From education to employment

Supporting apprenticeship training provision with technology

In this piece, Charlie Levitton, UK&I Enterprise Development Manager at SMART Technologies, looks at how organisations can use technology to streamline and improve how they deliver apprenticeship training.

The ongoing skills shortage in the workforce has seen a shift in the volume of employers choosing to reskill over rehire. So much so that research from the City & Guilds found that almost all (96%) HR and learning and development (L&D) professionals will be increasing their training budgets over the next year.

The debate of whether to invest time and resources into L&D instead of recruiting isn’t a new one, of course. Arguably the debate has always favored the training route, however the availability of new talent to date has meant employers have understandably chosen the more efficient path of rehiring when new skills are required. 

The result of this, in some cases, is workforce learning and development programmes that are under-resourced and underfunded, leading to poor training provision. This was echoed in a recent report from education think tank EDSK in November, which found that thousands of people are dropping out of apprenticeships in England each year as a result of ‘poor quality’ training and bad management. 

It’s important to note that not all of the apprentices mentioned in the EDSK report will have left due to poor training provision – some may have left to pursue other careers while others may have been headhunted by competitor firms. However, the report’s findings will undoubtedly be a difficult read for Government, which has shown long-term financial commitment into apprenticeships through its Apprenticeship Levy, as a way of improving employer-led training in the UK to upskill workers. It’s clear improvements can be made to the training being offered to apprentices in the workplace.

So, how can employers, working with apprentices, ensure they’re delivering the most effective training possible to reduce the volume of leavers?

Alongside the specifics of the apprenticeship training, creating the right environment for dynamic, impactful training is vital to achieving effective learning and development. The way learners expect to be taught has changed, particularly in light of COVID-19 which has ushered in a new era of hybrid training models. For trainers and employers, there’s now more onus than ever to ensure training programmes can be delivered in-person and remotely – without affecting how engaging it is.

A modern conducive learning environment should utilise effective technology to promote better engagement and information retention. Interactive displays and collaboration software, for instance, can power up training presentations in a visual, media-rich way, allowing everyone to share the same interactive learning experience – no matter where they are. 

This effortless participation from trainees has an immediate impact on learning. It encourages open contributions from all participants, improves discussions and nurtures equity, ensuring everyone has an equal voice in the meeting. This approach allows learners to participate, collaborate, and brainstorm without specialised training or preparation.

Delivering engaging and interactive training

Dynamic interactive presentations can boost engagement and interaction, creating more meaningful training that apprentices can contribute to and remember. Elements like these are key to ensuring apprentices complete their training. To make the training memorable for apprentices, providing content that is meaningful to the trainee can be hugely beneficial. Strong visuals can make a lasting impact long after the session is over. Whether training be one-on-one, in small groups, in-room, or remote, technology can bring teams together so they can engage and interact with content in any environment. 

One of the major benefits of introducing technology into the training process is that it encourages employers and training providers to keep the training simple, making it easy to use for all involved. 

Delivering effective apprenticeship programmes have a lasting impact on businesses. Learners are more likely to remain loyal to the company that invested time and resource into their learning and development, and the business will only benefit.

Irrespective of the work environment, whether it be in-office, hybrid or remote, the right technology and tools can be key to supporting collaboration and engagement during apprenticeship training. To help combat the ongoing skills shortage, we need to rethink our approach to learning and development and technology is critical to that, to support the long-term success of UK business. 

By Charlie Levitton, UK&I Enterprise Development Manager at SMART Technologies 

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