Activate Enterprise continues to change the perception of apprenticeships with top businesses

Activate Enterprise – the largest apprenticeship provider in the Thames Valley – this week (22 Saturday) took to the podium at one of the UK’s biggest business forums, promoting the benefits of introducing apprenticeships.

Pablo Lloyd – Chief Executive for Activate Enterprise – spoke at the Brittelstand Symposium, a forum set-up for leaders of medium-sized businesses, who have an annual turnover of more than £1million.

The event – hosted by Business United – was held at The Mansion House in Reading and also focussed on what support businesses need to perform in the coming years, followin
g this summer’s Brexit vote.

Whilst at the event, Pablo also emphasised to visitors how the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy – set to be launched in April next year – represents a great opportunity for businesses to invest in their organisation’s future through apprenticeships.

Pablo said: “It was fantastic to demonstrate to business leaders from across the UK the impact apprenticeships are – and increasingly will – have on businesses, helping to unearth young new talent.

“As business leaders – we know how valuable it is to recruit well and invest in future talent. Our clients use apprenticeships to build skilled and loyal teams, as opposed to having to worry about a regular turnover of staff and its associated cost.

“Apprenticeships are increasingly attractive to young, talented people. New apprentices bring new, innovative ideas. They may not have 25 years’ experience in a particular field of work – but they bring fresh ideas, which may otherwise be lost to competitors.”

Activate Enterprise apprentices take centre stage on BBC Berkshire

Two of Activate Enterprise’s success stories have told thousands of radio listeners just why they took an apprenticeship route, after completing their GCSEs.

Speaking on Anne Diamond’s mid-morning programme (15 September), apprentices Andrew Lovegrove and Joe Swain – who work at the Caversham-based infrastructure firm Peter Brett Associates – told BBC Berkshire how they felt signing-up to an apprenticeship has led to them enjoying “first-class” careers.

It comes at a time when Activate Enterprise is promoting well over 200 vacancies – in the Thames Valley region and beyond – across a variety of sectors such as catering and hospitality, health and social care, plus team leadership and management apprenticeships.

Both Andrew and Joe moved into their roles at Peter Brett Associates immediately after completing their GCSEs – with Andrew now set to complete a degree at Southampton Solent University, all sponsored by the organisation.

Mark Eighteen – Commercial Director at Activate Enterprise – told Anne Diamond: “Apprenticeships are increasingly attractive to young, talented people.

“By getting into employment, young people can progress within their chosen career much earlier, possibly earning a good salary earlier in life. Apprenticeships give young people a varied learning experience – matching work with study that is stimulating.

“Increasingly – we’re seeing large numbers of employers look at apprenticeships and many companies are talking to us about these programmes.

“By creating an apprenticeship, companies are providing a ‘direct line of sight’ to employment for young people.”

To listen to the interview, head to the following page. You can listened to the interview around one hour and eight minutes in.

To see Activate Enterprise’s latest vacancies, go to:


For more information, please contact Rob Panting – Group Marketing Business Partner – on: 01865 551 930 (please leave a message if unanswered), or email:

‘Speed dating’ event to find next generation of construction workers

Ahead of GCSE and A-Level result days, leading apprenticeship provider Activate Enterprise hopes its first-ever construction ‘speed dating’ event – matching employers with potential employees – will guide a number of young people onto the right career path.ThinkstockPhotos-177276493

The organisation – which helps to create over 1,000 apprenticeship vacancies a year – is on the hunt for the next generation of construction professionals at its Career in Construction Speed Dating event, taking place at Reading College next Wednesday (17 August).

As one of the UK’s fastest growing industries – with more than two million jobs being created in the UK during 2013 alone, and with figures continuing to rise – Activate Enterprise is hoping the event will encourage young people, interested in a construction apprenticeship, to come along and meet potential employers from across the Thames Valley.

Several of the region’s top construction companies will be at the event, offering a variety of apprenticeships to the right people.

Young people will get the chance to meet Activate Enterprise’s partner employers and – though based on a speed dating ‘back drop’ – they are being encouraged to bring an up-to-date CV and anything else they feel will help them to stand out from the crowd.

To sign-up to the event, click here.

New partnership to strengthen skills in the region

A new partnership, announced today (31 May), is to strengthen skills in engineering and professional services in the region.

ATG Training, which supports more than 400 apprentices each year, has announced that it will join Activate Learning.

ATG Training was formed in 1967 to provide young people with work and training opportunities, in partnership with engineering and manufacturing businesses. Today it continues to provide apprenticeships in engineering and business services and is also the UK’s leading provider of professional cycle mechanic training. It has bases in Aylesbury, Stafford and London.ATG Training 1

Jon Adams, Chief Executive Officer of ATG Training, will now also join the executive team at Activate Learning. He said: “We are delighted to announce that we are now part of Activate Learning. This move will enable ATG Training to broaden its offer to learners and employers and help us to reach more businesses than ever before.”

ATG’s specialisms in engineering will complement Activate Learning’s technology faculty, which includes the new Oxfordshire Centre for Technology, Innovation and Skills opening this September. This £8m facility, supported by the Local Enterprise Partnership, will provide a new home for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills development in the county.

Sally Dicketts, Group Chief Executive of Activate Learning, said: “ATG Training will be a valuable addition to our group. The company shares our ambition to improve the lives of local people through professional training, while meeting the skills needs of employers.

“ATG Training’s apprenticeship programmes will further expand the scope of our existing apprenticeship delivery via Activate Enterprise, which is already the largest provider in the Thames Valley. Together we can best identify skills needs in the region and develop the training that enables individuals and businesses to grow.”

Activate Learning comprises three further education colleges and apprenticeship and consultancy company, Activate Enterprise. The group is the lead sponsor for four schools – UTC Reading, UTC Oxfordshire, The Bicester School and Bicester Technology Studio, which opens in September.

Apprentice grows his career with award-winning garden designers

A former green keeper is taking his career in a new direction as an apprentice with an award-winning landscape and garden design business.

Apprentice Jackson Gardner is the third apprentice to join the team at J&S Scapes, which specialises in landscaping and design projects for private clients.Apprentice

The Whitchurch-based company, which has won awards at Chelsea, Grand Designs Live and the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), designs and delivers schemes ranging from small town gardens to large country estates.

Jackson, the newest member of the team, is now learning on the job under the guidance of Managing Director, Jeremy Pugh, while studying one day a week at Berkshire College of Agriculture on an apprenticeship delivered by Activate Enterprise.

The 20-year-old said: “I had been working as a green keeper at a golf course since leaving school and was keen to progress, but there just didn’t seem to be the opportunities. I had an interest in horticulture and design, so when I saw this apprenticeship I was keen to go for it.

“While an apprenticeship is an entry level job, you know that the work you are putting in to gain relevant qualifications will pay off in the longer term. I knew that this was the time to invest in my career.

“I am really enjoying the work at J&S Scapes. I get real satisfaction from seeing a space transformed and it is inspiring to work with the team and learn from them. Meanwhile I am developing an understanding of the theory behind the practical aspects of the job at college. I am looking forward to building my career with the company, under the guidance of Jeremy.”

Jackson is completing a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Horticulture with a particular focus on landscaping.

Jeremy said: “Jackson has only been with us for a short while but is bringing a real enthusiasm and has a great attitude. We have found that apprenticeships can be a good route when it comes to recruiting new talent, particularly for those like Jackson who have spent time deciding what they want to do as a future career and need the opportunities to get started.

“The Level 3 apprenticeship develops supervisory as well as technical skills, which means it helps to build the capacity of our business as we plan for the future. Teamwork is an essential part of any business, and apprenticeships add a new dynamic by combining fresh ideas and approaches with existing skills and expertise.”

Centre of automotive excellence becomes new home of industry training

A trailblazing scheme to train the next generation of historic vehicle restorers is to move to the UK’s first business park dedicated to the historic motoring industry.BH photo for web

Activate Enterprise and Banbury and Bicester College became the first providers to launch an apprenticeship and full-time course in historic vehicle restoration in September 2014.

BH photo for webThis summer the programmes will move from the college’s Bicester campus to Bicester Heritage, a centre dedicated to the restoration, storage and enjoyment of vintage and classic cars, motorcycles and aeroplanes.

It means that apprentices and full-time students will learn at the RAF’s former Engine Test House, located within the UK’s best preserved World War 2 bomber training station, surrounded by employers and other specialists from the industry.

Pablo Lloyd, Chief Executive of Activate Enterprise, said: “The historic vehicle apprenticeship was launched to develop the talent required to safeguard the future of this important and high value sector.

“The opportunity to locate our training programmes within the UK’s specialist centre for the classic vehicle industry is extremely exciting.

“Our aim is to offer apprentices and students a direct line of sight to employment. This move will offer them an unrivalled learning experience, surrounded by industry enthusiasts and expertise, and the chance to build vital links with employers.”

Daniel Geoghegan, Managing Director of Bicester Heritage, added: “Bicester Heritage is focused on the future of our past and, as such, skills transfer is a major pillar of our strategy. We are also delighted to see the Engine Test House, built in 1926, return to life so appropriately.”

The historic vehicle restoration apprenticeship was launched by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC), following research which identified a future skills gap in the industry.

The UK market for vehicle renovation in the UK is estimated at £4.3bn per annum and employs around 22,000 people. But with nearly half of these aged 45 and over, businesses are expected to need up to 150 apprentices every year for the next five years to protect the future of the industry.

Commenting on this announcement, FBHVC Chairman, David Whale said, “The instant success of the course at Banbury and Bicester College meant that it very quickly outgrew the existing premises at the Bicester campus.

“The fact that ideal facilities, in absolutely the most appropriate environment, existed so close at Bicester Heritage was too good an opportunity to miss. It means that the students will develop their knowledge and skills surrounded by the very craftsmen they aspire to succeed.”

Awards presented to Employer and Apprentice of the Year

The winners of the Employer and Apprentice of the Year Awards, Teresa Walsh and Oluwaseun Alabi, were presented with their awards at a special ceremony today.

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Employer and Apprentice of the Year Award winners announced

Activate Enterprise is pleased to announce the Employer and Apprentice of the Year Award winners, Teresa Walsh and Oluwaseun Alabi.

Read More

Activate Enterprise wins provider of the year award

Activate Enterprise has been named among the leading apprenticeship providers in the UK.

The company won bronze in the large apprenticeship provider category of the Apprenticeships 4 England awards.Apprenticeships for England win

The awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the achievements of training providers who have excelled in developing apprenticeship programmes in England.

Pablo Lloyd, chief executive of Activate Enterprise, said: “We are delighted with this award which recognises the strength and uniqueness of our approach. Our vision is to combine educational integrity with commercial agility to offer the best possible training solutions for individuals and businesses.

“This has been recognised, not only by our clients, but by the award judges who saw fit to make this award.

“To be shortlisted for these awards among the best apprenticeship providers in the country, within the first two years of operation, is a humbling endorsement of our approach.”

Activate Enterprise is the apprenticeship delivery partner for City of Oxford College, Banbury and Bicester College, Reading College and Berkshire College of Agriculture. It also delivers apprenticeship programmes to meet specific business needs, including a leadership and management apprenticeship for Miele and a civil engineering apprenticeship for Peter Brett Associates.

In summer 2014, it became one of only two providers in the country to launch an apprenticeship in classic vehicle restoration in partnership with Banbury and Bicester College. This programme has been shortlisted for a further national award, in the apprenticeship programme of the year category at the TES FE Awards 2016.

Activate Enterprise teams work across business sectors including technology, engineering childcare, healthcare, hospitality, animal care and construction.

The winners of the Apprenticeships 4 England Awards were announced at a ceremony at the Emirates Stadium in London on 25 February.

What is the difference between management and leadership?

Does it really matter, or is it just semantics?

You cannot hope to lead or manage effectively without understanding the difference between management and leadership.

There are many views about the relationship between Leadership and Management, both in text books and in the cultures of different organisations. Some see the two terms as interchangeable, while others argue that management is simply part of the role of the leader. Others believe that management is key, with leadership playing a part in that role. So what exactly is the difference between management and leadership and does it matter?

John Kotter, Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School, argues that “…leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary systems of action. Each has its own function and characteristic activities. Both are necessary for organisational success.”

ILM Find Out More

Carl Welte, a certified management consultant with over 30 years experience, defines management as “…the mental and physical effort to coordinate diverse activities to achieve desired results”. In contrast, he sees leadership as “…natural and learned ability, skill and personal characteristics to conduct interpersonal relations which influence people to take desired actions”.

It could be stated that management is about doing the right things; leadership is about doing things right.

Balancing management and leadership

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is achieving the right balance between transactional (managing) and transformational (leading). In reality, it is a multi-dimensional process of adjusting and adapting to the changing conditions and the changing personalities of those you lead. The principal role of a manager is to achieve the organisation’s objectives. Managers do this by managing (1) themselves, (2) activities, (3) resources, (4) information and (5) people. However, leadership can also be seen as relevant to these five roles. Who doesn’t need to effectively lead themselves? What manager can achieve their objectives alone? Even without a team of direct reports, they still need to influence other people in order to meet their objectives. Good management is about achieving results through other people. It’s about influencing behaviour towards the achievement of organisational behaviour. This is what we call leadership.

Find out more with an ILM qualification

There is no silver bullet to great leadership and management, but there are sound principles you can learn and adopt. Activate Enterprise is an accredited ILM Centre and is running an Open ILM Level 3 programme, starting on 11th November in Oxford. Find out more here>>