Apprenticeship toolkit

This Apprenticeship Toolkit shows how effective application of digital technologies can support the delivery of apprenticeships by colleges and training providers (including employer-providers).

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Preparation

12 November 2017

Organisational readiness to deliver the new standards

Opportunities

  • Review existing practice and adopt a strategic approach to align technology use to your goals/key performance indicators KPIs and enhance the learning experience
  • Ensure effective use of existing infrastructure and create a roadmap for new developments
  • Develop a clear vision to articulate to staff, customers and partners
  • Create a digitally-ready culture
  • Keep your business competitive
  • Improve retention, achievement and satisfaction rates

Common issues

  • Lack of strategic direction
  • Technologies bought and adopted in an ad hoc manner
  • Duplication and rekeying of data with increased risk of error
  • Staff and apprentices don’t make effective use of the tools
  • Record keeping and compliance is disjointed and becomes a burden
  • Sub contractors all use different tools
  • Varying practices across sub contractors may adversely impact your inspection ratings

How can digital technology help?

  • Data collected once and used many times saves time and reduces errors
  • IT systems can drive process standardisation based on industry best practice
  • Measurement and analysis is improved to support data driven decision making
  • Digital tools provide a built-in audit trail
  • A secure and robust digital environment opens up new opportunities for both business and learning

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Staff readiness to deliver the new standards

Opportunities

  • Build staff and apprentice competence, digital capability and confidence
  • Empower staff to deliver your digital vision
  • Run your business more efficiently
  • Deliver more effective and engaging learning experiences
  • Improve communication flows and minimise delays in information transfer

Common issues

  • Staff lack digital capabilities and awareness
  • Lack of time or money for staff training
  • Staff fear or resist changes to working practices
  • Lack of institutional vision or clear road map for staff development

How can digital technology help?

  • Online tools and content for staff development provide valuable experience in online learning
  • Staff can access continuous professional development (CPD) at own time and pace
  • Many CPD tools work with simple end user devices such as smart phone apps
  • Use of quality open source content can cut costs
  • Reduce administrative tasks to allow more time for value added activities

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Working with employers

Opportunities

  • Ensure customer satisfaction
  • Broaden your client base
  • Get the right apprenticeship on the right standard
  • Manage employer relationships in an agile way
  • Develop a collaborative approach to delivery
  • Communicate effectively

Common issues

  • Paper-heavy process
  • Mismatch of expectations between customer and provider
  • Lack of access to technology in the workplace
  • Apprenticeships are not fully supported in the workplace
  • Employers don’t know how well apprentices are progressing
  • Broad range of employers with varied information needs
  • Poor communication

How can digital technology help?

  • E-forms and digital signatures can reduce the administrative burden
  • Online meetings save time and money
  • Exchanging data instead of emails provides a shared view where all parties are looking at the same information, for example, progress data
  • Digital working helps niche job roles and remote employers
  • Digital marketing and communication opportunities

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Finding and taking on an apprentice

Opportunities

  • Attract the best people for your employers
  • Help potential apprentices make informed decisions
  • Streamline up-front administration tasks for faster completion times
  • Build the workforce of the future
  • Use digital marketing strategies to promote apprenticeships
  • Make best use of online services that match employers and apprentices

Common issues

  • Potential apprentices don’t really understand what a job involves
  • Traditional marketing routes are not effective in reaching young people
  • Data about the apprentice is collected piecemeal over time
  • Schools and parents don’t understand the value of apprenticeships

How can digital technology help?

  • Labour market intelligence is available online
  • Digital information is easier to keep up to date and share
  • Digital information can be repurposed for distinct audiences
  • Online forms save time and once captured, data can be re-used
  • Ability to make use of engaging multi-media formats
  • Automated links provide access to prior attainment data from the learner records service (LRS)

Effective practice

Planning

12 November 2017

Induction

Opportunities

  • Ensure the apprentice is fully prepared for learning
  • Better inform apprentices of the required commitment and what is involved in their apprenticeship
  • Impart essential information in a cohesive way including basic health and safety information and funding arrangements
  • Introduce safeguarding and digital skills development as an integral element
  • Foster self-development and ownership of apprenticeship journey

Common issues

  • Apprentices don’t always understand their responsibilities in engaging with training
  • Traditionally apprentices receive information on several individual pieces of paper which can appear to be unconnected
  • There is a perception that induction is not engaging and can be boring – done once and forgotten
  • Apprentices already enrolled can drop out at this stage unless the information and activities are engaging and purposeful

How can digital technology help?

  • An online induction pack is easy to use but not easy to lose as well as being available on demand
  • Videos and games make learning fun and interactive
  • Virtual reality taster sessions add an engaging dimension
  • Self-assessment tasks embedded in online learning resources build learner confidence and highlight problem areas
  • Cost-effective delivery of generic topics with automated checks and reporting

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Initial assessment and identification of support needs

Opportunities

  • Ascertain the apprentice’s current level of knowledge and skills
  • Assess functional or essential skills levels
  • Identify support needs including those relating to health issues or learning difficulties
  • Diagnose issues that might affect progress
  • Map the skills of the apprentice to the job role

Common issues

  • Paper-based evaluations are not easy to analyse
  • Data that could be used to improve individual and organisational performance is not readily available causing delayed responses
  • Learners may be ‘tech-savvy’ but unfamiliar with digital approaches and tools that can support their learning

How can digital technology help?

  • Online diagnostic tools such as WEST or BKSB etc. can be used to assess levels of essential or functional skills
  • Online assessments can be marked in seconds
  • Online assessments can provide valuable trend data
  • Online tests can provide intelligent ‘branching’ activities based on apprentice’s answers and point apprentices to further resources for self-study
  • Online texts include tools to support learners who have a print impairment, sensory, concentration or memory difficulties.

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Individual learning plan (ILP)

Opportunities

  • ILPs contain all the important details about delivery and assessment
  • Ensure each individual has a clearly mapped route for their apprenticeship journey
  • Provide an at-a-glance summary of experience and achievements
  • Facilitate the measuring and monitoring of progress
  • A good ILP goes beyond basic legal requirements and can be used to stretch, challenge and support apprentices

Common issues

  • Many ILPs are still paper-based and have to be physically taken to meetings – there is a risk apprentices may forget to take them or may lose them
  • Apprentices don’t have a sense of ownership and feel that paper ILPs are ‘owned’ by trainers
  • A paper ILP does little to motivate some apprentices
  • Paper copies need to be updated each time and there is no single shared view
  • Management reporting is time-consuming and difficult
  • There are resource and accuracy implications when data has to be re-entered into the independent learner record (ILR) and ILP

How can digital technology help?

  • A mobile-friendly e-ILP is always to hand
  • An e-ILP can show progress against target at a glance – for apprentices, providers and employers
  • Apprentices are more likely to feel ownership of an online or e-ILP
  • Apprentices are more likely to refer to online sources
  • An e-ILP can be updated once and shared with all stakeholders and those who need to use and contribute to it

Effective practice

Delivery

12 November 2017

Designing blended learning

Opportunities

  • Create an effective mix of learning activities and resources including employer content
  • Offer cost effective delivery
  • Ensure learning activities are motivating and engaging
  • Ensure apprentices gain digital skills to help employability
  • Support roll-on, roll-off programme delivery
  • Facilitate personalisation of the learning journey

Common issues

  • Staff may be used to designing for single-location face-to-face delivery
  • There may be a failure to embrace new approaches to learning design
  • Employers may have concerns about standardisation of training
  • Apprentices are required to use multiple tools to access activities, use resources and upload evidence
  • Apprentices find it hard to catch up after an absence

How can digital technology help?

  • Digital tools can aid delivery, evidence capture and feedback
  • Replication or simulation of authentic tasks that would otherwise be too costly or practically difficult to do in a traditional setting or where there are safety consideration
  • Opportunities to experiment and make errors in a safe environment
  • Increased scope and support for collaborative learning
  • Activities that were previously seasonal can now be practised all year round
  • Digital tools can enliven dull subjects and extend the range of learning options

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Setting objectives and giving feedback

Opportunities

  • Ensure ongoing skill development
  • Help apprentice take responsibility for their own learning
  • Maximise achievement
  • Provide effective scaffolding for learning
  • Facilitate opportunities for collaborative learning and peer review

Common issues

  • Feedback is misunderstood, or handwriting is hard to read
  • Feedback is not timely
  • Apprentices may be passive recipients and forget or ignore feedback
  • Feedback focuses on correcting errors rather than feeding forward
  • Apprentices do not understand what they need to do to improve
  • It can be hard to relate on and off job learning

How can digital technology help?

  • Online feedback is saved, readily accessible and more frequently used
  • Online feedback overcomes issues such as verbal feedback being forgotten and handwritten feedback being illegible
  • Audio and video feedback can feel more personal
  • Feedback from multiple sources can be stored in one place (for example: trainer, employer, peers)
  • Virtual groups allow apprentices to learn from each other, facilitate peer feedback and the sharing of practice

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Learner support: making learning accessible and inclusive

Opportunities

  • Ensure every individual achieves their full potential
  • Remove barriers to learning
  • Meet the needs of all apprentices (not all support needs are obvious)
  • Ensure three-way communications between provider, employer and apprentice
  • Meet legal obligations
  • Safeguarding

Common issues

  • Providers adapt training to meet one-off needs
  • One-off adaptations can be inefficient use of time and not cost-effective
  • Special adaptations run the risk of making apprentices stand out as having special needs
  • Employers do not always fulfil their pastoral role
  • Providers worry about safety aspects of using social media

How can digital technology help?

  • Messaging or using tools like Skype make it easy for apprentices to communicate with providers and trainers when they need support
  • There is a wide range of digital tools to support impairments (for example: visual, auditory, print)
  • Digital recording allows playback many times to help understanding. This can be particularly helpful when English is not the first language or when learning is disrupted.

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Evidencing learning

Opportunities

  • Show that the apprentice is gaining the required skills
  • Prompt dialogue around feedback
  • May be required for mandatory qualifications
  • Demonstrate progression monitoring
  • Meet quality assurance requirements (internal and external)
  • Support apprentice employability
  • Encourage apprentices to build their own digital portfolios

Common issues

  • Discontinuity between theory and practice
  • Use of paper portfolios inhibits access and sharing
  • Evidence may be lost
  • Lack of suitable technology in the workplace
  • Client confidentiality concerns
  • Safeguarding concerns for employers in some workplaces (for example child and social care)

How can digital technology help?

  • Bring your own device (BYOD) and bring your own internet (BYOI) can make any workplace a digital workplace
  • Multi-media evidence offers many ways to evidence skills and behaviours
  • e-portfolios can bring together workplace, online and face-to-face learning
  • Can be used to support inspection requirements by demonstrating what has been delivered
  • Apprentices are able to show digital skills as an extended employability skill set

Effective practice

Assessment

12 November 2017

Progress checking, monitoring and review

Opportunities

  • Ensure apprentice is on track
  • Gather evidence of wider achievements and progression
  • Support timely completion
  • Facilitate three-way communications about progress between provider, employer and apprentice
  • Ensure the apprentice is prepared for assessment
  • Provide the apprentice with a clear view of tasks they have completed and those they need to complete

Common issues

  • No single view of progress available to all stakeholders
  • Paper copies of progress reports are photocopied or scanned many times
  • Warning signs of problems are missed (for example: repeated verbal feedback on any given aspect is not recorded)
  • Apprentices miss deadlines and this is not picked up
  • Submitted evidence is lost in the system

12 November 2017

Gateway to end point assessment (EPA)

Opportunities

  • Ensure apprentice is well-prepared for end point assessment
  • Ensure apprentice achieves a pass first time and the best possible grade
  • Use digital tools to gather all the evidence that needs to be presented at EPA in one place
  • Ensure best use is made of available evidence and exemplars

Common issues

  • Uncertainty around the grading process until it is embedded
  • Test runs with provider staff may not prepare apprentices to deal with EPA assessors
  • EPA may contain a range of assessment formats, some of which may be unfamiliar to providers
  • Apprentices may have to use unfamiliar technology
  • The centre or candidate may not have all the evidence they require to present at EPA

How can digital technology help?

  • Blended approaches during delivery can prepare apprentices for online testing
  • Digital tools extend possibilities for mock EPA
  • Online tools offer apprentices the opportunity to practice professional discussions with unfamiliar staff
  • Online criteria and marking rubrics support trainers to grade objectively

Effective practice

12 November 2017

End point assessment (EPA)

Opportunities

  • EPA is a required element – explore digital opportunities
  • Provide a synoptic view of knowledge and skills
  • Work with your EPA provider to ensure the process makes the best use of technology
  • Eliminate surprises for apprentices in the EPA
  • Fully prepare provider, employer and EPA centre

Common issues

  • May require evidence collected towards the end of apprenticeship
  • Small employers don’t always get the right jobs or opportunities to produce evidence needed in the time between gateway and EPA
  • Wide variety of approaches in different sectors
  • Task sequencing may differ from that used by the employer or in training
  • Providers may have to work with many EPA centres

How can digital technology help?

  • Timely EPA can be offered as soon as the apprentice is ready
  • Professional discussions can be conducted online
  • Cheating is easy to detect in the digital environment
  • Online proctoring allows apprentices to take assessments remotely while being monitored by webcams and microphones
  • Use of digital technologies can be an effective way of managing costs
  • Awarding organisations have an increasing preference for digital approaches

Effective practice

12 November 2017

Framework assessment

Opportunities

  • Ensure apprentice explores digital opppurtunities to create and submit evidence
  • Use digital tools to gather all the evidence in one place
  • Ensure best use is made of available evidence and exemplars
  • Ensure apprentice achieves best possible outcome

Common issues

  • Wide variety of approaches in different sectors
  • Assessment may incorporate a range of formats
  • Apprentices may have to use unfamiliar technology

How can digital technology help?

  • Professional discussions can be conducted online
  • Cheating is easy to detect in the digital environment
  • Online tools allow apprentices to be assessed remotely while being monitored by webcams and microphones
  • Use of digital technologies can be an effective way of managing costs
  • Awarding organisations have an increasing preference for digital approaches

Effective practice

The journey continues - the end of an apprenticeship doesn't signify the end of all training. Job roles can change and apprentices may wish to explore progression opportunities.