LearnPlay Foundation

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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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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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
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Work Ex is a Success!

Over the summer period, LearnPlay Foundation worked alongside The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide meaningful, invaluable and highly important work experience opportunities for young people of school age.

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And The Winner is…

SHAPE Your Talent is now over and the winners have been picked.

The Sandwell based talent show approached its final stages on June 30th where three judges decided which of the 5 young acts and 4 older acts would claim the top prize of £500.

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InnoWork; A European Success Story

Excellent news for the InnoWork project! Following completion of the project (which launched last year), InnoWork has been awarded ‘Success Story’ and ‘Good Practice Example’ awards from the European Commission and the Bulgarian National Agency “Human Resource Development Center”.

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The Apprenticeship Changes Are Here!

By now you are all aware of the Apprenticeship changes that arrived in May.

If you are still unsure about what these changes mean, below are some useful news articles that will inform you of these changes and how they affect you.

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VR…The Future is Now!

LearnPlay Foundation is continuing to experiment with new technology.

Working alongside 3dnative, LearnPlay is delving into the worlds of augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) with a series of exciting minigames and films.

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