Whether you’re completely new to the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers or expecting to reapply in the coming months, you’ll be keen to make sure your application gets the green light first time around…
To help you on your way, Alice Low, Apprenticeship Project Lead at Resurgo – who has just come through the application process with flying colours – offers up some helpful advice to support other providers prepare successfully.
But first, who are Resurgo and why did you apply to the register?
“Resurgo is a charity that supports social mobility and diversity. We aim to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds more opportunity to get into good jobs. To do this, we’ve been offering high-quality employability programmes for about 15 years and apprenticeships offer a natural progression that allow us to continue to support the people we’re working with beyond the classroom and into great jobs.
“We will be delivering Customer Service Level 2 and Business Admin Level 3 alongside employment coaching to help people hit the ground running in work and realise their work goals. We can’t wait to talk to young people and employers about our offer and get going in London!”
What advice would you offer to others applying or reapplying to RoATP?
“First of all, it’s worth saying that it is a lengthy process and it can seem intimidating when you first read the questions, but now we are through the other side, it was well worth the restless nights.”
Here are Resurgo’s top five tips before applying:
Be confident in your model before you apply
“This might sound obvious, but it is important to view the decision to offer apprenticeship training strategically. Delivering apprenticeships fits with our aim to transform society by training and supporting young people into work, but it also needed to make sense financially.
“As a company it’s likely you will need to invest in new processes, systems and people. This means you need to have calculated how many apprenticeship starts are required to cover costs, and have a thorough plan for engaging employers before going through the process of applying.”
Use the application process to reflect on your practice
“The application looks overwhelming when you first open it, but after the initial shock, it is actually quite a good tool to reflect on your own practice and make sure you understand your commitment and have the policies and procedures in place to support apprentices through their programme.
“I brought the application to team meetings and made suggestions about changes to certain procedures, not just as lip service to get through an application, but to actually improve the practices we had in place and offer a better service to apprentices in the future.”
Read the guidance thoroughly and check the portal
“Do not attempt to complete the application without reading and re-reading the guidance. It helps you make sure you are answering the question with the exact information the ESFA is looking for. This is especially true for the 2,000-character questions where there is no room for misinterpretation.
“It’s also important to check the portal every day. Once you have submitted your application, the ESFA asks clarification questions and you have five days to answer. If you’re going on holiday for two-weeks, someone needs to be informed and able to act in your absence.”
Have someone project managing the application
“It’s really important to have someone overseeing the answers to all the questions and collecting all the support information in one place. In our case, that was my role. The project management approach means you are sure everything has been covered in your application and allows you to chase colleagues when needed.
“As an example: after submitting our application, we were asked by the ESFA why a policy wasn’t on our website. As project manager, I knew it had been and on which page, but a website redesign had meant the page no longer showed live. However, because I had the background, I could quickly find the policy and rectify this problem well within the ESFA’s deadline.”
It’s ok to ask for a second opinion!
“We knew we wanted support with our application to make sure we were using the right language and not missing important detail out that would demonstrate the good work we do to the ESFA. If you have external contacts that can support you with this impartially, I’d definitely recommend you get their advice.
“We decided to choose SDN for our external advice as we felt they had the knowledge and professionalism to support us thoroughly. Karen Kelly was absolutely brilliant. She really got to know our business and help us prepare to deliver apprenticeships. She set up a visit to an established provider so we could understand their processes and systems, and reviewed all our application and policies, offering suggestions when we’d not included important aspects of our model that the ESFA would view favourably. It really was invaluable!”
Any final thoughts?
“Since starting on this journey, we’ve been really taken aback by how supportive the apprenticeship industry is and are looking forward to becoming a part of it. If anyone wants more information on Resurgo’s apprenticeship offer, please visit the Resurgo website for details.”
Support with preparing for RoATP
SDN’s ROATP team do not write applications. Led by former ESFA senior managers, with an in-depth understanding of what is required to deliver apprenticeships successfully, we help you prepare to deliver high quality apprenticeships and articulate your offer in your application. All our clients have been approved to RoATP first time.
Find out how we can help you by visiting the RoATP application service page.