4 min read

The Responsibility Has Been Shifted Firmly Onto Your Shoulders

By Simon Taylor on Jul 24, 2020 11:00:00 AM

It has been made crystal clear by the PM and the government, that the get back to work message sits clearly on the shoulders of those of you in the organisation making the productivity and safety decisions that will inevitably come back to bite you fairly quickly if you don’t get things correct, right from the off.

5 min read

Leadership when times are challenging

By Simon Taylor on Jul 21, 2020 8:22:20 AM

As we emerge from lockdown, we wait to see what the real and practical effects of the COVID 19 crisis are having on our economy, society, organisations and individuals, I thought I would avert my gaze away from attempting to predict the economic future and shift towards the leadership qualities that are going to be required across all organisations to deal with the future instead.

4 min read

How the Truman Show was Ahead of its Time

By Jack Hawksworth on Jul 17, 2020 8:58:18 AM

The Truman Show is one of my favourite and most terrifying childhood films, and I imagine if you’ve seen the film you’re currently wondering what it could possibly have to do with marketing. We’ll get to that soon enough.

Topics: Digital Marketing
6 min read

The Top 5 Fictional Brands

By Jack Hawksworth on Jul 6, 2020 12:00:00 PM

Firstly, I need to address that the research for this post and the topic of the post, might just make this my favourite piece of work that I’ve ever written. For those that don’t know me, I’m a big movie fan, so taking one of my favourite pastimes and mixing that with my favourite aspect of marketing was a no brainer. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Top 5 Fictional Brands.

Topics: Digital Marketing
4 min read

We Don't Have an Auto-Reset Function

By Simon Taylor on Jul 1, 2020 1:52:33 PM

Writing this at the end of a sunny week in June, it’s easy to think that the auto-reset function on our society and economy will kick in and everything will snap back to ‘normal’. 

Topics: Leadership & Management
5 min read

Is it time for the recovery to begin...

By Simon Taylor on Jun 9, 2020 12:00:11 PM

 

I've got this wrong. It's not the V, U or L of economic recovery that might occur. It's the worst of all worlds, it's a W.

Over my last few blog postings, I have covered the work and theories of John Maynard Keynes and the impact that this had on the post-war economic recovery. This, I admit was purely by accident and not by design, as I never expected that only a few posts later I would using his work as part of a recovery discussion from what will be our worst economic depression for more than three hundred years.

Topics: Leadership & Management
5 min read

The Future's Bright, The Future's Long Term

By Simon Taylor on May 6, 2020 10:12:04 AM

In my last blog called “Unprecedented times require realistic expectations of what the future may be like”, I commented on what our future economic recovery may look like and used the letters V, U and L as visual representations. I wrote this during the latter half and the beginning of the first week in April when predictions of infection rates, deaths and both the social and economic impacts were just that, predictions.

Topics: Leadership & Management
5 min read

Top Tips For Business Survival & Growth In A Time Of Crisis

By Chris Ash on Apr 22, 2020 9:30:00 AM

 

Last week I explored the first set of strategies to positively impact your business during a time of crisis. As the COVID-19 crisis moves on, you should hopefully now have a toolkit designed for short-term survival.

In this blog we will move onto exploring the offensive strategies designed to help your business survive and ultimately grow.

An offensive approach – is about planning for longer term survival and essentially adopts a promotion-based approach, with positive moves that aim to provide upside benefits.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management Accelerating your career
5 min read

Unprecedented Times Require Realistic Expectations Of What The Future May Be Like

By Simon Taylor on Apr 17, 2020 2:00:00 PM

Having been a student of Business and Economics for too long to mention, I have never been in a position to observe and comment like this before. I have written and commented on the good times and the bad and all of the bits in between when the good times seemed to last for a long time. My first real memory of economic policy shift came as Thatcher came to power and began the change to a market-led system, where ‘Trickle Down’ policies and privatisation replaced state control and the Keynesian theories previously discussed were sent to the ‘Seldom Leant’ shelf in the library of theories. I can recall the miners strike vividly and the shocks the policy changes had on unemployment figures. 

Topics: Leadership & Management
4 min read

How do businesses survive in a time of crisis?

By Chris Ash on Apr 13, 2020 11:47:03 AM

Most of us will be aware of all the support being made available to businesses and individuals amid the current COVID-19 crisis; however not much has been said about how you can actually positively impact the current situation you or your business is experiencing.

Topics: Leadership & Management
4 min read

Corona Virus - Cometh the hour, cometh the Man (leadership in unprecedented times)

By Simon Taylor on Mar 23, 2020 7:00:35 PM

Little did I appreciate when I posted my last blog with John Maynard Keynes as its main protagonist that I would be writing the next one, over which such a short passage of time has seen the Bank of England, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund together with the new Chancellor, employ every economic tool in the toolbox to try and avert a global meltdown, including those commented on by Keynes.

Topics: Leadership & Management
4 min read

John Maynard Keynes and his influence on the world today

By Simon Taylor on Mar 12, 2020 3:35:44 PM


I’ve been Amazon shopping again this week. I love books and love browsing in a bookshop, but I have to admit when it comes to ease of use and just overall convenience Amazon delivers. So, this week following a newspaper article I read at the weekend I have bought The Lost Decade 2010-2020, and what lies ahead for Britain, by Poly Toynbee. £8.99 with free delivery on Prime if you have it. Having read an excerpt in the paper, I was hooked and made the purchase. Not read it yet, so I will let you know how it performs.

Topics: Leadership & Management
2 min read

Social media trends for 2020

By Amandine Poirier on Mar 4, 2020 1:00:00 PM


2020 is now here and has come with many promises in regards to social media marketing. With new technologies, platforms and trends coming up regularly, it’s hard to keep track on what to do and how to stay relevant to an ever-changing audience. 

Topics: Digital Marketing
6 min read

Developing creativity and entrepreneurship in your organisation

By Simon Taylor on Feb 26, 2020 1:00:00 PM


Delivering innovation for your organisation is about spotting and keeping creativity and entrepreneurship. In my previous blog, I wrote about how hard it was for organisations innovate and change over time. The greatest catalyst for innovation for many is crisis/disaster, which in itself forces the issue of innovation and change as it becomes a fight or flight situation. Wouldn’t it be better though if innovation was incremental and less reliant on a dangerous cliff edge situation? For this to happen, this requires any organisation to foster and nurture a culture of innovation and change. In this case, innovation is easier to think of in terms of Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

Topics: Leadership & Management
2 min read

Working successfully with agencies

By Amandine Poirier on Feb 19, 2020 1:00:00 PM


If you are working with third party agencies, you might worry about losing control over a side of your business, or having to spend more time managing the agency than actually doing your own job! Working with an agency should be helpful and hassle-free, and even if it's not at the moment, you will get there.

Topics: Digital Marketing
7 min read

Why big firms find it hard to innovate

By Simon Taylor on Feb 12, 2020 1:00:00 PM


In my first year at University, I read the brilliant book by Rosabeth Moss Kanter called “When Giants Learn to Dance”. Amongst other themes, she explored how extremely large multinational organisations were still able to remain flexible, dynamic and responsive to the business environments they were operating in. In other words, how they were continuously able to innovate and change in spite of their size. At the time in the early 1990s this was seen as the Holy Grail of business success, being large enough to withstand the buffeting of the wider business environment, yet at the same time having a culture that enabled rapid and assertive responses to the challenges they were facing.

Topics: Leadership & Management
5 min read

How to create your brand guidelines

By Jack Hawksworth on Dec 6, 2019 9:30:00 AM


I’m going to start with a bold personal statement, Branding and more specifically, using your brand elements for marketing purposes, is my favourite part of this industry. There’s so much to branding that you can fall in love with, whether that be the ability to have your audience cling to your every word, the opportunity to make your audience laugh, smile, cry or empathise. It might even simply be learning the skill to produce some beautiful Ad creative.

Topics: Digital Marketing
7 min read

The links between productivity and recession

By Simon Taylor on Nov 29, 2019 9:30:00 AM


Following my previous three contributions regarding both the requirement to demonstrate increases in productivity and its potential impact on a workforce, I thought I would bring this theme to a close with some thoughts as to how this may link to the potential routes and twisting roads that we may be traveling down to get out of our current economic position of dithering around the edges of a full-blown recession.

Topics: Leadership & Management
6 min read

Productivity and how it affects us

By Simon Taylor on Nov 8, 2019 1:15:00 PM


High levels of productivity cause huge personal welfare issues amongst all staff, which then overspill into family, social and health issues. Similarly, low levels of productivity damage the rate at which an economy grows and after the economic lag has been accounted for produces low wage increases, a lowering of disposable income, lower spending power and ultimately a complete downturn in the economy which may lead to a recession.

Topics: Leadership & Management
3 min read

5 tips to improving your engagement levels on Instagram

By Jack Hawksworth on Nov 1, 2019 1:15:00 PM


In this post, we'll look at how you can get more engagement on Instagram. Since the photo and video-sharing social network was launched in October 2010 it has experienced phenomenal growth. Here's how your business can take advantage.

Topics: Digital Marketing
1 min read

Are you ready for Black Friday?

By Amandine Poirier on Oct 25, 2019 3:19:58 PM


In a little more than a month’s time, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming around again! 

If you are an online retailer, you should already have started preparing yourself for one of the craziest week of the year.

If you still need to sort out a quick marketing plan to make the most of this long weekend, we have put some tips together for you: 

Topics: Digital Marketing
2 min read

10 reasons to use Google Analytics

By Amandine Poirier on Oct 9, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Google Analytics is a free website analytics service offered by Google that gives you insights into how users find and use your website. Google Analytics helps you not only gather data but also make sense of it.

Topics: Digital Marketing
2 min read

A brief summary of the Apprenticeship Levy

By Oliver Simpson on Oct 4, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Welcome to the final post in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. Since its launch over two years ago in April 2017, the Levy has had a profound impact on individuals and businesses up and down the country.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
5 min read

Intuitive and counterintuitive leadership and management issues with productivity

By Simon Taylor on Sep 27, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Over the summer break, we sat on the beach and by the pool and for the first time since last October when I was last away, I did nothing. It’s a great feeling, that ‘doing nothing’ when all you have to think about is what drink to have next and is 11 am too soon for one! It takes a while to settle into that mindset as humans we are genetically and socially programmed to be doing, in spite of the fact we are human ‘beings’, where ‘being’ should be enough, we should really be called human ‘doings’ because we have to ‘do’ to survive.

Topics: Leadership & Management
3 min read

How to implement an apprenticeship training programme throughout the workforce

By Oliver Simpson on Sep 20, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Welcome to the penultimate article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. Over the course of this series we’ve put the Apprenticeship Levy under the spotlight and uncovered everything there is to know about it, from who needs to contribute to who’s eligible to use it - and everything in between. Now it’s time to take a brief look at how best to put those funds into action. You’ve looked into the Apprenticeship Levy, read our series on it and you’re all clued up. You know what funds you have access to, you’ve opened an online account and you’re ready to go… what next?

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

Can you choose who you spend the Apprenticeship Levy on?

By Oliver Simpson on Sep 13, 2019 1:00:00 PM

 


This is the 16th article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. In our previous piece, we talked about which providers you were able to spend the levy with and whether or not there were any limitations. In this piece, we’re looking at who you can spend the levy on. Are there any limitations to who you can enrol as an apprentice? Is there a greater incentive to choose one individual over another? Let’s review...

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

Can you choose who you spend the Apprenticeship Levy with?

By Oliver Simpson on Sep 6, 2019 1:00:00 PM


This is the 15th article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. Along the way, we’ve uncovered everything there is to learn about the levy, including who’s eligible to pay, who has access to the fund, and the various ways in which it can benefit businesses of all sizes. Having access to something like the Apprenticeship Levy is a huge boon to businesses and they’re glad to have it, but not a lot businesses are aware of the various ways in which the levy can be utilised. One of the most common questions on the Internet at the moment is, “Can I choose who I spend the Levy with?” and the answer, to a certain extent, is yes - but there are rules you need to be mindful of. 

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

Can the Apprenticeship Levy be spent on graduates?

By Oliver Simpson on Aug 30, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Welcome to the 14th post in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. Throughout the series we’ve covered everything employers and apprenticeship candidates could possibly need to know about the levy, including how it works, who’s eligible and what you can do with your funds. Though the levy scheme itself was launched in 2017, many employers still have questions about how they can best utilise their allocated funds. One of the questions we’ve noticed crop up time and time again, is whether or not the Apprenticeship Levy can be spent on graduate development. The short answer is yes, but there are some fundamental differences to traditional graduate programmes. 

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

Is there an Apprenticeship Levy age limit?

By Oliver Simpson on Aug 23, 2019 1:00:00 PM


This is article number 13 in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. We’ve talked in-depth about all aspects of the levy throughout this series, covering everything from contributions and eligibility, right through to how the funds can be used and what apprentices should expect. Since the Apprenticeship Levy was first launched in April 2017, it’s made apprenticeships more accessible to all and actively encouraged businesses to tap into apprenticeships as a way of improving or expanding their workforce. One of the most common questions people ask about the levy is whether or not there are any age restrictions. Far from being a restriction, this is actually one of the ways in which the Apprenticeship Levy truly shines.
 

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

Does the Apprenticeship Levy apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

By Oliver Simpson on Aug 16, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Welcome to the twelfth article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. Throughout this series, we’re breaking down the myths surrounding the levy and explaining, post by post, how it could benefit businesses of all sizes throughout the UK. Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored who is eligible to contribute to the levy, which businesses are entitled to use the funds and how those funds can be spent.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
6 min read

The importance of listening in work

By Simon Taylor on Aug 14, 2019 1:20:15 PM


All too often I hear or overhear a generic complaint in organisations across all staff in that they feel they are not ‘listened to’, ‘not heard’ or ‘there’s no point in saying anything as nothing ever changes anyway’. It is a common ‘gripe’ and actually comes out of the communication brand of ‘gripes’ that exist in all walks of life and across all organisations. Even in organisations that claim they have got communication nailed, it all too often rears its head as an issue.

Topics: Leadership & Management
5 min read

Do the summer months affect productivity?

By Simon Taylor on Jun 26, 2019 1:00:00 PM


As I’m sitting here writing this article, it’s cloudy and wet outside and has been all week, as we have a yellow weather warning for the East Midlands that will continue into the weekend. However, when it’s gorgeous outside and I’m either in the office or working from my dining table at home, the last thing I want to do is remain cooped up inside and so will procrastinate over the work at hand.

Topics: Leadership & Management
3 min read

The key benefits of the Apprenticeship Levy

By Oliver Simpson on Jun 21, 2019 1:00:00 PM


This is the eleventh article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. With each post, we’re trying to increase employers’ understanding of the Levy - how they can use it and how it can benefit their business. We’ve been on quite a journey over the past 10 articles, covering everything from eligibility and access, to how the funds can be spent and what can be achieved. While we may have touched on a few of the benefits in previous posts, now feels like a good time to review the key benefits of the Apprenticeship Levy and why it should be on your business’ radar.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

Productivity growth is slowing as Brexit bites

By Simon Taylor on Jun 19, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Economists regard productivity gains as the most important driver of rising living standards over the long term. However there are ongoing fears that Brexit will be sapping the strength of the UK economy over the next decade. A key measure of growth in the economy is 'output per hour of work' and this slumped in 2018 according to the figures, as the UK managed only a quarter of the rate of productivity growth seen before the financial crisis.

1 min read

Marketing research & audience profiles

By Oliver Simpson on Jun 14, 2019 2:14:14 PM


Here's a recording of our recent webinar 'Marketing research and audience profiles'. We hope you find it useful.

1 min read

Making Marketing Measurable

By Oliver Simpson on Jun 14, 2019 1:41:36 PM


Here's a recording of our recent webinar 'Making Marketing Measurable' with Simon and Oliver. We hope you find it useful.

Topics: Leadership & Management
2 min read

What courses are available through the Apprenticeship Levy?

By Oliver Simpson on Jun 14, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Welcome to article number 10 in our eighteen part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. Our goal with this series is to help employers make the most of the levy fund, including how to assess your eligibility, how to access the funds and where to spend them. In previous articles we’ve gone into some detail on how the levy works and how the funds are raised. We’ve discussed which businesses are required to contribute and how smaller businesses can gain funding to train both new and existing staff. In this post, we’re going to look at which courses are available through the Apprenticeship Levy so you can decide whether or not it might be a good fit for your business.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

What will the Apprenticeship Levy allow you to do?

By Oliver Simpson on Jun 7, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Welcome to the ninth article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. In this series, we’re exploring everything there is to know about the levy in order to help businesses make the most of it. So far, we’ve examined what the levy is and how the funds are raised, and even gone into detail about how to set up a digital account and start using whatever funds you’re entitled to. In this article we’ll be focusing on one very simple idea - what does the levy allow your business to do?

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

When do your Apprenticeship Levy funds expire?

By Oliver Simpson on May 31, 2019 1:00:00 PM


This is the eighth article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. The UK Government launched the levy programme back in 2016 in a bid to create 3 million new apprenticeships by the year 2020. It’s a fantastic way for employers to fund apprenticeships and grow their teams, but many firms are still a little unclear on what the levy is, how it works or how it can benefit them. That’s why we’ve put this series of articles together. In recent articles, we’ve talked about who is eligible to contribute, how you can access funds and whether or not the levy can be used to fund in-house training programmes. This time we’re talking about the expiration of levy funds and whether your business needs to be concerned.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

Can you fund your own learning and development programme with the Apprenticeship Levy?

By Oliver Simpson on May 24, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Welcome to the seventh article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. The levy is a new initiative from the Government that aims to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. In recent articles, we’ve talked about who is eligible to contribute to the levy, how smaller businesses can access funds, and how to setup your online portal and start spending money on courses. This time we’re going to be focusing on whether or not it’s possible for you as a business to use levy funds to develop your own learning and development programmes.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
5 min read

The 10 biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs

By Simon Taylor on Mar 27, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Many people dream of owning and running their own business, being their own boss, not being beholden to the whims and fancies of other people or an other organisation generally. Many people never actually take the step and make the dream a reality, whilst others, you just cannot hold back.

Topics: Leadership & Management
4 min read

Using Google Lens: What's next for visual search?

By Jack Hawksworth on Mar 21, 2019 1:00:00 PM


Search is continually evolving. We know this. We know search changes and we know that Google like to keep all of us on our toes in understanding what latest activities lead to hitting that desirable position #1.

Topics: Digital Marketing
4 min read

The dark side of emotional intelligence

By Simon Taylor on Mar 20, 2019 1:00:00 PM


So, you will all have heard of Emotional Intelligence (EI). It’s been around a while now, actually since Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book. However, before this, In 1983, Howard Gardner's Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences introduced the idea that traditional types of intelligence, such as IQ, fail to fully explain cognitive ability.

3 min read

How to use the Apprenticeship Levy strategically

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 18, 2019 2:20:11 PM

 

This is the sixth article in our 18 piece series on the Apprenticeship Levy. The one thing you should never do with apprenticeships is invest in them for the sake of just making sure that your levy pot is spent. As with any kind of business investment there should always be a clear business need in the first place, with a demonstrable method for ensuring a return on investment.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

The Apprenticeship Levy Digital Account

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 8, 2019 1:00:00 PM


This is the fifth article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. Along the way, we’ve learned what the Apprenticeship Levy is, who’s eligible to contribute and use the levy, and what levy funds can be spent on. In our last piece, we confirmed that levy funds can be used for both new and existing employees, but must be spent on approved apprentice courses through the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) portal. This piece will be a direct continuation and go into more detail about DAS. Read on to learn how to create a DAS account, how to use it, and how to spend your valuable funds.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

Strategic planning - Making strategic thinking real

By Simon Taylor on Mar 6, 2019 1:00:00 PM


In my last article, I comprehensively worked through the key components of strategic thinking and how it can operate within an organisational context. Of course, strategic thinking goes nowhere without the ability to strategically plan. In other words, put the thinking into action.

Topics: Leadership & Management
3 min read

What can the Apprenticeship Levy be spent on?

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 1, 2019 1:18:18 PM


This is the fourth article in our 18 piece series on the Apprenticeship Levy. So far, we’ve explored what the Apprenticeship Levy is, who’s eligible for contributions and who has access to the funds. In this piece, we’re going to be expanding on the last point and asking how Apprenticeship Levy funds can be spent. Can they be used to pay wages or cover travel costs? Can they be used to set up an apprenticeship programme or fund apprentices from existing programmes? These are all common questions, so let’s break things down.  

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
4 min read

Is Voice Search really taking over?

By Jack Hawksworth on Feb 28, 2019 1:00:00 PM


“Alexa, play my ‘concentration’ playlist", would be something that I might say to my Amazon Echo as I prepare myself to get stuck into some background reading, data finding and thought splurging activities, if I had an Amazon Echo that is. You see, I’m rather sceptical about this development and honestly, this technology. I’m sure it has its uses and benefits for a lot of people, but personally all I find myself doing is trying to make Siri say something funny. Usually it isn’t. When that fails I’ll research some of my favourite people, but how much more can I know about Ryan Gosling?

Topics: Digital Marketing
3 min read

Strategic thinking - Real or not?

By Simon Taylor on Feb 27, 2019 1:00:00 PM


I once worked with a colleague who always put a block in their diary across Monday morning. No one could disturb them, no phone calls got through. The place could be burning down, but they wouldn't leave their office. The door was locked and bolted from the inside (not quite, but you get the idea). in the diary for every Monday morning, it simply stated two words; "Strategic Thinking". On Monday afternoons, they were always in a foul frame of mind.  Asked how the morning has gone,  the reply was always the same - "dreadful, I've not been able to do anything"! The colleague, made the same mistakes every week for nearly forty-seven weeks a year. By simply blocking time out and calling it the thing they wanted to do, they honestly thought that it would happen, they would be able to think strategically. That's simply not how it works.

Topics: Leadership & Management
3 min read

How to calculate the Apprenticeship Levy

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 22, 2019 1:00:00 PM


This is the third article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. In our last post, we talked about whether or not it’s okay to use levy funds to train existing staff and what processes are involved.

This time, we’re turning our focus to the fund itself and how it’s generated. If you're eligible to pay into the levy, how is your contribution calculated? And how much of the fund will your business have access to? If you’re not paying into the fund you may still have access to levy funds, but how does that work? 

 

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

Can the Apprenticeship Levy be used for existing staff?

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 15, 2019 1:00:00 PM



This is the second article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. In our first post we talked about the levy in general, how it is calculated and what it means for employers. In this article, we’ll be paying particular attention to employers who aren’t quite ready to hire new staff and want to learn whether or not they can use levy funds to train their existing employees.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 8, 2019 1:00:00 PM


This is the first article in an 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. In this series we’ll be exploring what the Apprenticeship Levy means for employers, looking at everything from how the levy is calculated and who has to pay it, to what it can be spent on and how it can be used strategically. However, we’re going to begin the series by asking the most basic of questions to set the scene - what is the Apprenticeship Levy and where did it come from?

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

Blended Working can only benefit us all

By Simon Taylor on Feb 5, 2019 1:00:00 PM

Health warning.

This may upset your boss who attempts to micromanage you and only believes in presenteeism.

3 min read

Are you aware of how literate your employees are?

By Simon Taylor on Jan 25, 2019 12:37:36 PM

 

Does the person you work with the closest struggle to understand written forms and other documentation?

They may be ‘Functionally Illiterate’ or operating just above this measure. Just think how they would be able to operate in your company, if they could improve their actual reading age to be fifteen years and above.

2 min read

Is a loyalty scheme the answer?

By Jack Hawksworth on Sep 7, 2018 12:02:00 PM

 

If you’re pondering this question right now within your organisation you would be forgiven for coming to a quick conclusion that yes, a loyalty scheme is the answer- after all why wouldn’t it be? Offering your customers the chance to be rewarded for repeat custom is a win/win situation, surely? The organisation benefits from repeat sales and returning visits, whilst the customers are offered discounts/perks for their continued purchasing. Well, actually it may not be that straight forward.

Topics: Digital Marketing
5 min read

5 reasons to monitor your analytics daily

By Jack Hawksworth on Jun 15, 2018 2:45:42 PM

 

Analytics are usually a polarising topic, stereotypically we have two elements- the ‘numbers people’ and then the ‘content people’. The pattern goes, as I’m sure you can guess, that the numbers people love analytics. They can’t get enough of them whilst the content people, well, they don’t even know they exist- right?

Well actually, that’s not true. So if that sounds anything remotely like what you currently experience then you need to change things up and shift those ideas. Analytics are an incredibly powerful tool and most importantly they benefit the ‘content people’ the most!

 If you love creating content or running engaging campaigns, how do you know if the imagery you designed or words you wrote are resonating with the reader? How do you know the reader is actually who you wanted the reader to be? The answer- Stone cold data. (I’m really trying hard to resist the urge to make a Stone Cold Steve Austin reference, but mainly out of fear that no one will recognise this and you’ll think that ‘bottom line’ is referring to profits or ‘3:16’ to the time.)

Topics: Digital Marketing
3 min read

Why it’s important to not get too comfortable in your career

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 26, 2018 2:24:16 PM


This is the final post in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties and this time we’re talking about complacency. Complacency sets in when we allow ourselves to get too comfortable at work and it can sometimes happen without us even realising. In this series of articles we’ve talked about risk-taking, ambition, proactive learning and leadership - all of which boil down to this idea of not letting ourselves get too comfortable.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

How constant learning can help your career

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 20, 2018 12:09:20 PM



This is the nineteenth piece in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties and this time we’re talking about learning. All the people you look up to in your professional life are likely to have one thing in common - they never stop learning. Just like life itself, your career is a journey. You should always strive to develop your knowledge and acquire new skills, and your twenties are an absolutely perfect time to develop this habit.

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How ambition can help drive your career

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 16, 2018 1:15:00 PM


This is the eighteenth piece in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties and this time we’re talking about ambition. Picturing where you’d like to see yourself a decade down the line can be a real motivator, particularly during those stressful periods when your workload is high. We all have things that we strive for, and it’s a good idea to start laying the groundwork for those goals early in your career. In fact, laying that groundwork can even help with your day-to-day performance at work.

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How finding the right balance can help your career

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 14, 2018 5:00:00 PM

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How getting a mentor can help your career

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 7, 2018 4:13:18 PM



This is the sixteenth piece in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties and this time we’re talking about mentoring. Some roles will automatically assign a mentor figure - someone you can speak to about your concerns at work in order to be more effective in your role. While this is increasingly common in larger organisations, it’s not always a given. Even if you have been ‘assigned’ a mentor, there’s no harm in taking advice from other sources as and when you need it.

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

Three Reasons the Beast from the East is Good for Your Business

By Chris Ash on Mar 1, 2018 2:16:24 PM

Whilst the media continues to cover the current snow storms hitting the UK and, rightly, highlight the plight of many in the face of travel chaos, school closures and business challenges we at Ascento like to look at the positive side of things. So how is The Beast from the East good for your business?

Topics: Leadership & Management
3 min read

How mastering productivity can make a difference

By Oliver Simpson on Mar 1, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How knowing your weaknesses can help move your career forward

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 27, 2018 9:00:00 AM



This is the fourteenth piece in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties and this time we’re talking about weaknesses. We all have them. Most of us are happy to talk about our strengths, but weaknesses are something that most of us would rather forget. The thing is, that can actually be counterproductive when it comes to getting on in your career. Knowing your strengths is important, but it could be argued that knowing your limitations and weaknesses is even more vital. Here’s why…

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

How being reliable can advance your career

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 16, 2018 12:30:00 PM



This is the thirteenth post in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties, and this time we’re focusing on reliability. We touched on some elements of this in our article on commitment, but the importance of demonstrating reliability cannot be overstated. You want to be a rock for your colleagues - being so will earn you a great deal of kudos and respect. However, you should also respect your own shortcomings and say in advance when you might be about to let someone down.

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

How to turn failure into success

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 13, 2018 8:45:00 AM


This is the twelfth article in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties, and this time we’re talking about how failure can sometimes be a good thing. We all make mistakes from time to time, but one of the things that defines us is our ability to learn from them. In fact, many would argue that success can’t be reached without a few failures along the way - we shouldn’t think of ‘failure’ as such a negative word. All it means is that we tried something that didn’t quite work, in order to find out what does work. Even science is built on this very premise.

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

How commitment can impact your career

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 8, 2018 8:30:00 AM


This is the eleventh article in our twenty-part series on
how to accelerate your career in your twenties, and today we’re talking about commitment. In other words, always following through on promises and finishing what you start. The last thing you want to do is gain a reputation for being a ‘non-finisher’. As you get on in your career, you’ll find that this reputation becomes increasingly hard to shake off, so don’t start down that road. This doesn’t necessarily mean giving up all of your free time to finish a task because you’ve over-promised - it’s more about being open and honest with yourself and your colleagues.

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How to use communication to get ahead in your career

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 6, 2018 1:30:00 PM


This is the tenth article in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties, and this time we’re focusing on the art of communication. Communication skills are vastly underappreciated in most workplaces. Many of us get through day-to-day work life without really thinking about how we communicate, but it really does penetrate every aspect of who we are and what we do. Whether you’re sitting at a desk typing emails, making phone calls or working face-to-face with people in a group, how we put ourselves forward can have a huge impact on our careers.
 

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How to make your strengths and weaknesses work for you

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 2, 2018 3:31:59 PM


This is the ninth article in our twenty-part series on 
how to accelerate your career in your twenties and it's all about analysing your strengths and weaknesses. We all want to perform well in our roles at work. If you’re a twenty-something trying to make your way in a busy working environment, you should absolutely use your initiative and play to your strengths wherever possible. At this stage in your career, it’s okay to make mistakes so long as you can rectify them and learn from them. However, a big part of knowing your own strengths and value lies in understanding your weaknesses.

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How to develop your own leadership style

By Oliver Simpson on Jan 30, 2018 1:25:00 PM


This is the eighth article in our twenty-part series on 
how to accelerate your career in your twenties and it's all about leadership. 
There are no doubt people in your workplace that make leading look easy. Those managers and supervisors who can effortlessly direct projects and motivate people to meet deadlines. That’s because part of being a good leader is acting well under pressure and being able to handle the responsibility of crucial deadlines. Chances are, these people in your company have been honing these skills for decades, so where does that leave you as a twenty-something who’s still relatively new to their job? Here’s a secret: you don’t need to be in a superior position of authority to be a leader.

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

How being a team player can really benefit your career

By Oliver Simpson on Jan 25, 2018 1:30:00 PM


This is the seventh article in our twenty-part series on
how to accelerate your career in your twenties and it's all about playing well in a team. In past posts we’ve covered networking, thought leadership and the importance of good planning, but none of this matters if you don’t have the collaborative mindset to work well in a group.

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

How to plan and set goals for your career

By Oliver Simpson on Jan 22, 2018 1:15:26 PM


We’re now up to the sixth in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties. Last time we focused on the importance of thought leadership and how it can help you carve out an identity and stand out among your peers. This time we’re focusing on something that even career veterans still struggle with from time to time - planning.
 

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

How to become a thought leader

By Oliver Simpson on Jan 18, 2018 1:15:00 PM

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How to take your career to the next level with networking

By Oliver Simpson on Jan 16, 2018 1:30:00 PM



This is the fourth post in our series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing lots of useful tips and advice in these articles to help you master the early stages of your career and rise quickly through the ranks. In this post we look at how to network and why it’s important.

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

How to commit to your career (and prove it)

By Oliver Simpson on Jan 12, 2018 1:15:00 PM


This is the third post in our series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing lots of useful tips and advice in these articles to help you master the early stages of your career and rise quickly through the ranks. This week we look at the importance of commitment.

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

How to stand out from the crowd and get ahead in your career

By Oliver Simpson on Jan 8, 2018 1:00:00 PM


This is the second post in our series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing lots of useful tips and advice in these articles to help you master the early stages of your career and rise quickly through the ranks. Next up, how to stand out from the crowd.

Topics: Accelerating your career
2 min read

How to accelerate your career in your twenties (Step 1: take risks)

By Oliver Simpson on Jan 4, 2018 1:31:48 PM


This is the first post in our series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing lots of useful tips and advice in these articles to help you master the early stages of your career and rise quickly through the ranks. First on the list is learning how to take risks.

Topics: Accelerating your career
3 min read

Michelle Obama - top tips for leadership

By Chris Ash on Sep 27, 2017 7:40:00 PM

Having spent the last few days at the Inbound 2017 conference in Boston MA, I was fortunate this morning to attend a keynote interview with the former First Lady, Michelle Obama.  A truly inspirational lady, who talked about her experiences during President Obama’s two spells in Office as well as what she has been involved in both during and since. 

Topics: Leadership & Management
7 min read

Why is investing in learning and development good for business?

By Chris Ash on Apr 21, 2017 9:55:55 AM

 

May 1st 2017 brings great new opportunities for employers looking to invest in their workforce.  I was recently asked to talk on a local radio station in the Sheffield Region to talk about the benefits of learning & development and apprenticeships to employers.  The questions and responses are below...

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management
4 min read

It's a rollercoaster ride in apprenticeship 'levy' land

By Chris Ash on Apr 6, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Having been to various events and held many meetings over the last few weeks it's time to share some of the frightening comments and positive experiences I've had around the apprenticeship levy from both training providers and employers. Hopefully this helps inform some of your thinking and planning now we're in apprenticeship levy land.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

5 methods to improve your Instagram feed

By Jack Hawksworth on Mar 23, 2017 12:00:00 PM

 

Instagram is quickly becoming a go-to staple for many of its users. With 600 million monthly users and 400 million daily users it’s about the time to start asking ‘are you using this incredible tool well enough?’ 52 million images are shared every day and 1.6 billion likes distributed on a daily basis. It’s time to ask, are you really doing all you can?

Topics: Digital Marketing
1 min read

Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers

By Chris Ash on Mar 13, 2017 10:56:23 PM

RESULTS ANNOUNCED

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management
3 min read

How to use the Apprenticeship Service

By Chris Ash on Mar 3, 2017 4:12:50 PM

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
3 min read

Top tips for creating more time to lead.

By Chris Ash on Feb 23, 2017 10:20:44 PM

For many managers one of the greatest challenges is being able to balance the needs of the organisation, with the needs of their role and the people within their teams. Successful leaders have learnt the art of becoming personally effective therefore providing more time to focus on what is truly important in order to drive success.

Topics: Leadership & Management
3 min read

Top tips for approaching the apprenticeship levy

By Chris Ash on Feb 14, 2017 10:27:29 AM

Registration is now open for the apprenticeship service

 The much-awaited digital apprenticeship service is now open for registration. If you are a large employer with a wage bill of over £3 million a year you should register now.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

New funding rules for apprenticeships announced.

By Chris Ash on Dec 19, 2016 7:12:00 PM

Finally, the long awaited apprenticeship consultation has been evaluated and the Government has published its rules around the apprenticeship levy and apprenticeships in general post April 2017.  This post is a must read if you are either a large employer who will pay the levy or a smaller employer considering or currently investing in apprenticeships.

 

2 min read

How much will the apprenticeship levy cost?

By Chris Ash on Nov 24, 2016 6:44:00 PM

Last time we talked about the digital apprenticeship service and how you need to start planning now. If you have not already used the free planning tool provided by BIS then I strongly recommend that you do so in conjunction with this post. If you need help with this please feel free to let me know once you’ve finished reading.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

The Digital Apprenticeship Service

By Chris Ash on Nov 1, 2016 4:40:00 PM

As a levy paying employer you will need to register for the digital apprenticeship service in order to manage and essentially spend the apprenticeship levy funds and the 10% Government top up. Whilst it is not possible yet to register, it is possible to start to think about and plan how you will manage this process.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
4 min read

Getting the best business value from your Apprenticeship Levy spend

By Chris Ash on Oct 4, 2016 4:03:00 PM

 You’ve started paying your levy via HMRC and have funds building up in your Digital Service apprentice account:  What next? 

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
2 min read

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

By Chris Ash on Sep 30, 2016 10:50:18 AM

The greatest shake up of Apprenticeships and how they are funded in England is fast approaching. Consultations with employers and the education sector have taken place, education ministers and even Prime Ministers have come and gone -  it is full steam ahead with Apprenticeship reform. 

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy