Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Why functional skills are essential

What are functional skills?

Functional skills are an alternative way for those learners who did not gain their GSCE to obtain the UK standards for English, maths and ICT. Functional skills were developed by the UK Government as part of an initiative to improve the country’s literacy and mathematics standards.

Why are functional skills important to you?

There are a few reasons why functional skills will be important for you and it is not just because they are a requirement for your course.

  1. When applying for most jobs, the employer will ask for a “C” or equivalent in English or maths.
  2. Having functional skills may also be important in the later part of your career, people who do not have GCSEs/ functional skills may find it difficult to move to a different role.
  3. Confidence. The learners we work with normally come into these sessions with low confidence levels from school. It does not take long before they are feeling pleased with their progression.

What do you need to do to complete functional skills?

This depends on yourself; every learner may be different, and functional skills are designed to fit your needs. If you have already obtained a GCSE or equivalent, you may only need to do part of the functional skills requirement.
If you are required to attain the English qualification, you will need to complete a reading exam, a writing exam and a speaking and listening assessment. Maths and ICT have one exam each.

What are the first steps to completing the functional skills?

You will be asked to complete an initial assessment for English and maths. This is so that we can identify your strengths and weaknesses and design a functional skills session which suits your needs. It also gives us a starting point, if we don’t know where you are at present, we won’t know what you need to learn. During your next steps, your functional skills tutor will contact you to arrange sessions.

How long will learning functional skills take?

The timings may differ from one learner to another. However, your functional skills tutor will be able to give you a clearer picture once you have completed a session with them.

Mike Garrett from A&M Swindon has shared his experience of learning functional skills with us:

“To be honest, I hated maths and my English was not up to scratch, though I was more confident with English. I had no confidence in maths whatsoever. During my school days, we were never taught things like this. I have learned more in this course than I did at school. At school I felt that things were not explained in a way that I could understand, and there was no attempt to explain it in a way that was right for me. Don’t get me wrong, there were still things in the functional skills sessions that I did not get straight away, but they were explained in different ways until we found a way that works for me.
Now that I have completed and passed my functional skills, I am even more confident with English and my maths, to the point where I have the confidence to support my young nephew. There was no chance I would have put myself forward for this before these sessions.

Learner Success Story – Oliver Hume

Sixteen months ago, Oliver Hume began studying his Level 3 Assistant Accountant qualification with us. Prior to his learning journey, Oliver had never worked in an office or a role that required the professionalism of an Assistant Accountant.

Oliver’s first few weeks were a challenge as he had to adapt to a new way of working as well as presenting himself in a professional manner. In addition to this, for the most part the qualification consisted of work that was brand new to him. This required hard work and perseverance to be successful and learn new skills and apply them to his role. He has matured, become more responsible and even more determined to become a success in the future.

The development of Oliver’s skills in his workplace have been enhanced and supported by his studies. The content was often challenging, especially on new topics, but Oliver’s motivation and drive to become successful and progress has helped him to achieve a well deserved Distinction in both his qualification and apprenticeship. He has gone from being a young man mastering turning up to work on time, dressed appropriately, to a valued member of the accounting team at Gleeson Homes.

Since completing his qualification with Geason Training, Oliver has continued his accountancy studies and is due to begin a new role with his employer as a Trainee Assistant Management Accountant.

Oliver said:

My learning experience has been great which is reflected in my grade. Whenever I needed help or a further explanation my tutor was helpful and approachable. I have learned how to handle problems more maturely, consider options before reaching a conclusion and have become a better learner overall.

Upgrade Your Mind

Regardless of the industry you work in, one thing is certain, at some point during your working day, you will use a device that requires to be recharged or plugged in.  It could be a phone, a laptop, a Fitbit or an electric vehicle – the device is irrelevant, the important factor here is that they each have a built-in system which controls how they operate.

Our minds are a bit like devices, sometimes we can do it all in no time at all, sometimes we will suffer a glitch and cease to function for a few minutes, sometimes we will completely run out of charge and need a few hours to catch up on all the notifications we missed out on.

More importantly, we also need to update our systems from time to time. These upgrades enable our devices to tackle new and increasingly complex processes. Likewise, it would be great if our brains came equipped with automatic upgrades for all the skills and knowledge we require to do our jobs but that takes a bit of time and manual intervention to develop.

It can be easy to forget that whether formal or informal, assisted or self-taught, we have all undertaken training to lead us to where we are today.

At Geason Training we have many options for enhancing and updating your skillset with industry leading training courses. Whether you are an employee, sole trader or an employer, we can help equip you with the update that works best for you.

If you would like to discuss requirements for a particular course, please call us on 0330 088 9596 or email us at enquiries@geason.co.uk

Why invest in employee training and development

Henry Ford was credited with the quote “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”  

Regardless of where this quote originates, it highlights the importance of investing in the training and development of your company’s most vital assets – your employees. 

Investing in training can present your business with many advantages, here are just a few; 

  1. Gain a competitive advantage – Well trained employees can put regularly updated knowledge, skills and experience to use by responding to changes in the market, ensuring long term company success in the process.
  2. Increase employee productivity and performance – ensure that each member of your workforce is carrying out their role as productively and effectively as possible by enabling them to enhance their knowledge, develop new skills and grow with regular training in their chosen field.  Providing employees with the knowledge to feel confident and skilled in their roles with regular training and development will result in improved performance.
  3. Boost morale in the workplace – boost morale amongst your staff with training.  Staff will feel like they belong to an organisation who cares about their career journey and is enabling them to progress.  Regular training and development will result in a more confident and happier workforce.
  4. Fill vital skills gaps –address any weaknesses or skills gaps identified in regular reviews with training and development to create a workforce that is constantly evolving alongside the scope of their role.
  5. Enable creativity – Receiving regular and up to date training will empower your staff with new knowledge and skills.  With the confidence that comes with feeling competent in their role, new innovative and creative ideas and practices can flow.
  6. Increased Employee Loyalty and Decreased TurnoverWhen a company invests in employee training and development, employees feel valued and appreciated. This makes them more loyal, and the more loyal your employees are, the more likely they are to both stay and to refer skilled friends and colleagues to work at the company. Plus, loyal employees are more engaged and motivated and require less supervision. 

Give us a call on 0330 088 9596 or email us at enquiries@geason.co.uk to discuss how we can help you to set up a training plan that best suits the needs of your business.

Higher Apprenticeships in Highways

Geason Training have been selected as the training provider for Nottingham City Council apprentices Grant Tuxford, Mark Roe, Russell Whiting and Kieren Gilbert  who recently began their high apprenticeship journey.

Russell is studying towards a Level 4 Construction Site Supervision – Civil Engineering Pathway Operations. The course is designed for operatives who are working in or progressing to a Site Foreman role.

Kieren, Mark and Grant are studying towards a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Occupational Work Supervision. The course is designed for both new and experienced operatives who are working in or progressing into a Road Foreman role.

Their apprenticeship training is made up of five key elements: An NVQ at level 3, BTEC or GQA extended diploma along with functional skills training, employment rights and responsibilities and personal learning and thinking skills. The service will work alongside Geason Training to support the apprentices throughout the programme which should take approximately 18 months to complete.

The Apprenticeship Levy has been used to fund the training so there is no extra cost to the Service area. Colleagues must be working to an approved apprenticeship standard for at least 12 months with a commitment to 20% of their work time spent on off the job training.

Peter Wells, Infrastructure Asset Manager for Nottingham City Council said

 “I am really pleased that Kieren, Mark, Grant and Russell have now enrolled onto their courses with Geason Training. I see Higher apprenticeships like this as the next phase for the Service and the first group has a big role to play in changing the current view of apprenticeships. They are no longer restricted to young people and new recruits.”

My Learning Journey with Geason Training

We love having opportunities to celebrate the successes of our learners, so we were delighted when one of our learners Harriet Shaw completed her qualification and agreed to share the story of her learning journey with Geason Training.

Learner Success Story – Harriet Shaw

“I originally started my Digital Marketing training with another provider, but when that company ceased trading two weeks before my final assessment, I wasn’t sure what to do. Geason Training offered me a huge amount of support to help me pick up where I left off and get my course finished.

My whole experience with Geason Training was so smooth and super easy. Everything was explained to me in detail and the team are all so lovely and encouraging! I’d recommend Geason Training as a Training Provider because – even though I was only with them for a short time – I felt like my training was valued and the whole operation was well-organised and comfortable.

One of my biggest concerns when I started was that I was quite a bit older than the average Apprentice (at the ripe old age of 25!) but I quickly found that age is completely irrelevant as long as you’re working hard, so don’t let that put you off! Also, finding a great employer that’s invested in your development makes a massive difference, so make sure you’re working within a company that you feel a good connection to. I feel super lucky to have walked in to a role that is allowing me to develop alongside the business, plus I really believe in our brand and product which makes my job easier and far more enjoyable!

I’m currently looking after all of the Marketing for BEAR – a little independent business with huge growth plans – and I’m super excited to be playing a part in their expansion. If you’re thinking of starting an Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing, I’d definitely say go for it!

The Marketing world is huge and there are so many roads you can go down – an Apprenticeship is a great way to explore a variety of career paths before settling in to a role that suits you best. Geason Training is a good place to start – the team there will guide you through everything you need to know.”