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LearnPlay to provide opportunities to those that have served

We are proud to announce that we have recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, demonstrating our commitment to supporting the military community. The Covenant is a pledge to ensure that those who serve, or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated with fairness and respect.

By signing the Covenant, we have made a public commitment to support the employment of veterans, reservists, and their spouses, as well as providing support to service personnel and their families. We have pledged to recognise the value that military experience brings to the workplace and to actively seek to employ and support members of the armed forces community as well as offering training opportunities to them.

The Covenant is part of a wider government initiative aimed at improving the employment prospects of members of the armed forces community. By signing up to the Covenant, we have joined a growing number of organisations who are working to make a positive difference to the lives of those who have served their country.

We hope that our decision to sign the Armed Forces Covenant is a positive step towards supporting the military community both in Wolverhampton and further afield.

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LearnPlay pledges support to young people in care

‘Making a difference to people’s lives has always been our motto so it is only right that we have made a significant step towards supporting young people who are leaving care by signing the Care Leaver Covenant. This is an essential commitment to help improve the prospects of care leavers by providing opportunities to build a successful life after care.

The Care Leaver Covenant is a pledge made by businesses and organisations across the UK to support young people leaving care. The Covenant recognises that care leavers face challenges in transitioning to independence and aims to provide practical support in areas such as employment, education, and housing.

By signing the Care Leaver Covenant, we are committing to providing support and opportunities to care leavers in the areas of education, employment, and training. We are also committed to promoting awareness of the challenges faced by care leavers and advocating for their needs and rights.

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Holiday Activities And Food Programme (HAF) With LearnPlay Foundation December 2022

Holiday Activities And Food Programme (HAF) With LearnPlay Foundation December 2022

The Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) is held throughout the UK as part of the government’s endeavours to support children during the school holidays. This includes coordinated activities as well as a meal.

There are many wonderful HAF programs available, each providing a unique experience. Here at LearnPlay Foundation, we aim to help children to learn through technology by providing several unique offerings.

In addition to learning and playing with new and exciting technologies, participants have the opportunity to learn about nutrition and alternatives to eating sugar-ladened foods. Each attendee samples a variety of fruits and vegetables and learns how to incorporate them into their daily lives. At our December HAF, the selection on offer consisted of grapes, melon, cucumber and watermelon, to name a few.

Our most recent HAF proved to be a great success and popular with the many children who had the opportunity to learn, play and explore digital technologies. We received feedback from a delighted father who said, “It’s amazing what LearnPlay Foundation are doing as part of the Wolverhampton HAF. My daughters have attended both the Summer and Winter HAF and have enjoyed it immensely! I will be keeping an eye out for the 2023 HAF activities.”

On offer at Walsall, we had Tech Play – Game and Design. The Walsall HAF had 40 participants over 4 fun-filled days creating games and graphic designs.

Justin Rutherford, Programme Coordinator had this to say about his experience leading Walsall HAF delivery for LearnPlay Foundation, “The HAF Programme has become one of the more exciting activities at LearnPlay Foundation. I love seeing what the children come up with when given creative control over something new and it’s always fun working with them in such a positive environment!  This year, we had everything from fruit faces and healthy eating posters to a fully functioning fruit slice game.”

Participants in Wolverhampton had the opportunity to experience working with 3-D pens, VR, Robotics and Gaming. 

Simon Gull, Wolverhampton Programme Coordinator from LearnPlay Foundation, said, “It’s exciting to see HAF participants engage with what’s on offer. We had 41 children over 5 days learning and playing with VR technology, creating with 3D pens and modelling with dry clay. The fantastic thing is that many of the children can take their creations home with them. It was also gratifying to see how the children enjoyed learning about nutrition and got stuck into taste testing a variety of fruit and vegetables.” 

Simon added, “We look forward to applying for HAF 2023 and to inviting many more participants to have access to these fun and educational sessions.”

Our HAF programmes offer children the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge technologies, develop new skills and express their creativity. With a range of programmes available, there is something for every child to enjoy! Additionally, these programs are a great way for children to constructively spend their holidays while having fun and learning valuable skills.

Stay posted for more details about our upcoming HAF Programmes. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for upcoming event details!

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Developing & Nurturing Talent – The Importance Of Apprenticeships In 2023

Developing & Nurturing Talent – The Importance Of Apprenticeships In 2023

2023 is off to a fine start at LearnPlay Foundation! We have just received news that two apprentices passed with distinction! 

Bradley At BCTG

Bradley, an apprentice with BCTG as a Junior Content Producer, enjoyed his apprenticeship experience gaining new-found knowledge in a wide range of aspects covering digital marketing and content creation. Bradley comments, “It wasn’t a narrow path of only social media post creation or only video, it was a good range of different things including a multitude of different ways of creating media. The thing I enjoyed most was exploring new ideas based on feedback from others.” 

When asked about his future plans, Bradley responded that he would like to continue developing his skills in digital media, progressing towards managing a team of digital marketers. “The number one thing I have gained through completing an apprenticeship is the development of my skills through hands-on experience in a job role. This is something that will be valuable to anyone looking to hire me because I have experience working in a large company”, Bradley concludes.

Hannah At LearnPlay Foundation

Hannah, who also completed a Junior Content Producer apprenticeship, did so as part of the Design Team at LearnPlay Foundation. Starting her learning journey with a degree in Digital 

Illustration and Graphic Design, Hannah wished to round out her skills through an apprenticeship with LearnPlay Foundation. 

“Overall I had a pretty good experience. I learned a lot, gaining more graphic design skills. Even though I had done a degree in Digital Illustration and Graphic Design I felt that my knowledge of Graphic Design was lacking. I took on the Junior Content Producer apprenticeship to learn more about Graphic Design and gain more knowledge. I wanted to work in a setting where I would be producing work for the business and for clients of the business so I could naturally get into the swing of things. I feel that over the last 12 months I have definitely improved in the area of Graphic Design and feel a lot more confident in my skills.” 

As a naturally creative person, Hannah continually seeks ways to sharpen her skills, enjoying the challenge of learning a range of creative technical skills which are highly sort after in the creative industry. 

“The aspects of the apprenticeship I most enjoyed was doing industry work, learning more about motion graphics. I’ve definitely enjoyed sinking my teeth into the learning aspect, also getting to meet and work with interesting people and make new friends,” Hannah muses.

Degree Versus Apprenticeship

As a person holding a degree, Hannah is pro apprenticeships for their immense benefits. “As much as degrees have their uses – and I don’t regret doing my degree – their one downfall is that they don’t help you gain firsthand industry experience unless you seek out a placement year. Not everyone can afford university. Apprenticeships are the best of both worlds where you are actively getting industry knowledge and learning which many prospective employers see as a benefit and seek out.” 

When discussing her future career, Hannah remarks, “I would love to get into something in either Illustration, Graphic design or something similar to that. I’m looking at creative-based jobs either freelance or for a company.”

Closing Thoughts

It is clear from chatting with Bradley and Hannah that completing an apprenticeship is a financially sensible and worthwhile experience that has improved their skills and elevated their employment prospects. Taking on an apprentice is undoubtedly a win/win proposition for businesses looking for new, cost-effective hires! 

Join Our Free Taster Sessions

If you live in Wolverhampton and you desire to experience what it is to work in digital media, sign up for one of our free taster sessions:

  • Social Media
  • Graphic Design
  • Film Production
  • Game Design

We also have the following sessions available:

  • Robotics
  • Immersive Virtual Reality
  • 3D Printing

Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) sessions are also available for young people wishing to explore opportunities open to them.

 

Click here to sign up now!

 

* Spaces are limited

*Eligibility criteria applies

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CREATIVES UNITE TO SEIZE THE MOMENT!

CREATIVES UNITE TO SEIZE THE MOMENT!

The Black Country is abundant with creative talent! Sadly, this fact has been overlooked. This has historically been down to various barriers. Lack of funding, opportunity and promotion have all served to dampen the collective creative spirit of creatives in the West Midlands.

Seize The Moment, a conference conceived by the Cultural Leadership Board in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, held on 7 October 2022, sort to highlight these barriers, as mentioned earlier, within the creative sector. Additionally, the conference addressed critical problems within the creative industry and formulated real solutions to the issues facing creatives in the Black Country and beyond.

Tonia Daley-Campbell, actor, writer and director, hosted the day with flair! Adding to her voice were other guest speakers, including Alice Heggie and Noel Dunne. The conference panel consisted of Tonia Daley-Campbell, Michael Southan, Dave Pitt, Jodie Allen and Gursharan Dhanda, who had valuable input from years of experience in the sector. Poet and Playwright Dave Pitt also performed his thought-provoking brand of poetry.

The themes running through the day included; barriers to entry into the creative industry, solutions and case studies, which included exciting projects based in the Thames Estuary Region. Speakers and guests keenly shared how their projects have positively impacted participants’ lives.

Conference-goers had the opportunity to workshop ideas and solutions as well as network. One of the conference’s main aims is to bring greater unity within the sector to heighten awareness of opportunities for would-be creatives to find avenues into training and paid work.

A representative from F.A.N – Freelance Artists Network – a newly formed initiative in the Black Country, also spoke briefly about their work. The two main aims of F.A.N are; to represent freelance creatives in the Black Country to the broader sector and showcase the immense talent on offer in the Black Country. Equally impressively is F.A.N’s ethos to support and nurture creatives who are new to the industry.

Seize The Moment host Tonia Daley-Campbell, passionately expressed her desire to see a move from talking about issues to taking action and continue taking action to progress towards real change.

Kallum Wright, Head of Film at LearnPlay Foundation added, “The event was a wonderful opportunity to hear about the experiences of other creatives, about the various programmes and initiatives being run to help young creatives and about the future of creativity in the West Midlands. 

During a time when creative industries and initiatives are first on the chopping block, I think events like the CLB Conference are extremely important to highlight how creative endeavours aren’t some economic burden, but how they can create real value for the region.

What stood out most to me about the event was the panel discussion. Hearing other people’s stories and experiences dealing with challenges and barriers in the creative industry really spoke to me and was very enlightening. Michael spoke about an experience he had where a programme provider didn’t properly take into account his disability and simply told him to “Just try”. While I don’t have a disability, I think this is endemic of a wider problem in the industry where the individual strengths and capabilities of young creatives aren’t considered and instead, they are shoehorned into existing programmes and roles. It was very illuminating to hear this highlighted.”

Jerrel Jackson, a member of the Cultural Leadership Board, ended the conference by stating, “As part of the Cultural Leadership Board, we will now consider everything that’s been shared today and identify opportunities where we could work together with the West Midlands Combined Authority to develop these actions.”

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The Ideal Time To Shift Gear | Upskilling For Companies

The Ideal Time To Shift Gear | Upskilling For Companies

The Ideal Time To Shift Gear

Redundancies are on the rise—a sad but actual fact – no fake news here. The outgoing P.M has done little to curb this alarming trend, leaving the burden on his successor. Society needs to move away from the mindset that the U.K’s significant financial resources are limitless and able to support the remarkable growth in the upward trend of job losses. 

Upskilling Staff Benefits

In recent years the word ‘pivot’ has come to the fore. Businesses have had to turn on their heels and revise almost their entire business model to keep ahead of Brexit, Covid and, most recently, the war in Ukraine. The effects of these factors we feel as a nation will not be short-lived. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses riding the tidal wave have figured out that incorporating a digital strategy is necessary if they want to stay relevant in today’s market. However, this brings with it another challenge – insufficiently trained staff. 

For example, when there is talk about developing a social media strategy, most people’s eyes glaze over as their minds become entangled in the digital sphere’s technical language. This is particularly true for people who do not use social media. If companies wish to remain relevant in today’s business world, equipping staff with new skills is essential. Reviving outdated skillsets is imperative in today’s workplace.

Upskilling Staff Through Apprenticeships

Geoff Henderson of UrbanHax.com strongly believes in the ethos of upskilling and reskilling today’s workforce. In his many years in business and industry, he has actively worked to introduce traditional businesses and their workforce to new and emerging technologies. More recently, he noted the emergence of makerspaces or hackspaces around the world, which provide services to businesses and the wider community based on the combination of traditional or craft skills with the best of digital skills. Geoff found that these spaces attracted people from across the spectrum, cutting across the divides of race, gender, culture and socio-economic backgrounds.

Urban Hax has a long-standing relationship with LearnPlay Foundation. In 1998 Geoff and Ro Hands (Managing Director of LearnPlay Foundation) established RG Consulting. As the business progressed, it was clear that there were opportunities to reach and support the wider community through new approaches to skills development. Urban Hax’s new apprentice is being taught the practical skills associated with traditional technology and benefiting from LearnPlay’s expertise in cultivating modern digital skills. This combined skillset will help the company achieve its ambitions for the local community.

Both Urban Hax and LearnPlay Foundation strive to upskill and re-skill individuals to improve their prospects in the workplace and provide future-proofing in the arena of employee skillsets. Now is a pivotal time to reskill and upskill existing employees and for business owners to acquire new talent to bridge the gap in the skills divide.

Benefits Of Taking On An Apprentice

Geoff passionately addresses this issue through his recommendation of apprentices, “When taking on an apprentice, you’re taking on someone with very little skill, but they may have the right aptitude and attitude for the job! LearnPlay has a successful track-record; their business model works! What they have put together in their apprenticeships works well in the range of companies utilising them across the region. It can be easy for an apprenticeship to become dry and abstract. LearnPlay Foundation works on live projects and there is no substitute for apprentices to be pushed in the deep end as there is to work on live projects with real clients!”

While LearnPlay Foundation is adept at training apprentices, they are also passionate about upskilling or reskilling the workforce by providing short courses in various disciplines – good news for job seekers and those wishing to improve their skillset!

Contact LearnPlay Foundation today for more information on upskilling.

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Apprenticeships Are Taking On New Meaning In The Digital Age | An Interview With Matt Weston

Apprenticeships Are Taking On New Meaning In The Digital Age | An Interview With Matt Weston

It’s tempting to think of apprenticeships as ‘old school’. When you ask most people what the word ‘apprentice’ conjures in their minds, the first thing they say is a long the lines of someone who takes on a trade in the building industry. As someone who comes from a long line of builders, plumbers and electricians, I have heard my fair share of the word ‘appy’ in my time.

Apprenticeships For Coders And Digital Enthusiasts

Apprenticeships in the ’20s (the two thousand and twenties) have surpassed their traditional counterparts. In days gone by, we documented everything with a pen and paper. Now, we hardly ever have to use such antiquated methods to jot down our thoughts, grocery lists or schedules. Pen and paper have been replaced by a slew of digital options, from the smartphone to the tablet, laptop and desktop computer. Similarly, the transformation from the apprenticeships of yesteryear to new, innovative and digitally based apprenticeships has forever changed the apprenticeship landscape.

While traditional apprenticeships in building, decorating, and the like are still very much alive and well, the ‘new kid on the block’ in the size and shape of the digital media apprenticeship is an exciting leap forward for those individuals who are passionate about all things digital.

Government Funding For Employers Taking On Apprentices

When I started to delve into the world of apprenticeships, I was mind-blown by the sheer diversity of opportunities available to prospective apprentices. Not only are the options for apprentices vast, but there is also government funding available to prospective employers to help fund their new hires.

This week I sat down to an interview with one such employer in digital media. I met with Matt Weston, one of the Directors of Stone’s Throw Media, a video and animation production company in Wolverhampton, to find out more about his take on apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships In Digital Media

Stone’s Throw Media is a thriving business that started in the late 2000s with Matt and Mike, who met at Wolverhampton University. Since then, the team has grown as well as Stone’s Throw’s reach which runs the length and breadth of the UK.

I asked Matt about his experience with an apprentice he took on through LearnPlay Foundation. His excitement was evident, “The enthusiasm you get from apprentices is great! Apprentices tend to appreciate the opportunity and therefore work extremely hard. That can be quite infectious to the rest of the team to have someone who’s upbeat and delighted to be there. It’s rewarding to see your apprentice grow and learn from where they start and the progression over a year or two.”

Matt continued, “It’s also great adding a team member and having government funding to help. Initially, we weren’t aware of the funding available to us for taking on an apprentice, but we soon became aware of it. Many people are dying for this kind of opportunity, and our experience taking on an apprentice has been good!”

How LearnPlay Foundation Helps Employers

When I asked Matt how working with LearnPlay Foundation had benefited Stone’s Throw Media, he responded, “LearnPlay get it! They made the process simple to navigate, for me, my team, and my apprentice. That’s the great part about working with LearnPlay Foundation – a business can easily end up with a lot of paperwork when taking on an apprentice. LearnPlay made it straightforward and took the paperwork to the stage of needing me to add my signature. From my apprentice’s side, I have only heard good things and that LearnPlay Foundation has kept it very efficient with good communication and forward-planning.”

Matt went on to say that he felt that taking on an apprentice, no matter the state of the economy, is a financial win for most companies.

What Are The Benefits of Hiring An Apprentice?

Have you considered taking on an apprentice? Yes, it can be a steep mountain to climb with regards to obtaining funding, completing copious amounts of paperwork and sanely navigating your way through what may seem endless and daunting administrative tasks. LearnPlay Foundation can help you swiftly summit these seemingly impossible tasks – we do all the heavy-lifting for you!

Contact us today by direct message or via our website to find out how we can help you to help someone who is looking for a company like yours!

Sources: A Short History of Apprenticeships In England

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LearnPlay Foundation Wins Funding From City Ideas Fund Wolverhampton

Some exciting news crossed my desk this morning! LearnPlay Foundation received a grant from the City Ideas Fund, Wolverhampton – a new pilot scheme to assist 18 to 24-year-olds into employment.  

Established by the City of Wolverhampton Council, a one-off grant is available to various would-be applicants, including; employers, community groups and individuals who seek to promote young people into employment and training.

The fund, totalling £100 000, is available to applicants who receive between £500 and £10 000 to fund their project. This amount will increase after an influx of noteworthy submissions, all aimed at boosting skills and decreasing unemployment.

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NEW OFFICE

Just to let you know, we have moved office. We are now at The Chubb Building! Our lovely, new office is situated right by the bus station, so we are fairly easy to find.
Our Address:
Units K2 & K7
The Chubb Building
Fryer Street
Wolverhampton
WV1 1HT
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Why Should Employers Hire Apprentices?

Many business owners are in the throes of recovery from Brexit, Covid19 and the recent war in Ukraine. One of the solutions business owners are turning to is cutting costs where they can to minimise the devastating impact of the last few years.

Cutting Costs, Maximising Profits

Slashing the wage bill without cutting jobs is practically impossible. New hires do not come cheap. These factors have certainly contributed to the growth of the gig economy. However, the emerging downside is that (as always) good people are hard to find and retain due to the high demand for their time and talents. Appealing to those currently working in the gig economy requires flexible thinking that can be inconvenient for companies.

With the pandemic still snapping at our heels, companies have been forced into the uncomfortable situation of employees who prefer to work from home. Additionally, companies also face this trend for new hires.

With these factors in mind, it makes sense to hire an apprentice. The distinct advantages of hiring an apprentice are clear. Employing an apprentice helps your business in several ways. According to Apprenticeships.gov.uk – What Are The Benefits of Hiring An Apprentice?:

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation
  • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service 1

A Business Owner Who Is Gaining

I am always curious to know what motivates business owners besides turning a profit. From my experience, the bottom line appears to be the overriding factor for many. So, when I meet someone who runs a profitable business while maintaining a family atmosphere, I am intrigued.

This week I sat down with serial startup meister Duncan Price. Duncan is the formidable force behind Mug Monster – a trendy supplier of custom mugs of all varieties, shapes and sizes!

Why Would You Hire An Apprentice?

My main question for Duncan was why he hired an apprentice. When I put the question to him, his answer was succinct, “We are doing well at Mug Monster, especially with the surge of online sales during the pandemic, so we needed a little extra help. Hiring a fully-fledged designer was overkill in many respects. We required someone who could do the work and not be afraid to take on various challenges. Essentially we felt that we could kill two birds with one stone; we could cut our wage bill and hire someone who had enough experience to fill the position but who also would benefit from gaining additional work experience. It is a clear win/win!”

How Did You Find Help To Hire An Apprentice?

Duncan approached LearnPlay Foundation to help him source an apprentice for Mug Monster. Previously he had worked with other apprentice providers and received service ranging from excellent to average. When I asked where he felt LearnPlay Foundation ranked, he smiled and said, “I recommend LearnPlay Foundation to everyone I know who needs an apprentice! I regularly give LearnPlay Foundation referrals and testimonials. LearnPlay Foundation made the process easy, Alina, in particular, was very efficient! LearnPlay Foundation helped us by sourcing and sifting through C.V’s until they found our ideal match. Their help has been invaluable.”

What Are The Benefits To A Business Wanting To Hire An Apprentice?

As evidenced in the above statistics and Duncans’ positive experience, there are numerous benefits to hiring an apprentice. Hiring an apprentice helps develop skills in your organisation and improves productivity and the quality of the organisation’s offering. For organisations who wish to fulfil their Corporate Social Responsibility taking on an apprentice(s) makes complete sense.

Furthermore, Government funding is available for organisations that take on an apprentice. With all this in mind, it stands to reason that taking on an apprentice is cost-effective and helps someone build a better and brighter future.

On A Personal Note

Not everyone can tackle a degree for various reasons. Numerous talented people exist in the job market who are desirous to realise their potential – an apprenticeship goes a long way to helping them achieve an otherwise elusive dream.

How To Go About Hiring An Apprentice

LearnPlay Foundation will walk you through the process step by step. Should you be in the process of considering options to implement within your business and taking on an apprentice is a viable solution, contact us at LearnPlay Foundation. We would love to speak with you!

Source:

  1. Apprenticeships.Gov.UK
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