1. Charity Update
2. Wisdom of the Week
3. Wellbeing
4. Upcoming Course
5. Further Education update

Charity Update

In this section we will keep you informed of the exciting projects that we are currently working on and those that you can aspect to see from us in the future. 

NHS contract

We are looking forward to be delivering a number of exciting workshops as part of the NHS Graduate Digital, Data and Technology Scheme.  We will keep you posted on the progress…

Victoria Wake – AAT

Congratulations to our very own Vicky Wake on achieving a distinction in her AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting (Level 2) qualification.  Vicky has now progressed on to the AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting (Level 3) qualification. 

Learning and Development Apprenticeship

We are excited to be offering two new apprenticeships in Learning and Development.

  • Learning and Development Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard (Level 3)
    This program is for any sector where the individual is involved with identifying learning and training needs, designing training and learning solutions, delivering and evaluating training and working with others. This is aimed more at non-management roles, progressing naturally into a Level 5 L&D qualification/apprenticeship. Read more about the Apprenticeship
  • Learning and Development Consultant Business Partner (Level 5)
    This program is for any sector where the individual is responsible for ensuring learning and development contributes and makes improvements to performance in the workplace at an individual, team and organisational level. Leading any L&D elements of projects. Read more about the Apprenticeship

 Primed for Work

What a week, we have been able to support 9 individuals on our Primed to Work programme. The individuals have spent the week working toward Level 1 certificate in Employability which has developed their skills for seeking employment and have been provided  with employment opportunities. Throughout the week we have been embedding three elements of Prepare, Perform and Prosper, which will prime them for employment and beyond. We have provided all the individuals with employment opportunities and future support from Positive People and the National Careers Service. 

SME cap on apprenticeship starts

The cap on apprenticeship starts for small and medium-sized employers has been reset to zero again following pressure from the sector.

 From 1 June 2022 any non-levy paying business can start up to 10 new apprentices regardless of the number it currently employs. The cap will then be kept under review.

 The decision, announced last week by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, comes weeks after an FE Week investigation revealed how SMEs were being forced to turn apprentices away after reaching the previous 10 starts limit that had been in place since April 1, 2021.

 An ESFA update said: “This reset will give employers who do not pay the levy greater certainty over their recruitment plans for the year ahead. It is made in recognition of the important role that SMEs play in creating apprenticeship opportunities, particularly for younger people and those in disadvantaged areas.”

 Any reservations made before 1 June 2022 will not be affected and will not count against the new reservation levels from this date, the agency added.

Apprenticeship of the job training hours

 Employers and Apprentices will be pleased to learn that the blanket 20% Off the Job Training requirement based on an apprentices working hours is changing as of the 1 August 2022. Apprentices who are employed for 30 hrs or more now only have to complete the equivalent to 6 hours per week of the job training.  This is pro-rata’d down for part time working apprentices.

Queen’s birthday honours list

Neither Simon Mills nor Richard Jenkins have been awarded anything for their contribution to the FE Sector nor are likely to be in the foreseeable future!

Wisdom for the Week

Excelling in Excel

30 years since entering the market Microsoft Excel remains the most widely used software by businesses. Despite this Excel remains poorly understood by millions, by mastering some essential skills you can take your spreadsheets from just data entry and recording figures to having another employee with the amount of time you can save.

Benefits for Businesses

  • Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application used to manipulate stored data, this allows to summarise, calculate, schedule and more, saving you time and money .
  • Finance and accounting professionals choose Excel for its complex analytical and computing features.
  • Microsoft Excel enables users to identify trends and organise and sort data into meaningful categories.
  • Excel also performs Human Resources functions, such as sorting worked hours and organizing employee profiles and expenses, which help businesses better understand the structure and activities of their workforce.
  • Pivot tables summarize data from a worksheet into a chart.

Top Skills to learn

1. Conditional Formatting 

Conditional formatting makes it easy to highlight certain values or make particular cells easy to identify. This changes the appearance of a cell range based on a condition (or criteria). You can use conditional formatting to highlight cells that contain values which meet a certain condition. Or you can format a whole cell range and vary the exact format as the value of each cell varies.

2. Data Validation 

Data validation is a feature in Excel which is used to control what users can enter into a cell. It allows you to dictate specific rules. It also allows users to display a custom message if users try to enter invalid data. As a result, Excel data validation helps reduce the amount of unstandardized data, errors, or irrelevant information in your worksheet. It’s a helpful feature, especially when widely sharing an Excel worksheet with others for completion.

3. PivotTables

A PivotTable is a powerful tool to calculate, summarise, and analyse data that lets you see comparisons, patterns, and trends in your data. Benefits include: Ability to recap using any data element and then drill down to review the details. Formulas may restrict sorting capabilities or may be corrupted when adding and deleting rows or columns.

 4. Advanced Formulae

Excel is a vital tool for speeding up productivity and allowing workers to be more efficient when dealing with large amounts of data and calculations. When you understand Excel at a more advanced level, you will have the ability to use its more sophisticated tools, which will allow you to complete your tasks and analyse your data more quickly.

Sum() – Gives sum of the selected range of cells. Perfect to use if your data is always changing and you want to see a live total.

Average() – Calculating the average. This saves you adding up all the individual cells and working out the average. This is a live cell so when your data changes so will the calculation.

Count() – This formulae calculates the amount of cells with data entered.

Vlookup() – This stands for the vertical lookup that is responsible for looking for a particular value in the leftmost column of a table. It then returns a value in the same row from a column you specify. Commonly used for booking sheets and purchase forms and once mastered you will be able to incorporate in many of your spreadsheets.

HLOOKUP() – Similar to VLOOKUP, we have another function called HLOOKUP() or horizontal lookup. The function HLOOKUP looks for a value in the top row of a table or array of benefits. It gives the value in the same column from a row you specify.

IF() – The IF function checks a given condition and returns a particular value if it is TRUE. It will return another value if the condition is FALSE. This is commonly used to identify if data has reached a curtain target, ie. Pass or Fail, Yes or No, Achieved or Requires Improvement.

5. Absolute References

Indispensable! The dollar in front of the letter fixes the column, the dollar sign in front of number fixes the row, F4 toggles through the four possible combinations. This allows you to keep your formulae referring to the same cell or column when duplicating your formulas, this can save you hours of typing out the same formulae over and over.  

6. Extend Formula Across/Down 

The beauty of Excel is its easy scalability. Get the formula right once and Excel will churn out the right calculation a million times. The + cross hair is handy. Double clicking it will take it all the way down if you have continuous data. Sometimes a copy and paste (either regular paste or paste formulas) will be faster for you.

7. Flash Fill

Excel developed a mind of its own in 2013. Say you have two columns of names and you need to construct email addresses from them all. Just do it for the first row and Excel will work out what you mean and do it for the rest. If Flash Fill is turned on (File Options Advanced) it should just start working as you type or get it going manually by clicking Data > Flash Fill, or Ctrl E. This means that you do not need to spend time looking for new formulas to automate processes, let excel do the hard work.

 8. Filters

Explore data in a table quickly. Filtering effectively hides data that is not of interest. Usually there’s a value that you’re looking for and Filters will bring up those and hide the rest. You can now also filter on number values (e.g. is greater than, top 10%, etc), and cell colour. Filtering becomes more powerful when you need to filter more than one column in combination e.g. both colours and vehicles to find your blue car. Conditional Formatting and Sorting serve related purposes. Sorting involves rearranging your spreadsheet, which is intrusive and may not be desirable. Conditional formatting brings visualisation. Filtering is fast and effective. 

Courses Available 

At the end of the course delegates will be able to create, save and print a workbook containing simple calculations. In addition, they will be able to format the workbook to ensure a pleasing presentation, open, close and delete files.
They should be able to create and format a workbook containing various types of data; use AutoSum and other simple formulae, and use page setup to ensure the workbook fits on the page when printed.
At the end of the course delegates will be able to use different ways to consolidate and link data, use advanced functions and other powerful features to summarise, analyse and query data.


Men’s Health – 13-19 June 2022 – Time for your M.O.T.


Men’s Health Week is led by the Men’s Health Forum to raise awareness of preventable health issues and encourage men and boys to seek professional advice for health-related problems.

For this year’s Men’s Health Week, it’s time for men everywhere, to give themselves an MOT.

Why do men need an MOT?

Early stage cancer diagnoses fell by third in first lockdown and that shortfall has continued. Macmillan reckon that around 50,000 of men have missed a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic. Prostate cancer diagnoses, for example, were down 29% between 2019 and 2020. That’s not because prostate cancer is getting rarer (it isn’t), but because men weren’t seeing their GPs to begin to get diagnosed. Indeed, male GP visits fell more than female visits. There were good reasons for this fall during lockdown but not now.

Meanwhile, NHS Health Checks, which should be offered to most people over 40, were paused during Covid.

All of this gives men even more reason to keep an eye on their own bodies and minds and give themselves an MOT.

  • Dig a bit deeper with an existing Man MOT manuals: Man MOT and Man MOT for the Mind.
  • Get an NHS Health Check
  • Go and see your GP if you’re concerned about any symptoms

You can sign up for Men’s Health Week here.

Mental Health and Resilience Courses

Get in touch with our Business Development Team on 01392 445444 or email to find out how we can support you through our courses

See our list of upcoming courses that support Men’s Health Week:

Stop – Challenge – Protect

If you receive a request to provide personal or financial information whether that’s over the phone, in an email, online or through social media always remember:

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.

STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Here are some general tips to keep in mind to help protect your money and information:

  1. Avoid disclosing security details

A genuine bank or organisation will never ask you for details such as your PIN or card number over the phone or in writing. Before you share anything with anyone, Stop and Think. Unless you’re 100% sure who you’re talking to, don’t disclose any personal or financial details. Instead, hang up and contact the organisation yourself using a known email or phone number. If you’re contacting your bank use a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, on the back of your bank card or on their website.

  1. Emails, phone calls and texts may not be authentic

Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address mother’s maiden name or date of birth), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Criminals will use a range of techniques to get your details and may even say you’ve been a victim of fraud to scare you into taking immediate action.

  1. Contact organisations directly

Criminals may offer a phone number for you to call which in some cases matches the number on the back of your bank card to give the impression that the call is genuine. The number offered is not genuine or, where a genuine number is suggested, the criminal will keep the line open and pass you to a different individual in order to convince you to share your personal and financial information. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or another trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account even if they say it is for fraud reasons. They will always let you hang up, wait a few minutes before calling them on a number you know to be genuine, such as the one on the back of your card.

  1. Stop and challenge unexpected requests

If you receive an unexpected request for your money or information, have the confidence to stop and challenge its authenticity. Criminals may lull you into a false sense of security when you’re out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home. Remember it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

  1. Protect others by reporting fraud and scams

Reporting fraud and scams could help recover your money and catch the criminals responsible. If you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via If you’re in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101 or Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000.

If you receive a scam text message you can forward it to 7726 to help phone providers take early action and block numbers that generate spam on their networks. If a scam text claims to be from your bank, then you should also report it to them.

You can also forward fake emails you’ve received to

Make sure you report scam ads appearing in paid-for space online by visiting the Advertising Standard Authority’s website where you can complete their quick reporting form.

Always remember

  • Only provide organisations that you trust and have given consent to with your personal or financial details.
  • Question uninvited approaches and contact companies directly using a known email or phone number to verify requests.
  • Just because someone knows your basic details doesn’t mean they’re genuine.
  • Never disclose your PIN or let anyone persuade you to hand over your bank card, financial information or withdraw cash.
  • One-Time Passcodes (OTPs) should be treated in the same way as your PIN in that they should never be shared with anyone, including your bank. Before entering your passcode make sure you check it accurately describes the transaction/purchase you’re about to make.
  • Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices – if it’s at a rock bottom price ask yourself why.
  • Avoid clicking on any links or attachments in social media posts, emails or texts.
  • Request copies of your personal credit report from a credit reference agency on a regular basis to check for any entries you don’t recognise.
  • Cancel any lost or stolen credit or debit cards immediately.
  • Keep your personal information secure when using your card over the phone, on the internet, or in shops by ensuring that others can’t overhear you or see your information.
  • Be cautious of approaches presenting you with exclusive investment opportunities. It could be a scam if you’re being pressurised to act quickly. It’s also important that you do your research and proceed with extreme caution before making any investments.
  • Where possible, use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75.
  • Read online reviews to check websites and sellers are genuine, and ask to see high value items in person or via video link, as well as getting copies of the relevant documentation to ensure the seller owns the item.
  • Use the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites instead of paying via bank transfer.
  • Avoid sending money to someone you’ve never met in person, particularly if you have only recently met online.
  • Check the Financial Conduct Authority’s register for regulated firms, individuals and bodies. You can check their website is genuine by checking their web address. It should always begin with or Ensure you only use the contact details listed on the Register to confirm you’re dealing with the genuine firm before parting with your money and information.
  • Only let someone in if you’re expecting them or they’re a trusted friend, family member or professional. You can also ask to check their credentials and confirm they’re genuine by contacting the organisation they’re from directly using a known number and not using the contact details provided to you.

Your bank or the police will never:

  • Ask you for your One-Time Passcode (OTP), PIN or full banking password, including tapping them into your phone.
  • Ask you to transfer money to a ‘safe account’ for fraud reasons, even if they say it is in your name.
  • Call you to ask to verify your personal details or PIN by phone.
  • Send a courier to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books, even if they say you have been a victim of fraud or a scam.
  • Contact you to participate in an investigation in which you need to withdraw money from your bank or to purchase high-value goods for safe-keeping.

Further Education Sector

This section is where we try to keep you updated with some of the exciting projects that are going on in the Further Education (FE) sector. These snippets are taken from AELP (The Association of Employment and Learning Providers), FE Week, and Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Resetting reservation levels for employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy from 1 June 2022

From 1 June 2022, the reservation levels for employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy will be reset, enabling each of these employers to make up to 10 new reservations on the apprenticeship service to fund new starts.
This reset will give employers who do not pay the levy greater certainty over their recruitment plans for the year ahead. It is made in recognition of the important role that SMEs play in creating apprenticeship opportunities, particularly for younger people and those in disadvantaged areas.

Any reservations made before 1 June 2022 will not be affected and will not count against the new reservation levels from this date.

Further information on the changes is available on GOV.UK

ETS continue to work hard to improve all things associated with apprenticeships on behalf of our employers and apprentices.  We use local and national networks to lobby the government on a variety of subjects and are working on specific projects with the Department for Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency.


Click on the link below to subscribe to our weekly newsletter that has been created to share our wealth of knowledge, keep you updated with new developments, raise awareness of wellbeing and inform you of what is happening in the further education sector. The Charities vision is “To inspire people and businesses to embrace growth and achieve success through outstanding training” so we are using this opportunity to help impart our expertise with local businesses, communities and individuals.