Navigating the Initial Phases of Big Long-Term Developments Like Apprenticeships
When dealing with significant long-term developments, we are surprised that fundamental set-up phases are still something of a mystery to many.
As organisations are embracing the new definition of apprenticeships, employers now understand that apprenticeships are robust development programmes that apply to many people, at many different levels, throughout their career...
Start-up processes are incredibly crucial for funded learning for two reasons:
- To ensure the programme is right for the participants
- To ensure that the funding is set-up and reserved correctly for you.
Here is a summary of the critical start-up processes for long-term developments, why they are so important, and how to get them right:
- Consultation - The provider should work with you to tailor the programme to your people and your organisation, and they should be tweaking and amending the programme to ensure that it benefits the learners as well as the company and will engage and resonate with the learners.
- Information Sessions - This is an additional step that we have added to our process to ensure that we have the right people on the right programmes. While the employer and learners may have had a conversation, we feel that briefing the potential learners fully on the benefits and expectations of the programme as well as what it is like to be on it help ensure engagement and give everyone the same level of understanding.
- Data and Funding - The funding, whether through the levy account or SME Digital Apprenticeship portal, needs to be reserved or assigned and linked to your chosen provider. At all times, the provider should apply utmost confidentiality to the registration data your learners (or a cohort of learners).
- IAG - Standing for information, advice and guidance; this process is crucial for tailoring programmes to individuals and ensures that they the programme does not duplicate any learning that they have done in the past; a sure-fire way to disengage somebody. It is through this process that providers develop an Individual Learning Plan tailored to the individual.
- Onboarding - The onboarding session includes an orientation around the various terms, activities and systems that the programme uses. This session is also when the technical beginning of the learning for the apprentices.
Before embarking on a long-term development programme, every learner should know what they will gain from the development and understand their commitment; they should know that the learning is relevant to both themselves and their organisation and they should be made aware of how to move forward. In addition to that, the provider will require paying, and hence, all of the above steps are critical and need paying attention to; they should never be rushed or skipped.
In these strange times of quarantine and (at the time of writing) zero face to face learning, providers can still undertake these processes through other means. If the current situation has delayed your plans to start apprenticeship programmes, then perhaps now would be a great time to get these processes started so that you can quickly progress when people do go back to work, or even start your programme virtually.