Wear In: Investing in people to build better businesses

JB Skills Training Ltd and the Sunderland Echo have joined forces to bring a key message to businesses in the city and the surrounding areas.

Wednesday, 25th January 2017, 12:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th January 2017, 10:12 am
The JB Skills management team.

In recent years the city and businesses associated with it have started to see a real resurgence, and upturn in profit and growth in people and activity ... this is, in a large part, to do with the amount of training being provided by employers and subsequent apprenticeship jobs being created. Investment in people to be their best, means they perform better and that positively affects the bottom line of any company.

However, a new government scheme is about to launch in 2017, and we don’t want the city and its businesses to suffer by pulling in the reins. It is important we collectively continue to train and create opportunity, invest in our people, in our companies and in our future.

JB Skills apprentices.

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Our collective investment in training and education in the workplace not only reduces unemployment in the area it increases opportunities for the employed, boosts morale and reduces depression and positions our city in a positive light, which is essential for trading with business and consumers across the UK and further afield.

Between now and the end of March, every Wednesday we will be bringing you stories, direct from companies that are succeeding due to their commitment to training and apprenticeships and that intend to continue with that commitment shouting out WEAR IN.

JB Skills Training ltd is proud to sponsor this campaign – more information can be found here.


Taylor Stephenson and Kieron Hanlon at JB Skills.

Everyone in business is now aware of the word ‘Levy’, and that it is coming in soon and will change the financial route to training and apprenticeships.

It is making many people and companies nervous, concerned there is an extra cost.

As part of launching WEAR IN Wednesdays, the Echo has joined with a leading Sunderland training company, to help dispel myths and showcase exactly what Levy is and how many will benefit.

JB Skills Training Ltd is a forward thinking and fast growing training provider based in the Software Centre in Sunderland.

Claudia Bradford at work at JB Skills.

The highly skilled team deliver a range of courses, including both funded and commercially paid for qualifications.

The company specialises in apprenticeships, one-on-one training and bespoke packages for employers.

With a turnover of over £3million and over 50 staff, JB Skills Training works with employers and individuals across the whole of the UK and further afield into Europe.

The company’s Managing Director is Dave Macmillan and his explanation of the Government’s Levy is as follows:

JB Skills Wear in Wednesday.

“The Levy has, for the last year, been coming upon us with an air of confusion around it. People both in the industry and in business in general struggled to understand how and who it was going to affect in a positive or negative way.

“That confusion is now cleared, and as it launches in April 2017, the Levy will change things for some employers but many will not be affected. The aim of the Levy is to clearly boost the benefits of apprenticeships to business and young people that many are already enjoying.

“The important things to know are:

“From May 2017, the way apprenticeships in England are funded will change. From this date, some companies will be required to contribute financially to the new Apprenticeship Levy.

“Those employers required to contribute are those with a wage bill of more than £3million a year. It does not matter what sector or industry you are in, if your wage bill exceeds that amount you have to pay.

“So if your wage bill is more than £3million, how much will you have to pay? Your Levy charge will be 0.5% of you annual wage bill. The good news is that these employers will also have a Levy allowance of £15,000 per year to offset against the amount you should pay.

JB Skills apprentices.

“Each company that falls into the category where they pay Levy will receive payment details of the digital bank account to deposit their funds in, and details of what is payable when. This will come from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

“Once that money is deposited, the company can access their funding for apprenticeship through a new digital apprenticeship service account.

“The aim of this is to encourage more investment, more opportunities and more creation of apprenticeships, which is good for the employer, for young people and for the future of the country.”

More information on the Levy and on training or apprenticeships is available at www.jb-skillstraining.co.uk or by calling 0191 510 5519.


As a training provider, JB Skills Training specialise in placing apprenticeships in many industries. Those apprentices study a wide range of Levels 2 to 6 in qualifications including Care, IT, Business and Admin, Social Media, Physical Training, Manufacturing and Warehousing.

As a company that has grown from two employees to 52, the organisation is now putting its money where its mouth is to make the business stronger with the implementation of its own apprenticeship scheme.

JB Skills currently has six apprentices in their team, ranging in age starting at 18. They have been recruited on a range of qualifications, and are very much part of the team. Each apprentice is expected to deliver a full scope of daily activities, as JB Skills do not believe in apprentices just filing and photocopying.

Kieron Hanlon looks after the marketing and media team, and is also an assessor. On his team Clare Holyoak, 18, Taylor Stephenson, 19, and Ashleigh Duff, 19, who are undertaking their Level 3 in ICT.

As part of that they work on the company’s website and deliver the day-to-day social media.

Sophie Elliott, 18, is also undertaking the same qualification but she works closely with the HR department.

Kieron said: “Our apprentices are bright and bring us a new dimension to our team.

“They work hard, and sometimes make us look at things differently. It is really refreshing and also rewarding to see them learn everyday.

“We have a real can-do attitude in the office and hopefully that will give them all not just skills, but the right attitude for their future careers.”

The assessors team are also supported in Business Admin by Eve Wellburn, who is 18 and has started her Level 2 Apprenticeship.

The assessors are out and about so much, that for them it is invaluable to have Eve in the office.

The compliance team also has an apprentice who focuses on business admin. Claudia Bradford is 18 and she joined the team nearly a year ago.

Taylor Stephenson, who is from Sunderland, claims that his apprenticeship was the making of him.

He said: “I started off a career in engineering but it just didn’t feel right. I love IT and social media but just didn’t know how to start a career.

“Getting the apprenticeship at JB Skills has meant I can do a job in a subject that I love, while I build my qualifications.

“The support we get is amazing and I really feel like I make a difference too.”

In the last two years JB Skills Training has placed over 480 apprenticeships on scheme.

More information is available at www.jb-skillstraining.co.uk for both learners and employers.

Taylor Stephenson and Kieron Hanlon at JB Skills.
Claudia Bradford at work at JB Skills.
JB Skills Wear in Wednesday.