Levy-paying employers now have “skin in the game”
What do we mean by that? For most employers, the levy means they are now stumping up the (digital) cash to pay for the full apprenticeship training for the first time. More than that, the levy is likely to become an increasingly important part of their recruitment and workforce development strategy.
Add to this the new employer-designed standards – focused on occupational competence with the flexibility for employers to influence the content and structure of the programme – and you start to realise just how much “skin in the game” levy-paying employers now have.
What does this mean for business development teams? Well, the kind of questions employers ask when sourcing and selecting a good training provider are likely to change – they will want to know for certain that you are industry training experts, that the level of quality will be high (and can be verified), that they will be supported in their role in the training.
Some training providers are already working closely with levy-paying employers and are doing this well. For others, perhaps those who have traditionally delivered apprenticeships to SMEs, will need to make sure they are ready for these conversations.
From our work with levy-paying employers across the country, we’ve set out a list of key questions that we advise employers ask when searching for a good training provider. We’ve set some of these out below. Think about what your response would be, and the kind of evidence you can give to employers to validate this.
(You can also download this as a free checklist tool, which includes other questions, below)
Track record and delivery approach
- What is your experience of delivering in this occupational area?
- What is the experience (and qualifications) of the tutors / trainers who will be delivering the apprenticeship? Can we meet them first? Will we get a choice?
- What is your experience of delivering new apprenticeship standards? In what ways have you changed your approach to delivery as a result?
- How do you undertake initial assessment of apprentices? How is this built into their ongoing apprenticeship programme?
- What does your proposed delivery model look like? Where is the flexibility for us as an employer, if we would like any of it changed?
- If we were to undertake some of the delivery (e.g. development of the behaviours) how will this affect the cost of the apprenticeship?
- How often will you be meeting the apprentice’s line manager to discuss progress?
- What do you expect from us as the employer?
- How will you be preparing the apprentice for end-point assessment?
- Would you recommend any end-point assessment organisations for this particular standard? What are the main components of the end-point assessment?
- If required, will you be able to assist us in recruiting a suitable candidate?
- Can we see your proposed commitment statement and any other relevant supporting paperwork?
Quality of delivery – validation
- What are your key strengths / areas for development (specific to apprenticeships) from your most recent Ofsted inspection?
- What are your achievement levels for apprentices in this occupational area?
- What apprenticeship feedback to you have for this occupational area?
- What employer feedback do you have for this occupational area? Can we see testimonials, case study, or speak to previous / existing clients?
The full checklist tool, developed by Louise Doyle (Senior Associate at SDN and Director of Mesma) and Simon Shaw (Director of ZHQ Ltd) can be downloaded here: Checklist tool – questions levy-paying employers may ask us
Are there any other questions you are consistently asked by levy-paying employers? Do drop us a line and let us know
Do your staff need more in-depth support / training to prepare for their new role?
Places are now available on our in-depth webinar series for front-line staff, including progress monitoring, preparation for gateway, developing and assessing behaviours, and more. You can also access our five-part series on the new trainer-assessor role, with supporting resources. Take a look here
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