Most apprenticeship providers have now started to dip their toe into the new apprenticeship standards water. Volumes however are still low and we have some way to go before providers make the full transition.
Business development teams have an increasingly important role to play, both in maintaining existing employer relationships during the transition to standards, as well as driving new business with levy and non-levy employers.
But the changes to apprenticeships are complex and will have different implications for different employers in different contexts.
So how do you know whether your business development teams have got to grips with the fundamentals of standards delivery, ready to speak (and negotiate) with employers?
A while back, as part of the Future Apprenticeships programme, SDN and Mesma developed a confidence scale for business development staff. Asking the right questions allows you to accurately identify any gaps in knowledge and skills within your teams – providing a firm footing to then set up CPD plans and prepare.
In this post, we’ve set out a list of key questions for you to work through with your staff. These aren’t exhaustive and not in order of importance, but it will give you a starting point. So, here goes…
- I understand the detail, range and progression pathways of the standards relevant to the employers I will be speaking with
- I can talk confidently about the benefits of the standard versus an existing framework
- I fully understand the terms ON-PROGRAMME, GATEWAY and END-POINT ASSESSMENT (including grading) and can explain this clearly to employers
- I am clear on the minimum entry requirements for the standard, including maths and English. I can also explain the importance of the apprentice being in the right role (whether as a new recruit or existing employee)
- I understand the new funding levy / non-levy funding system, its implications for the employers and how they will be guided through the process
- I understand our different delivery models, the associated pricing structure and the parameters for negotiation
- I understand the different elements of the learning journey and can clearly articulate how the knowledge, skills and behaviours will be developed and how on and off-the-job learning will be approached
- I am confident that I can determine any additional requirements as relevant to a specific employer, including the opportunity to use non-mandatory qualifications if desirable
- I understand how evidence which i) supports learning progress ii) evidences off-the-job training iii) is required for the gateway / end-point assessment, is gathered
- I understand our organisation’s safeguarding policy and procedures as is relevant for apprentices and their employers
- I am clear on the experience and resources the apprentice will need in the workplace to successfully achieve the standard, along with our organisation’s expectations of an apprentice’s line manager/ work-based mentor
- I am clear on how we will work with the employer to challenge and stretch the learner, and prepare them for the gateway and end-point assessment
- I have the skill to successfully negotiate price within the parameters set by my organisation, and understand the principles of effective influencing and negotiation
- I am confident in calculating and applying measures that ensure employers understand their use of the levy / co-funding, and return from investment made on skills development
- I can clearly articulate our USP as an organisation and why employers should work with us, rather than one of our competitors
- I have advanced communication skills and can confidently and clearly present to employers in different contexts, adapting my style appropriately and avoiding jargon
- I can evidence excellent listening skills, ask effective questions and probe for essential information to ensure that employers’ skills needs are accurately identified
- I am experienced in maintaining up-to-date records on all employer activity
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, and equality, diversity and inclusion for apprenticeship standards. 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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