GB Training

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by GB Training's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from GB Training is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director
Lawrence Barton
GB Training’s very own
administration apprentice
Janzeb Ali upskilling his ICT
Based in Birmingham, GB Training are independent training
specialists who, through the adult education budget from
the Department for Education, help students achieve their
goals. Established in 1995, their long experience has allowed
them to engage with hundreds of companies and find solutions
for all kinds of individuals, whether they’re experienced or have
very little prior attainment. The broader goal is to get people
into employment, something they have provably succeeded
in doing. Managing Director Lawrence Barton gives a more
detailed description of the company, its successes and the
sector-wide challenges.
We operate under the belief that people flourish with support and guidance.
Through our delivery team, who between them have decades of experience, we
ensure staff and learners work together through work-based training programmes
that improve the prospects of individuals and help employers and workforces. Our
apprenticeships and programmes are funded through the adult education budget.
We offer intermediate, advanced and higher-level training, providing a full and
comprehensive delivery service of functional maths and English to both employed
and unemployed learners.
Guiding and improving lives
We believe that inspirational teaching is about more than just qualifications; it’s
also about guiding people towards becoming their best selves, improving their
social skills and economic position in the process. We are committed to excellence
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 1995
»Located in Birmingham
»Services: Adult education and
apprenticeship programmes
»No. of employees: 82
»Founded by Lawrence’s
mother, Gill Barton, who is
now retired
GB Training
Highlighting best practice
in teaching and learning and make
sure our programmes are carried out
in an environment of mutual trust and
respect. As a company with a social
conscience, we feel it’s important that
we commit to inclusion and support in
everything we do.
Our provision covers a wide range
of sectors, reflecting the needs
and priorities of the marketplace in
England. Our vision is to be one of
the most valued independent training
providers in the UK and to act as a
positive influence for the industry as
well as for our learners. We also strive
to continue building our employer
network and customer base. Over
the last few years, we have seen
considerable success in this area, with
hundreds of companies now on board.
Working with industry
In this regard, the apprenticeship
levy has been very helpful, as there
are many levy employers that have
engaged a lot with independent
training providers such as us, including
– to give just one example – Jaguar
Land Rover. Engaging with industry in
this way is, as far as we’re concerned,
best practice.
Our occupational specialists are always
seeking to learn and improve standards.
Indeed, our most recent Ofsted
inspection noticed this, noting that
we were one of the only companies
of our type to have made real and
substantive progress in terms of our
standards. We’ve done a lot of work to
ensure that our standards keep up with
developments in industry and that we
are always ahead of the game. Another
important addition to our training is
the introduction of the “merit” and
“distinction” approach to grading. Our
electronic “Smart Assessor”, which
collates data on students, has also
contributed to our improvements.
To give another example of our
engagement with industry, we have
introduced into our offering the Cisco
Networking Academy, which was the
first such academy to be set up in the
UK. We did this in partnership with
Cisco and Birmingham University, and
it has opened up a field of training that
Learners receiving
their well-earned
advanced apprenticeship
certificates at a recent
graduation ceremony
As a company
with a social
we feel it’s
important that
we commit to
inclusion and
support in
everything we
before was only available to university
students. In this course, students can
learn how to use the most recent
Cisco hardware, thereby equipping
them for the modern world of work.
This particular initiative has been an
outstanding success.
More generally speaking, our
classrooms are very relaxed, the
lunches are free and – most
importantly of all – our success rate is
high, something made evident in the
statistical evaluations. Thirty-six per
cent of those who study with us get
the job they want after only the first
interview, even though many come to
us starting off with very low levels of
prior attainment. This is a fact I and my
team are extremely proud of.
An unfairly neglected sector
Despite this success, we are not
without our challenges. One of the
major problems in this sector is that
too much is expected of us. Despite
the fact that we have achieved a great
deal for many (often with much less
funding), many view private training
providers as lacking a social conscience.
This is deeply unfair, especially given
that it’s not unknown for colleges to
mismanage their funding and end up
in financial difficulties. Being sidelined
in this manner is a real and persistent
challenge for us.
What’s also problematic is the fact
that adult education budgets can
be distributed quite arbitrarily,
sometimes helping out providers who
haven’t proved themselves at the
expense of more proficient providers.
Geographically speaking, too, the
distribution can be unfair at times. In
this area, colleges can again have a
distinct advantage for no good reason.
I feel matters such as these could be
better handled by local authorities
(who are closest to the issues at hand)
rather than at Westminster.
These difficulties will not be enough to
bring a halt to our successful journey,
though. At GB Training, we are very
optimistic about where things are
headed and have many exciting plans
in store. Two large banks in our area
have taken up the levy, and we plan to
tap into this. Indeed, opportunities of
this kind are springing up everywhere,
and it’s in this environment we plan
to prosper. We will do all of this,
as always, with one goal in mind:
bringing opportunity to as many
people as possible.
We’ve done a
lot of work to
ensure that
our standards
keep up with
in industry
and that we
are always
ahead of the
Learner George Tye
working towards his first
Level 3 apprenticeship in
customer service GB Training hold
quarterly learner
graduation ceremonies;
this one was attended
by Mayor of the West
Midlands, Andrew Street

This article was sponsored by GB Training. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster