From education to employment


High street travel agent Hays Travel has invested in advanced education technology to improve the management of quality assurance around its apprenticeship programme.

The holiday and business travel company, which employs more than 1,400 people, has opted for Mesma self-assessment and improvement planning software in a move to better evaluate its apprenticeship activities.

Currently, Hays Travel has more than 220 people on its apprenticeship programme, who are learning the skills over a two-year programme to become consultants working in the company’s 165 UK stores.

They will also gain an industry-recognised qualification in Travel Services when they completed their training.

The decision to migrate from a paper-based system to Mesma will offer greater longer term flexibility and efficiency, helping to secure the Sunderland-based firm’s quality assurance requirements in the coming years as more authorised users come on line.

This includes helping Hays to critically evaluate provision against the requirements of the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework (CIF)

Mesma is an adaptable, collaborative and cost effective web-based resource, which enables important areas of the self-assessment process and the associated improvement plan activities to be allocated to authorised people within a training environment. Its key purpose is to drive accountability to improve educational provision for students and learners.

The technology, adopted by Carole Hodgson, the apprenticeship delivery manager, will improve quality assurance levels at Hays Travel in line with self-assessment plans.

Its already improving visibility and access to critical performance data, while providing real-time evidence that tasks assigned to key personnel are being actioned and followed through – and being documented as simple-to-understand reports.

These reports, which staff can input and contribute to on a regular basis, capture data that can be reviewed as self-assessment reporting processes unfold, highlighting all necessary actions that need to be undertaken or closed-off.

Carole Hodgson is currently overseeing the system’s rollout across the 16-strong national team of apprenticeship leaders and assessors, who will be able to access the online software as they upload their own improvement plans and monitor progress, regardless of location.

The move will enable everyone within the apprenticeship delivery team to benefit from ownership of quality improvement measures, and actively contribute to a single secure resource.

In turn, this will help to provide quantifiable evidence about the quality of apprenticeship provision and, if necessary, identify areas for improvement.

Carole said: “As a training provider, Mesma offers us advantages around quality assurance, notably its a more effective self-assessment and improvement planning tool that provides easy-to-understand information at the touch of a button.

“Although it’s early days, we anticipate that it will become part and parcel of how we monitor and assess apprenticeship delivery going forward. This will allow us to retain quality processes that can be better managed on a daily process.

“In short, it offers greater visibility across apprenticeship operations, efficiency savings, and automatic processes and updates. Ultimately, it ensures that everyone on the apprenticeship team has greater ownership of tasks that are germane to their own areas of responsibility.”

Looking to the future, Carole Hodgson is preparing for an additional intake of 160 new apprentices in August 2018, and says that technology will play a pivotal role in helping to deliver quality improvement around these and other future apprenticeship programmes as the education landscape changes.

“Training providers like us have to adapt to comply with changes and software like Mesma will equip us with the tools to be better prepared for end-point assessments and other critical learning and education matters.”

With on-going support and technical assistance from Mesma, the technology will only continue to benefit Hays Travel, playing a paramount role in securing managerial control and peace-of-mind for the apprenticeship team.

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