I love it when the Christmas lights get switched on – not just in our high streets but across all the flats and houses that add a bit of bling to their windows and gardens to brighten up winter skies.
As we draw towards the end of the year, some of us are very busy with self-assessment processes – a time for honest reflection on what has gone well and where we want to do better. On Tuesday I took part in a moderation meeting with colleagues from the Apprenticeship Team and Adult and Community Learning Team, including consortium partners from South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Councils. We had a good robust discussion with plenty of peer challenge, support and biscuits! The final outcome was a strong ‘good’ – a great result from lots of hard work!
On Wednesday I was very privileged to spend a day with Welna Bowden, a consultant from the Local Government Association (LGA) who is helping us find ways to increase the number of apprenticeships and to make sure we spend all our levy funding. Welna had an opportunity to meet with leaders and staff from different Directorates, sharing ideas and gathering information to inform her final report in the New Year. This process provides a fantastic opportunity for us to link up with lots of other local authorities that are grappling with similar challenge – a chance for us to share our good practice and learn from others too.
Another study tour has taken place in the Employment Support Team – Chris Mitchell has been visiting the Amazon Distribution Centre in Avonmouth where he has been watching some of the 1400 robots at work. The Employment Support Team has been helping with their staff recruitment which is now sorted for the Christmas rush. It’s great to hear about their approach to staff development so that, for anyone who has worked with them for at least one year, they will fund 95% of course costs of all types of training, not necessarily to be of benefit to Amazon, including HGV-driving, plumbing, bricklaying, and nursing. After Christmas, it’s great to hear that Amazon can link up with the WORKS programme – with senior managers offering to go into schools and schools taking site tours, including ‘build-and-code a robot’ sessions. What fun!
Today, Elke and I are very proud to be attending the National LEAFEA Autumn Conference where we’ve been asked to make a presentation about our work relating to Adult Education and Poverty – outlining how our community learning programmes are empowering people out of poverty. This is another great opportunity to share our great work and to learn from others too.
Best wishes for a great weekend,
Head of Employment, Skills and Learning