National Apprenticeship Week #NAW2017

5 minutes with Caius Ajiz who completed a Level 3 IT Professional Apprenticeship at Chelmsford City Council with ITEC Learning Technologies between February 2013 and November 2014

Your Apprenticeship Job Title was:- ICT Apprentice

Caius Ajiz CMS Sally and Ian close up landscape

Caius was ITEC’s Advanced Apprentice of the Year 2014

Your Job Title now:- Technical Analyst

What has been the best thing about completing an apprenticeship?

Learning as I go and on-the-job in a ‘live’ environment.   Doing this allowed me to see how a typical enterprise was set up and how a workplace (more specifically an office space) works with the people and inter-personal skills.  Work experience is something that must be experienced to fully appreciate how to conduct oneself in an office.  Progressing and building my skills to a high level, mainly because of the people I was working with.  My colleagues are all very good at their jobs, being able to have them show me how systems work, with them explaining as we went allowed me to gain well-rounded knowledge.

How do you think an apprenticeship has benefited your career?

An apprenticeship has set me up with a good employer.  One that seems to genuinely care about its staff and makes sure that they continue to learn and progress as people.   It has given me experience of the work place and how people interact.  It has given me the necessary qualifications to make it into an infrastructure level position.  My position gives me access to enterprise level hardware and software, and allows me to exercise my knowledge every day.

Would you recommend this route? If yes, why?

An apprenticeship is an excellent path to take for someone who is highly driven, willing to learn and adaptable.  People who possess these qualities do extremely well in apprenticeships and make excellent technicians.

Caius and Brother

Caius won 2 awards at ITEC’s 2014 Awards Ceremony (pictured here with his brother)

Could this be you? If you want more information on completing an Apprenticeship with ITEC Learning Technologies speak to Toni on 01268 286929 –


National Apprenticeship Week 2017 #NAW2017

5 minutes with Stacey Hall who completed a Level 2 and Level 3 IT Professional Apprenticeship at The Gateway Academy with ITEC Learning Technologies between June 2010 and March 2013

#NAW2017 #Apprenticeships #Essex

Your Apprenticeship Job Title was:- ICT Apprentice

Stacey Brenchley

Stacey Hall, ITEC’s 2011 IT Apprentice of the Year

Your Job Title now:- Senior IT Support Technician

What has been the best thing about completing an apprenticeship?

Knowing that all the work I put into my apprenticeship, both theoretical and practical, has got me where I am today. The support and teaching from my tutors at ITEC were great, but I know that without my own hard work, I wouldn’t have the multiple professional qualifications I have now.  Although I work in the same place I did at the time of my apprenticeship (by choice), I have moved up and been promoted twice.

How do you think an apprenticeship has benefited your career?

My apprenticeship has benefited me from the beginning by allowing me to make my own choices and gave me personal, social and professional skills.   My confidence would not be where it is today without being in a working environment from the start or without ITEC and the support given.   I am working in a predominantly male-orientated environment but I have been encouraged and supported all the way by both my employer and ITEC.  I am still proud of my ITEC ‘IT Apprentice of the Year’ award from 2011.

Would you recommend this route? If yes, why?

Yes. I was able to study and work in the field of my choice.  Along with theoretical studies from my tutors at ITEC, my practical studies at work really opened my eyes about the career I was stepping into. I knew that, unlike University, if my apprenticeship wasn’t working out or it wasn’t what I thought it would be, I could change paths or end the course and not be left with a huge debt or the obligatory feeling that I needed to continue. I’m glad to say, I never had these thoughts as the process of getting me onto the course was well executed and suited to me, ITEC gave me reassurance that everything was in my hands.

Stacey and mum

Stacey with her Mum receiving her ITEC IT Apprentice of the Year Award 2011

Could this be you? If you want more information on completing an Apprenticeship with ITEC Learning Technologies speak to Toni on 01268 286929 –

National Apprenticeship Week 2017 #NAW2017

5 minutes with George Donovan who completed a Level 2 and Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship at Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Basildon, with ITEC Learning Technologies between June 2014 and July 2016

#Apprenticeships #NAW2017 #Essex

Your Apprenticeship Job Title was:- HSE Administrator


George receiving his ‘Malcolm Bridges’ Award in June 2015

Your Job Title now:- Health & Safety Co-Coordinator

What has been the best thing about completing an apprenticeship?

The best thing about completing my apprenticeship was that I secured a full-time job with Gilbarco Veeder-Root in a very well-established industry. It has allowed me to understand why businesses do certain things and how they are run.  I completed both the Level 2 and Level 3 Apprenticeship and now hold qualifications that are relevant to my job role.

How do you think an apprenticeship has benefited your career?

This has benefited me because I had no idea what I wanted to do in regards to a career when I left school.  Now I can develop my administration career and go in to office management.

Would you recommend an Apprenticeship? If yes, why?

Yes, I’d recommend this course because it gives the apprentice the opportunity to not only earn money whilst learning but also the qualifications that are relevant to the industry.  You also get to see the overall view of how a business runs and what to expect from a full-time job, if you are offered one at the end of the programme.


During his apprenticeship, George achieved the ‘Malcolm Bridges’ Award at the ITEC’s 2015 annual awards ceremony for going the extra mile to attain achievement.

Could this be you? If you want more information on completing an Apprenticeship with ITEC Learning Technologies speak to Toni on 01268 286929 –


George with his team from Gilbarco Veeder-Root celebrating his win at our 2015 awards ceremony


ITEC Awards 2017


Yes, it’s that time of the year again when we are planning to recognise and rewards our current stars either on ITEC’s programmes or for supporting learners on their ITEC programmes.

This year our Awards Evening will be held at the Bowers & Pitsea Football Club on Thursday 18th May 2017, 6pm to 9pm.   There will be a complimentary buffet available from 6.15pm with the awards ceremony commencing at 7pm.  Drinks will be available to purchase from the club bar.    We’re also going to set a mini-quiz challenge for each table to enter with a prize for the winners.

Admin winner 3

Our 2016 Admin Apprentice winner, Kirsty Walker (right) with ATL Haulage’s Zena Haydon

Nominations are invited for the following categories:

  • Adult Learner of the Year – Awarded for outstanding achievement and effort for over 19 year olds undertaking a part-time course with ITEC (non-apprenticeship courses)
  • Employer of the Year – Awarded for outstanding development and support of learners at work
  • Line Manager of the Year – Awarded for outstanding support of learners at work
  • ITEC Staff Member of the Year – Awarded for providing excellent customer service to learners, staff and employers
  • Business Admin Apprentice of the Year – Awarded for outstanding achievement by an
  • apprentice undertaking a Business Administration, Using IT or Customer Service apprenticeship
  • IT Apprentice of the Year – Awarded for outstanding achievement by an apprentice
  • undertaking an IT Professional apprenticeship
  • Social Media Apprentice of the Year – Awarded for outstanding achievement by an
  • apprentice undertaking the Social Media apprenticeship
  • CompTIA learner of the Year – A special award recognising the effort and achievement of learners undertaking CompTIA exams as part of their coursework
  • The ‘Malcolm Bridges’ Award – This award is to recognise the achievement and effort of a learner who has overcome barriers or difficulties or gone the extra mile to achieve the outcomes on his/her course

Do you know a shining star who deserves one of our awards?   Nominate them now.  Go to:

Social Media runner up 3

Our 2016 Social Media runner-up, Leone Murungah, with Mayor David Harrison

We are looking for sponsors for our awards so if you would like to see your company name and logo on the winners’ trophies, in our awards brochure, on the finalists’ certificates and in the event write-up in the local press, please contact Kirk or Toni to discuss further on 01268 286929 or email;

Come along and join us, Thursday 18th May 2017 6pm at the Bowers & Pitsea Football Club, Crown Avenue, Basildon SS13 2BE – See you there!

Riddles and Giggles and Puzzles and Huddles

Escape…!!  #Southend #Essex

ITEC’s Pauline Prior spent a night of fun with her son, daughter and son-in-law at Escape Live Southend.  Here, Aaron (son-in-law) takes up the tale…….

Imagine being locked in a strange room and the only way to get out is to enter a key code.  A key code that you do not have.  A code that you must assemble by solving puzzle after puzzle until you think you have the right one.  To make things worse; you have only one hour to do so, or risk being locked in indefinitely.  Worse still; imagine being locked in with your in-laws!!

Forget your imagination though, for this has become a reality!

Squeezed between two High Street shops is the doorway to Escape Live Southend.  Its inconspicuousness is a sign of things to come.  Up the stairs you go and into the reception area to be greeted by the enthusiastic and friendly hosts and games masters.  Following a briefing on what lay ahead and a few key ‘do’s and don’ts’, you are led further up the stairs and into ‘Dr. Wilson’s Office’, where you will be spending the majority (if not all) of the next hour trying to get out!

The door is locked, the timer starts and the fun begins.  The excitement takes over and in the first few minutes (let’s call it phase one), the scene can only be described as an eclipse of moths in a small lamp shade.  Phase two: Everybody is Sherlock Holmes.  Phase Three: Teamwork finally begins.

60 minutes quickly becomes 50 minutes; which quickly becomes 40, 30, 20 and then only 10 minutes to go and you have no idea how close or far from escaping you are.

“Give us a clue!” becomes the quote of the day.  In fact, make that phase four.

The minutes become seconds and things start to fall into place, but the doubt feeds the adrenaline and clouds the mind.  You find the code that you think you need and proceed to enter it to secure your successful escape.

The door opens and the adrenaline and doubt instantly turns to euphoria and relief.  We escaped!

Mind you, it’s not like they would keep you locked in there if you failed.  Would they??

Escape Live Southend is a great way to start or finish your night out – even with your in-laws!


L-R Pauline, Aaron, Angela and Marc


Your Apprenticeship Levy – What can it be used for?

Over the last few weeks, several employers have asked us to clarify what their Levy can be spent on.  This information is also of use to non-levy paying employers accessing apprenticeships so they can understand what the Government funding is available for.

Apprenticeship_Employers_BadgeFunds in the new digital account via the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) will initially be for levy paying employers and these employers will start to see their funds appear in their account in May 2017, once the levy is collected from April 2017.    Eventually the digital account will be rolled out to all employers and the Government is aiming to do this by 2020.

The funds in Levy-paying employers’ digital accounts, and funding provided by the Government for non-levy paying employers, can only be used towards the cost of apprenticeship training and end point assessment through an externally contracted training provider, such as ITEC, or evidenced costs for direct employer-provider delivery, where the employer is registered with the Government to provide training to their own apprentices.

You can use your funding for:-

  • On-job and off-job training with an approved training provider including attendance for training courses, workshops, reviews of progress meetings, setting up the individual learning plan (ILP), processing the individual learning records (ILR), etc.
  • Registration, materials, examination and certification costs that are required modules or gateways within the Apprenticeship Standards
  • Planned on-programme assessment and the end point assessment, including costs associated with quality assurance of the assessment and certification
  • E-learning/distance learning as part of a blended learning programme. The whole apprenticeship cannot be delivered as e-learning but 10-20% is encouraged and, in some standards, required.
  • Resits for qualifications where further learning has taken place

You cannot use your funding for:-

  • Recruitment, enrolment, induction, assessment of prior learning, etc., or for setting up the Apprenticeship programme
  • Apprentices’ wages, accommodation and travel costs
  • Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required by the apprentice in their every day work
  • Purchasing capital equipment
  • Training, assessment, examinations and certifications of any optional modules not required by the Apprenticeship Standard
  • Resits of examinations or the End Point Assessment where further learning does not take place
  • Time spent by employer staff and managers supporting, mentoring, coaching and developing the apprentice
  • Training delivered solely by distance learning/e-learning
  • Training, assessment and certification fees for the apprentice to acquire a license to practice
  • Repeating the same qualification that the apprentice has previously achieved or for any GCSE where the apprentice has achieved Grade C or higher

Other key points to be aware of:-

  • Apprentices must be employed full-time for a minimum of 30 hours a week and the employer must show they have a true vacancy available, i.e. not just to complete the apprenticeship
  • The apprenticeship can be a for a new employee or for an existing employee where the individual needs significant new knowledge and skills
  • The apprentice must complete the apprenticeship, including all training and assessment, within their usual working hours
  • The minimum duration of an apprenticeship is one year and a day plus the time for end point assessment (approx. 3-5 days)
  • Apprentices must not be asked to contribute financially to the cost of learning
  • There must be an Apprenticeship Agreement in place

As specialists in Technology and Business Training, how can ITEC help?   We have over 33 years’ experience of providing training programmes in IT Professional or Digital Administration careers for your staff.   Our IT Professional Apprenticeships include Microsoft and CompTIA certification and our Digital Business Administration Apprenticeships include specialisms such as Social Media, Using Microsoft Office or Sage Accounts.

zena haydon 2015

Zena Haydon of ATL Transport, ITEC’s Award Winning Apprentice of the Year 2015

Should you need any information or assistance with setting up an apprenticeship placement for a new job role or for one of your existing staff or just want to find out how an apprenticeship with ITEC can help with your workforce development, get in touch.   We can help!   If we can’t help, we know someone who can!  As members of the NOVA Partnership, we have several partners in the South Essex area covering a wide variety of sector skills and working to the same exacting quality standards as ITEC.

Get in touch today!  Toni Marshall, 01268 286929

Apprenticeship Funding from 1st May 2017

Apprenticeship Funding from 1st May 2017 including the new Apprenticeship Levy – Update November 2016

All Employers will be funded under the new funding regime for their apprentices commencing from 1st May 2017.   Any apprentices who commenced prior to this date will continue to be funded through the current system.    Apprentices cannot leave the current system and re-start on the new funding system after 1st May unless there are extenuating circumstances.

For Levy-paying Employers, i.e. those with a payroll over £3M, funds will appear in their DAS account from end of May onwards.   The first Levy tax will be payable to HMRC from April and Government will top up the funds by 10% each month.     Funds in the DAS will expire after 24 months unless spent on apprenticeships and this expiration will be on a first-in, first-out basis.

Apprenticeship_Employers_BadgeThere are 15 funding bands set by Government, depending on the occupational sector.   It doesn’t matter whether the apprentice is undertaking a Frameworks apprenticeship or a new Standard apprenticeship, the funding will be capped in one of these 15 bands.  The employer will negotiate a price for their apprentice, depending on the amount of training needed, e.g. a school leaver with no prior experience may be charged at maximum amount whereas a 28-year old with previous experience and knowledge may only need some of the training and will be negotiated at two-thirds of the cap.   This will be agreed between the employer and the training provider and a commitment statement and contract will be raised to cover the agreement.   Once this is in place and the apprentice commences, funds from the DAS can be paid to the Training Provider.

Non-levy paying employers will be partially funded for their apprentices.   They will need to pay 10% to the training provider and the training provider will be able to claim 90% of the funding from the Government.  This system will also commence in May 2017 but non-levy paying employers will not be required to use the DAS until 2018.  The Government plans to have all apprenticeships paid from the DAS by 2020, using the above system of negotiation and contracts per apprentice/employer.

In the meantime, apprentices with non-levy paying employers will be funded by the Government direct to the Training Provider and the Employer’s 10% cash contribution will also be paid to the Training Provider.  So for ITEC employers and apprentices, it will be business as usual.

Extra Support and Incentive payments

The Government has promised payments to help meet the additional costs associated with training young apprentices so all employers will receive an incentive payment when they employ a 16-18 year old apprentice, or a 19-24 year old with an Education and Healthcare Plan provided by local authority or has been in the care of the local authority.   There will be an incentive payment of £1000 available for the employer for training an apprentice in this category.  Training Providers will also get £1000 towards the cost of training these young employees.

Funding will be available for English and Maths training where the apprentice does not have the required minimum standard and needs to undertake an English and/or Maths course.  These payments will be made to the training provider.

The funding for Framework apprenticeships has been significantly reduced to encourage the growth of new Standards apprenticeships.    During the transition period, Government has agreed to increase the framework funding by 20% for 16-18 year old apprentices or 19-24 year olds with an Education and Healthcare Plan provided by local authority or has been in the care of the local authority.    There will also be some disadvantage uplift funding available to support apprentices from areas of deprivation.

How can we help?

ITEC has been running training programmes for young people and local employers since 1984 and has trained 1000’s of young people from the Basildon district.   Many of our past learners have gone on to achieve fantastic careers and some are employing and training today’s apCompTIA logoprentices!    Whether you are a levy-paying employer or a non-levy paying employer, we have apprenticeship programme options to suit your needs.     Specialising in ICT, Digital Administration (administrative roles with computer use) and Social Media, we can offer BCS, Microsoft and CompTIA professional qualifications as part of the programme.   We are here to help and can assist you with getting the best out of the new apprenticeship funding system to meet your business objectives.

For further details contact our:

Youth Programmes Co-ordinator, Toni Marshall, 01268 286929, or

Business Development Manager, Kirk Redhead, 01268 286929

Training tomorrow’s workforce today is our speciality!

Apprentice Ryan’s Charity Challenge

Apprentice takes on charity bike ride

Ryan has just completed his Advanced Apprenticeship with ITEC and is an ICT technical professional working with a local employer.

Ryan has considered taking part in the London to Brighton bike ride a couple of times but has been put off by the crowds of people on the start and finish lines making it difficult to get going followed by the difficulty of getting back home from Brighton.    So in early summer 2016, when he and his brother were once again considering entering the run, they decided to create their own challenge.

Ryan says “We decided to increase the challenge and ride over 100 miles to Norwich, double the distance to Brighton.   We only had a few weeks to train as we hadn’t cycled much over the past 12 months and we missed a lot of training days because of bad weather, so we knew we had a difficult time ahead.   We were also doing the ride on mountain bikes which certainly added to the physical challenge on the day.”It was important to us that we supported a local cause and our chosen charity was South Essex Wildlife Hospital in Grays, who rescue and rehabilitate Britain’s wild animals.   We chose SEWH for the following reasons:

  • We care about animal welfare.
  • South Essex Wildlife Hospital is a Charity, NOT a business.
  • It is run by volunteers who care about the animals.
  • No injured or sick animal is turned away. This means they do not euthanize animals simply because they do not return profit.
  • South Essex Wildlife Hospital relies entirely on donations.

Our donation from our supporters, who include ITEC, will go towards:

  • Treating injured animals
  • Rehabilitating animals
  • Buying equipment, food and other essentials

Ryan present the donations to South Essex Wildlife Hospital

How did it feel?

Ryan says “Leading up to the ride we were mostly excited, although we were a little concerned as it got closer and closer because we knew we had not done much training.   In the two weeks leading up to the rider we were frantically buying bike accessories on eBay,, such as storage bottles and frame pannier bags, to use to carry essential tools, food, vacuum-packed clothes and battery packs.
We were checking on the weather stats for the weekend and they seemed to be getting progressively worse with suspected thunder showers!”

Their bikes were pre-packed and ready to go by the night before so on the morning of the ride they were up at the crack of dawn, had a wholesome breakfast and set off towards Norwich at about 6:30am, to make the best use of the daylight.   After 9 hours of cycling and a pit stop or two for food and water, plus a longer one for a puncture repair (as well as a couple of stops for admiring the scenery and taking a photo or two), they finally arrived at their hotel in Norwich some thirteen and a half hours later.


A photo opportunity of the lovely villages they passed through on their ride

Ryan continues “The first 30 miles really seemed to fly by but the journey was mostly uphill and we definitely started noticing it in our legs after the halfway mark.   We even had a thundershower following us for about an hour that did eventually catch us up to ensure we got a soaking!   The hills were getting progressively harder as we approached the last 40 miles and, at this point, it seemed the miles were ticking by very slowly but knowing people had donated to the cause kept us motivated.”

Ryan summarises “Overall, it was great fun and we did have a really interesting and challenging ride. We were mostly in the middle of nowhere going through fields and forest paths and we did see some lovely quaint villages that we wouldn’t normally get to see”.

So what next for our intrepid apprentice?

Ryan jokes “Next time we will have to up the ante and ride a lot further, maybe to Snowdon in Wales or from East to West coast!   I have set myself some interesting, and exhausting, physical challenges this year.   In September I took part in the Nuclear Blackout Obstacle course race, which is 5K laps of running, crawling, various obstacles, swimming, etc., within a 2-hour time limit in the dark, lit only by competitors’ head torches!  I lived to tell the tale!  In November I plan to take part in the Nuclear Fallout event, which will be a 12K race through similar terrain but in freezing temperatures, where hypothermia is a potential risk.  What am I thinking?!”

Ryan is an excellent role model for today’s new apprentices.  He’s busy holding down a full time job, while completing his apprenticeship and while taking on his personal challenges to raise money for charity.  Well done, Ryan, we are so proud of you!

Ryan Sibley



ITEC Award is won by Twins!

At this year’s annual awards evening in June 2016, the Social Media Apprentice of the Year award had joint winners for the first time in its history.    The winners, Kymbly and Tarnya Till, were not only are first joint winners of an award, they are also twin sisters!

Kerry, the ITEC staff member who nominated the sisters for the award, said “Despite being twins, their work was very different and of a high standard but I could always tell whose work was whose.   They both interpreted their case studies well and presented their work in exemplary fashion.  They were both deserving of the nomination and I am so pleased the panel were able to see what I could see“.

The judging panel, who reviewed the nominations, said “There was nothing between them so it would have been unfair to give one first place and the other a runner’s up trophy.  They both had worked equally hard and both deserved to win the Award.   We know it’s an unusual decision to have 2 winners but there really was parity between them.”

So Kymbly and Tarnya, you are both winners in our book.   As twins and sisters, you are the same yet different!  Well done to you both on this historical achievement!


L-R Tarnya Till, Kerry of ITEC and Kymbly Till


Apprenticeship Levy – Part 3

Apprenticeship Levy Consultation – Update 15th August 2016

#Apprenticeships #Essex #ApprenticeshipLevy #FutureApprenticeships

Last Friday, the Government published their proposals for implementing the Apprenticeship Levy and the structure for funding Future Apprenticeships from May 2017.

They included a new set of incentives for employers to encourage them to get involved, updates to eligibility and the latest on funding available for non-levy employers.

What’s new since the last update

There will be 15 bands within the funding structure.   Each framework or standard will be assigned to a funding band for the employer to negotiate a price with their chosen training provider.  The upper limit within each band caps the amount of funding available for each apprenticeship.

The training provider MUST be on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP)

There will now be a 20% completion incentive payment for all employers.  This means that when an apprentice completes his/her learning and takes the end point assessment, regardless of whether they achieve, a completion payment of 20% of the funding will be paid.

Subjects within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) priority areas will get an uplift of 40% for level 2 and 80% for level 3 to encourage take up of these areas.

Employers and training providers will receive an additional £1000 each to support a 16-18 year old apprentice, a care leaver or those that have a Local Authority EHC (Education and Health Care) plan.

The levy will be collected from 1st April 2017 for all employers with a payroll bill in excess of £3M.  The first £15K of the levy will not be collected.

Non-levy employers will be required to pay 10% of the funding and will received 90% Government funding for their apprentices.  Small employers of less than 50 employees, who employ a 16-18 year old apprentice, will receive 100% of Government funding.

Levy payers who have exhausted the funds available in their levy account will also be able to claim 90% Government funding for taking on further apprentices.

Apprentices will be eligible to be on a programme lower than the level of their highest qualification if there is significant new learning including graduates.

The new funding structure will be for all apprentice starts after 1st May 2017, regardless of whether the apprentice is following the old framework or the new standards.  The new standards will be funding far more favourably than the old frameworks.    Apprentice starts prior to 1st May will remain on the old funding structure

Employers who set up as a Training Provider to deliver their own apprenticeships will be subject to Ofsted inspection.

Robert Halfon, the newly appointed Apprenticeships and Skills Minister said today: “We need to make sure people of all ages and backgrounds have a chance to get on in life. Apprenticeships give young people – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – a ladder of ‎opportunity. That’s why we continue to work tirelessly to deliver the skills our country needs. The apprenticeship levy is absolutely crucial to this.

“Our businesses can only grow and compete on the world stage if they have the right people, with the right skills. The apprenticeship levy will help create millions of opportunities for individuals and employers. This will give our young people the chance they deserve in life and to build a highly-skilled future workforce that the UK needs.”

The consultation is open to 5th September.  Follow this link for full details.