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Gear up for Bike Week 2022 by strengthening the community of bike mechanics

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Ahead of Bike Week (6-12 June), Professional Assessment Ltd (PAL) is encouraging mechanics across the UK to take on apprentices and grow the network of qualified bike mechanics.

The official theme of Bike Week 2022 is about community, with charity organiser Cycling UK wanting the week-long celebration of cycling to be a catalyst for people to improve their community by using their bike more often.

PAL is the only End Point Assessor provider for apprenticeships in the UK that offers the Bike Mechanic Standard, a specific qualification where apprentices learn to build, repair and service all kinds of bicycles. When cycling is rapidly incorporating more complex technologies at a time of accelerated growth for both transport and leisure, there’s never been a better time to offer this trade as an apprenticeship.

Paul Kelly, Qualifications Director at PAL adds: “Upskilling existing mechanics, as well as supporting new recruits entering the industry by providing an apprenticeship route for training, will no doubt lead to more people getting old bikes serviced, refurbished, and back on the road – which is good news for their wellbeing and the planet.

“What’s more, offering an apprenticeship unlocks far-reaching benefits for the employer too. From increased productivity, improved staff recruitment and retention levels, as well as helping to future-proof your business by strengthening the skillset of your workers.”

Providing the best support for your apprentices

If you’re considering introducing an apprenticeship programme, or are thinking about how you might best support an existing apprentice when it comes to their assessments, there are steps you can take to provide the learning and development opportunities that will help them perform to the best of their abilities.

“National apprenticeship standards have come a long way in recent years, helping apprentices acquire a broader understanding of their industry and ensuring they have developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours to be job-ready on completion.” Paul Kelly, Qualifications Director at PAL adds.

In line with these new standards, a combination of methods is currently used to assess apprenticeships, helping to produce highly skilled workers who meet a national standard. But there is much that employers can do to help their apprentices to do the best they can at assessment time.

Here Paul Kelly, Qualifications Director at PAL, shares his five top tips:

1. Familiarise yourself with assessment plans

Ask your training provider for their assessment plan. This will give a clear outline of each assessment method that will be used to grade your apprentice, which gives you the opportunity to support them in preparing for their end-point assessment from early on in their apprenticeship.

2. Get to grips with Professional Discussion (PD)

This two-day conversation between an assessor and apprentice has become an increasingly popular means of assessment at all levels. This is an ideal opportunity for apprentices to show their skills and expertise in a less formal setting, but it’s natural they may feel nervous at the prospect of taking part in an interview. To help ease their nerves, give them a chance to practice through mock PDs where you ask them questions.

3. Hold mock observations
It’s natural for apprentices to feel nervous with being observed, so give them the chance to practice an observation scenario, especially during busier times when they might be more likely to feel overwhelmed.

4. Prepare for a written exam
To help ease any pre-exam nerves, remind apprentices to give themselves time and read the questions carefully. There are no trick questions and it’s simply a case of achieving a pass.

5. Create opportunities for success
Once you have an idea of which assessment methods will best suit your apprentice, play to their strengths and give them the chance to practice those first. This will help build their confidence as they progress to prepare for the assessment styles they’re less comfortable with.

For more information about Professional Assessment Ltd and the Bike Mechanic standard visit: www.professionalassessment.co.uk

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