South West Branch News

From Jane Wills

Our March Branch meeting was held at Petroc College in Barnstaple. Stuart Brereton from MKN very kindly organised and arranged sponsorship for the meeting and also co-ordinated the social event the evening before.

The day started with a presentation by Huw Davis, Assistant Principle at the College. The topic was the apprenticeship reforms, which started on 1 May 2017. Huw explained that it is a levy of 0.5 per cent placed on all employers with a pay budget of more than £3 million. There is a two-year period in which it should be used otherwise the monies levied will be removed and allocated to other organisations. The levy does not have to be used solely for new recruits: it can be used to retrain existing staff and there is no upper age limit. In addition, there is a £1,000 incentive being offered to employ 16 to 18 year olds, and to disadvantaged young people aged 19 to 24.

Following the informative presentation and the business meeting, a further presentation was given by Michael Banks, South West HCA Council representative, on the Lord Carter report.

Those present were then invited to look around the kitchen. The kitchen and the Taw Restaurant opened in September 2016 and are used by both full- and part-time students from across North Devon. The students get an opportunity to work on the latest multi-functional gas and electric equipment including induction ranges, griddle pan, combination ovens and an electric chargrill. The supplier, MKN UK, worked with the Airedale Group to create a state-of-the-art kitchen facility at the new Petroc Lifestyle Centre.

Before the day closed the Branch Members were treated to a first-class lunch prepared and served by the students.


The Branch would like to extend their wholehearted thanks to Stuart for his efforts on their behalf and also to Nicola Shapland, Huw Davis and all involved at the College for an excellent day and an extremely interesting visit.