YMCA Training, the Apprenticeship Levy and helping people of all ages get the most out of Further Education

Introduction to YMCA Training 

YMCA Training was set up in 1978 to provide work based training and employment opportunities. Since then, we have grown into one of the largest voluntary sector training providers in the country, working with approximately 10,000 learners each year as well as a large variety of businesses, small and large, across many different sectors.

We have committed and qualified tutors who are truly passionate about the teaching they provide, and who support the delivery of a broad range of training that extends from nearly-NEET entry level programmes to advanced apprenticeships. Our 10 community based locations are spread across the country and we even have a mobile workforce capable of delivering on employer premises or in pop-up classrooms where necessary.

In addition to being part of Central YMCA, which was the worlds very first YMCA, we are also part of the global YMCA movement, which has in excess of 45 million members from over 120 countries. We therefore always strive to embody our charitable values and principles by doing all we can to help people live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives.

No one tries harder for customers

Inspiring people to develop their skills and unique qualities remains at the heart of what we do and our provision has been consistently developed. As a result of our dedication to the learners in our care and as a result of our efforts to work closely with employers, we are recognised by OFSTED as a Good (grade 2) provider. In all our work we aim to:

  • Deliver inclusive and inspirational programmes that provide high achievement levels and satisfaction and which equip individuals for long-term success in their chosen careers.
  • Help employers to succession plan by developing their talent pool and to keep talented individuals engaged through an alignment with the values of their organisation.
  • Deliver high quality services flexibly, effectively and efficiently to meet the needs of learners and employers whilst offering value for money.

Offering Employers our support

The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and the funding reforms of the last few years represent a significant opportunity for employers to upskill, recruit and enhance their workforce. As of yet however, many have struggled to capitalise on the opportunities available.

Employers, both Levy and non-Levy payers, were not prepared for the impact the reforms had on their internal training processes and many appear to have an insufficient understanding of how to navigate apprenticeship support and funding services. To date, almost 45% of Levy paying employers have still not accessed their digital apprenticeship account, even though they have been paying into it for almost 7 months and risk losing this money if not spent within two years.

YMCA Training have significant knowledge of the funding and apprenticeship reforms, being both a levy payer and training provider delivering new apprenticeship standards. The development of our internal processes has enabled us to learn and be in a position to advise other organisations on the economical use of Levy and non-Levy contributions to support apprenticeships.

In response to the continuing expansion of the Further Education sector and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, we have developed an employer support programme that includes:

  • Using our experience to support Employers to develop long term training plans against business and staff development needs whilst providing financial (levy and/or co-financing) illustrations enabling employers to understand and gain confidence in the new funding systems
  • Tailoring apprenticeship programmes, both content and delivery, to bespoke employer business needs and operational requirements
  • Implementing Training Academies for employers, enabling bespoke materials and assessment, representing greater value for their investment.

In addition to Landscaping and Horticulture provision, we provide training that extends across a large number of other sectors.

Our current portfolio covers the following sectors:

  • Landscaping and Horticulture Operative
  • Grounds Maintenance and Sports Turf Operative
  • Golf Greenkeeper
  • Business Administration
  • Customer Service
  • Supply Chain Warehousing Operator
  • Team Leading
  • Operations Management
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Exercise and Fitness/ Personal Training
  • Leisure Operations
  • Children’s Fitness
  • Leisure Management
  • Health and Social Care
  • Health Support Services
  • Children and Young People’s Workforce
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

Learner Recruitment

YMCA Training is highly adept at apprenticeship recruitment. A team of in house recruiters manage our nationwide portfolio of vacancies working closely with employers to ensure the Apprenticeship   opportunities match the business requirements.

Recruitment support options  

  • Our recruitment team can work directly with our employers to produce high quality and attractive adverts
  • We can advertise on our portal, through social media, our local network of centres and other local agencies, these include our extensive partnership network
  • We are able to manage the time-consuming selection process and our in house Business Development Advisors can work closely with HR and local managers to ensure our selection criteria achieves the recruitment vision and values
  • We work to timeframes and interview dates, co-ordinating between interviewees and managers. Full eligibility checks can be conducted at this stage
  • We provide feedback to all candidates
  • We place the successful apprentice and provide ongoing contact whilst they are being inducted into your organisation.

In recognising the importance of promoting apprenticeships as a career pathway of choice, YMCA Training has invested heavily in ymcatraining.org.uk, a web portal and back office recruitment team, directly line managed by the Business Development Executives. This YMCA site resizes for multiple devices and is a major resource for apprenticeship, training and employment seekers, and although it is likely that the YMCA brand will particularly attract young people it is of course open to, and accessible for, all. We have the ability to create bespoke landing pages for employers adding value to their recruitment campaigns, whilst supporting the concept of internal training academies.

Our approach – Innovation

We have learned that to create and sustain successful results, adopting and embedding the apprenticeship programme must be made as compelling and simple as possible for managers whose responsibilities are significant and wide ranging. A range of options and techniques to profile and launch the training programme to staff can be developed and implemented, these can include:

  • Employer branding the apprenticeship programme
  • A launch and roadshow promoting the benefits, with information on the facts and a staff Q&A session
  • Online community for learner /tutor webinars and experience sharing
  • Providing promotional content for in-house communications
  • Garnering senior management endorsement and encouragement
  • Apprenticeship specific promotions and competitions e.g.
    • Awards to celebrate achievement and excellence
    • Star system as a public way to recognise progression
    • Shared league tables of performance and progression

To support managers and staff YMCA Training can provide:

  • Apprenticeship information and FAQ packs for managers
  • Internal communications promotional material for staff areas
  • One point of contact for Information Advice and Guidance for managers
  • Local level management information and reporting
  • Create a monthly report to share good news, best practice, and shining stars, and to promote the project.

Simple key messages based around the organisations key messages and values are embedded within the training programme that reinforce commitment to staff development by ensuring:

  • Worthwhile career development through apprenticeships
  • Formal, recognised skills training programmes for existing staff that lead to respected qualifications
  • Opportunities for personal and professional development supporting staff retention
  • Pride and fulfilment through progress and achievement

As a not-for-profit charity, it is our aim above all to help as many people, businesses and communities as possible access apprenticeship provision so that we are all able to realise our potential and succeed.

If you would like to discuss our work in greater detail, or if you are interested in our apprenticeship provision, please contact Sallyann Smith, Business Development Executive for YMCA Training on 07341072519, or alternatively email Sallyann.smith@ymca.co.uk