From education to employment

Thousands of UK apprentices discover greater potential with innovative brain profiling tool

CognAssist is an innovative, cognitive profiling tool designed to identify and support neurodiversity. CognAssist assesses hidden learning needs in the eight cognitive domains of the brain used for thinking and learning, using digital, game-like tasks such as puzzles, word and number based challenges.

Based on each individual’s results, an online library of tailored coping strategies is then populated, providing the learner with new skills and techniques to compensate for their bespoke learning needs.

Since launching in September 2017, the unique cognitive assessment tool developed by CognAssist has profiled over 11,000 brains of UK apprentices. This has shown an identification rate of approximately 24%.

Every one of this 24% of learners has access to tailored coping strategies, supporting them with their additional learning needs and helping them to succeed in their apprenticeships.

Apprentices Brandon Fallon, 20 from West Lancashire, Amy Townsend, 17 from Southampton, Semiramida Kaloshi, 18 from Northampton, and Chelsea Stimpson, 20 from Derbyshire, all found brain profiling helped them to understand how their brain works most effectively and helped them put new techniques into practice that can support them in areas where they are weaker.

CognAssist neurodiversity expert Louise Karwowski said:

“Profiling neurodiversity in apprenticeships gives the learner insight into the way they process and apply information. This information is empowering and enhances understanding of how they think and learn; not only for the learner but the apprenticeship provider and employer too, providing a completely holistic program.”

West Lancashire College construction multi-skills apprentice Brandon Fallon said:

“I come from a plumbing background and I took the construction multi-skills apprenticeship to learn all of the different trades and make myself more employable.

“The brain assessment was easy to use and it showed I had difficulties with my memory. Previously, I was given extra support through college, and I knew I had problems with my memory, but I didn’t really know exactly what my difficulties were or what to do about them.

“I’ve definitely had a much better support using CognAssist’s video interventions. When you go to jobs in my apprenticeship there are lots of things to remember such as different measurements. CognAssist has helped me to train my memory and given me everyday skills that I can use for life.”

Learning Skills Partnership customer service apprentice Amy Townsend said:

“I really like that brain profiling has helped me to understand how to complete everyday tasks more effectively.

“From using the interventions I am now much more organised. I’m currently using the problem solving and communications videos this month and I’m now using effective planning techniques that I wouldn’t have used at all otherwise. For instance, if I need to plan ahead on anything I now do it differently than how I used to; I make priority lists, I draw Mind Maps and I always make sure I complete tasks within deadlines.”

Key Training recruitment and admin apprentice Semiramida Kaloshi said:

“Taking the CognAssist assessment was the first time I have been flagged for anything. At school I struggled with spelling but didn’t have any coping strategies to cope with this.

“CognAssist’s interventions have been really helpful in my apprenticeship. The health and safety interventions and organisational tips have been particularly useful in my work.

“I really enjoy applying what I have learnt into my everyday job. I get to meet lots of new people and interview them when they start their studies. I found the CognAssist assessment really helpful and I now get to pass this on to the students that I recruit and see how it helps them.”

Chesterfield College business admin apprentice Chelsea Stimpson said:

“I’ve progressed to my Level 3 Business Admin now at Chesterfield College and I’m really enjoying it. I found the brain profiling assessment really intriguing! When it was first explained to me I was panicking slightly – about the thought of concentrating alone in quiet rooms and what the assessment would include, however, doing it was actually really fun! It’s just great to learn things about myself that I didn’t know before. For instance, I didn’t know I was a visual learner!

“My results also showed that I was weaker in numeracy, which I had expected, but CognAssist gave me tips on how I could handle maths tasks more effectively. I’m currently doing my Level 2 Functional Skills and I’m using the CognAssist techniques to help me revise and support me for this.”

Evidence and reports from the brain profiling assessment, and of the subsequent interventions provided can also support access to funding, enhanced Ofsted grades and improved learner engagement. Apprenticeship providers across the UK are now investing in CognAssist to support the enhancement of their apprenticeship programmes.

CognAssist CEO Chris Quickfall said:

“The theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ and with brain profiling, we can support individual apprentices that have additional learning needs to achieve better results everyday, growing their confidence and independence with learning that is tailored to their needs, meaning apprenticeships in the UK really do work for individuals, businesses and the economy.

“My view of brain profiling is that we should all have a cognitive passport that we carry with us throughout life. From school, to higher and further education and even in the workplace, your teachers, trainers and employers should all be able to respond appropriately and adapt to your needs because they have visibility of your cognitive passport, so that you can achieve your full potential.

“If you can give someone a better understanding of how their brain works then they can make better decisions in life – ultimately, improving their quality of life.”

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