There are hundreds of different apprenticeship training providers across the country and for a business wanting to offer an apprenticeship, it can seem like a daunting task to find the right provider. Are they all the same? Does it matter who you team up with to deliver the apprenticeship?
This article takes a look at these questions and offers some advice for businesses looking for a training partner for an engineering apprenticeship.
You might also be interested in looking at whether an apprentice is right for your small business.
Are all apprenticeship training providers the same?
All apprenticeship training providers that are registered with the UK government, and therefore able to deliver government-funded apprenticeship training, are required to meet certain criteria to be eligible. However, this doesn’t mean that they all offer the same level or quality of service, or have significant experience or specialist knowledge in the area that your apprenticeship(s) fall into.
Whilst, as the employer, much of the on-the-job apprentice technical training will be the responsibility of individuals and managers within your business, the training delivered by your partner agency can make a big difference to everyone involved.
Does it make a difference who you use as your apprenticeship training provider?
There can be a huge difference in the experience of the employer and the apprentice themselves during the programme as a direct result of the chosen apprenticeship training provider. This is because the standard of training, communication and other essentials can vary between providers. Choosing a good apprenticeship training provider can help ensure that
What to look for in an engineering apprenticeship training partner
Some of the signs of a good apprenticeship provider for engineering include:
Proven quality of training provision in engineering apprenticeship frameworks
You can request examples of any training provider’s learning materials and an outline of the training they deliver for the apprenticeship framework that you’re offering before you make your choice about whether to partner with them. This will help you to get a good look at what they offer and as an expert in your field, you will be able to judge the quality of these materials.
Many of the best training providers will have internal teams dedicated to developing as well as delivering training materials for specific sectors and apprenticeship frameworks. Therefore, you can look for a training provider that specialises in engineering apprenticeships and has a proven track record in this sector.
They will often also have materials to help you explain and promote engineering apprenticeships within your own organisation.
The reputation of the apprenticeship training partner
It’s important to choose an apprenticeship training provider that has a good reputation, especially in the sector that your business operates in. They should be able to provide you with case studies and testimonials from happy clients, but you can often also find independent reviews of the agency on third party review sites, to help ensure you get an unbiased view of their reputation.
Many good apprenticeship training partners, especially in engineering frameworks, will engage with the wider sector and play an active part in the industry as a whole.
The training partner’s accreditations and awards
Any training provider for apprenticeships must be EFSA accredited. EFSA stands for the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and this is the government department that is responsible for the education and training sector, including apprenticeships.
Whilst newer training providers may not yet have had the opportunity to win many awards, it is worth taking a look to see if a potential partner agency has any award nominations or wins under their belt as this can be a good indicator of quality service provision.
Sector-specific experience of the training provider
Finding a training partner that has a lot of experience in delivering engineering apprenticeship training can make a real difference. A training team that fully understand the specific requirements, challenges and the knowledge and skills needed as a foundation for starting a career in engineering are likely to deliver targeted training that encompasses all essentials for apprentices. This, along with the apprentice job training delivered while the apprentice works with your staff day in, day out, will help ensure that the apprenticeship programme is the best it can possibly be for both the person receiving the training and also your business.
The training provider’s reporting and feedback processes
As the apprentice’s employer, it’s vital that you are kept fully in the loop regarding their progression on the training that you are not directly involved in i.e. that which is delivered by the training provider for around 20% of the apprentice’s time during the programme. A good training provider will have a set process for providing you with updates and feedback on the apprentice’s progress, which might involve online tools or a portal that you can access to find the information that you need at any point during the apprenticeship.
Communication between a training provider and the employer is essential throughout the entire programme, so ensuring that your partner agency prioritises this can be a good indicator that they see the importance of regular updates.
The training partner’s programme schedule – make sure this works for your business
Whilst all apprenticeships include around 20% training time, how and when this training is delivered can vary somewhat between training providers and the frameworks they partner on.
Many training providers will break the training and assessment into several blocks throughout the programme. For example, they might require the apprentices are released from their usual working schedule to spend a week or so dedicated to the training programme every couple of months. Others might deliver the training on a monthly basis or even more frequently. It’s important for your engineering apprenticeship that you find a training provider with a schedule that works for your business and the apprentice, so that it’s sustainable and beneficial for everyone for the duration of the entire apprenticeship.
A training partner offering value for money
Whilst employers only fund part of the cost of training and assessing for apprenticeships, either through the apprenticeship levy for larger employers or through co-investment with the government for smaller businesses, ensuring that your training partner delivers a good service in return is important.
Every apprenticeship framework has been allocated a training funding band that the government agrees to help finance, so finding a training provider that will deliver the programme within this limit means that your business doesn’t have any additional costs to cover. It is sometimes possible for employers to negotiate with training providers on costs, if required. You can find out more about the funding available for apprenticeships here.
The process of choosing your engineering apprenticeship training provider
In order to find a good training provider for the apprenticeship(s) that you offer, you can use the government’s find apprenticeship training service to look through the potential partners operating in your chosen framework and locality. Some training providers operate nationally, and some have a more local focus.
At the Apprenticeship Academy, our goal is to make apprenticeships easier. If you want to find out more about how we can help you deliver engineering apprenticeships in your business, get in touch with our team.