Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Learning through lockdown: How Geason – A Speedy business, never stops

Lockdowns have shifted the priorities for many UK businesses but the pandemic should be no barrier to continuing your employees professional development. Companies still need to have the right skills in place to tackle this challenging period and make the most of the opportunities that will come as the economy recovers. And at the same time, employees, some of whom will be working remotely, need to stay motivated and continue with their career progression.

Training is fundamental to achieving this, from site-based roles like construction site supervision, plant, access and lifting training to back office functions in business administration, team leading and management, quantity surveying, or digital marketing. We have continued to deliver training courses safely and successfully throughout the pandemic using remote and online solutions. The only exception to remote delivery is for key workers, in which case the learner, employer and the Geason trainer can continue to deliver training in person, following strict social distancing measures.

Here we tell the story of Chloe Kite, a recruitment apprentice at Kent-based infrastructure delivery, civil engineering and multi-utilities contractor blu-3, who achieved a diploma in business administration during lockdown and a period of furlough.

The challenge – delivering an effective training programme through lockdown restrictions

blu-3 needed to continue its apprenticeships and staff training through the disruption caused by lockdown and furloughs, providing engaging and rewarding remote learning for colleagues in a range of roles. That required a training provider that could work flexibly to support learners as they worked towards nationally recognised qualifications, ensuring their professional development continued.

The solution – a bespoke remote learning solution

When Chloe joined blu-3 as an apprentice in the HR department, the business was keen for her to develop her skills quickly, so she could take on responsibilities around recruitment and staff training. A Business Admin Level 3 diploma was identified by blu-3 as a rapid route to achieving the skills she needed, and she was enrolled on the Geason course in August 2019. Despite lockdown restrictions commencing last March, and even during a period of furlough, Chloe was determined to continue her learning, with support from her dedicated trainers. Regular online meetings were held to review Chloe’s progress and her trainers were on hand to give feedback on her work, answer questions and provide support. And lockdown didn’t stop Geason’s final exams, which were conducted over a video call using in-house invigilators.

Success – training and support that delivers results

Chloe was an exceptional apprentice. After finishing the course with a distinction, she has now been promoted to Trainee HR Business Partner, armed with the knowledge and skills she needs in her current role and to progress her career. And Chloe has been so enthused by her success that she now plans to take a CIPD Level 5 Diploma in People Management.
She said:

“I was very driven to keep my apprenticeship going, despite the pandemic. There was some inevitable disruption when lockdown restrictions were first introduced, but I was well supported on the whole by my two trainers. I had online meetings with them where we would set progress targets, then they would come back to me with feedback on my work.
The course was a perfect fit for me. Now I have more opportunities to grow and progress onto higher-level courses.”

At Geason we are making every effort to ensure that the quality of the learning experience is not hindered by the current situation. For more information on the training courses and apprenticeships offered during lockdown, please visit Apprenticeships.

Opening times

Future proof your business by upskilling your staff while on furlough

Many businesses and their employees have been facing challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Government’s furlough scheme has been instrumental in helping to save jobs, but businesses can benefit even more from furlough.

Training Furloughed Employees

Training on furlough is allowed, employees who have been furloughed can continue to train or start a new programme as long as doing so does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their company or a linked or associated company.
Training can be hugely beneficial to both businesses and employees in preparing for an eventual return to work in a changed economy.

Apprentices

Apprentices can placed on furlough in the same way as any employees. They are able to continue their training remotely as far as is feasible during this time. Employers should liaise with the apprentice’s training provider to discuss whether e-learning is available.

Future proof your business through your employees

The long term future of businesses will continue to depend on anticipation and planning. By acting now, and deciding to upskill or reskill your employees to meet future requirements of your business will mean that you utilise the time that is available to staff on furlough. It also can help with employee engagement, retention, keeping the company culture alive, and improving business performance once they are back to work.

Grants, funding and incentives 

The good news is that there are plenty of grants and funding available at the moment to help businesses to cover the cost of training and development of their staff – whether it would be an apprenticeship, NVQ, or short duration course.
If you are looking to recruit new staff, it’s worth thinking about taking on an Apprentice. The Government will provide incentive payments to employers who recruit apprentices from 1 August 2020 through to 31 March 2021.

Age of apprenticeIncentive before Covid-19Total paid to the employer with the new incentive scheme
16-18£1000£3,000 (£1000 + £2000)
19-24N/A£2000
25+N/A£1,500

We are here to help

We provide advice and guidance not only on training and development programmes including skills training, NVQs and apprenticeships but regarding available funding and grants. We will make sure that we find training programmes that suit your business and will help to secure the funding for it too.

To find out more about how we can support you get in touch with us here and we will get back to you.

Building Working Relationships – Juniper

During National Apprenticeship week we were excited to welcome Juniper to our Derby Hub for taster sessions giving their learners an idea of what an apprenticeship journey would entail.

We were delighted to receive such great feedback from Juniper about the working relationship they have built with our Learner Engagement Team

Geason Training have supported our students over the past few months with various activities. They have conducted mock interviews, currently supporting a student with an administration work placement and arranged a taster day for our business administration students for national apprenticeships week. The team are extremely knowledgeable and have given our student fantastic IAG. The taster day consisted of a formal presentation with one of the tutors/assessor, discussing digital marketing and ICT apprenticeship. The tutor discussed in detail what their entry requirements are, how long the apprenticeship is for level 3 and level 4, how the students will be assessed and how this is measured and companies Geason are currently working with. The presentation was extremely informative. The tutor set the students a task using the Canva to create a leaflet that would attract potential apprentices with the information that was discussed with them in the presentation. The verbal feedback from the student after the event was extremely positive. This has had a positive effect on our student as it have help them understand expectation progressing into higher education. The taster day was professional and very well organised, we look forward to the next taster day. Lauren and Martin kindly offered one of my student with an administration work placement. Lauren and myself conducted a risk assessment prior to the student starting, this was to ensure the placement was suitable for the student and for the work taster day. We arranged a meeting with the student, myself, Lauren and Martin. This was to discuss her duties and responsibilities, times, days and how we will all be supporting the student throughout her placement. When the student start Lauren ensured a full induction was completed. We have weekly contact to discuss the students’ progress and attendance, the employer feedback has been consistent and the staff have made my job easier. Martin has plans for the student to help her further develop in the work placement, by supporting them with blogs and posting on their social media. The student’s feedback from her placement has been extremely positive, she is thoroughly enjoying it and feel safe and supported. The student would like to progress onto a Level 3 Digital Marketing apprenticeship and she feels this placement will give her the platform she needs to progress positively from Juniper. My overall experience with Geason has been outstanding and I am looking forward to continuing a positive working relationship with them.

Michaela Watters – Progression Co-ordinator

We have built a strong work relationship with Geason over the past year. Their approach and attitude to working with young people has always been very professional and nothing is too much trouble.
My first meeting with Lauren Beavis was very informative and she was keen to offer her support with our students undertaking mock interviews. Student feedback following mock interviews with Lauren and Aaron, was extremely positive. They felt that Lauren and Aaron were professional, friendly and both gave clear and detailed verbal feedback, as well as formative feedback by completing Juniper feedback forms. As a result of the time and care they invested in our learners, our students felt more confident to tackle future interviews  and they had a clear understanding of their strengths and the areas that they needed to develop. Lauren has offered her services to us many times and she was very proactive in setting up a Work Taster Day at Geason, as part of National Apprenticeship week. I attended this trip and it was well organised and all staff supported our Learners. Every student that attended the work taster are now aware of progression routes onto Geason Apprenticeships and they have a clear understanding of employer expectations.  

Natalie Cundy – Recruitment Officer

Top Tips for Working from Home

As the current situation continues to evolve, many workers and learners will now find themselves working from home.
For some, working from home is part of their usual or occasional routine, for others, it is an entirely new experience and one they may be unsure how to navigate.

Looking for a bit of advice on how to handle a change to the usual working routine?
Here are a few of our top tips.

Set up a dedicated working area

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a ‘home office’ or a spare room, but you do need to have a dedicated space where you can work.  It could be the dining table or the kitchen worktop, a fold away table or even the garden shed. 

Having a dedicated space to work from will help you to get into the mindset of ‘going to work’ and to develop a sense of routine.

Get Dressed

We get it, the temptation to work in our pyjamas is strong!
What you wear isn’t important, you can dress as you would for going into the office or place of learning or you can dress casually but getting dressed will help you to focus on working,

Develop a routine

It may sound silly, but developing a sense of routine really helps when you are working from home.
While you may not have to coordinate your lunch around your colleagues to the same extent, it will help to have a rough routine for when to plan to start, finish, take a break or stop for lunch.  

Remember to focus but also switch off

Distractions are everywhere – social media, streaming services, neighbours, the weather, but it’s essential to try and focus without letting too many of those distractions consume our time.

Overworking is so easy to do when working from home.  You can absolutely adapt your usual working schedule to work for you while working from home but try not to burnout by staying in the zone all day every day, it’s important to switch off too.

Be mindful of other people’s time

Manage their expectations and give them a realistic idea of when you may be able to pass on information or complete tasks.

Prioritise your tasks

Review your list each day and think realistically about what you can achieve. 
Mark which tasks are urgent, which are not quite as time-sensitive and what you are unable to achieve. 

If a task wouldn’t usually sit with you, but you have the time and skills to do it without deviating from your own role, that’s fine but if you think you may struggle, speak to your line manager who may be able to identify a solution.

Get creative with your to-do list

You may be happy with a pen and paper; you might thrive on phone or calendar reminders. 
You may be a visual person and prefer to work with a vision board. 

Feel free to get creative and work your list into a format that makes you feel inspired and ready to conquer the day ahead. 

Stay in touch

It can be easy to feel completely cut off from the outside world. 

Many workplaces have provisions in place, such as social media groups, instant messaging services, online hangouts to help staff keep in touch with others.  It’s essential to stay in touch with each other for morale, information and even our own mental health. 

For those not used to working from home or setting up a workstation, there is a great guide on the HSE website which has some great information on working practices: Working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Do you have any tips for working from home? Comment below and let us know!

National Apprenticeship Week

NAW2020

At Geason, we love having the opportunity to show our support for National Apprenticeship Week, celebrate the success of our learners and recognise the contribution from our trainers and clients.

This year was particularly exciting for us as our new regional hubs were able to take part, either by welcoming guests or by going out into the community to raise awareness of apprenticeships as a career path.

Our Learning Engagement team, which are divided between our hubs, were super busy throughout the week leading sessions in schools, attending career’s fairs and delivering employability talks in partnership with other organisations such as JobCentre Plus.

Our hubs opened their doors to existing learners, clients and partner organisations to deliver taster sessions, share information and to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our existing apprentices.

Our office staff were able to show their support by joining in the conversation online and pose for selfies with our supporters’ board.

One of our favourite things about National Apprenticeship Week is hearing directly from learners. 
We were so pleased we were able to share content where we could hear directly from our learners.

You can find a selection of our content from National Apprenticeship Week here

You can hear directly from some of our learners here