Welwyn-based Grounds Maintenance company John O’Conner has been selected as a national finalist in the National Apprenticeship Awards Large Employer of the Year category. This follows on from their recent regional award as Large Employer of the Year for the East of England. John O’Conner continues to invest in apprenticeships. In 2016, the company increased the pay rates of their apprentices. Their apprentices also benefit from additional training such as Royal Horticultural Society-hosted master-classes where they receive privileged insight into centuries-old traditional practices combined with modern-day techniques from experienced Park Rangers (former 1950’s apprentices themselves). We are a nation of gardeners.Continue reading
Category: Apprenticeships and Training
There has been lots written in the press about the new apprenticeship levy, that is being introduced in April 2017. I believe it will change how we view and run apprenticeships beyond recognition. There will certainly be an increase of cash in the system. In the Horticultural Industry our new trailblazer standard has been approved and is now ready to be used as the framework for training operatives and supervisors. The whole principle of the trailblazers are to have good quality apprenticeship programmes that are employer led. If the reforms work as expected the whole process should be very straightforward from start to finish and this should have an impact on the skills gap.Continue reading
Huge congratulations to Neil Cain, our Operations Director who was last night named the City & Guilds Apprentice Champion of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards at an exclusive ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House. This was one of the most coveted awards and Neil fought off competition from hundreds of other apprentices around England to be awarded the top prize.
The Awards, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.
Neil was chosen as the winner in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to apprenticeships since starting as one in 1980 in the Sunderland Parks Department.Continue reading
As part of National Apprentice week I was delighted to attend the ‘Made by Apprentices’ event held at the House of Commons today (10/3/2015), I was joined by Jack Peters one of our Horticultural Apprentices. The event was for SME’s to showcase what apprentices can achieve and how they can help businesses flourish. Both Andrew Jones MP & Apprenticeship Ambassador in Parliament and Skills Minster Nick Boles both took time to speak to Jack and learn more about his story with John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance. During the afternoon event both myself and Jack were able to speak to business yet to get on board with apprenticeships and hopefully we have convinced them of the many benefits;Continue reading
Really pleased to see that apprenticeships are back on the political agenda and gaining widespread news coverage. Labour are stating that if elected they will guarantee apprenticeship places for every school leaver that ‘gets the grade’ by 2020. The conservative response from Rt Hon Grant Shapps was to state that under the current government apprenticeships have doubled and if re-elected they will put three million people into apprentice places. So the clear winner is the apprenticeship programme, it will continue to get government support and has good will from both sides of the political spectrum.
At John O’Conner we will continue to invest in our apprenticeship programme and skills training.Continue reading
As we start to move into the Autumn our contract managers minds will have one eye on their winter training programme. At John O’Conner we have established a Training and Development Policy that actively encourages all staff to take a career focused approach to their employment and we are committed to helping our people realise their full potential through continual improvement and development. This commitment is evidenced through our Investors in People accreditation which was re awarded in the summer of 2014
As a ‘people focused’ business it is our pledge to:Actively encourage and support our people to gain the skills and qualifications required to meet the needs of our business and to support their future employability. Continue reading
Recently in my role as director for BALI I was asked to give a presentation at the grounds maintenance conference hosted by The Northern Housing Consortium. The conference was aimed at anyone in the housing sector who procures delivers grounds maintenance or GM services. The main purpose of the day was to consider how will the industry continue to deliver a quality service to customers under a back drop of the need to make efficiency savings. A question that does not have an easy answer.
BALI had been specifically requested to comment on the current trends, pressures and opportunities.Continue reading
We have been busy throughout the business this week engaging with National Apprenticeship Week organised by the National apprenticeship Service (NAS). This year the week has three main objectivesIncrease awareness, understanding and demand for Apprenticeships Celebrate Apprenticeship talent, skills, achievements and successes Promote all Apprenticeship levels and progression routes, including Traineeships
And the one overarching theme is “Great Apprenticeships”highlighting to employers that “Great Businesses” are made by apprentices highlighting to consumers (primarily young people and their parents) that Apprenticeships lead to “Great Prospects.”
As a company we have seen the success that comes with having a good quality apprenticeship programme and last year being highly commended in the regional awards was a real highlight.Continue reading
I’m really pleased to announce that I have agreed to become an Apprenticeship Ambassador for the Hertfordshire and South Cambridgeshire Ambassador Network.
This network has recently been set up to help spread the word about the value that apprentices can bring to organisations.
There’s a lot of research to suggest that one of the best ways to get new employers involved with apprenticeship schemes is for peer groups to spread the word. The avowed aims of the network are to:Champion apprenticeships to employers of all sizes, with the aim of increasing the number of apprenticeship opportunities offered across Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, Continue reading
I’ll keep saying it – apprenticeship schemes are just so important in our industry. This was brought home to me just a couple of weeks ago when The Royal Parks Guild, of which we are a member, invited us down the iconic Alexandra Palace and Gardens for a special 150 year anniversary celebration.
The building, constructed in 1873 as ‘The People’s Palace’, is surrounded by 196 acres of North London parkland, and offers fantastic views of the city. When you are there, soaking up its Victorian splendour, you’re instantly aware of just what a treasure this place is.
How lucky for me and our team of apprentices that we had the opportunity to play a small part in its ongoing story.Continue reading