Heather Frankham, Co-Founder, Bud Systems

I was fortunate to be a guest speaker at a recent networking event arranged by Grant Thornton. These events are hugely informative bringing together CEO’s of many of the leading training providers to discuss and review common challenges and opportunities. It was an enjoyable and insightful evening with a range of important themes surfacing from a very lively debate.

This session explored the power of data and business information in driving growth and unlocking value in apprenticeship delivery. Arranged under Grant Thornton’s Skills in The New World programme I would urge you to attend if you’re lucky enough to receive an invitation.

Employers Leading the Appenticeship Agenda

From the initial conversations, there was a consistent theme emerging:

"The sector is in a very different space since the introduction of the Levy. No longer is a learning programme dictated by the training provider, but the baton has now been firmly taken up by the employers."

Whilst strong employer engagement has always been an important practice in the apprenticeship arena, there has been a very clear shift in who leads the agenda. The sector is now operating within a new frame and needs to align to the expectations and working principles of Levy paying customers.

As such, the quality and accuracy of data and business information are being placed front and centre. It was suggested that IT strength has been a point of differentiation in the past. This situation, in part, is changing and the sector needs to aim and conform to a higher quality standard.

There will always be scope for innovation and unique provision but there was a general agreement that the systems of the past will no longer serve the future.

Within such a substantial programme of apprenticeship reform mere operational and systematic tweaks will not survive the challenge.

The Introduction of Standards

The introduction of standards has necessitated a complete change to how learning is delivered and poses a number of key challenges to training providers; not least of which is the ability to effectively track learners progress throughout their programme. Frameworks had clear stepping stones and progress, in many ways, was far more transparent.

Processes now need to work with the new principles of standards. The adopted systems need to keep all relevant parties aligned with pace and progress. Failure to do so places the potential of a successful gateway in jeopardy.

Whilst accurate tracking is a clear requirement to appropriately serve the learners and employers, training providers also face a very real operational and financial ticking time bomb if they fail to manage and monitor a learner’s progression to end-point assessment (EPA).

There is a changing perspective in this new world. Traditionally apprenticeships have been focussed on an input driven system and employers have an output driven mentality.

The demands of the new standards require both ends to be met i.e. being equally obsessive about compliance, progression, and regulation as the quality of learning and job performance.

Devising Management Systems that can Support Growth and Success


This is a message for those devising management systems in that they need to comply with regulation yet have a genuine and positive impact upon the learning and achievement. 

Systems need to link up and provide one version of the truth. The conversation further suggested that if scaling provision is an aspiration then this level of control and data integrity will be a determinant of potential growth and success.

On the whole, there was a clear recognition of the challenging and changing environment in which training providers are now operating but there was equally an underlying feeling of optimism.

The introduction of the Levy, even with good planning and foresight, has been an earthquake in the apprenticeship world, shaking the foundations and requiring a complete rethink of how programmes are built and delivered.

Those who embrace the need for change and can step up to the challenge have a lot to look forward to in the future. Data and business information has always been, important, but the emphasis is heightened considering the new demands and expectations.

Finding Confidence in a Climate of Uncertainty


In this climate, it is the quality of the data systems and processes that will underpin not only compliance but future actions and strategy. Generating data will not be a static by-product, informing on activities delivered but a fundamental practice that steers management decisions, optimising performance and driving value.

The apprenticeship reforms have accelerated change and created an uncomfortable level of uncertainty. Having confidence in your data and business information is perhaps more critical than ever before; after all, when planning for your future you need belief in your past.  

I personally feel, therefore, that high-level networking events, such as the one I attended are hugely important. They foster good practice, stimulate new ideas, drive innovative thinking and often act as a spark to solve issues that have seemingly been unsolvable.

Inspiration is often prompted by unusual places and immersing yourself within a small group of hugely talented people is a great place to start looking.

Heather Frankham, Co-Founder, Bud Systems

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

AELP Events added a new event yesterday

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training in FE

Overview It is a statutory requirement for professionals meeting ‘robust 2-yearly training’ for those with a lead or designated professional role...

  • Thursday, 14 October 2021 09:30 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page