Riverside Training (Spalding) Ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Riverside Training (Spalding) Ltd'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 Riverside Training (Spalding) Ltd 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


Highlighting best practice
Suzie Bulbeck, Founder and
Riverside Training’s
head office
It has been a volatile 12 months for training and apprenticeship
providers, and Suzie Bulbeck recognises that her company,
Riverside Training, have not been immune from the adverse
factors affecting the sector. As a specialist training company,
they offer a wide range of courses in childcare, education,
health and social care, business administration, customer service
and management. Suzie talks to the
about Riverside’s
journey and the issues that the government’s apprenticeship
initiative has presented.
Since we started delivering apprenticeships ten years ago, they have continued
to comprise a vast majority of our offering. In the past decade, we have delivered
more than 1,500 apprenticeships, and our achievement rate is 82 per cent – far
exceeding the national education and training apprenticeship achievement rate of
76.5 per cent in 2016/17.
Like many others in our sector, we have had our ups and downs, but we have
nonetheless remained buoyant and successful.
Our success with Spalding Primary
We have worked with Lincolnshire-based Spalding Primary School since September
2012. We enjoy an excellent working relationship, and our partnership has seen a
100 per cent success rate for the 26 apprentices employed by the school over the
past six years.
»Founder and Director:
»Established in 2006
»Based in Spalding, Lincolnshire
»Services: Specialist training
»Matrix Standard-accredited
»In CACHE’s 2017 inspection,
we were awarded a status of
“full adherence”
»Active member of the
Association of Employment
and Learning Providers and
National Early Years Trainers
and Consultants
Riverside Training
(Spalding) Ltd
All are initially enrolled on the CACHE
Level 3 Supporting Teaching and
Learning course, with some going on
to study further qualifications focusing
on supporting and communicating
with young children. We also intend
to develop their skills further with
the new Level 4 Certificate for the
Advanced Practitioner in Schools and
Colleges. One apprentice has even
started his teaching degree.
Matthew Cooling, Spalding Primary
School’s business manager, praised our
work: “We have found the support
provided by Riverside Training to
motivate our apprentices is second to
none. Expectations are clearly set out
at the start of the course while off-
the-job learning also reinforces what
apprentices learn in the classroom. A
structured programme keeps them
on-task to ensure they complete work
within the specified period. Additional
support is always provided for students
if the need should arise.”
The apprenticeship levy and
tender issues
Recently, the government introduced
changes to the way apprenticeships
are funded in its drive to train three
million new apprentices by 2020. We
successfully tendered to become an
apprenticeship levy main provider.
This meant that we would deliver
apprenticeship training for employers
with a total wage bill of over
£3million, who would pay a 0.5 per
cent “levy” to fund training.
Consequently, we have been listed
on the register of apprenticeship
training providers, having undergone
the Education and Skills Funding
Agency’s application process. This
took into account our due diligence,
capability, quality and financial health
in order to appropriately determine
our capability to deliver high-quality
The tender process for a slice of the
mammoth £650 million apprenticeship
funding allocation, however, was
beyond frustrating. This was necessary
if we were to work with non-levy
employers – those with an annual
wage bill of less than £3 million whose
apprenticeships are jointly funded by
themselves and the government under
The process tied up many, many staff
hours in time-consuming and complex
form-filling. The extended delay in
Riverside Training
Since we
ten years ago,
they have
continued to
comprise a vast
majority of our
Highlighting best practice
announcing the tender result meant
that we were unable to operate day to
day with confidence – let alone plan
for the future.
Eventually, we were told that our
application had been unsuccessful.
This outcome was both unexpected
and potentially disastrous – we were
not sure that we could survive on the
income generated from levy payers
and our other courses alone.
Transformation in the face of
Facing an uncertain future, we decided
that it was essential to re-evaluate our
model. We had always specialised in
early years and childcare training, but it
became apparent that we had to think
beyond those parameters to secure our
own longevity.
The need to offer and maintain high-
quality training provision was the
underlying ethos on which our business
was founded. We knew we could not
compromise in this area. Our action
plan took a multi-pronged strategy.
Firstly, we approached Laser Learning
with the intention of expanding our
offering with online short courses. This
was a major investment; purchasing
the e-learning platform and courses
upfront was by no means cheap.
We also sourced levy-paying employers
and tendered to be included on their
Approved Apprenticeship Training
Provider List, which now enables us to
tender for individual apprenticeships.
We have also been added to similar
registers by Norfolk and Lincolnshire
County Councils. We also successfully
tendered to be included on the Diocese
of Norwich Education and Academies
Trust’s list, for whom we are already
delivering an apprenticeship.
Expanding our portfolio of qualifications
to include accountancy and digital
marketing apprenticeships was another
step in the right direction. The former is
being delivered by a specialist trainer, and
we are now accredited by The Institute
of Certified Bookkeepers. For the latter,
after identifying pre-existing digital
marketing excellence in the business,
we secured certification through
Futurequals and began offering courses.
Additionally, we have successfully
tendered through Calderdale College,
Halifax, to deliver Skills Support for the
Workforce programmes inLincolnshire.
After recognising the success of our
robust subcontracting arrangement
in place with Chiltern Training as a
supporting provider, we sought a second
partnership. We now work closely with
Enable, a voluntary and community
sector learning and skills consortium
that serves the East Midlands. These
two relationships enable us to deliver
non-levy apprenticeships to SMEs.
Our journey has not been an easy
one, and we are well aware that
it isn’t over yet. There are more
avenues for diversification that we
wish to investigate to ensure further
prosperity and success in an otherwise
difficult sector. Nonetheless, I am
now confident that we have a firm
foundation from which to continue,
and I look to the future with hope.
Facing an
future, we
decided that it
was essential
to re-evaluate
our model
We offer courses across
a broad range of areas


This article was sponsored by Riverside Training (Spalding) Ltd. 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy