Congratulations! If you're reading this you may have recently found out that you have made it onto the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. Step one may be complete - but the hard work starts now.
You now have an amazing opportunity to shape and create the workforce you need for the future.
With information left right and centre, it is hard to filter out what should be priority and what you should be thinking about straight away. We've pulled together our top five issues which we believe you should be planning for - and how best to manage these:
1. Learner engagement
Learners need to be motivated, engaged and kept informed of their progress. In the digital world they need, and expect, information at the touch of a button.
It is no longer an option to just send out an email. Students today are looking for personalised content that's attention grabbing and easy to digest. Not only that but they are bombarded with more information than ever, so your course offering and content needs to stand out from the competition.
2. Managing apprenticeships & levy funding
Organising apprenticeships and administering them is a big ask. The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) requires strict maintenance of Learner Records and the government has rules on documenting the flow of money, and recording the nature of training being offered. There is still a lot of paperwork to complete, which will take valuable time away from your managers.
3. Quality and inspections
The third is ensuring quality and being able to demonstrate this under inspection. Ofsted is licensed to inspect employer-apprenticeships, so companies need to be ready. A recent article highlighted the fact that the Skills Funding Agency will increasingly be using data analysis to ensure that they are on top of all providers. A poor inspection outcome will not just be a black mark on your training provision, it risks damage to the employer’s overall company brand.
4. Financial planning
Now that managing levy funding is a priority, the overall management and planning of your finances needs to be considered to inform better business decisions.
You may want to think about:
- Planning your current and future SFA contract provision with ultimate confidence
- Knowing the value and breakdown of your actual provision, month-on-month
- Planning to hit your allocation in the most efficient way possible
- Modelling 'what if' scenarios to accurately inform business strategy
5. A solution that’s the right fit for you
Finally, to take a weight off your mind and the mind of your team - you need to find a supplier and a solution that is the right fit for you. With the new levy requirements and the delivery of apprenticeship standards, it is really important that your data is accurate and easy to submit. Manually inputting into spreadsheets will no longer cut it.
Tribal's management information system Maytas offers an intuitive interface for the entry of all relevant information. It automatically prepares data for submissions to oversight bodies, such as the SFA and Ofsted. Apprentices can log on remotely to track their progress, look at calendars, and see who to talk to. There are in-built feedback functions, so courses can be refined and improved. The system also manages the new apprenticeship levy, creating an audit trail. By using a tailor-made system errors are reduced and it is clear where data needs to be added. If there are mistakes it is simple to diagnose the fault and make corrections.
The goal is to give employers the tools they need to deliver world class apprenticeships.
With the right mind-set and the right technology, the new levy is a wonderful opportunity for British industry.