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Portfolio Developments

Rob Storey has resigned his directorship of Total Training Direct Limited to focus more upon his business consultancy projects, part time METEC QHSE portfolio, and new opportunities.

Rob commented,

Thanks to the many clients and partners who its been my pleasure to work with whilst developing the business, especially those from the strategic partnerships, and the network of new contacts developed during the journey.

The hard work contributed to Total Training led to many achievements, including two excellent, high profile renewable energy college partnerships in key regions leading the way on the renewable agenda. However, due to circumstances beyond my control its time to hand the baton over to the remaining directors to take advantage of the results to date.

Thanks to those who have been in touch recently to offer new opportunities, and anyone wishing to catch up or explore potential collaboration, please get in touch“.

Rob Storey.

ISO Accreditations benefit METEC CP UK

North East manufacturer Metec rides wave of success with £6.5m offshore contract wins

Rob Storey provides quality health safety & environmental expertise to the Jarrow manufacturing specialist company which has sealed offshore renewables contracts worth over £6.5m to supply the Dogger Bank Wind Farm and a French substation.

Metec UK, which specialises in corrosion protection for high value subsea kit, will supply the Dogger Bank Wind Farm phases A and B, as well as a second offshore substation in France as part of the deals. Other contract wins include protection for port and harbour works linked to the push for renewable energy generation offshore.

Established just four years ago, Metec UK, which has manufacturing facilities in South Shields and Tunisia with representation around the globe, initially employed just six people but now has 45. Turnover has increased from £5.2m in its first year to £8.6m in 2020, and with a host of new projects in the pipeline the company said it will see revenue growth exceed its original target of 5% to 7% for the year 2020/2021.

An integral part of the company success has been achievement of ISO 9001 quality, 45001 health & safety and 14001 environmental UKAS certifications through BSI, a process Rob led, and continues to oversee for METEC.

Alberto Via, UK managing director, said: “These latest successes – and in particular the flagship Dogger Bank Wind Farm contract – justifies our commitment to South Tyneside, the North East and the UK. Our success demonstrates our ability to support large, important and prestigious renewable energy projects of this nature throughout the UK and Europe”.

Careers Education & Enterprise Recognition

Making a difference to pupils, staff and the community

Rob Storey Consulting received recognition from Boldon School whom Rob supports and advises on Careers Strategy and Planning in his Northeast LEP Enterprise Advisors role and related activities.

Helping others through building positive links between education and industry is something Rob has done for many years; making a tangible difference to pupils and teachers with their careers activities and journey’s.

Energi Coast ISO Certification Event

Rob Storey provided a keynote presentation to many renewable energies companies as a panel speaker during today’s Energi Coast event titled ‘How ISO accreditation can help your business grow in the offshore wind sector.’

The presentation catered for newcomers and those already involved with ISO certifications and focused on what are ISO accreditations, how to achieve them, and what benefits they provide to businesses and individuals.

The presentation was warmly received resulting in excellent group and individual attendee feedback.

The Future of The North East Energy Sector

Rob Storey Consulting (RSC) was invited to this event 6th June at Port of Blyth Training Services Centre to hear from a panel of experts on the renewable skills aspirations for the collaborative partnership formed by Port of Blyth and Newcastle College Group.
The impressive list of speakers comprised Martin Lawler (CEO, Port of Blyth), Marc McPake (Director of Business Partnerships, Newcastle College), Hugh McNeil (CEO, Renewable UK), Wayne Daley (Cabinet Member, North of Tyne Combined Authority) and Jamie Driscoll (North of Tyne Mayor).

The event was excellently staged and demonstrated that there is a vibrant sector requiring skilled and qualified people of all ages and types to be trained, and that this partnership has the drive, ambition and abilities to deliver.
Rob Storey has played a major role so far in amongst many things developing subsea and renewable Foundation Degrees being used, delivering Newcastle College Energy Centre, and setting up and managing Renewable training programmes out of Blyth resulting in jobs; and he’s playing an active part contributing to the Energy Partnership to realise its ambitious vision and plans.

North East Business Support Fund

Rob Storey Consulting (RSC) today officially became a “Registered Provider for the North East Business Support Fund” and as such is now able to provide consulting support to help businesses to improve their competitiveness.

RSC is pleased to be able to offer its range of business support and development expertise as part of NBSL efforts to help businesses right across the North East to grow and develop.

Find out more aboutNBSL at

Rob Storey Providing QHSE Management to METEC UK

Rob was delighted to accept the opportunity offered  to manage METEC UK North East England facility Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental (QHSE) activities on a part time basis; contributing towards improving organisational quality, efficiency and performance.

Metec Group are the largest global manufacturer of Cathodic Protection sacrificial annodes, with production facilities in Tunisia, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. The Group boasts an impressive galvanic anode weekly capacity in excess of 1,000 tonnes for aluminium and zinc anode production and takes QHSE very seriously.

Rob is delighted to take on the challenge.

Apprenticeships & higher education convergance

A Personal Opinion.

Cards on the table, I’m a long-standing advocate of educational collaboration, so for me, whilst acknowledging the education marketplace has inherent aspects of competition and rivalry, thankfully the days when apprenticeships were considered divorced from, or alien to HE/University links are diminishing. I regularly interact with and advise schools, private training providers, colleges and universities in a professional capacity; and I see increasing interest from teachers, students, parents and others in apprenticeships, including those offering a higher-level route into a career.


Increasing Learner Choice and Opportunity.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other anymore with apprenticeship standards in place, and others being developed up to level 7 which is the equivalent of Master’s Degree level. Degree apprenticeships are available and collaboration and increased partnering between FE and HE Institutions, and representative organisations facilitating this, allows for a variety of educational entry, progression, transfer and exit points.

Apprenticeship Reforms.

Major government policy change is underway transitioning apprenticeships from the existing frameworks structure, towards their eventual full replacement by clear and concise standards, defined by employer groups, and recognised by industry.

Each recognised occupation should eventually have its own apprenticeship standard linked to a specific occupational level and industry specified requirements. Standards are intended to be deliberately challenging, stimulating and require a ‘minimum’ of one year’s training duration. All new standards are publicly available, so companies, learners, trainers and others can access the relevant information to help with career development aspirations and choices.

Interestingly, apprenticeship funding criteria and age restrictions have been relaxed meaning they are now available to school leavers, and older or more experienced workers looking to further develop their skills, qualifications and career prospects.

What is an Apprenticeship?

In the most basic terms, an apprenticeship is a mix of real work and learning. apprentices are employed, earn a wage, and gain structured experience whilst working towards an apprenticeship framework that will include many qualifications; or more latterly apprenticeship standards developed by groups of employers in relevant industries.

Apprenticeships are available at intermediate, advanced and higher levels and higher apprenticeships are designed to meet employers’ needs at level 4 or above and include qualifications at a level equivalent to more commonly recognised Higher Education.

A key development of new apprenticeship standards is incorporation of end-point assessments which may take a variety of forms, depending upon each industry or sector specific requirements; these also allow for grading as opposed to overall competence which the frameworks they are replacing favour.

Explaining Apprenticeship Benefits is Critical.

High quality careers information advice & guidance (CIAG) is critical, and it’s vital the positive benefits of an apprenticeship are effectively communicated. Parity of esteem between academic and practical routes, and progression between them must be understood and appreciated by young people, and by those providing them with careers advice and guidance. This includes teachers, parents and any others that may influence career pathway choices.


Why Choose a Higher Apprenticeship?

Higher apprenticeships provide many benefits such as offering an alternative route towards good job roles in interesting companies, industries and sectors. A higher apprenticeship also provides nationally recognised qualifications comparable to the early stages of higher education, and real work experience with a salary and paid study.

Looking longer term, apprenticeships provide a sound platform on which to build, and progress up to, into, and through Higher Education; and support study aimed at gaining professional qualifications and ultimately professional status.

The Political Landscape.

The government has set a challenging target of 3 million apprenticeships to be delivered by 2020, supported by the introduction of the apprenticeship levy which came into force in April 2017. This change provides universities and FE colleges holding certain HE awarding powers the opportunity to position themselves within this fast-developing agenda.

Degree apprenticeships provide an important opportunity for universities to widen participation, forge closer associations with employers and help drive productivity and economic progress. Degree apprenticeships can be very attractive to non-traditional students, they also support widening participation goals and offer a way for universities to diversify their offer and develop alternatives to traditional full-time study.

In Summary.

This is a great time to encourage and support stronger FE & HE collaboration, especially as the government is putting its considerable weight behind apprenticeships that bridge both areas. Apprenticeships appear to be gaining appeal, especially whilst there is still conjecture surrounding university tuition fees.

Apprenticeships offer a great way to enter and progress within different industries, not least because they help learners gain qualifications, skills and knowledge required to succeed in a chosen industry. Hands-on training provides opportunity to put skills into practice and support progression in the workplace.

New apprentices such as school leavers can be employed and are paid a salary by their employer. Existing workers, or those looking to change career now have increased opportunity to access apprenticeships, and this has been helped by policy changes and introduction of the apprenticeship levy aimed at helping with the cost of training (or a major proportion of it) for most pursuing this route.

Ultimately, the growing convergence of FE and HE routes is a major plus for the economy, the education sector, and for learners. The challenge now is to continue collaborative efforts, foster innovation, and ensure opportunities available are clearly explained and benefits understood and taken advantage of.

Anyone with a genuine interest in education must keep promoting the positive opportunities available, and help demystify what can often appear an overly difficult educational landscape. Let’s keep the debate, and the progress going!