Company Overview

Appris Charity is a not for profit, registered charity. Established in 1967 as a Group Training Association (GTA) that continues to be governed by engineering employers to this day.  Appris Management Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Appris Charity Limited. 

The heart of Appris’ business is Apprenticeships, specialising in the delivery of Engineering and Manufacture apprenticeships. With over 150 member companies and 400+ apprentices in learning across West Yorkshire, Appris is the provider of choice for the engineering industry. Our WorldSkills winning apprentices are an international testimony to the quality of our provision.

What Makes a GTA Unique?

Since the 1960s Group Training Associations (GTAs) have provided solutions to the workforce development needs of employers large and small around the country, delivering high quality technical training and achieving success rates consistently above the national average, thereby creating real opportunities for many thousands of young people and adults to pursue worthwhile careers in industries critical to the UK economy’s growth.

Group Training Associations (GTAs) were first introduced as a result of the 1964 Industrial Training Act. During the 1960s, the Engineering Training Board (EITB) were responsible for founding a large number of the 40 GTAs still in existence, as a way of ensuring employers had access to high-quality Engineering technicians where they were needed around the country. In 2012, a ‘Commission of Inquiry into the Role of Group Training Associations’ was established, and the Commission report was authored by Professor Lorna Unwin of the Institute of Education. It concluded that:

  • “GTAs should be central to the Government’s plans for economic growth, rebalancing the economy, increasing the stocks of technician and higher level skills, and the expansion and improvement of apprenticeships.”
  • Group Training Associations deliver the robust governance and public good benefits of a college, with the best of employer responsiveness associated with private training providers. This is evident through the following characteristics:
  • GTAs are employer governed and therefore representative of employers demand
  • GTAs are not for profit, limited by guarantee organisations with surpluses re-invested into provision
  • GTAs support sectors contained in the Industrial Strategy that are identified for economic growth with a particular emphasis on STEM related areas
  • Provision predominantly available at GTAs is at level 3 and is learners have employed status from commencement
  • The GTA business model ensures income from commercial activities ranging from 50% to upwards of 80% of turnover. There is a synergy between the high-quality commercial work (training delivery, training consultancy, setting up and operating technical training centres) and the high-quality apprenticeship and study programme provision.
  • GTAs contextualise learning in environments that models a technology-rich 21st-century workplace, and which exude the professional standards and behaviours that reflect the best of modern working practices

Board Members

Board members support the business and provide strategic guidance to the Senior Management Team. Trustees are responsible for the governance of the business, their key responsibilities being:

  • knowing Appris and understand its strengths and weaknesses.
  • support and strengthen the leadership and contribute to shaping its strategic direction.
  • ensure that we meets its statutory responsibilities.
  • provide challenge and hold senior leaders and managers to account for improving the quality of learning and the effectiveness of performance management systems.

Since opening the Engineering Training Centre, the Board has evolved and now has representation from the educational sector, which complements the Board members from the senior engineering sector. Current Board members are:

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Paul Dale, Technical Director, Powell (UK), Bradford

I completed a modern technician apprenticeship with Powell (UK) and BTAL (Appris’ former identity!) in 1994 and subsequently gained a BSc with First Class Honours from the Open University in 2003. As a result of this background Paul is a strong advocate for apprenticeship schemes both in his organisation and wider industry. Paul has lived and worked in Bradford his whole life, currently residing in Haworth with his family. After completing his apprenticeship Paul worked as an electrical applications design engineer before joining the Design and Development department where he became the Director of Design and Development in 2014. He later became Technical Director with overall responsibility for all Powell IEC products and research and development. He is a member of The IET, an Incorporated Engineer, a co-author of two peer reviewed industry technical papers, Chairman of the GAMBICA Controlgear Technical Committee, a member of the GAMBICA University & Industry Collaboration Council, a member of a number of BSi and IEC, national and international standards development committees for Low and High Voltage Switchgear and a member of the University of Huddersfield Engineering Industry Advisory Panel. Through these industry relationships and by proudly serving as a Trustee for Appris since January 2018, Paul is committed to help close the UK engineering skills gap, realise the great potential in our youth and secure a bright future for manufacturing and engineering in the UK.

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Neil Copsey, Assistant Principal, UTC Leeds
I am from a tiny village in Northamptonshire which has 100 sheep and a mere 600 humans but arrived in Leeds in 2019 to study medical microbiology at Leeds University.  After completing my degree I was unsure of what career I wanted to go into so was a manager at Starbucks until 2004 when I decided to start my training to be a science teacher.  I Throughout my 17 years of teaching I have worked in various challenging inner city schools across Bradford, Leeds and Doncaster working to improve the life chances of students in some of the most socioeconomically deprived areas of the country.  Whilst this has been extremely rewarding, in 2019 I decided to switch my focus to working at UTC Leeds where I am currently an Assistant Principal with responsibility for the sixth form, careers and destinations.
At UTC Leeds we work extremely hard to ensure that all of our students get positive destination when they leave us at the end of Year 11 an 13 and this has led to us being 0% NEET for the past 3 years.  We are proud to say that some of our students have had Appris as their destination!
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Amy Antcliffe, Site Training Specialist, Cummins Turbo Technologies, Huddersfield
Amy is the site training leader for Cummins Turbo Technologies Huddersfield site.  She first joined Cummins in 2018 on a placement year as part of her Business Management degree, leaving in 2019 to return to University before returning to Cummins in 2021.  Amy has responsibility for the training needs of the Huddersfield site, this includes apprenticeships.  CTT recruit a number of apprentices every year, to support manufacturing, engineering, and more recently support functions in the form of business administration and customer service.
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Mark Tullett, Operations Director, James Walker Moorflex, Bingley
Experienced Supply Chain Manager with a strong history within the oil & energy industry. Proven track record of delivering long term strategic objectives, whilst maintaining operational excellence. Strong sales professional skilled in negotiation, low cost country sourcing, advanced supply chain planning (ERP systems) highly experienced within a manufacturing environment.
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Nikita Seabright, Training & Apprenticeship Manager, Syngenta, Huddersfield

Nikita lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, with her husband James, 18 month old daughter Kimi and golden Labrador Bella.

Nikita is currently employed at Syngenta, Huddersfield Manufacturing Centre as Training and Apprenticeship Manager. Syngenta enable farmers to feed a growing global population sustainably and responsibly. As scientists and innovators, they are working to constantly find ways to protect both crops and the environment more effectively.

Nikita has gained experience and knowledge of Apprenticeships and young talent over her 16 year career in Learning and Development.  She feels a career in Learning and development is very rewarding in seeing young talent develop and gain experience and skills as they grow within the organisation. She believes Apprentices are a fantastic addition and benefit to any business as they join with a fresh pair of eyes and are able to bring new ideas and ways of thinking and working. They also bring an enthusiasm and passion for learning, developing, and securing a successful career.

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Edward Butterfield, Managing Director, Butterfield Signs, Bradford

Edward is the third generation of a family sign manufacturing business that dates back to 1927. He joined the company from University where he studied Economics/Accountancy. He currently manages with a team of co-directors the manufacture of all types of signage for  the retail, pub, leisure, banking & food retailing sectors of the economy.

Recent years have seen a major focus on investment in a ‘state of the art’ powder coating plant, fibre laser technology combined with existing traditional sign making techniques.

The next generation, Andrew & Sarah are now in the business which will hopefully pass through to a new generation. Edward has been a council member of the Sign trade body (ISA-UK) and been an Appris Board member for over 10 years. His interests include studying history since the early 20th Century, supporting Bradford City as well as enjoying a keen interest in the Yorkshire Dales with his family.

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Mark Goldstone, Head of Business Representation & Policy, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Bradford

Mark heads up the Chamber’s business representation activities advising local authorities, politicians, government departments and ministers on regional business issues and sentiment. He is responsible for the Chamber’s economic research function providing evidence and intelligence on issues as far afield as planning and infrastructure investment to overseas trade, education and skills.

Mark sits on the British Chambers of Commerce Education & Skills Group which works closely with Whitehall and Westminster to help shape national Government policy.

Mark was part of the team that set up UTC Leeds, West Yorkshire’s first University Technical College, and remains a member of the governing body. UTC Leeds focuses on educating young people for careers in engineering and manufacturing.

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Alex Miles, Managing Director, Yorkshire Learning Providers

Alex has worked in the FE Sector for over 18 years and is Managing Director at Yorkshire learning Providers and Director and co-chair of the Northern Skills Network

Alex is responsible for managing a network of 100 training providers, colleges, universities & adult & community learning providers across Yorkshire, supporting members through skills challenges, policy and curriculum implementation, and providing on-going advice and guidance on local, regional and national FE & Skills developments.  Alex represents the apprenticeship & skills provider voice across a range of boards including West Yorks combined authority employment & skills board, Bradford Careers & Technical Education Board, Northern Skills Network board, Northern Powerhouse Skills Taskforce, West Yorks Green jobs taskforce, York Provider Group and North Yorks NEET Board.

Alex also provides the FE sector and employers across the country with consultancy support services to meet their business needs, particularly in relation to quality improvement, curriculum development, readiness to deliver, Ofsted preparation, audit & compliance support, Governance and safeguarding.  Alex is Home Office approved to deliver Prevent training and is a member of the DfE national strategic group for safeguarding & prevent.