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LEP calls on local businesses to make the most of the apprenticeship levy and support their local communities

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership calls on apprenticeship levy-paying businesses to use their powers to support firms in the region with levy transfer

Levy funds not used within 24 months are reclaimed by government to spend outside the region

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is calling on apprenticeship levy paying businesses across the City Region to make the most of unspent levy funds and consider supporting training opportunities across their local communities through a levy transfer. As levy payments not used within 24 months are returned to central government, there are potentially millions of pounds in unspent contributions paid by businesses in Leeds City Region that could be put to good use in supporting the future workforce and local economy by helping to increase apprenticeship training.   Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and leader of Bradford Council, said:

“We all know there are unspent levy contributions which we want to keep in the region. Transferring the levy is one way local employers can help address local skills deficits. Under a devolved settlement we want to build on this and would like to see levy money raised by large organisations in the region staying in the region to benefit SMEs and local people.”    Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11, said:

“Our levy-paying businesses have a key role in supporting apprenticeships across Leeds City Region and giving skilled people the opportunity to get on in life. “Using your unspent levy funds to support local people and businesses can also have long-term benefits for your own business, as they can increase the skills within a sector and the local talent-base and make companies within supply chains more efficient.”
The LEP has piloted a brokerage service between levy-paying employers and training providers for the purposes of levy transfer and has already seen successes, with Portakabin agreeing to fund 12 apprentices through their training programmes.   Nick Vernon, Head of Learning and Development at Portakabin, said: “In late summer, we became aware of the fact that some training providers across the region were facing funding challenges and there was a risk that they might have to turn businesses away. As an employer with unspent apprenticeship levy, we were able to take positive steps with an apprenticeship levy transfer and are now supporting 12 apprentices through their training programmes.

“It’s not just for a single academic year – we’ve made a long-term commitment to fund the full duration of the apprenticeships. We’re delighted to be able to support the development of apprentices at Portakabin and also within the City Region.”

The call for support comes as training providers across Leeds City Region have contacted the LEP reporting that they are turning away potential apprentices from employers that are under the threshold for paying the apprenticeship levy, due to a lack of non-levy funding for apprenticeships. The LEP has conducted a poll of providers across the City Region, with the majority of respondents confirming that they are also in this situation. The LEP estimates that as many as 300 apprentices across the City Region may be unable to start their courses as a result of funding shortfalls.   The apprenticeship levy is paid by businesses with an annual wage bill of £3 million or more, and is used to fund apprenticeship training and assessment. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of their contributions to support apprenticeships in smaller businesses.

Research with local employers has shown the value that an apprentice can bring to businesses:

• 86% of businesses said their apprentice helped to fill skills gaps
• 78% said hiring an apprentice improved productivity
• 83% said they would recommend an apprentice to another business
• 90% of apprentices stay with their employer after their course ends.

Businesses wishing to support apprenticeships can get in touch with the LEP to find out how they can make a positive difference and make sure vital opportunities for careers and development are available to people across Leeds City Region. The LEP can help businesses use levy funds to recruit their own apprentice or to transfer unspent funds to increase apprenticeship opportunities across Leeds City Region.

For more information visit the-lep.com/apprenticeship-levy-transfer/


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Read the full report here: Humber Clean Growth White Paper.

The ambitious plan aims to put the Energy Estuary at the forefront of what LEP Chair Lord Haskins called “the biggest global question today”: addressing climate change while maintaining economic growth.

The Humber Clean Growth Local White Paper confirms the region’s ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, which had been proposed in the consultation the LEP launched at its annual business summit in June.  Currently the Humber has the highest carbon emissions of any UK industrial cluster.

To achieve this, commitments include:

  • The Humber LEP and industry body CATCH will lead the development of a roadmap for reducing industrial emissions, with an initial funding bid to be submitted to Government next month.
  • A group of leading academic and business experts will be recruited to advise on the region’s plans, with a “Net Zero Commission” due to get under way early next year.
  • SMEs will be offered additional decarbonisation and energy efficiency support through the LEP’s Business Growth Hub, subject to final funding approval.
  • The LEP will work with industry, transport firms and other potential users to develop the demand for hydrogen fuel – with a view to also attracting clean production to the region, adding to the area’s existing chemicals cluster.
  • The Humber LEP will work with neighbouring LEPs in North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire to support the area’s large food and agriculture sector to decarbonise.
  • The LEP will continue existing work with the offshore wind industry to develop the local supply chain, and with businesses seeking to develop carbon capture and storage in the region.

With the general election campaign getting under way, the White Paper also calls for support from the next government, including:

  • Working with the area to explore the financing models and business and community incentives required to support decarbonisation.
  • Supporting international marketing of the Humber’s proposition for clean growth in order to attract more new investment to the area.
  • Backing the University of Hull-led bid to the Strength in Places Fund as a first step towards increasing local energy innovation capacity.

Further actions will be set out in the Humber Local Industrial Strategy, alongside commitments on key sectors including engineering and assembly, logistics and tech, as well as cross-cutting issues like infrastructure and skills.  Accelerated by ministers in the summer, the LEP has been in advanced discussions with Government and local partners over recent months and a final draft has been approved by the LEP Board – but publication will now have to wait until after the election.

Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber LEP, said: “The biggest global question today is how to address climate change while maintaining economic growth.  The Humber is essential to the UK’s transition to a net zero carbon economy.

“Our region is already at the forefront of delivering clean electricity, with the largest offshore wind farm in the world under construction, and in future should be a leader in developing and deploying decarbonisation solutions across industry, transport and homes.  By being proactive at a local level we have a chance to protect what we already have, and ensure our businesses and residents can benefit from this transition.

“What has come across clearly from the businesses, local authorities and other organisations involved in this work is the level of ambition from the Humber and the desire to get on with this quickly.  There are a lot of exciting projects being developed which would accelerate the progress our region is already making.

“This White Paper and our Local Industrial Strategy give the next Government, whatever the colour, a compelling proposition from the Humber which I hope ministers will get behind straight away after the election.”

As part of putting the White Paper together, the Humber LEP has engaged with businesses across the area, from major employers to SMEs, in a number of different sectors, as well as local authorities and other local institutions.

Energy intensive industries make up almost a quarter of the value of the Humber economy, and account for one in ten jobs in the region. Protecting their long-term competitiveness is a key ambition in the White Paper, and will be supported by the new roadmap for reducing emissions to be developed by the LEP and CATCH.

David Talbot, CEO of CATCH, said: “The industrial emitters across the Humber region are primed and ready to collaborate with key stakeholders to address technology, infrastructure and policy gaps and overcome barriers to review and prioritise different decarbonisation models and 2040 net-zero options for the Humber industrial cluster.  CATCH and the Humber LEP will work together to secure funding to develop a roadmap for decarbonising the Humber industrial cluster.”

Humber local authorities have been closely involved in developing the Local Industrial Strategy.

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “We are proud to support the Humber Local Industrial Strategy.

“This region faces a growing threat from climate change, with the second-highest threat of flood risk in the country. We also have a large cluster of energy-intensive industries that are vital to the UK economy, which we are working with to transition to a low-carbon future.

“In Hull, we have identified climate change as a key challenge and have set ambitious targets through the declaration of a climate emergency in March this year and a commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2030.

“The Living with Water Partnership focused around flooding and water shortage and the growth of offshore wind power and Siemens Gamesa blade factory show we are already meeting the challenge to create a low-carbon future in the city.

“Decarbonisation provides a big economic opportunity for the region as lower-carbon sectors are growing at a faster rate than other areas. This is good news for the Humber as the UK’s Energy Estuary and a key piece of the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector.”

Cllr Philip Jackson, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “Over the last few years, we’ve been working hard with our neighbouring authorities to build on our collective growing reputation, leading the way in the clean energy revolution and powering the UK. Our offshore wind operations and maintenance base in Grimsby and the training facilities in our area are second to none.

“This Local Industrial Strategy will help us continue and build on that Humber-wide partnership to attract investment to our shores and support our local Town Deal – a unique collaboration, developed in North East Lincolnshire, but the effects of which will be felt throughout the Humber.”


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What is the Industrial decarbonisation challenge?

  • It aims to boost the competitiveness of key industrial regions and drive inward investment, creating and protecting jobs for a low-carbon global economy with growing low-carbon export markets
  • It will support delivery of the Clean Growth Grand Challenge and the Industrial Clusters Mission, which has set an ambition to establish at least one low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030 and the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040. The Mission, and this challenge, will help to place the UK at the forefront of the global shift to Clean Growth, by driving the technologies, services and markets to produce low carbon industrial products.

What’s the investment?

The Industrial Decarbonisation programme is funded by £170 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is expected to be matched by funding of up to £261 million from industry.

What are the opportunities?

Clusters of large industrial plants for energy-intensive industries such as iron and steel, cement, refining and chemicals, have developed near our ports and estuaries. These industrial clusters are very significant contributors to both  the local economy and their communities, but also are significant contributors to UK carbon emissions.

The largest six clusters, recently mapped by the Industrial Clusters Mission, have high emission plants totalling around 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – equating to about one third of all business and industrial emissions. Manufacturing businesses in industrial clusters often share infrastructure and resources (both supply chains and workforce).

Industrial Decarbonisation seeks to harness the scale of the industrial clusters to create opportunities to work together to find cost-effective solutions to decarbonisation.

The challenge will seek to deliver:

  • Detailed designs and demonstration of industry-scale technologies and shared infrastructure for the cost-effective deep decarbonisation of at least one industrial cluster
  • Roadmaps and feasibility studies for net zero industrial clusters
  • Sustainable industrial clusters knowledge creation and sharing function, including the creation of a joint industry/government/academic-led research programme.

Apply for funding 

Sign up to hear more 

To find out more about CATCH and the Humber Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge please contact Katie Hedges katie.hedges@catchuk.org


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Plant sizes are 50 MW, 250 MWh CRYOBattery™ each, first one to be built in North of England, at the site of a decommissioned thermal power station

Clean energy storage facilities to provide grid stability services to the National Grid

Highview Power, a global leader in long-duration energy storage solutions, today announced plans to construct the UK’s first commercial cryogenic energy storage facility (also referred to as liquid air) at large scale, which will be located at a decommissioned thermal power station in North of England. The 50 MW/250 MWh project is a clean large-scale energy storage facility that can help the UK achieve its goal of decarbonising industry, power, heat, and transport. The project being developed was announced by Highview Power CEO Javier Cavada during remarks at the BloombergNEF (BNEF) summit in London.

Along with this first large-scale facility, Highview Power is developing a portfolio of projects in the UK and is in the process of securing sites. These projects will further the UK’s strong move towards its clean energy goals and help it meet the expected global demand for energy storage.

“We are excited to begin working on our first commercial UK project at scale to become the largest battery storage system in Europe and support the National Grid. This CRYOBattery™ plant will provide the critical services needed to help maintain a stable and reliable grid,” said Cavada. “Long-duration, giga-scale energy storage is the necessary foundation to enable baseload renewable energy and will be key to a 100% carbon free future.”

In addition to supplying energy storage, Highview Power’s facility will also provide valuable services to the National Grid to help integrate renewables, stabilise the electrical grid, and ensure future energy security. Other services the facility could deliver include market arbitrage, frequency management, reserve, and grid constraint management services. Highview Power is currently in discussions with potential offtakers to contract for the capabilities and services the facility can provide.

Energy storage installations around the world will multiply exponentially, reaching 1,095GW/2,850GWh by 2040. Over the next two decades, $662 billion of investment will be needed for stationary energy storage, according to BNEF.

Highview Power’s CRYOBattery™ uses only benign materials with zero emissions and has zero water impact. The new facility in the North of England is the first large scale commercial system utilizing this technology, pioneered at Highview Power’s pilot plant in Slough, and evolved at the demonstration plant in Pilsworth, Greater Manchester, which has been successfully operating since early 2018.

Highview Power’s CRYOBattery™ is the only freely locatable energy storage solution on the market today that delivers clean, reliable, and cost-efficient long-duration energy storage with grid synchronous inertia. It can store energy for weeks, instead of hours or days, and at approximately £110/MWh for a for a 10-hour, 200 MW / 2 GWh system, the CRYOBattery™ offers the lowest levelized cost of storage for large-scale applications.

About Highview Power
Highview Power is a designer and developer of the CRYOBattery™, a proprietary cryogenic energy storage system that delivers reliable and cost-effective long-duration energy storage to enable a 100 percent renewable energy future. Its proprietary technology uses liquid air as the storage medium and can deliver anywhere from 20 MW/80 MWh to more than 200 MW/1.2 GWh of energy and has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years. Developed using proven components from mature industries, it delivers pumped-hydro capabilities without geographical constraints and can be configured to convert waste heat and cold to power. For more information, please visit: http://www.highviewpower.com


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Registration now open! Secure your tickets today!

2019 will see the return of this highly successful event and a host of new speakers and topics showcasing cross-sector best practice to drive forward improvements in productivity, reliability and safety.

During the day we will demonstrate transferable lessons from across the manufacturing spectrum, that Production and Engineering Managers can apply to their own operations, as well as showcasing the broad range of asset management capabilities that are available within the region.


The year’s conference will explore the following themes:

  • Overall asset management philosophy and planning
  • Best practice sharing including learning from other sectors
  • Improving Safety and Efficiency in asset management

Confirmed speakers to date included:

  • SA Partners
  • HFL
  • Sellafield
  • Advisian, part of Worley Parsons
  • Veolia
  • ABB
  • Frazer Nash
  • EnerMech
  • Focul
  • Axiom Engineering Associates
  • Cogent Skills
  • Evolution MRO
  • The Academy of Joint Integrity part of the Flexitallic group
  • Sellafield


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The Apprentice Awards are open to all apprentices in years 2, 3 or 4 working for Concom Client or Contractor member companies. The apprenticeship can be in any discipline, any NVQ awarding body and with any training provider. The Awards will be presented at the CATCH Annual Dinner on Thursday 7th May 2020. The winner will receive a trophy and a cheque for £500 and 2 runners up will receive of £250 each.

Award Criteria
Applicants should write an article of no more 750 words and should include:

An outline of their apprenticeship to date
A demonstration of their academic success, skills and on the job successes
Their understanding of the industry
Any other achievements that are relevant to their performance.

This must be supported by an employer testimonial as to why they think the apprentice is outstanding.

Closing date
All entries to be submitted by 12.00 on Monday 3rd February 2020

Please click here to complete the online nomination form


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Over 50 delegates signed up to attend the 2019 Skills, Competency and Apprenticeship Conference hosted by the University of Bradford on the 10th October.

The sold out conference, which had support from E3 Recruitment, Roxby Training Solutions and Reynolds Training Services, aimed to enable companies to network, share best practice and provide solutions to challenges that companies could take away and implement in their own workplaces.

Commenting on the day, James McIntosh, Head of CATCH Skills said, “This conference was born from our Skills, Competency and Apprenticeship networks, which we host both in the Yorkshire and Humber regions. These group are led by an industry chair, which means that the networks are always relevant and provides significant support to those who attend. Our conference brought those groups together to share the learning journey of those in the industry, from early experiences at school and to upskilling and continual learning in the workplace”

The conference highlighted the importance of industry engagement with schools, with two members of the NuFarm NuGeneration team presenting their pioneering project. The project aims to engage with local school children to promote Nufarm and what they do plus inspire them in a fun and safe way to potential career opportunities in the process industries. The NuGeneration team is self-managed by the young people at Nufarm and not only provides community benefit but great learning and development opportunities for the individuals in the team too.  The project is now fully established and is looking to expand the number of schools they engage with.  Delegates were recommended to look at their own young people to see how they can make a difference in their workplaces.

The conference also heard from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, who gave insight into the local labour market and what the LEP are doing to support skills in the region.  Syngenta, who spoke about their extremely successful apprenticeship journey plus we heard from hosts – the University of Bradford who spoke about the amazing work they do with degree apprenticeships, industry engagement and their work placements team.

CATCH Skills then presented their new exciting collaborative venture between CATCH and DN College Group – CETP. This new initiative brings together engineering based training to promote engineering as a career choice to young people, to provide a gateway to employment for new entrants and to deliver workplace training to upskill existing employees. CETP has 11 locations across the Yorkshire and Humber regions to deliver first-class industry training, with the CATCH Skills facility being one of them.

The conference closed with David Talbot, CEO of CATCH leading an open discussion on the day’s topics and events.

If you are interested in attending the skills competency and apprenticeship network, either in Yorkshire or the Humber, please contact the CATCH Skills team – info@catchuk.org


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EU Exit event for the chemicals industry, The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays (Manchester) M50 3AZ 10 October 2019

You are invited  to join a free to attend workshop organised by the Chemical Industries Association.  The event is open to non-member companies and the workshop is designed to be especially valuable to SMEs including those who need to increase their level of preparedness ahead of the UK’s EU exit.

The CIA-organised event will share the very latest information and guidance, relevant to the chemistry using community.  The objective of the workshop will be to assist companies as they put in place contingencies ahead of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019.  Should the UK leave without a deal the impact on the regulatory and trading requirements will be significant.  Sessions will focus on key areas such as regulations (including REACH, CLP, Biocides), tariffs and customs/border processes.  I am delighted that representatives from DEFRA, the Health and Safety Executive and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs will supplement the detailed briefing from CIA’s policy leads.

The workshop is supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the Business Readiness Fund.  BEIS recognise the criticality of the chemical industry and broader sector and the potential of a negative impact on downstream industries should there be any interruption in supply.  Every effort is being made to ensure that potential hiccups are mitigated wherever possible. Preparation now might avoid your products being held at an exit port due to missing documentation or raw materials not arriving on time to meet your production schedules.

Space on the day is strictly limited to the first 100 delegates. Registrations will be allocated on a first come basis and limited to one delegate per company.  For those not able to join the event, for whatever reason, the CIA will share copies of speaker slides.  I’m also pleased to confirm that CIA will publish a guide that provides step by step information covering key policy areas that explain the changes that UK companies should now be preparing for ahead of exit.   We will distribute copies of the publication to individual companies, multipliers, other trade associations and regional cluster organisations.

Please click here to register, if you would like to join the event on 10 October.  Please click this link (here) if you would like to receive a copy of the CIA Brexit brochure.


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The Concom team are finishing off the final preparations for the annual Catch up With Competency event on 8th October 2019.  Key client members from the Humber Bank region and many of the Concom contractor members from across the country will be attending again.  This year they will be hearing from key industry players such as the Chair of CATCH, an HSE Inspector and the ECITB.  We will also hear from the Concom Apprentice of the Year 2019 and the Concom Chair regarding the successes of the  Concom Scheme and the way forward.  Attendance is free for Concom contractor members and each can have up to two tickets.  Please let Jane know if you are interested in attending on jane.winship@catchuk.org

CUWC flyer October 2019


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