Selecting a new apprenticeship Training Provider can often seem a complex and confusing task, whatever the size of your business. With hundreds of different Training Providers and multiple parts of your programme to deliberate, finding the best provider for your company can be challenging.

Here, Lifetime Training explains the six most important factors to consider when seeking a Training Provider to ensure the best possible partner for your programme. From programme quality and coverage area to reporting tools and marketing materials, this is what to look for in an outstanding provider. Plus, we reveal five questions you should ask your prospective provider to truly understand their offering.

Six things to look for when choosing a new apprenticeship training provider

It’s important to find a Training Provider that delivers the best quality of training in a way that fits your unique company culture. From programme coverage and quality to provider reputation and experience, here’s what to look for in the best providers.

1. National coverage

If you have business based across the country, you’ll need to find a national provider. Ensure your chosen provider has the infrastructure required to deliver apprenticeships on a national scale consistently. This means the provider can scale its training provision to meet your needs as a business.

2. Quality of provision

Request examples of training materials to get an understanding of the quality of learner resources, a vital aspect of any successful programme.

A good mark of quality is a provider with an in-house Curriculum Team including sector-specific experts. An internal team will increase accountability and therefore programme quality, and ensure resources are bespoke. Learner reviews and feedback on third party websites offer good insight into provision quality.

3. A good reputation

Look for providers with a proven track record in your sector working with clients similar to your company. Seek client case studies and testimonials on the provider’s website and on third party review sites.

Understanding the provider’s relationships with clients like your business is a good way of forecasting the success of your future programme. Any evidence of a provider engaging with the wider sector through campaigns or working groups are a good sign of a proactive partner.

4. Awards and accreditations

Look for awards and accreditations, measures of excellence from an independent third party. Sector-specific accreditations are a useful indicator of the quality of provision within your specific industry. Awards give you an understanding of how the provider compares to other providers and are signs of excellence and innovation.

Certain awards will indicate levels of excellence recognised in the wider training industry beyond apprenticeships. Evidence of clients with award-winning programmes and learners will highlight a proactive training provider that could add extra value to your programme through award nominations.

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5. Sector-specific experience

Choosing a Training Provider with considerable experience delivering training in your industry is important. Every industry is unique, and an experienced provider will have an intricate knowledge of the sector-specific training requirements.

Find a provider that has worked with all sizes of employer, from smaller companies with a few apprentices to large brands with thousands. This is evidence of the provider’s ability to scale their provision and a greater insight into all areas of your sector.

Requesting yearly learner completions in your sector from potential providers can be a good indicator of experience.

6. Additional services

Understand the extra services offered by the provider beyond the delivery of training, such as apprentice recruitment or a client-focused marketing team. These services should be included within training costs, adding extra value to a provider’s offering.

An array of additional services means a fully-managed programme and support and guidance at every step.

Five questions to ask a Training Provider

There are a range of questions you should ask a prospective Training Provider to gain further insight into your future partnership.

1. Are all trainers directly employed by the provider?

Ensure all trainers and team members are employed directly by the provider, as this means greater accountability with the quality of provision.

2. How qualified are the provider’s training team?

The qualifications of trainers vary across providers because there are no mandatory guidelines.

Enquire about the Training Team’s onboarding process to understand the quality of provision to expect.

3. What reporting tools are available?

Request a demo of the reporting tools. A reporting suite is vital for any successful programme, so you can track learner progression and achievement and aspects like Levy spend. The most effective reporting tools should be designed with your HR team and management in mind.

4. What engagement materials will be provided?

Engagement campaigns are important for a successful programme. Your provider should provide promotional materials that are fully aligned with your brand to drive learner engagement.

Seek a provider that can provide internal engagement materials to all level of your management structure to explain and promote your programme.

5. What are the provider’s company values?

A good cultural fit between your business and training provider is important for any successful programme. Your Training Provider should act as an extension of your team, and the programme should be fully integrated within your business. Understand the provider’s mission and vision statements and request a site visit to gauge whether your company values are compatible.

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