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Why tailored apprenticeships are the only smart option

Kerry Linley, STEM ambassador and CEO of Rubitek

Every business is unique, as is every learner.

Herein lies the challenge when designing and delivering apprenticeship training; how do you ensure the employer gets what they want from their new recruit while making sure your apprentice gets the learning experience they need?

Tackling Apprenticeship Non-Completions with learning tailored to the employer and employee

If we are to address the high rate of apprenticeship non-completions every year in the UK, increasing the provision of learning tailored to both employer and employee is a crucial but seriously achievable step to take.

There are so many fantastic providers out there delivering quality apprenticeship training that is intelligently tailored to the needs of the learner and their employer. At the same time, however, we do see companies delivering off-the-peg provision that falls short of the specifications required. This second group is offering standard provision with no recognition of prior learning and not geared to the job the learner is tasked to undertake, which is usually very specific to the employer or industry they are working in, and could even be seasonal. 

Why would you deliver training that bears little or no relation to the real world they are working in every day?

Work practices, people, work environment, corporate objectives and organisational culture are among a whole range of characteristics completely unique to a business. Why, then, would you deliver training for new recruits that bears little or no relation to the real world they are working in every day? Apprenticeship training can be an essential part of a cost-effective learning and development plan, but for it to add value, it must be designed for the apprentice’s work environment.

I’m reminded of what a successful learning and development strategy looks like. It attracts and retains talent, develops team capabilities, shapes a culture of shared values, builds the brand and engages and motivates people. For smaller businesses in particular, the development of capabilities can be game-changing. When you talk to businesses, you hear of the impact apprenticeship training has had on their bottom line. Good, tailored apprenticeship training enhances an organisation’s human capital and productivity.

This is why ‘one-size-fits-all’ apprenticeship training continues to be such a problem

This is why ‘one-size-fits-all’ apprenticeship training continues to be such a problem.  We see and hear all too often from employers and learners who are experiencing the type of provision whereby learners get access to a shed load of standard content and are then expected to work through it with very little structure and guidance. Sometimes they receive no guidance at all.

Life then gets harder for the apprentice if the content they are given has not been tailored. It makes it difficult for the learner to think about it in the context of the work they are doing on a daily basis. At the same time, their employer is not getting the added value to their business.

The rise of online learning hasn’t helped, in my view.

The rise of online learning hasn’t helped, in my view.  Learners who lack the kind of structure provided by tailored programs can rapidly disengage and that is a major contributor to non-completion.  All too often, five or six months before a planned end date, learners are left scratching their heads in bemusement at just how little they have covered and how much they still have to do.

This is why I have walked away from opportunities to work with those providers who have a ‘bums on seats’ approach to delivery.  I would go so far as to call this profiteering. Apprenticeship training is a significant investment for learner and employer, and the returns rely heavily on its relevance. Tailored, business-specific apprenticeships should be the only show in town.

By Kerry Linley, CEO of Rubitek
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Exclusive to FE News, Skills and apprenticeships

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