Apprenticeships provide a valuable opportunity for individuals to gain practical skills and experience while also earning a qualification. However, for an apprenticeship to be successful, it is important to prioritise continuous quality delivery throughout the programme. This involves regularly monitoring the apprentice's progress, reviewing their training and development, and ensuring they meet the requirements set out in their apprenticeship standard.
By prioritising ongoing quality delivery, apprentices can develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen field, while employers benefit from a skilled and competent workforce. In this article, we will explore the key elements of ongoing quality delivery in apprenticeships and provide guidance on ensuring apprentices receive the best possible training and development throughout their programme.
Monitoring Apprentice Progress
One of the most important elements of ongoing quality delivery in apprenticeships is regularly monitoring the apprentice's progress. This involves conducting progress reviews and analysing data to ensure the apprentice is on track to meet their apprenticeship requirements.
Regular progress reviews provide an opportunity to identify any issues or challenges that the apprentice may be facing and to discuss these with the employer. For example, an apprentice may struggle to develop certain knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) required for their apprenticeship. By identifying these issues early on, adjustments can be made to the training plan to ensure the apprentice receives the support and resources they need to succeed.
In addition to monitoring KSBs, progress reviews should also cover English and maths qualifications, where required, and any other mandatory qualifications relevant to the apprenticeship. Attaining these qualifications is essential for the apprentice to successfully complete their programme and gain valuable skills and experience.
Progress Review Meetings
Regular progress review meetings between the provider, employer, and apprentice are essential to ongoing quality delivery in apprenticeships. These meetings provide an opportunity to review the apprentice's progress, discuss any issues or challenges, and set expectations for the future.
During progress review meetings, adjustments may need to be made to the commitment statement, particularly if the apprentice is ready to take their End Point Assessment (EPA) sooner than anticipated. It is essential to communicate these changes promptly to the End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) to avoid any delays in the assessment process.
Collaboration is key during progress review meetings, and it is important to set expectations for the employer's active role in helping the apprentice reflect and act on feedback. This can include encouraging the employer to provide opportunities for on-the-job training that complement the apprentice's off-the-job training and setting expectations for how the employer will support the apprentice in meeting their apprenticeship requirements.
The frequency of progress review meetings should be set out in the commitment statement, with shorter intervals early on in the apprenticeship and adjusted as the apprenticeship progresses. By regularly reviewing progress and setting expectations for the future, progress review meetings can help ensure that apprentices receive the best possible training and development and are on track to complete their programme successfully.
Monitoring Off The Job Training
One of the key requirements of an apprenticeship is that the apprentice spends a minimum of 20% of their working time on off-the-job training (OTJT). It is important to monitor whether the apprentice is getting their planned minimum 20% OTJT time over the duration of the apprenticeship and that it is focused on developing the KSBs set out in their apprenticeship standard.
Flexible approaches can be used to provide OTJT, and it doesn't need to be the same every month. Different training methods can be utilised to impart new KSBs, such as online training or attending industry events.
If issues arise with the minimum OTJT time, it is important to contact the employer to remind them of their duty to allow their apprentice to spend at least 20% of their working time on OTJT. If the employer cannot provide this time as planned in the commitment statement, it may be possible to negotiate time in lieu at a later date within working hours.
Discussing with the apprentice whether they are happy with the quality and quantity of their OTJT is important. It is important to check that the apprentice feels sufficiently challenged or whether there are opportunities such as shadowing or mentoring that they are interested in. Monitoring the quantity and quality of apprentices' OTJT is crucial to ongoing quality delivery in apprenticeships. It can help ensure that apprentices receive the best possible training and development to meet their apprenticeship requirements.
As part of their apprenticeship, apprentices may be required to attain certain mandatory qualifications. It is important to prepare the apprentice for these qualifications, which may include level 2 English and maths qualifications if they do not already have them.
Preparing for and assessing apprentices to obtain English and maths qualifications does not count towards fulfilling the 20% of working time for OTJT obligation. However, attaining these qualifications is essential for the apprentice to complete their programme, gain valuable skills, and experience success.
As part of ongoing quality delivery in apprenticeships, it is important to prioritise preparation for mandatory qualifications. This can include providing additional training and resources to support the apprentice in attaining these qualifications and setting expectations for the employer's role in helping the apprentice meet these requirements.
By preparing the apprentice for mandatory qualifications and ensuring they have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen field, apprenticeships can provide a valuable opportunity for individuals to gain practical skills and experience while also earning a qualification.
Preparation for Final Assessment
Preparing apprentices for their final assessments is crucial to ongoing quality delivery in apprenticeships. It is important to familiarise apprentices with the assessment format and grading criteria and provide opportunities for mock assessments to help them feel more confident and prepared.
This can involve holding mock assessments, which are worded and assessed considering the KSBs included in the standard and EPA grading criteria. Using their mock results can help determine when to hold a three-way "gateway" discussion to agree on whether the apprentice is ready to move to the next stage or needs additional support.
In addition, it is important to word and assesses all assignments and reviews regarding the EPA grading criteria to familiarise the apprentice in advance. Encouraging the employer to do the same can help share responsibility for monitoring the apprentice's progress towards completing their apprenticeship and obtaining their certificate.
By prioritising preparation for the final assessment, apprentices can feel more confident and prepared and more likely to succeed. This can ultimately lead to a skilled and competent workforce and a more successful apprenticeship programme.
The gateway stage is an important part of the apprenticeship journey. The apprentice has completed their training and is preparing for their final assessment to certify the new KSBs they have learned. At this stage, assessing the apprentice against the KSBs set out in their standard is crucial to decide whether they are ready to take their assessment.
The gateway discussion involves a review of the apprentice's progress and readiness to take the EPA and should be held with the employer and the End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO). It is important to review any professional body and regulatory requirements before the gateway to ensure they have been met.
At least three months before the EPA, it is recommended to hold a meeting with the employer and EPAO to agree on roles and responsibilities, the proposed timeline, and any reasonable adjustments that may be needed for the assessment. This can help ensure that everyone is clear on what is expected and help avoid delays or misunderstandings during the assessment process.
Collecting regular feedback from apprentices and employers is essential to ongoing quality delivery in apprenticeships. It provides valuable insights into how the program works, what works well, and areas for improvement.
To collect feedback, it is important to have a policy outlining how feedback will be obtained, how it will be responded to, and how it will be used to improve the training offer. This policy should include ways of obtaining, responding to, and using feedback to improve the program.
Providers should also regularly give meaningful feedback to apprentices to help them understand what they need to improve to make progress. This can include setting goals for improvement, providing constructive criticism, and highlighting areas of strength and areas for improvement.
Sharing feedback from apprentices with employers can also help improve the support and on-the-job training they offer future apprentices. Employer feedback is often published on the Find Apprenticeship Training website when the provider is searched for and can help inform other employers about the quality of training and support provided by the provider.
In conclusion, ongoing quality delivery in apprenticeships is crucial for the success of both the apprentice and the program as a whole. To ensure this success, it is important to prioritise ongoing apprenticeship delivery through regular reviews, progress review meetings, monitoring of off-the-job training, preparation for final assessment, gateway discussions, and feedback collection.
Regular reviews of apprentice progress and data analysis are essential for identifying any issues and discussing them with the employer. Progress review meetings between the provider, employer, and apprentice can help set expectations and encourage collaboration.
Monitoring off-the-job training is important to ensure apprentices receive the planned minimum of 20% off-the-job training time focused on developing the KSBs set out in their apprenticeship standard.
Preparing apprentices for their final assessment and holding mock assessments can help them feel more confident and prepared. Gateway discussions are a key part of the apprenticeship journey. The apprentice has completed their training and is preparing for their final assessment to certify the new KSBs they have learned.
Regular feedback from both apprentices and employers can provide valuable insights into how the program works and areas for improvement.
By planning ongoing quality apprenticeship delivery, apprenticeships can provide a valuable opportunity for individuals to gain practical skills and experience while also earning a qualification. This can ultimately lead to a skilled and competent workforce and a more successful apprenticeship programme.