovation and meet the needs of consumers in the 21st-century.

Midlands Engine

The Chancellor also announced £2 million for the Midlands Engine Partnership to support a study into how best to redevelop the area around Toton in the East Midlands, to ensure it maximises the growth opportunities offered by HS2.

Allianz welcomes 32 new graduates to the business

Allianz has welcomed 32 graduates onto its graduate programme. They recently shared an intensive induction week with presentations from CEO, Jon Dye, and members of the management board.

Enrolled across six schemes (Actuarial, Underwriting, Finance, IT, Claims and Management Trainee) the graduates will gain extensive exposure to the business and wide-ranging career skills.

Alongside their rotation of business areas each graduate will also study for a relevant professional qualification such as CII, CIMA, ACCA and FIA. They will also receive support and training in core professional skills.

Allianz’s graduate talent manager, Jules Harrison commented: “The experiences our graduates will gain over the next two years will be invaluable for their future careers and we will support them every step of the way. We’re really proud of our scheme and recognise the huge importance of investing in talent; it’s also really pleasing that some of our summer interns have returned as graduates this year. We wish all the new graduates the best of luck to as they begin their placements.”

Pitting universities against colleges won’t deliver skilled workforce

According to a new report – Routes to high-level skills – published by Universities UK, policymakers should look to build on existing partnerships to give more students the skills they and employers need.

A series of case studies in the report show how colleges and universities are already sharing funding, resources, and staff expertise.

While universities and further education colleges will continue to offer distinct courses and skills training, the need for closer working between them and local employers will become increasingly important as demand for people of all ages with higher level skills continues to grow, particularly at Levels 4 and 5 (foundation degree, higher national diploma, and higher national certificate).   

Standard's Ladder for London campaign inspires nationwide apprenticeships scheme

Award-winning Evening Standard campaign Ladder for London, which ­created more than 1,500 apprenticeships, has inspired an initiative that is to go nationwide. 

Ladder for England was launched in the House of Commons by Robert Halfon MP, chairman of the Education Select Committee.

It will be run by the Ladder Apprenticeship Foundation with the aim of fostering apprenticeship campaigns in regional newspapers to inspire the creation of 10,000 new jobs and address issues of social mobility.

The nationwide Ladder will be jointly led by Kevin Davis, CEO of The Vine Trust Walsall, and Eddie Stride, CEO of TransformUK. 

Mr Stride said: “Ladder for England is inspired by the Standard’s 2012 campaign. Having more newspapers like the Evening Standard will help bring about the transformation needed for young unemployed people at this time.”

“The Standard’s initiative involved more than 400 London enterprises, including top City firms such as Goldman Sachs, who had never taken apprentices before. 

“We initially partnered with apprentice trainer City Gateway, then headed by Mr Stride, and later expanded our campaign to include Peabody and a consortium of London colleges headed by Hackney College.” 

The Duke of York became its patron, calling it “an invaluable initiative that had caught the capital’s imagination”, and he has been part of the impetus to take the scheme countrywide.

Ladder for London was also used as the blueprint for the creation of similar “Ladder for” initiatives in Staffordshire, Shropshire and the Midlands. Almost 85 per cent of the apprenticeships we created were for white-collar jobs, while the rest were in the construction sector.

The scheme helped to transform the lives of young people in the face of what was then a 25 per cent youth jobless rate, the highest in a generation. Many of the firms we supplied, such as Standard Chartered and PricewaterhouseCoopers, decided to go in for more apprentices the following year. 

St Mary’s Announces the end of Unconditional Offers

St Mary’s University in Twickenham has decided not to make any unconditional offers to prospective students for the 2018/19 recruitment cycle following a review of the available data.

The decision follows a thorough review of the conversion rate evidence put forward to the St Mary’s University Senior Management Team for 2017/18. 

The conversion rate evidence proved that there was little or no difference to that of non-unconditional offer holders. Further evidence showed that rather than enhancing the St Mary's mean entry tariff that the unconditional offers results could be detrimental to it.

John Brewer, Pro Vice-Chancellor for St Mary’s University said “We believe that we’ve made the right decision to withdraw unconditional offers. We are determined to maintain standards of entry to St Mary’s and by listening to the views of schools, teachers, our own staff and students we believe that with the evidence that has been available to us that we’ve made the right decision.

“It was clear to us that a number of students who enrolled with us after an unconditional offer was made didn’t meet the grades they expected and this didn’t merit the investment we made into that particular part of our recruitment programme.

“St Mary’s University is enjoying a number of excellent results from independently recognised national University surveys and last month the Sunday Times reported that we had risen to 77th in the rankings. The 2018 National Student Survey released earlier this year showed that St Mary’s was rated as the number one University in London for ‘student satisfaction’ so while we are focussed on enhancing those results still further we believe we are making the right decision regarding unconditional offers and that we have a strong platform from which to do so.      

“We’re currently looking at other options relating to offers structure and once this review has been completed the recommendations will be absorbed into our recruitment strategy going forward a part of our on-going review.”


Monday, 5 November 2018

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