Simon Jordan’s Blog – January 2016

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Congratulations to WEC Group

I want to start off with some fantastic news. Darwen-based welding and fabrication business and long-time Themis Apprenticeship employers WEC Group recently held their Apprenticeship of the Year Awards and some of the achievements noted were really encouraging for 2016. Kris Mercer, WEC’s Training and Development Manager said: "The Apprentice of the Year Awards is a tribute to the amount of effort and commitment our Apprentices put into their work. They are an exceptionally talented group of young people and it's important to reward them for their efforts." This wasn’t enough for WEC though, and they went one further by celebrating recent Gold and Bronze medals won at the recent WorldSkills UK final. 18-year-old Thomas Woodburn won Gold at the WorldSkills UK final after scoring 93.5%, the highest score ever recorded in the UK. He will now spend the next two years preparing for the opportunity to represent the UK in Abu Dhabi as part of "Squad UK" in 2017. Exceptional work from a home-grown talent. I was also proud to present an “Honorary Apprenticeship” to WEC Group Managing Director Steve Hartley. These special awards are presented to individuals who has had significant involvement in shaping the development of Apprenticeships within their workplace. I said at the time that Steve was chosen for an Honorary Apprenticeship because of his commitment to Apprenticeship programmes within WEC Group and the desire he demonstrates wanting his staff to develop to their full potential and it’s true. WEC’s commitment to Apprentices and plugging the looming skills gap in manufacturing industry is largely down to Steve’s hard work and dedication. We’re glad to have been working with him and the WEC Apprenticeship scheme for as long as we have. Congratulations to everybody at WEC – you had a fantastic 2015. Roll on the next 12 months!

April: Digital Conference

As I regularly discuss on twitter and LinkedIn, I’m a keen advocate of digital for businesses. In fact, I believe it to be a basic need now – alongside shelter and food. I want to know just how many of you are embracing digital, or plan to, in 2016. Are you old hands, or do you need some guidance on how to start your digital journey? Have you begin to utilise digital but want to know where to go next? We’ll be using your feedback to help design our upcoming Digital Conference around what you want, so I’d love to know your thoughts. Take the survey. www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6MWCYGY  The Digital Conference itself will take place at our Burnley College campus on Princess Way, Burnley and will comprise of an expo for likeminded businesses to network. It’ll also include talks by industry professionals on topics ranging from starting out in the digital world to more advanced data wrangling. There’ll be much more information about this exciting new venture in my February blog post. For now, let me just say how excited I am for Themis to be once again leading Burnley into enterprise and innovation.

Duke of Edinburgh calls for “Nobel Prize in Engineering”

In a recent interview for BBC Radio 4, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh said something fairly groundbreaking about the Engineering industry in the UK. It was his opinion that Engineers hold the key to the world’s challenges and that it would be engineers who could "decide" how a population boom could be managed without damaging the environment. It’s interesting and spirit-lifting to hear Engineering being talked of so highly, especially given the boom within the sector in East Lancashire. The truth is, Engineering is a wide spectrum of disciplines offering a huge variety of specialist skills and problem solving opportunities for the wider world. Although traditionally, Engineering in the North of England has been synonymous with manufacturing, the industry is growing rapidly. Soon, the skills gap in wider areas of Engineering will need to be filled. Luckily, Burnley is in a great position to be able to take on the challenge. One way local Engineering firms like Hycrome Europe are tackling this skills gap is by taking on Apprentices to train with specific expertise. Their Apprentice Harry Ingle will help bridge the gap and when he completes his programme, he’ll be fully qualified and can be offered a full-time role with the organisation. It’s a working relationship that benefits both Harry and Hycrome and it’s one that works. Find out more about Harry and his Apprenticeship at Hycrome Europe on the Themis Careers Magazine page. [insert URL] But back to Prince Phillip - The 94-year-old duke rounded off his interview with the quip that that the country's infrastructure depended on engineering and "everything that wasn't invented by God was invented by an engineer". The man’s got a point.

WhatsApp, Grandma?

Post-Christmas as a youngster I used to sit on the sofa and write thank you letter after thank you letter. My parents always told me it was an important thing to do, and although some years it was hard to remember who had bought which similar (but totally necessary) Lego spaceship, I always tried my best to write them out neatly for everybody. After all, it was the least I could do in payment for piles of Christmas toys, woolly jumpers and selection boxes (which by the way, were much bigger when I was a lad.) My Granny, Aunties and Uncles always appreciated my untidy, lap-written cards of gratitude and now my son Harry’s old enough to, I thought it would be good to continue the tradition. Have him write nice thank you cards out to the people who lavished him with toys and futuristic gifts I couldn’t have even imagined when I was his age. His response: “Can’t we just WhatsApp Grandma?” After we finished laughing, we agreed that cards might be a bit old fashioned for a guy like Harry. After all, he doesn’t call Grandma, he talks to her on Skype. We don’t write letters to relatives who live overseas – we WhatsApp them. It makes sense. It might not include that personal touch, but to a person like Harry who will grow up barely using the mail to send correspondence, will that still be true? Perhaps text messages will be as touching to receive as a handwritten note. I’ll make sure I ask him when he’s in his twenties. Anyway, it got me thinking. What would you do? Do your kids still write thank you letters the old-fashioned, snail mail way? Do you send video thank you messages over Skype? Have you got a more effective system of sending thank you emails from a fully family-branded Mailchimp account? This year we stuck to some well-chosen notecards and stamps, but perhaps next year I’ll get Harry to write a song and record it on WhatsApp to send to Grandma.

Source Url: http://www.themis.ac.uk/simon-jordans-blog-january-2016/
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