Qube Learning Blog – QA Education

BBC Apprentice Kayode Damali talks education and work life

Well-loved BBC Apprentice and motivational speaker, Kayode Damali talks hot education and work topics in The Right Route podcast series. Collaborating with national training provider Qube Learning, the inspiring content will help those looking to take the right steps into learning and the professional side of life.

The first podcast with Qube Learning highlights Kayode’s own personal journey on wanting to be a footballer. How he went to school an hour and half before the bell rung to play a match with friends but on turning sixteen realising that his dream of becoming a footballer was not to be. His candid approach to education and work highlights that people don’t have to follow the ‘norm’ and believes “one of the biggest skills you can have is being able to communicate with people from all over the world”.

His inspiration to be an entrepreneur came as a light bulb moment after his last exam, when he was elected Vice president of his college and attended a business bootcamp for a week, proving that he had what it took to be a business person. He was also voted to be Director of the National Union of Students (NUS) before embarking on his career as a mogul, where he was listed in the Top 10 of the “Most Powerful Young Entrepreneurs in the World”. Kyode Damali advises on careers with Qube Learning

He believes that anyone looking to further their skillset should consider a Traineeship or Apprenticeship and thinks that it’s a great route for those who do not have complete clarity about their professional direction. Kayode says about the programmes -

• They give you a real-life, hands-on experience to see if it is what you really want to do

• Not everyone is academic. This provides a practical experience rather than having to learn theory

• Not only do you have the benefits of the tips in the podcast, but you can also get paid, which is a nice introduction for you to start earning your own money

Once afraid of talking in public, Kayode now deems public speaking as one of his strongest assets. His time on the popular BBC show the Apprentice was an eye opener for him as he found that for his voice to be heard, amongst many strong assured individuals, it had to be that bit louder. He became a well-loved personality on the series and realised that he could be himself which resulted in many positive messages, inspiring thousands of viewers.

Kayode says: "To gain respect whilst being nice is a refined skill. It is important to remain who you are, don’t be someone else, be true to yourself always. Being able to host an educational podcast with Qube Learning means I can offer insight into my journey but also help listeners carve out a motivating path that will result in personal and professional success."

Qube Learning is proud to be an OFSTED grade 2 (Good) training provider and works with hundreds of employers across the country to deliver a range of training and qualifications to a multitude of learners. If you are interested in finding out more about the positive opportunities an apprenticeship can bring, either as a learner or an employer, then speak with the experts at Qube Learning.

Find out how an apprenticeship could kick-start your career or contribute to your organisation by contacting the training experts at Qube Learning.   

Email:  tellmemore@qube-learning.co.uk

Telephone:  01235 833838

Website:  www.qube-learning.co.uk


The growth of higher and degree apprenticeships and the 'completion conundrum'


Leading training provider CEO Joe Crossley, of Qube Learning, talks to QA Education about the rise of degree apprenticeships.

Despite a general downturn in apprenticeship starts in England, as widely reported in the national press, higher and degree apprenticeship starts continue to rise.  A House of Commons Briefing Paper (No. 06113) cites that in 2016/17 apprenticeship starts dropped by 18,100 on the previous year.  In 2017/18 starts dropped again by a further 125,200. The paper also asserts that higher level apprenticeship starts have almost doubled over the past two years.

High drop-out rates for apprentices are also widely reported, and these have had their impact on higher and degree apprentices too.  It has been widely reported that over 30% of people that start apprenticeships do not complete them, and that this percentage is getting worse year on year.  Some of the key reasons reported by the press nationally, for apprentices dropping out of provision before completion are: 

  • Apprentices are not happy with the content of the programme or the quality of the teaching
  • Circumstantial and personal reasons including redundancy, change of employer, personal health, family-related reasons, etc
  • Not having enough time to complete the necessary study and/or their workload is too high

As a training provider, our approach to the development and delivery of Level 5 programmes mean we work closely with employers to develop a delivery approach and content that fully meets their needs. There are tangible benefits to the employer of promoting apprenticeships to their workforce and gaining demand for the programmes.  Feedback received from clients demonstrates clear return on investment whereby students who are undertaking or have completed a program become more efficient within their job roles and stay with their employer for longer either in their current position or through promotion within the company.

The national picture around apprenticeship delivery can appear disparaging.  There is much we can do however to work to improve apprenticeship starts further, at all levels of delivery, and to support employers and apprentices to reach the end of their apprenticeship and achieve.


National Training Provider partners with Collaborative Vocational Learning Hub


Qube Learning, the leading training provider, celebrates its new inspirational collaboration with St Edmunds Society, an alternative learning provision for young people, in what will be a truly motivating and transformative approach to education for those who need help the most. 

The partnership will encourage a fluid and informative channel for individuals looking to pursue an education and career that deviates away from the more traditional options of GCSEs, A-Levels and Degrees, and that allows people to learn without the pressure of having to meet certified expectations prior to embarking on a programme. Both organisations offer extensive knowledge in learn and earn opportunities with a dedicated mentorship approach that builds student confidence and inspires work commitment and passion, with positive and life changing results. 

Students from as young as 14-yrs old can enrol on a course at St Eds in Construction, Transport and Maintenance, Catering and Hospitality, and Beauty and Hair, splitting their time at school and at the training centre in Norwich, while 16-18yr olds are able to attend four days a week of full-time education. On completion of these initial steps they can then consider a Traineeship or Apprenticeship which is where Qube Learning come in with their practical and dedicated hands on approach, across various industries. This will allow many people to act in a profession that they feel is more suitable to them then following what is considered the typical educational route. The programme format is especially appealing to those who have suffered hardship and hope to find a more stable and brighter future.

To truly solidify the affiliation, Qube Learning’s determined Chief Executive Officer, Joe Crossley and Chief Financial Officer, Rob A boy studying – Qube LearningHorspool, and Non-Executive Director, Alison Campbell, will take position on the Board of Trustees at St Eds. Bringing a wealth of experience, they will work closely with Lorraine Bliss, Chief Executive Officer, of St Eds and the rest of her team to drive the exciting alliance forward.

Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning, says “Supporting students from all backgrounds is key to what we are striving to achieve at Qube Learning. Our partnership with St-Eds means that we can offer clear advice and real options to young people who may not have previously had access to these things.  What was instantly clear at St-Eds is the passion and enthusiasm to support every student to grow, and I really want Qube to be part of that journey.”

Lorraine Bliss, MBE and CEO of St Eds, says “This exciting partnership will enable us to improve in all areas and could not have come at a more important time”. I am a firm believer in one size does not necessarily fit all. I’m passionate about vocational education and training and want to give these young people the best opportunities rather than see them written off as failures. I am truly excited, and I know my staff are too because we all have a vision which with this partnership we can now fulfil.” 

With over twenty years' experience in the education sector, Qube Learning are an Ofsted grade 2 training provider that specialises in vocational courses, short courses and e-learning. They pride themselves on working with recognisable brands - from Sainsburys to GSK and deliver a range of training and qualifications to various industries across the UK. Awarded numerous contracts by the Education Skills Funding Agency, the government provider of skills training for further education, Qube Learning provide programmes which are focused on employed positions and therefore take place within a work environment.

St Eds Society has been around for over 52 years. They are a collaborative vocational learning hub providing an alternative learning provision for young people entering construction, Transport Maintenance, Catering & Hospitality and Hair & Beauty. At St-Eds, they pride themselves on offering a diverse range of training courses for students at both pre-16 and post-16. Whether they are a young person looking for training, a parent/carer or guardian, a referral agency or an IAG professional looking to place students, they look forward to welcoming them to St Edmunds Society.


‘The apprenticeship levy gives employers more flexibility’


Qube Learning’s CEO Joe Crossley spoke to editor Victoria Galligan about the organisation’s degree apprenticeships, which will launch in January 2019…

Could you outline the Apprenticeship Levy, and what it means for educators and for businesses? 

The Apprenticeship Levy applies to businesses with an annual pay bill greater than £3million.  0.5% of the surplus is paid monthly into an employer’s levy pot and they can use this to pay for apprenticeship training. The levy has given employers more flexibility around who they work with, and what content is included around apprenticeship provision. The levy has introduced a lot of large employers into the market who may not have previously employed apprentices. I believe it has also driven up the quality of apprenticeship provision as the market is much more competitive.

From a head’s point of view, why should schools and colleges be persuading pupils to opt for a degree apprenticeship?

Degree apprenticeships are a great alternative to traditional degrees as they enable students to undertake the degree whilst getting paid so there is very little need for loans. They are also built in partnership with employers who are offering a job at the end meaning successful students will progress straight into their career at the end of their apprenticeship.

The reputation of Apprenticeships sometimes puts off parents, teachers and pupils: what could you say to address concerns that a degree apprenticeship is not “as good as” a traditional degree?

Most of the degree apprenticeships are built by Universities, so they are delivered by the same tutors as traditional degrees, they are usually more hands-on so students learn the practical elements as well as the theories and principles during their degree whilst also receiving advice guidance and mentoring from colleagues who have many years of industry experience. Usually, degree apprenticeships are much more flexible, so students can fit it around their work pattern and attend remote sessions as well as face to face learning.  Finally, degree apprenticeships are focused on job outcomes, so the really great thing is most degree apprentices start work straight after their apprenticeship finishes.


Olympic athlete Colin Jackson CBE hosts award ceremony for the UK’s inspiring Apprentices and Trainees


Leading training provider, Qube Learning, paid tribute to the UK's Apprentices, Trainees and their employers, with an award ceremony at London’s Montcalm Hotel. The ceremony was hosted by Multiple Gold Medallist & World Record Holder Colin Jackson CBE who greeted the winners on stage with words of congratulations on their success and an award to walk away with. 

Colin has achieved great success over his career. Representing Great Britain and Wales, he won an Olympic silver medal, became world champion twice, World indoor champion once, went undefeated at the European Championships for 12 years and was a two-time Commonwealth champion. His world record of 12.91 seconds for the 110m hurdles stood for over a decade and he remains the 60 metres hurdles world record holder.

Speaking about the event, Colin said:

“When I was given the opportunity to host the Qube Awards, it was an easy choice for me. I know what it is to work hard from a young age, to prove myself and achieve my goals and this is exactly what every single one of the winners have shown. When I was younger, I was unsure of what I wanted to do but then I found sport and I knew I had found my passion. Many people today are also unsure of their career path, starting as a Trainee or Apprentice means you can gain knowledge in an area you are passionate about and passion leads to success.“

The awards ceremony was an occasion to recognise the hard work from individuals who have overcome challenges to carve out positive paths in their futures but also to congratulate the employers Qube Learning works with and their commitment to Apprentice and Trainee schemes within their businesses. 

CEO of Qube Learning Joe Crossley said:  Qube Learning

“Each day we meet so many exceptional individuals who show great determination to get to where they want to be in their career. This awards ceremony gives us the opportunity to shout about their achievements and celebrate the hard work of both them, and their employers. Hearing some of the stories from the winners really shows how the right learning opportunities can help people to realise their potential and succeed in their future.

With guests including Caring Homes Group and Ipswich Hospital, everyone enjoyed hearing the inspiring stories from the winners.

Qube Learning is proud to be an OFSTED grade 2 (Good) training provider and works with hundreds of employers across the country to deliver a range of training and qualifications to a multitude of learners. If you are interested in finding out more about the positive opportunities an Apprenticeship can bring, either as a learner or an employer, then speak with the experts at Qube Learning.


Why retailers and food manufacturers must embrace apprenticeships more


Debbie Gardiner,CEO of Qube Learning, explains why “Apprenticeship Reforms" commenced on the 1st May, which changed the way that Apprenticeships are funded and delivered using new Apprenticeship Standards and in turn, has changed how employers are recruiting.

The Reforms mean that large employers with an annual payroll over £3m started paying a 0.5% Apprenticeship Levy from April and registered on The Apprenticeship Service (TAS). Smaller employers now make a 10% contribution to the price of the Apprenticeship, whilst the government fund the remaining 90%. Additionally, there is a £1000 employer incentive for starting an Apprentice aged 16-18 and micro employers also benefit from 100% funding for their 16-18-year-old Apprentices. 

In March and April of 2017, Apprenticeship recruitment was at an all-time high as employers and training providers took advantage of the old funding model. Because of the spike in new Apprenticeship enrolments, this naturally resulted in a significant reduction in vacancies in May and June. The number of vacancies is expected to increase again as employers work through their systems and procedure for recruitment, and anecdotal feedback suggests things will pick up in September. 

Apprenticeships are an all age programme that can be delivered to new entrants to work as well as developing and upskilling existing employees. In the retail and food sector, Apprentices can be beneficial and can have a direct impact on some of the key issues that affect the industry. Qube Learning’s customers report improved productivity and customer satisfaction, increased sales profitability, customer loyalty, and reputation.

Staff retention is important within all industries but particularly within food and drink. High levels of staff turnover are costly, can damage the brand reputation and above all reduce productivity. Our customers who run Apprenticeships report a reduction in staff turnover, as they help to improve staff retention due to more investment in Training and Development. There is also more focus on promotion and management development within the company, which provides the opportunity for career progression for employees.

When opening new jobs and staff recruitment, a food retailer or manufacturer, that runs an Apprenticeship programme, will be seen as a more attractive and secure place to work than one that doesn’t; the programme will also help aid the company to become an employer of choice.

Particularly within the food retail industries, there is stiff competition and customers demand high-quality customer service, good stock control, value for money, good hygiene and an ‘experience’. Due to new Apprenticeship standards, there is an improvement in skills, behaviour and knowledge levels within the Apprenticeship schemes, as well as increased requirements for maths, English and ICT which in turn, drive up the quality within the sector. 

The Apprenticeship programme can be developed in collaboration with the employer to meet the specific need of the business to increase standards and consistency. The Apprenticeship brand is also recognised and seen as a mark of well-valued training and development, which gives businesses at all levels a reason to feel confident.”

Find out how an Apprenticeship could kick-start your career or contribute to your organisation by contacting the training experts at Qube Learning.     
Email | 01235 833838 | Website


Alternative routes to college and university which are becoming increasingly popularapprenticeships - Qube Learning


With GCSE results day having finally arrived, many students may still be unsure as to whether college, possibly followed by university, is a path to their future career they really want to follow. Something that is becoming more and more appealing to students at this crucial stage is the alternative - but equally beneficial - apprenticeship or traineeship option.

Both of these alternative options cover a wide range of careers, and are particularly useful if the person already has an idea of the career they'd like to pursue, as they allow someone to become more skilled and specialised in that particular job.

Introduction to Apprenticeships/Traineeships

Traineeships are for 16 to 24-year-olds that may not be ready to start work but have a desire to. An Apprenticeship is a 16+ programme for people that know what type of work they want to do but need skills, knowledge and experience in the workplace. A successful Traineeship and/or Apprenticeship is one of the early career development and planning steps a young person can take.

When you’re applying for an Apprenticeship or Traineeship, it’s important to have an up-to-date CV and one that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. Also, be reactive to any emails or calls that companies make, if you don’t respond – they will stop calling! If you get a phone interview, make sure you’re in a quiet area and confirm attendance to face to face interviews if requested.

An Apprenticeship or Traineeship can lead to pretty much any type of career and is a great way for someone to work their way up. In England we are in a transition period moving from Apprenticeship Frameworks to Apprenticeship Standards; both are alternative to university and are valid and well regarded, and with so much on offer there will never be a better time to start an Apprenticeship. Some of the sectors Apprenticeships cover include:

  • Digital and technology
  • Clinical care and nursing
  • Warehousing and transport
  • Retail and customer service
  • Financial management and accountancy
  • Building and all associated ‘Trades’
  • Administration and HR
  • Catering and hospitality

Apprenticeships start at level 2 and increase up to a level 7. The stages in between are suitable for different levels of experience:

  • Level 2 would be a first line job; there are often large volumes of people working at this level in an organisation
  • Level 3 is for more senior people, team leaders, people with a lot of experience and those in a job with higher technical skills
  • Level 4 is the first of two levels known as Higher Apprenticeships and these are for junior and middle managers
  • Level 5 is the second of the Higher Apprenticeships and would be suitable for more experienced and higher-level managers, such as senior managers and executive managers
  • Levels 6 & 7 are Degree level Apprenticeships and suitable for business leaders and managers working at a high level within an organisation
  • All Apprenticeships have English and maths included

An Apprenticeship is recognised by employers as a mark of high quality and consistent training, having an Apprenticeship helps young people to secure employment. It’s also a very good stepping stone to progress to the next level either with another Apprenticeship at a higher level or other training programmes.

You get paid while on an Apprenticeship and this applies to all levels. If you want to progress to Degree level you can do so whilst in work, earning a wage and it's a great alternative to leaving university in debt due to fees and loans – it’s a win-win for Apprenticeships!

Similarly, a Traineeship can be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months, on average a Traineeship programme runs for 3 months. The minimum time for an Apprenticeship is 372 days, so just over 1 year and that would be quite common for level 2s and some level 3s.

The benefits of a Traineeship are that it gives a young person an opportunity to take their first steps towards a career. You will often be supported by an employer and a training provider to help build confidence and work out what is right for you. If the first placement proves to be the wrong sector a further Traineeship in an alternative career can be arranged; we can help you find out what you want to do.

Case studies of former pupils who have undertaken an Apprenticeship/Traineeship

Jessica-Broadway Halls, Apprentice (Dudley)

Apprentice Jessica (pictured, right) has a personal story that is inspiring for others. Initially a nervous and quiet character, Qube Learning recognised that Jessica had great potential and she was quickly shortlisted for an enrolment interview at the age of 16. Her eagerness and determination secured her a place on Broadway Halls’ Apprenticeship scheme and she began working with the team in August of 2012.

Jessica rotated through the departments within the care home with glowing reports from the Heads of Departments. Jessica completed her two-year Apprenticeship and gained her first NVQ. Brighterkind soon saw what a valuable member of the team she was and offered her a job as a Care Assistant.  She continues to thrive in the role and has completed her NVQ Level 3 in Health & Social Care, and started a Level 3 management qualification, with a very bright future ahead.

Elizabeth-Avery Healthcare, Apprentice (Wolverhampton)

Elizabeth (pictured, left) started her apprenticeship with Avery Healthcare in 2012 and is now Unit Manager at Newcross Care home in Wolverhampton. Elizabeth faced a major challenge during her training, as her Mum sadly passed away.   However, with the encouragement of the teams at Avery Healthcare and Qube Learning, along with her own passion, determination and vigour, Elizabeth successfully completed her Apprenticeship and her career has gone from strength to strength as a result.

Bradley - Curtis Autos, Trainee (Stockport)

Bradley from Stockport is a shining example of how the benefits of a Traineeship work after leading training provider Qube Learning gave him the opportunity to complete one with a local garage. After finishing school in the summer of 2016, without the grades he was hoping for, Bradley set out to find himself an Apprenticeship in mechanics. Frustratingly, he was unsuccessful, often receiving no response or acknowledgement to his applications. Bradley made contact with Qube Learning who suggested that an alternative Traineeship would be a better option for him, as he would gain experience in the industry, whilst also working on his maths and English with a qualified tutor from the organisation. Bradley has now been offered an Apprenticeship position which will see him continue to learn whilst he earns.

Nathan - Trainee/ Apprentice, Inn as Chef (Bradford)

Nathan Bingley left college unsure about what he wanted to do for a living, or even a part-time job for that matter. He enrolled for the Jobseeker’s Allowance and applied for positions with the Job Centre every week, until he was told about a vacancy as a Kitchen Assistant at a venue close to his home. Instinctively Nathan said yes, although he admits this was in part because it was a fast and easy commute. He submitted his application and a few hours later was called in for an interview. Nathan commenced the role as a Trainee supported by leading training provider Qube Learning and moved on to a paid Apprenticeship after an initial 12 weeks. For Nathan thisApprenticeship was going to be life changing. With the encouragement of his Qube Learning tutor Paul Taylor he was able to overcome serious anxiety problems during the period and completed his Apprenticeship feeling more confident in himself, and with a craft he is passionate about. Nathan now works in Saltaire at an inn with a great reputation, producing really good food that he is very proud to cook. His aims for the immediate future are to absorb as much knowledge as he can to keep growing as a skilled chef. He then hopes his cooking expertise will take him around the UK, or even the world.

University Regrets - One in four graduates now regret having gone to universityQube learning - two apprentices


A survey found the most common reasons to rue time spent in further education are paying too much for their degree, wasting their time and making bad choices such as not choosing subject or institution more carefully. The study of 2,000 university graduates also revealed nearly half work in a job where they could have reached the same level through a trainee or apprenticeship scheme. 

And although an overwhelming 93 per cent said they enjoyed their experience of freedom away from their parents, nearly half agree their current job is in no way related to their degree.

 Recent graduates are in over £18,000 of debt after a three-year course and stuck in an underpaid job unrelated to their degree.

Joe Crossley, Business Development Director, of Qube Learning who commissioned the study, said: “It’s natural for a lot of graduates to finish their degrees expecting to jump on the career ladder almost immediately, but this is often far from the truth.

“Many students feel the pressure to achieve a high grade otherwise they feel they risk being unemployable but when they finally secure a job, their qualification becomes redundant.

“It’s also surprising how few undergraduates are advised on alternative routes to university studies. With the amount of debt now accompanying higher education, other options, like Apprenticeships, need to be made more clearly available to people looking to pursue a chosen career.”

More than four in five agree there is an emphasis on achieving either a 2:1 or first classification with a third admitting they don’t even get asked about their degree in job interviews.

The research found just a fifth were made aware of apprenticeships as an option in place of undergraduate university studies following A Levels, with less than five per cent told about distant or online learning.

One quarter graduated without any qualifications useful to their career, with just under half admitting they could be where they are now without a degree.

The study found a list of degrees that Brits think are a ‘waste of time’ with Fashion, Drama and Media Studies appearing in the top ten.

Nearly two thirds of respondents who graduated with qualifications considered ‘pointless’ admitted their degree didn’t help them to secure their current job.

It was also revealed the university degrees that the nation believe to be the most useful, with 88 per cent agreeing a degree in Medicine beats a degree in Law or Engineering.

However, just under half of those who have studied a degree in Medicine said they could have gotten the same job through an apprenticeship scheme or something similar.

One in five said because of their studies they are now behind either those who did apprenticeships or those who went straight into work.

Two in five said they feel they are underpaid in their current job despite having a degree with less than one in ten using skills developed during their degree on a weekly basis.

One in ten have since changed careers since graduating and are now investing their time in new qualifications.

One in five admits to working in an unpaid role in order to get their current job with more than one in ten never using skills developed during their degree.

Half of respondents said time management was one of their most treasured takeaways from their experience compared to 29 per cent whose most valuable skills were the ones bespoke to their chosen career.

If given the option to go back and do it all again, nearly one quarter of grads would go down an alternative route to university studies such as an apprenticeship, online qualification or learning a trade.

Over half agree their university experience did more for their social life than their education, with nearly one in five leaving university having met their partner.

A sixth of graduates admitted to wasting their time at university and a further one third of respondents said the ability to make new friends was a key skill gained from their experience.

Joe Crossley, from www.qube-learning.co.uk continued: “It's imperative that people from as young as 16 years old should be made aware of the educational choices that are out there for them. It does not have to be a traditional path of A-Levels and University, there is a huge amount of scope for individuals to learn a trade, through Traineeships and Apprenticeships, whilst being educated at the same time.”


  1. Acting
  2. Outdoor adventure and environment
  3. Office skills
  4. Film studies
  5. Dance / choreography
  6. Drama studies
  7. Celtic and Anglo Saxon Studies
  8. Fashion merchandising
  9. Media studies
  10. Religious Studies

With over sixteen years’ experience in the education sector, Qube Learning are an Ofsted grade 2 training provider that specialises in vocational courses, short courses and e-learning. They pride themselves on working with recognisable brands, from Hitachi Consumer Finance to Halfords, they deliver a range of training and qualifications to various industries across the UK.

Awarded numerous contracts by the Education Skills Funding Agency, the government provider of skills training for further education, they provide programmes which are focused on employed positions and therefore take place within a work environment.

 For more information on Apprenticeships and Traineeships, please visit: www.qube-learning.co.uk