poster for st georges day chesham 2017For the second year in succession, Chiltern Chamber is sponsoring the celebrations of St George’s Day in Chesham.

Those who attended last year will remember it as a fun event, with smoke breathing dragon, dragon-shaped chocolates from Auberge du Chocolat, and a Mayor decked out in chain mail and ready to slay the dragon. But there is a serious business side, too. It is an opportunity to promote Chesham, and to bring footfall to the High Street and its traders. To add to its effectiveness, the event has been tweaked a little this year, with the main happenings at the Clock Tower end of the High Street.

We shall also be collecting for local charity, Chesham Museum.

The main events will be from 10am to 2pm on Saturday 22nd April.

Shops and traders are encouraged to join in with special discounts, and there is a competition for the best-dressed shop, as well as for the best-dressed Lords and Ladies. There is talk even of a visit by the Bard himself, William Shakespeare!

You can also enjoy Chesham’s Local Produce Market, which runs on the fourth Saturday of every month, selling high quality food, drink and crafts all produced within a radius of approximately 10 miles of the town.

Once again, Chamber Vice-Chair Andy Garnett has organised the smoke-breathing dragon. Thanks are due to other organisations supporting the event, including Chesham Town Council, Chiltern District Council, Chesham Rotary and Chesham Action Partnership. Chiltern District Council is allowing FREE PARKING at Albany Car Park (at The Elgiva) and Water Meadow car park.

Flashback to 2016: chivalrous St George kisses the hand of a fair damsel, and delicious chocolate dragons from Chamber member Auberge du Chocolat.

Chamber members with dragon, St George's day Chesham

March 17, 2017

We’ve selected 26 tweets from 2016 to give a rough timeline and sense of the range of Chiltern Chamber’s activities throughout last year.

You will find a mixture of networking, information and support for businesses, involvement with local initiatives, encouragment of members of the future workforce, and social events.

There’s more information about our services on our What’s In It For Me? page. If you’d like to join us and become involved, please visit our How to Join page.

In April and May 2017, the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing.

  • The Apprenticeship Levy will be introduced on 6 April 2017, requiring all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to invest in an apprenticeship fund.
  • And from 1 May, there will changes to the funding for new apprenticeships for all employers, including substantial ‘co-investment’ by the Government, of up to 90% on approved apprenticeship training schemes.

Feedback towards our planned Apprenticeship event in February suggests a degree of indifference, scepticism or cynicism by businesses – levy payers tending to think of it as yet another tax, many smaller businesses thinking it’s not relevant to them.

But Jackie Campbell, Skills Development Manager at BTVLEP and Chiltern Chamber Committee member, thinks this is a mistake. She comments:

The apprenticeship funding reforms present a real opportunity for business to invest in its workforce and future growth.

If you are a levy payer, after the 1st of May 2017, you will have training funds in place ready to spend on apprenticeship programmes for new recruits or to develop existing staff. Even better, once the pot is spent, the Government will fund 90% of any additional apprenticeship training you would like to engage with (100% for 16-18 year olds).

If you are not a levy payer, the Government will also fund 90% of your training costs for approved apprenticeship programmes (100% for 16-18 year olds). It is vital that employers invest in the skills development of their staff and new recruits in the interests of improving overall competency and productivity, and work to close widening skills gaps.

The new apprenticeship levy puts business in control. As part of the Government’s drive to ensure apprenticeships are high-quality and to deliver the skills our economy needs, the old apprenticeship frameworks are being replaced by new up-to-date employer designed standards. The standards are essentially job roles, detailing the skills employers need their employees to have competency in, rather than the qualification focussed frameworks.

For Bucks, where 50% of our young people go to university, the new degree apprenticeships are particularly exciting. A Degree Apprenticeship is a new education route, which brings together the best of higher and vocational training. This new option enables university study and the invaluable on-the-job training typical of an Apprenticeship, without having to cover the cost of tuition. Bucks New University begins its undergraduate and degree apprenticeship programmes from September 2017, and by 2022 expect apprenticeships to represent approximately 50% of its provision.”

Sector focussed #TalentTuesday events in March

Bucks Business First is holding three events in March, seeing to bring together businesses with young people looking for an opportunity to become an apprentice, trainee or simply looking to get some work experience:

7th March   Creative Industries – NFTS in Beaconsfield

14th March   General – manufacturing, health, social care, business admin, finance, armed forces – at Metro Bank in Aylesbury

21st March   Digital and Engineering – Bucks New Uni, High Wycombe

Events format:

Part One – Speakers: This will give young people the chance to hear from an employer who has taken on an apprentice, an apprentice talking about their career decision and experiences, and some advice and top tips from an apprenticeship provider.

Part Two – Speed Introductions: This will be your chance to have ‘one to one’ meetings with potential candidates for your role(s) with a view to organising a full interview at your workplace in the future. Bookings will be made on the evening and in advance. It would be useful if overviews of roles and training can be provided in advance, so young people can read up about your business ahead of the event.

For more information…

…on these events, contact the Buckinghamshire Business First events team, on events@bbf.uk.com, or call 01494 568937

On apprenticeships in general, Jackie Campbell (jackie@btvlep.co.uk) will be very glad to advise.

Key Facts about Apprenticeships (from .gov.uk website)

Chesham Carnival logoThe Schools of Chesham Carnival will be held on Saturday 10th June 2017, with a ‘Fairy Tales’ theme.

The Carnival Committee is keen to invite organisations and companies to take part in the carnival procession. Entries may be in any style – walking, car, trailer, lorry, tractor etc. It need not be large, so long as it is COLOURFUL and NOISY!

To book, companies either need to fill in the booking form which can be found at https://goo.gl/forms/u2T4iVYz6aAjqG102. Alternatively, you can drop an e-mail requesting details to Douglas Silverstone at procession@schoolsofcheshamcarnival.co.uk.

The Carnival is invariably well attended, so it is an opportunity for a little profile-boosting while having fun and supporting a great local event.

You can follow progress on the Carnival’s Facebook page.