FE Voices

Peter Marples, Co-Founder, Promote-Ed

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National Achievement Rates for #Apprenticeships 

Another weekend in self-isolation with the TV, Wine, Dogs and Sarah for company, what more could I ask for other than honing my cake baking skills (including my application for the 2021 Bake Off) and cooking breakfast and dinner, which I enjoyed immensely, I took time out to look more closely at the National Achievement Rates for Apprenticeships published for 2018/19. 

What became clear to me was that I am in need of further Excel training to fully sort, filter and analyse the results that were presented. Call me cynical but whilst the data set is large, I am sure the ESFA could have presented something a little easier to digest, but it was not delivering much good news so making you search for the needle in haystack was probably their intention.

I do not intend to twitter on about the decline in Achievement rates, the incomplete data set, the Masking of appalling achievement rates for Apprenticeship Standards or the manner in which the ESFA may deal with those below the permissible floor. Those are topics for further discussion but dropping out such bad news promptly, when the ESFA are not used to meeting their own timetables may be convenient at the moment. 

Yet the data does tell us something and it is not all bad news. There are some strong results amongst the majority of declining Achievements across the sector, even some of the largest providers have reported strong results above 70% whereas others are struggling to get beyond 55% overall.

That leads me to question why and whilst there is no single reason, there is a correlation between those in the main operating ‘narrow and deep’ and those who are ‘wide and narrow’. 

What does this mean?

Well those that deliver a narrow range of Standards or indeed old Frameworks but do it in volume or with focus are much more likely to be successful because:

  • They build capacity in their businesses to deliver real expertise to learners and employers
  • Can control the quality of provision more effectively because they are dealing with say just 5 standards, one or two EPAO’s and the same Awarding Bodies
  • Are able to effect marketing that is focussed with an emphasis on solutions
  • They can build relationships with key employers in the chosen sectors to influence their delivery and design
  • Senior management can more effectively monitor performance across the business.

Education is no different to businesses in many sectors. I spend the majority of my time supporting business across a range of sectors and the most effective businesses are those that focus on a narrow product range wherever possible but deliver deeply to their customer base. 

Lessons to be learnt for everyone 

There has never been a better time as business owners to bake a cake and think about what your business will look like when you relaunch after COVID-19.

Doing more of less is something worthy of consideration – the evidence suggests with apprenticeships at least that you will achieve more for the learners and employers you work with and you will create efficiencies along the way.

Peter Marples, Co-Founder, Promote-Ed

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