Chesterfield businesses urged to take advantage of government apprenticeship bonus scheme

Pinewood Property Estates Ltd and Chesterfield College are urging Derbyshire businesses to make the most of the government’s apprenticeship bonus scheme which launched earlier this month.

The scheme offers employers up to £4,000 for every apprentice recruited. It is designed to help businesses grow their team and provide opportunities for people to develop the skills they need to boost their careers.

Stacey Davies-Bowler, managing director at Pinewood Property Estates Ltd in Chesterfield, is a great advocate for apprenticeships. He is keen to highlight what benefits they bring, particularly with the availability of the apprenticeship incentive payment.

Stacey started his career as an apprentice and has helped many others to do the same.  As part of recent expansion plans, the business was keen to recruit a new apprentice along with other senior members of staff. They worked with Chesterfield College to explore the options open to them to find the perfect apprentice candidate. The apprenticeship bonus scheme was an added benefit for the organisation when they recruited Alberta, a Customer Service apprentice.

Stacey is keen to share his experiences as an employer of apprentices to encourage other small businesses to make the most of what the incentive scheme offers. He said:

“Without young people coming through, any industry gets stagnant. If companies are not giving young people a chance and supporting them to learn, they are going to find a huge void in their workforce and the skills they need. We have had great success with apprentices over the years and it is good to see young people develop in the organisation.

“In our business, an apprentice is not cheap labour. We have to invest a lot of time and effort into developing apprentices but we know we get a payback in the long term. We get someone who understands our business and our industry who then goes on to contribute to making a profit.

“The incentive scheme gives businesses who might be new to the apprenticeship process of developing their team a good opportunity to try it out. The bonus payment could potentially cover a third of an apprentice’s annual salary. For a small business this could offer a perfect way to give a young person a start to their career and develop an apprentice to become a valued member of their team.”

Leah Shortt, Apprentice Recruitment Manager at Chesterfield College said:

“We have been supporting local business like Pinewood Property Estates to grow their team through apprenticeships for many years. Now the new incentive scheme is available, we hope it will encourage more employers to explore how apprentices could benefit them.  We are here to help employers navigate their way through the apprenticeship landscape and access the incentive payments before the deadline. Our team of apprenticeship experts is on hand to help employers find the right apprenticeship programme, and the right candidate. Ultimately, this will support them to develop their future workforce and fill those critical skills gaps now and in the future.”

Find out more at or call 0345 850 1055.

Pinewood Properties and Chesterfield College support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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New report sets out the region’s skills strengths and actions to address the skills needs in the wake of Covid-19

A new report from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has highlighted the need for action to make sure everyone has the skills which will allow them to get good jobs, both now and in the future —and how it will also help the region address other issues from climate change to regional inequality.

With just over a year since the UK went into lockdown, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire, further exposing the persistent productivity gap and skills lag in the region and with employment losses more pronounced than many parts of the UK.

The rapidly increasing demand for new technological and digital skills – central to the region’s aspiration for low carbon and inclusive growth and essential to remote working and access to upskilling in our rural communities – were already having unsettling consequences for the local economy before the pandemic.

While the impact of Covid-19 has been uneven with the most significant impacts to service, manufacturing, hospitality and retail, there is clear evidence that recent progress across the region in increasing skills and employment levels may be slowed or reversed without the introduction of effective measures at both a national and local level.

The D2N2 LEP, in its capacity as organiser of the regions Skills Advisory Panel (SAP), has brought together employers, skills providers and key local stakeholders to better understand and resolve these skill mismatches at a local level and make recommendations for change.

The D2N2 Local Skills Report will be essential to the regions skills recovery to offset these challenges and ‘building back better’. It will require business leaders, educators, and national and regional governments to come together and collaborate to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. The report is a catalyst for action to help those who have been made redundant or at risk of unemployment and support young people and businesses that have been disproportionately affected.

Government: Provide funding continuity; increase access to reskilling; increase SAPs’ role in skills provision and funding.
Post-16 Skills Providers: Coordinate with our priorities; build collaborative skills pathways; embed digital and low carbon skills in all learning pathways.
Schools: Provide senior support of Careers activity; promote higher technical skills pathways; embed careers inspiration and core digital skills in the curriculum.
Local Authorities: Support our strategy in your areas; continue collaborating with us and each other; facilitate relationships between local employers and schools.
Employers and BROs: Make skills core to recovery and growth planning; engage with the skills system to develop the future workforce; support your workers in retraining, reskilling and upskilling.

Professor Shearer West CBE, Chair of the D2N2 People and Skills Board, said: “This report showcases the work of D2N2 in People and Skills, by providing an overview of our strategy and an assessment of progress to date. As SAP Chair, I feel it is vital to ensure that our growing knowledge of trends and challenges affecting jobs and skills in D2N2 reaches the widest possible audience. This will help us drive necessary change both locally and nationally, as well as providing the leadership and focus for strategic responses with genuine impact. I would like to thank our colleagues at the University of Derby, who partnered with the D2N2 LEP on the development of this report, as well as all the partners in the D2N2 area who have contributed to it.”

Rachel Quinn, Head of People of Skills at D2N2 LEP, said: “This report’s aim is simple, to help improve the chances of our people in securing the jobs and careers to which they aspire, a crucial element in driving up their quality of life, and for our businesses to find the skills they need to grow and compete in an increasingly global economy. Our report set out the local strengths and skills needs and how the SAP proposes its area addresses its key priorities, identifies, and delivers on its priorities.

“The DfE’s recent White Paper set out a number of reforms aimed at putting employers more firmly at the heart of the skills system. As we develop our local response to the White Paper, our SAP and our Local Skills Report will be vital for coordinating the region’s skills response as our economy recovers.”

The full report can be accessed via


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MPs praise Chesterfield College for its work in developing skills for the future

The Minister for Apprenticeship and Skills, Gillian Keegan MP, visited Chesterfield College virtually last week (Thursday, 28th January).

During the visit, she praised leaders of the college for the work they are undertaking and confirmed that the strategic direction of the organisation meets the ambitions of the Government’s vision for further education, and the role colleges will play in future skills development across the UK.

Local MPs, Toby Perkins, Lee Rowley and Mark Fletcher attended the visit, and pledged their support for the college and the vital role it plays in the development of local communities.

They also praised the college for the work it had undertaken before and during the pandemic.

The visitors explored how the college supports employers, students and apprentices whilst also discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the further education sector.

Topics for discussion included how the college is addressing local skills needs, creatively developing the curriculum, adapting to meet financial constraints, and responding to meet the needs of students and apprentices in lockdown.

Julie Richards, Principal and Chief Executive of the Chesterfield College Group explained: “Our vision is to be recognised as an outstanding college by the communities we serve. We equip our students and apprentices with the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need for success in both their career and personal life.

“The college aims to be the first choice for education and skills in our local area, equipping individuals and employers with the skills they need both now and in the future, supporting our economy to grow and prosper.

“We are making significant progress in realising our vision and the proposals set out in the recently announced FE White Paper places the college in a very favourable position to address the ambitions of Government.

“However, to support the growth and development of people through further education we need parity of funding with schools and support to ensure both young people and adults can access the skills they need for a bright and prosperous future.”

Gillian Keegan MP said: “It was great to be able to virtually visit Chesterfield College to hear how they are supporting learners to build the skills they need to be successful in their future careers.

“I really enjoyed speaking to students Jack and Georgie, who have so much enthusiasm for their studies, and have continued to work hard during the lockdown to develop their skills and knowledge.”

The Minister met a student and an apprentice during the visit and asked about their experiences of learning with the college. Beauty Therapy student, Georgie McGregor and Electrical Installation Apprentice, Jack Harris who is completing his apprenticeship at the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire, explained how the college is helping them to realise their ambitions.

The Minister asked them how lockdown was affecting their learning and what opportunities had arisen. She also asked about careers advice and the importance of supporting young people into the most appropriate study options.

Georgie told the Minister: “The college has a great programme to advise students of our careers options. We are provided with advice and guidance relating to the different routes open to us when we go out to the big wide world. Employers take part on our online learning which helps us to understand how to apply our skills in industry.”

“We are currently focusing on theory as part of the Level 3 course, by working online with live lessons delivered by our tutors. Getting the theory done means as soon as we can get back in the classroom we can use the knowledge we are gaining now to support us as we develop our practical skills.”

Jack explained how he spent his time during furlough getting ahead in his studies and completing 10 practice papers for his exam. His hard work paid off and he achieved a pass of 98%.

He told the Minister how the college has supported him as he has progressed through the levels of study and how hard he is working to fulfil his ambition to become Head Electrician at the Chatsworth Estate.

The Minister praised Jack and Georgie for their attitude and using their time wisely in lockdown.

She wished them well in their studies and promised to return to visit in person as soon as she is able, asking if Georgie would do her make-up when she comes to see the facilities and more of the initiatives she had heard about during her virtual visit.

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70th apprentice for Chesterfield e-commerce firm

Xbite’s 70th apprentice says the opportunity has changed his life around.

Kieran Taylor (21) from Clowne became the Derbyshire e-commerce firm’s latest apprentice to join the firm which operates retail brands including 365,, Maison & White, Pukkr and Shop4.

Xbite, which has a £42m turnover, has been running a successful apprenticeship programme for seven years with a proven track record of growing and developing people and offering career progression.

Its apprentices have graduated to become buyers, marketing experts, accountants, software developers, and even managers of departments at the company, which now employs 170 people at its HQ offices and warehouse at Barlborough.

Digital marketing apprentice Kieran said: “This apprenticeship has given my life direction. I was stuck in a rut and didn’t know what I wanted to do. It has changed my life around. Now my creativity is fuelled and I have found a new focus. I am learning so many skills and getting paid for what I love doing.

“This is such an amazing company. The management are friendly, supportive and so helpful. They are really forward thinking and adapt to staff needs constantly.

“I have found the first proper job I have ever wanted to do and take pride in. I have made a proper commitment to a job and have found a career. It is the best move I have ever made. I would highly recommend an apprenticeship at Xbite.”

HR advisor Marcy White who was once an apprentice herself, oversees Xbite’s apprenticeship scheme which takes on employees between 16 – 25 in roles across the company. Xbite works with Chesterfield College, Sheffield College, Baltic Training, Yorkshire Training Provider and Chambers of Commerce to guide its apprentices who mainly come from Chesterfield and Sheffield.

Nick Whitehead, managing director at Xbite, said: “We are so proud to have Kieran as our 70th apprentice at Xbite.

“We are a growing company and it is difficult to be commercially successful whilst delivering a good, and relevant apprenticeship programme, but we have the right ingredients to do it including the best work environment and people at all levels supporting our Xbite rookies.

“Apprenticeship schemes are a really good source of talent. They can be ingrained in the fabric of the business. We have a lot of people in middle management roles that have come through that route and succeeded.

“There are so many success stories here across all ages, even people taking a step backward from their previous career path to be trained up and who now enjoy a better future.

“Xbite rookies have turned into buyers, marketing experts, accountants, software developers, and even managers of departments. Making 70 is such a proud moment for our history and its also really important to us to support local people. Our retention rate for apprentices is 95 percent – we put the effort in with staff and they give us commitment and loyalty back.”

Wade Harris, who joined Xbite as an apprentice in buying admin five years ago and is now Head of In-house Brand, said: “Going to university was not for me and a chance meeting at a family party brought me to Xbite. I started working and studying for an NVQ in digital marketing, then became junior buyer, product sourcing manager for three years and then from senior manager to Head of In-house Brand.

“The advantages of being on an apprenticeship is you gain experience from day one, train and get paid, have a guaranteed job at the end, and can take advantage of other opportunities in the company and pathways to different job roles in an environment you have already got to know really well. If you are driven here, the opportunities are yours to take. It’s a great business and I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.”

Xbite also operates a successful graduate recruitment programme with Sheffield City Region’s RISE and has taken on four graduates this year.

Find out more about apprenticeships in Chesterfield

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Rosewood Wealth Management take on new apprentice

Independent financial advisor Rosewood Wealth Management has added new apprentice, Abigail Denman to its team.

Whilst studying Level 3 Business at Chesterfield College, Abigail developed a passion for finance. Abigail’s ambitious attitude at the outset of her career in the sector, her engagement with analytical challenges, as well as her natural talent for business and finance made her the perfect candidate for Rosewood’s apprenticeship scheme.

Upon joining the company, Abigail said: “When I saw the opportunity of starting an apprenticeship with Rosewood, I was so excited as I saw this a chance to start my career in finance. Donna and Shannan have really embraced me into the team and provided me with all the support and a specialised finance apprenticeship provider to ensure my journey is a success. I am excited for what the future holds.”

According to the team at Rosewood: “On top of her skillset and dedication, what makes Abigail such a good fit is her friendly manner and bubbly personality. We’re sure that you will agree when you’re greeted at the office for your next appointment!”

Rosewood Wealth Management believe in providing all clients with a truly individualised independent financial advice service. Whether you are just starting your property journey and buying your first home, looking towards your first investment, saving for your future, exploring pension options or looking to enjoy your wealth, they are there to help and guide you. Rosewood was founded upon the fundamental principles of personal, intimate support and frank, honest advice tailored to the needs of the client.

They aim to help you achieve the best results from your financial planning by offering financial advice in all areas, including mortgages, investments, retirement advice, pensions, equity release, savings wealth management, and insurance.

You can find out more about the benefits of taking on an apprentice here

Rosewood Wealth Management supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, UncategorisedTagged in , ,

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