Total People drives results for apprentices

By Categories: Commercial NewsPublished On: Thursday 27 June 2024

With the general election result still to be revealed at the time of publication, training provider Total People predicted that change would be coming to training in the transport sector regardless of the outcome.

“All of the major parties agree that the apprenticeship levy can be improved to be more effective, all major parties have pledged to make changes to the education system, and some of the major parties want to invest in lifelong learning,” said the company in June.

“This is critical. Both the road haulage and bus industries are facing the same challenges: shortages of drivers, shortages of engineering technicians to keep the fleets running, and the transition to electric vehicles.

“The industry recognises this; when the Road Haulage Association set out its key priorities for the next government, skills reform and a road-map to net zero were among them.

“However, the secret to making this actually happen on the ground can not be found in Westminster, but in your own back yard. Many employers assume that investing in training is the same as procuring anything else; you pay for the product and get the product you pay for. However, the more you treat it like a partnership, the more your company will get out of it.”

Total People, one of the North’s leading apprenticeships providers, have been working with bus operator giants Metroline for over 10 years, training apprentice technicians across the Transport for London area.

“This training has been so effective that, after their third year with Total People, Metroline put their apprentices with their Master Technicians and are guided towards completing the IRTEC Inspection Technician accreditation once they have completed End Point Assessment,” the company reported.

“Furthermore, Total People have four Metroline apprentices participating in this year’s highly prestigious IRTE Skills Challenge (two in the mechanical category, two in the electrical category). With places limited, to have four apprentices invited from the same employer is a credit to how well the training partnership is working.

“However, sometimes an employer needs something a little more bespoke. Total People have also worked with Metroline and other bus operators across the UK, to deliver upskilling that is tailored more to the needs of the business.”

In addition to changing the content of a course, says the training provider, the focus of the audience can change too; for one operator the number of apprentice technicians being recruited was not enough to tackle the shortage of engineers in their workshops.

“As a result, Total People worked with them to deliver training aimed at encouraging those already in other roles – including bus drivers – to retrain as qualified engineers. The programme gave more of its people, including those switching from other roles, the industry standard qualification they need to build a successful career maintaining and repairing the fleet.

“Sometimes the partnerships involve more than just a training provider and an employer. Over the last five years, Total People has managed to secure and ‘gift’ more than £5.5 million of apprenticeship levy. With large partners such as the BBC, Evri and E.On UK willing to donate their unspent levy, Total People has been able to channel that money into SMEs instead.”

Metroline has also got in on the act, gifting £300k of their unused levy to apprentices in automotive and electrical trades.

Stephen Harris, managing director, said: “Metroline has a proud tradition of providing award-winning and industry-leading apprenticeships and we are pleased we can assist in this way.”

One of the recipients, DC Electricals noted: “Receiving the funds from Metroline was brilliant, really helpful and quick. We use Total People for our apprenticeships. The service we receive is great and we’ve had over 10 employees on the scheme, who have all passed.”

When Rishi Sunak announced changes to the apprenticeship levy back in March (increasing the amount that a levy-paying employer can gift from 25 per cent to 50 per cent, and agreeing to fund 100 per cent of the training costs for small employers), Total People was quick to adapt its offer and explain to employers how this benefited them. The company says it will be ready to do the same with any changes introduced following the election – change being the one constant in the world of transport.

Total People reports that it is expanding its offer to support local businesses involved in the Bee Network running across Greater Manchester. In addition to refitting the workshop and classrooms at its Wythenshawe site recently, the firm is also also providing electric vehicles for diagnosing, maintaining and repairing. Working with its partners, the company says it will continue to find ways to provide for the changing needs of the industry.

“Whatever the future brings, businesses and training providers will handle it better if they face it by working together,” the firm concluded.