Despite everyone’s recent efforts to help SSI this is very sad news and a big blow for the workforce and their families. They are the priority and with SSI’s difficulties being no secret, why I had already asked Amanda Skelton, Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, to chair a local taskforce to help support workers and the local economy. I also have concerns about reports that local contractors have gone unpaid.
I hope that SSI’s announcement that they are mothballing the furnace gives some hope that steel making could be restarted on Teesside in the future.
The steel industry across the UK is facing very challenging economic conditions. The price of steel has almost halved over the past year, with overproduction in the world market. While government cannot alter these conditions, I have called a steel summit to see what more can be done to help our steel industry.
- Trading Standards to carry out spot checks on children’s fancy dress costumes for sale across the UK
- Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and British Standards Institute assessing whether European safety standards are tough enough
- news comes ahead of national fire safety campaign
Business Secretary Sajid Javid has today (24 September 2015) requested a nationwide investigation into the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes.
Trading Standards inspectors will carry out spot checks on hundreds of retailers selling fancy dress costumes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The costumes will be subjected to flammability testing to assess whether they are safe for sale and compliant with safety standards.
The news comes after TV presenter Claudia Winkleman raised her concerns about the safety of fancy dress costumes when her daughter suffered serious burns when her fancy dress costume caught fire.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
My immediate concern as a father and a minister is that children wearing these fancy dress costumes are safe. It is unacceptable for any costumes to be sold that do not comply with safety standards. That’s why I’ve granted funding to Trading Standards to carry out spot checks as part of a nationwide investigation. Parents should feel confident that any fancy dress they buy meets required standards.
Trading Standards is set to report back to the Business Secretary on its findings later in the autumn.
In a further move, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is working with the British Standards Institute to assess whether European safety standards in this area need to be toughened-up. The findings from the Trading Standards investigation will form an important evidence base for this work.
Leon Livermore, chief executive at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), said:
In light of the upcoming Halloween season, we welcome the government funding for trading standards to investigate the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes. CTSI takes issues of product safety very seriously, and hopes the evidence gathered as part of this investigation will help to establish whether the current flammability standards are still fit for purpose.
Notes to editors:
- Trading Standards will test the costumes against European Standard EN 71-2 which specifies flammability requirements for toys.
- The safety requirements of safety for children’s fancy dress costumes are covered by EU Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys, transposed into UK law by the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011.
The number of intellectual property (IP) crimes reported to Crimestoppers over the last year has fallen, according to the latest figures published today.
The figures released by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), in conjunction with the IP Crime Group, show intellectual property enforcement bodies have had success tackling IP crime in many areas, and particularly in markets.
Tobacco, clothing, alcohol, footwear and DVDs are still the most frequently investigated counterfeit products, with strong links to benefit fraud, organised crime, drug dealing and violence.
Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:
IP Crime is not victimless. It includes the public buying counterfeit alcohol and cigarettes which can even be fatal. Some car boot sales and markets can be crime hot-spots and we have seen growth in counterfeit goods being sold on social media.
The IP Crime Group report raises awareness of the dangers and consequences of counterfeiting and copyright infringement. I am grateful to the group for its good work.
The IP Crime Report 2014/15 provides an insight into the scale and scope of counterfeiting and piracy in the UK as well as highlighting initiatives used to tackle those activities.
Trading Standards teams across the country still find that car boot sales, street stalls and pubs and clubs are hotspots for IP crime. There has been an increase in the investigation of counterfeit sales on social media and a growth in the sales of high value counterfeits such as handbags, watches and electrical items. Over half of all Trading Standards authorities have found IP infringing activities operating out of private residences.
Giles York, Association of Chief Police Officers IP Crime Lead & Sussex Police Chief Constable added:
Co-ordinated action is the key to tackling IP Crime. By working together the IP Crime Group continues to bring focus and determination into the fight against IP crime, and this report shows the welcome effect that is having. There are many challenges ahead, particularly in tackling the online sale of counterfeit goods, but we hope that next year will bring even more success in reducing this problem.
Notes to Editors:
- The IP Crime Report, published annually, is based on the work of the IP Crime Group – a cohort of representatives from industry, law enforcement agencies and government departments.
- A copy of the Annual IP Crime report: 2014 to 2015 is available.
- A copy of the IP Crime highlight report: 2014 to 2015 is available.
- The key operations and partnerships that have delivered great results in 2014-15 include:
- the National Markets Group’s Real Deal initiative has led to the seizure of over 30,000 counterfeit items and near 400 markets have signed up to the Real Deal Charter that commits to tackling the sale of counterfeit goods on market stalls
- the Anti-Counterfeiting Group has worked with 40 Trading Standards Authorities and 13 Police Forces throughout the UK to tackle local IP hot spots
- the Police Intellectual Crime Unit (PIPCU) has run Operation Creative – a ground breaking approach to tackling IP Crime by disrupting and preventing websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content. PIPCU is funded by the IPO
- trade body BPI took action against Dancing Jesus, jailing two individuals behind an online forum giving access to tens of thousands of illegal links to music
- FACT’s action against illegal pay TV services has increased substantially, now making up 18% of their investigations
- the IPO and Food Standards Agency’s Operation OPSON, Dealing with fake and substandard food, has grown into a partnership with almost 50 other countries
- law enforcement and the advertising industry are working together on the Infringing Website List to remove advertising from the most infringing websites
- PIPCU has been successful in diverting views from copyright infringing websites. From July 2014 to June 2015, over 11 million website views were successfully diverted to a police warning page
Business Secretary Sajid Javid has today (23 September 2015) appointed 2 new members to the governing board of Innovate UK, the UK government’s innovation agency.
Tim Edwards, an entrepreneur in the biotechnology and charitable sectors and John Latham, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Coventry University have been appointed for a 3 year term on the board.
The Business Secretary also reappointed Hazel Moore to Innovate UK’s board to serve a second 3 year term.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
We want to make the UK the best place in the world to innovate and grow a business. Innovate UK has helped more than 5,000 companies to grow and create jobs. As board members John Latham and Tim Edwards will bring a great deal of valuable experience to the important role driving the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.
Chairman of Innovate UK and Chief Executive of Cisco UK and Ireland Phil Smith said:
I am delighted to welcome John and Tim to the board of Innovate UK. John’s understanding of the need to bridge the gap from research to commercialisation as well as Tim’s experience as an entrepreneur in a highly innovative sector will help ensure Innovate UK maintains its focus on its core role of supporting high potential UK firms.
I am also very pleased that Hazel has been reappointed to serve another 3 years on the board. Her experience in advising innovative tech companies has been invaluable to Innovate UK and her knowledge of the North West will be very useful as we look to take a more regional approach to our work.
Notes to editors
- Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Innovate UK brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.
- These appointments have been made in accordance with the requirements of the Code of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. John Latham and Tim Edwards have declared that they have not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years.
- Board members of Innovate UK receive remuneration of £9,180 per year.
Professor John Latham’s career of over 30 years has focused on digital technologies, innovation, knowledge transfer/exploitation and supporting SMEs. As Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the Coventry University Group, he is responsible for the overall academic leadership of the operations of the university and its related group of subsidiaries. He also holds an academic appointment as Extraordinary Professor of Stellenbosch University in the field of innovation and enterprise development.
John is a Member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee and also of the Universities UK Innovation and Growth Policy Network which have national roles in economic developments related to research, innovation and growth in UK universities. He is also a Design Council Advisory Board Member and an Advisory Network Member for the Connected Digital Economy Catapult (CDEC). Additionally John has been a Non-Executive Board Member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Ltd since 2010, chairing the European Structural Funds Committee.
Tim Edwards is an entrepreneur working in the biotechnology and charitable sectors. He is Executive Chairman of Atopix Therapeutics Limited, based in Oxford – a biopharmaceutical company developing a novel class of oral CRTH2 antagonists to treat atopic dermatitis and severe asthma. He is also a Non-Executive Director of the Cell Therapy Catapult and Chairman of Governors of Magdalen College School in Oxford – a day school for pupils aged 7 to 18 years old with a co-educational sixth form.
Tim was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Cellzome Inc, a US-owned drug discovery company with a chemoproteomics technology platform which was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2012. He is also a past Chairman of the UK BioIndustry Association and member of the Department of Health Ministerial Industry Strategy Group.
Hazel Moore is Chairman of FirstCapital, a technology-specialist investment bank which she co-founded in 1999. Her experience spans advising technology companies on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital, as well as advising family offices, institutional and strategic investors on investments and portfolio strategies.
Hazel was formerly on the Investment Advisory Panel for the North West Fund – a £140 million evergreen investment fund focused on small and medium sized enterprises in the North West of England. She began her career with GEC Marconi and has an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-appointments-to-innovate-uk-board
- iconic Raspberry Pi mini-computer reaches the 5 million milestone at Bridgend factory
- £2.6 million project by Airbus Group, Cardiff University and partners to research protecting aircraft from lightning strikes
- UK cities invited to bid into £2 million research fund to become healthier, more prosperous and more sustainable
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson today (23 September 2015) hailed Wales’ role as part of the ‘innovation nation’ as he visited Raspberry Pi’s production facility at the Sony Technology Centre in Bridgend and unveiled a total of £4.6 million in funding to help fund potentially life-changing research in to the future of cities and modern aircraft.
During a visit to Cardiff University, Jo Johnson announced a £2.6 million project led by Cardiff University and Airbus to help protect aircraft from lightning. Increasing the use of new and advanced materials such as carbon fibre composites in aircraft structures means the aerospace industry needs to fully research their behaviour under extreme conditions. The research will be undertaken in collaboration with the university’s Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:
As a one nation government we are backing science and innovation across the UK. We want to be the best place in Europe to innovate which is why we are investing in Cardiff University’s unique project to create new ideas for developing Wales’ world-class aerospace sector.
Today I have seen first-hand the exciting technologies being developed at Cardiff University and at Raspberry Pi in Bridgend. This is the kind of expertise we are supporting to safeguard the future success of our economy.
Ian Risk, Head of Airbus Group Innovations UK, said:
This is a key project for the aerospace industry, allowing us to enhance our fundamental understanding of what occurs during a lightning strike on a composite aircraft structure. This funding will be used to improve our understanding of what occurs physically and chemically when a plane is struck by lightning to continually improve the design to be more efficient and economical.
Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University, said:
Universities exist to create and share knowledge and the impact of that on UK society is huge. The research conducted in our Lightning Laboratory is just one example, among many, demonstrating how fundamental research supported by the Research Councils is developed into translational research of real value to the UK through partnership with industry, government and Innovate UK. We are really proud of our long record of industrial collaboration across a wide range of sectors.
The minister also used his visit to encourage Cardiff and other UK cities to bid for a share of the £2 million Urban Living Partnership, which will harness research and innovation expertise to make cities healthier, more prosperous and sustainable places to live.
Up to 5 individual pilot city projects, each led by a consortium of researchers, local authorities, service providers and businesses, will use their diverse experience and expertise to identify, understand and address interconnected challenges ranging from community health and crime to social inclusion and employment.
Mr Johnson also witnessed the production of the 5 millionth Raspberry Pi computer at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Bridgend, as the iconic credit card-sized computer reaches its latest milestone. The mini-computer was developed in the UK to inspire children and adults of all ages to learn about computing and since Sony UKTEC began working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation in 2012, 70 jobs have been created in the Bridgend area with an additional 30 opening by the end of the year.
The visit comes a week after the UK was ranked second in the world in the Global Innovation Index – higher than all its G7 counterparts.
Notes to Editors
- In 2013 to 2014, UK government expenditure on research and innovation in Wales by Research Councils, Innovate UK and Higher Education Research Capital, totalled nearly £80 million.
- The Airbus and Cardiff University-led project, the protection of structures from lightning strike, is a £2.6 million project (£1.7 million UK government grant) which is receiving funding from the £2.1 billion joint government and industry commitment for aerospace R&D. The project, supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and delivered with Innovate UK, will include the development of new test methods and diagnostic equipment to determine what occurs physically and chemically to produce models of these events. The initial test programme has proved successful and has led to a first patent submission from the consortium. Other partners in addition to Airbus and Cardiff University include Hexcel and the National Composites Centre.
- The ATI was created by government and industry to guide investment into research and technology projects that will sustain and enhance the UK’s competitive advantage. Its technology strategy, launched in July 2015, defines the best combination of capabilities, technologies and products to advance next-generation civil aircraft; enabling industry to exploit anticipated global growth, and deliver value to the UK economy through the sector’s high productivity and skills.
- The Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory (MBLL), based in Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, provides a research and test capability for understanding and enhancing the science of lightning protection. The £2.4 million facility is Europe’s only university-based lightning laboratory and is capable of generating controlled lightning with currents up to 200,000 amps, more than 5 times that of an average lightning strike.
- The Urban Living Partnership is the first time all 7 UK Research Councils and Innovate UK have come together to address the complex challenges and opportunities of urban living. Bids to the partnership should be led by universities working in partnership with cities and other bodies. Applications should be submitted through the Research Councils’ Joint Electronic Submissions system.
Denise Croze of WIPO Thank you. Your Excellency the High Commissioner, Ladies and Gentlemen. I want to talk this evening about the importance of Intellectual Property to innovation and to trade between the UK, the EU and Asia, SE Asia and Singapore.
I believe that innovation will continue to be a vital driver of global growth and economic prosperity. It will play a key part in helping us to address key challenges facing society. Using knowledge effectively enhances productivity, and welfare, and creates new global market opportunities.
The UK remains one of the world’s leading innovators, second in last week’s Global Innovation Index, to Switzerland, up from tenth in 2011. Singapore is at number 7 with some great strengths highlighted during our visit to AStar Fusion World today (22 September 2015).
The UK of course benefits from a long tradition in our universities and science base. As a result with less than 1% of the world’s population, the UK produces 16% of top quality published research.
I believe that, innovation systems must be inter-connected and coherent. Governments must work in partnership with businesses and our innovation infrastructures must help growing businesses, and be supported through world-leading organisations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and by national IP offices and accreditation institutes. And we need to provide practical help in key markets of the kind Christabel Koh (Co) our High Commission and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) provide in Singapore.
We have seen an important shift in the source of wealth and business. The majority of business investment used to be in physical things like premises and machinery. Today business investment is increasingly in intangible goods: in ideas, in creativity and in digital innovation. There are also opportunities in the growth of global tourism and the importance of strong cultural identity – I am also a culture minister with a personal passion for art, gardening and sport. We have much in common spiritually and practically: the Barclays Asia Trophy (which was won by Arsenal), the recent opening of the Hamley’s store (the oldest toy store in the world), and the strong links between Kew Gardens and the Singapore ’Gardens by the Bay’ which I am visiting this evening.
And the UK has a particularly knowledge intensive economy. We invest almost half as much again on intangible assets, including IP, as on tangible assets – £127 billion on intangible assets in 2011, compared with £88 billion on tangible assets.
In Singapore your services sector contributes to over two-thirds of GDP, although manufacturing maintains a significant share of the total economy and intangible investment in Singapore is growing.
And the total brand value of the top 100 brands in Singapore is reported to be worth around US$40.2 billion in 2014. These include Singapore Airlines who brought me here seamlessly, Keppel in the construction and marine sectors, Singtel in telecoms and Frazer and Neave in beverages. That’s impressive and makes IP very important and indeed it is why we signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) this afternoon.
Singapore is ranked as the most innovative country in Asia, and during my visit I have seen a strong commitment to the creation of the best possible conditions for innovation. Entrepreneurship and skills are also important and Singapore’s high standing in terms of global competitiveness is impressive.
Singapore and the UK are natural partners in innovation. This was reflected in the announcement during the President’s visit to the UK last year of the creation of a new Innovation and Research Partnership between our 2 countries and David Cameron’s visit in July where he emphaised the importance of working together in the region on IP enforcement.
In July 2015 the UK government launched a wide ranging Productivity Plan and made a clear commitment to support business in creating the ideas that help them grow, focussing on innovation, growth and jobs. It included:
- continued support for our universities and reform to our education system significant support for research and development including the internet of things which is helping to bring new products to market from 3D printing to driverless vehicles and advances in renewables through Innovate UK
- a Challenger Businesses Programme to identify and address barriers to expansion for early-stage disruptive technologies
- support for our network of Catapult centres – everything from digital to advanced manufacturing – bringing together businesses, scientists and engineers to ensure the UK is at the forefront of the commercialising technologies which offer global opportunities
The UK government is committed to making Britain the best place in Europe to innovate, to patent new ideas and start and grow a business. It is one of the reasons I am here. So much future growth will be found in knowledge intensive industries dependent on IP rights. I believe that a strong IP system is key to encouraging innovation, growth and jobs and I will be working with like-minded global partners, such as Singapore, to spread that message.
Thank you all for your time and your interest. I am not due to take questions but if there are things you would like to discuss please have a word with me or the delegation from the IPO, UKTI and the High Commission.
Announcement comes as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, leads a trade delegation to China.
Aberdeen Asset Management, one of the UK’s largest investment groups, has been granted a business licence which will make it easier to operate in China and significantly strengthen the UK’s presence in Asia’s leading economic powerhouse.
The licence – issued to a newly-created Aberdeen subsidiary by the State Administration of Industry & Commerce in Shanghai – will enable the company to set up an office in China under the pilot Free Trade Zone.
As a part of negotiations around the seventh UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue, China has agreed to allow qualified, locally-incorporated wholly foreign-owned or joint-venture private fund management institutions to engage in private security management businesses – including secondary market trading of securities – according to domestic regulations.
Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid, said:
As we deepen UK-China relations it is rewarding to see Aberdeen Asset Management licensed to operate in China. The company will bring fund management expertise from the UK to the second largest economy in the world. I am committed to building relationships like this between our 2 nations.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin, said:
The Chancellor and I are in China to deliver on a key part of the government’s economic plan. We want to secure London’s future as China’s bridge to western financial markets as part of a new golden era of cooperation between our countries.
Our efforts are already bearing fruit – I am delighted Aberdeen Asset Management has received a licence to operate in China as a wholly foreign-owned enterprise. This is an important step for an established British firm and will help to increase the links between our financial services industries.
Having received its licence to operate from the State Administration of Industry & Commerce (SAIC), the next step is to apply to be registered with the Asset Management Association of China.
Aberdeen Asset Management Chief Executive, Martin Gilbert, said:
UK business cannot ignore the structural development of China. It is already the second largest economy in the world and will sooner or later surpass the US. The work undertaken to obtain a WFOE licence is part of our overall strategy to ensure Aberdeen Asset Management is well placed for the next 10 to 20 years.
The announcement comes during a week-long tour of UK ministers and leading UK business to China, led by George Osborne. This continues the government’s long-standing drive to forge greater links with the Asia-Pacific region, and to consolidate London’s position as the western hub for Renminbi business outside of Asia.
Notes to editors
- Aberdeen Asset Management is an independent asset management company. Formed out of a management buy-out in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1983, it is now a FTSE 100 company operating in over 25 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas.
- Aberdeen Asset Management is defined by a pure focus on asset management, including equities, fixed income, property and multi-asset portfolios, including a strong and growing alternative investment capability. All Aberdeen Asset Management investment solutions are driven by a commitment to straightforward, transparent investment approaches that stress intensive, first-hand research and a long-term view.
- Aberdeen’s global alternatives platform encompasses multi-manager research and selection across hedge funds, private equity, and property along with direct investments in infrastructure projects. This means that Aberdeen can offer its clients access and exposure to high quality alternative investments across liquid strategies, private markets and real assets.
- As at 30 June 2015, Aberdeen Asset Management manage total assets of US$483 billion on behalf of institutional and private investors.
The new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UK Intellectual Property Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) will improve international cooperation between the two nations on issues involving copyright, patents, trade marks and designs.
UK Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville Rolfe said:
Singapore is an influential voice on issues of intellectual property in the ASEAN region. Support from IP leaders is invaluable in developing robust global frameworks across the ASEAN region. This MOU will allow the UK and Singapore to share best practices in areas such as intellectual property rights protection, IP-related research and the streamlining of IP court processes.
Mr Tan Yih San, Chief Executive of IPOS, said:
We are pleased to formalise our cooperation with the UK on innovation and intellectual property rights. This MOU reaffirms our mutual commitment to increase cross-border IP cooperation and provide a robust IP system for businesses and creators looking to expand into the UK, and those seeking to venture into the ASEAN region.
We are excited to formalise our cooperation with the UK on intellectual property matters. This MOU underlines our strong commitment to contribute to intellectual property rights enforcement, not only at a national level but also in the international field, particularly with leading offices such as UK IPO.
In a globalised era, it is crucial for governments to collaborate on common understandings such as innovation and economic growth.
Many UK businesses use Singapore as their regional headquarters and a springboard into the wider ASEAN region. This visit, the first for the UK IP Minister builds on the announcement by the Prime Minister in July of the agreement to strengthen co-operation on IP protection. This MOU also enhanced the existing UK-Singapore Business Economic Partnership Agreement in the area of IP cooperation.
The Minister also met with UK businesses in Singapore as users of the systems and those that understand where the barriers to effective trade exist. This visit provided a valuable opportunity to emphasise the importance of IP in engendering safe business environments in this region and the willingness of the UK to support IP developments.
South East Asia is of increasing importance for UK trade and export – a fact highlighted by the recent visit of the Prime Minister and Business Secretary in July.
The region is expected to grow at 5% this year with potential to unlock huge opportunities for UK business. The region has a rapidly increasing middle class consumer market and is expected to become the fourth largest single market by 2030 through the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). This visit emphasises the importance of IP in the UK’s relationship with South East Asia, and the benefits that close cooperation on IP can bring to the wider UK–ASEAN trade relationship.
Notes to editors:
- The title of the agreement is; Memorandum of understanding concerning industrial property between the IPOS and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office.
- The purpose of the memorandum, as set out in the document states: The objective of this Memorandum of Understanding is to establish a global and flexible mechanism for developing and furthering the cooperation activities between the Participants in the industrial property field and information technology services.
- The understanding is valid for 3 years and will be automatically renewed for successive periods of three years unless one of the participants terminates the agreement.
- The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
- Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
- It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.
Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-singapore-boost-ip-co-operation
- students offered fake apprenticeships – later to find out they are unqualified
- government crackdown on dodgy providers and bogus training courses
- businesses and training providers support government crackdown
A family firm of electricians in Milton Keynes and the building company Balfour Beatty told a government consultation they found students being lured into apprenticeships which offered low-level training. At the end of the training programme the students were severely underqualified and were not in a real job.
The cases came to light as the government introduces new powers to prosecute training providers misusing the term ‘apprenticeship’. In the future, anyone offering fake or low-quality apprenticeships training could face the possibility of a fine and prosecution in a Magistrates Court. The government is committed to giving apprenticeships similar legal protection as university degrees.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said:
Everyone knows what a university degree means. It’s an official title. Young people doing apprenticeships should get the same level of distinction.
I’m supporting working people by defining the word ‘apprenticeship’ in law. This will ensure people get the best training and opportunities.
Balfour Beatty, who currently recruits approximately 150 apprentices a year, welcomed the protection.
Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive said:
Protecting and enhancing apprenticeships as proposed by the government’s Enterprise Bill will further build the status of apprenticeships and help to encourage business to invest in them.
Our industry needs talent and skills, therefore it is crucial that apprenticeships remain world-class so that we can continue to attract the best and brightest individuals.
SJD Electrical, a family-run business in Milton Keynes, also welcomed the proposals, highlighting the negative impact of low-quality training courses.
Ruth Devine, Director at SJD Electrical said:
Protecting the term ‘apprenticeship’ will help us attract the most able individuals and offer a guarantee to apprentices that they will receive world-class training.
A number of applicants applying for jobs at SJD who thought they had completed apprenticeships, were surprised to find that they were not fully qualified. Low quality training courses contribute to the many instances of poor workmanship we come across.
Apprenticeships have proven crucial to provide businesses with the talent and skills they need to grow and the government is committed to supporting 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.
Notes to editors:
- The government ran a consultation on protecting the term ‘apprenticeship’ from 29 July 2015 to 19 August 2015. The consultation was sent to over 500 key stakeholders and was put on the gov.uk and Citizen Space websites.
- Over 90 responses were received from a wide variety of interested parties including employers, private training providers, colleges, schools, universities, apprentices and representative groups.
- The government response to the consultation will be published on Monday 21 September 2015.
- Examples of the apprenticeship term being misused include:
- students thinking they had completed an apprenticeship but actually had only taken a low-level technical qualification
- students having to find other employers to continue to achieve the qualifications required to complete a full apprenticeship
- employers finding students entering the industry only part-qualified and without adequate learning, work-based experience and practical skills
- Measures to protect the term ‘apprenticeship’ are contained in the Enterprise Bill. The Enterprise Bill was introduced to the House of Lords on 16 September 2015.
- The measures do not affect companies who offer their own high-quality internal apprenticeship scheme.
Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bogus-training-courses-come-under-fire
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited Birmingham New Street station today (18 September 2015) to mark the completion of a 5 year programme to transform facilities for passengers.
The new station has been overhauled to dramatically improve station capacity and the passenger experience, with a spectacular new atrium over the concourse, which is now 5 times the size of London Euston.
The station development will also act as a catalyst for regeneration in Birmingham city centre, with the new Grand Central Shopping Centre and John Lewis store being built as part of the development offering hundreds of new jobs.
Chancellor George Osborne said:
This £750 million investment to modernise Birmingham New Street station is at the heart of our plans to use the power of infrastructure to build a more healthy, balanced and productive economy right across the Midlands.
We are committed to build the Midlands engine, set to boost growth by attracting local jobs and investment, and today’s announcement shows we are delivering on our long-term economic plan for the region.
Patrick McLoughlin said:
The transformation of Birmingham New Street is a prime example of how our record investment in the railways is improving journeys for hardworking people and helping to rebalance the economy by driving growth across the country.
The improvements made at this important transport hub have made it into a truly impressive building that passengers and the people of Birmingham can use and enjoy.
The project to transform the country’s busiest station outside London has been funded by:
- Department for Transport
- Network Rail
- Birmingham City Council
- Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The new station will deliver:
- far greater passenger capacity on the concourse, which will also have natural daylight for the first time
- refurbished and decluttered platforms
- new touch-screen passenger information
- larger waiting areas
- more toilets
- improved retail
- a new ticket office
- better safety and security systems
There are 15 new lifts and 36 escalators, serving every platform. From 20 September, 66 smartcard-enabled ticket gates will be ready to use. This means passengers will be able to travel seamlessly between regional rail, bus and tram services, as part of a scheme introduced over the coming months and next year.
More than 1,300 Birmingham residents have been involved in the scheme so far, including 250 who were previously unemployed. The project has supported more than 100 young people into apprenticeships.
Phase one of the project, including a new concourse, escalators and lifts, opened on 28 April 2013. The new concourse will be fully open to passengers on Sunday 20 September, and the new Grand Central Shopping Centre will open shortly after on 24 September.
The station has been rebuilt while trains have continued to run for the 170,000 passengers who use it every day.
Mark Carne, Chief Executive of Network Rail, said:
Birmingham New Street sits right at the heart of our rail network and the transformation which has taken place here is nothing short of stunning. The station is now bigger, brighter and better able to meet the needs of the growing number of people who use it each day.
As Britain’s second city, Birmingham deserves a station of this calibre and, along with Grand Central, the investment we have made will help support the local economy and regenerate large parts of city centre.
Rebuilding one of the busiest stations in the country without impacting on passengers’ journeys has been a major challenge, but I’m extremely proud to say that Network Rail and our partners on this project have done just that. That’s a significant achievement for everyone who has helped build this fantastic new station of which they, and all of Birmingham, can be very proud indeed.
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Out of hours
020 7944 4292
0300 330 3000