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Apprenticeships: What makes a good training provider?

06 February, 2020Karen Taylor

At last count there were over 2,100 organisations on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). So how do you, as an employer, find the right training provider for your company? We look at some of the questions you should add to your checklist.

Two grey pencils on a yellow backgroundThe RoATP was set up so that employers could choose from a selection of 'high quality' providers. But many employers still see apprenticeships as too much hassle.

During 2019, RoATP was overhauled and both new and existing providers had to go through a much more stringent application process.

This should support employers better when they’re selecting a quality training provider to work with. You can now have more confidence in the training providers that have been accepted onto the register.

Even so, if you’re looking for a training provider for your organisation, there are certain questions you should ask and qualities you should look out for.

Is your training provider making life easier?

Your training provider should take all the complexity out of running an apprenticeship and leave you free to focus on the job your apprentice is doing.

The training provider should talk you through the processes involved in running an apprenticeship, such as:

  • understanding the funding rules
  • ·navigating the regulations
  • talking the procedure through with your management
  • supporting your staff
  • guiding you through the off-the-job requirements.

Ultimately, the training provider is there to help you as an apprentice employer.

Is your training provider listening to you?

First and foremost, a training provider should – particularly in the early stages of any programme – sit down with you to understand your needs.

Some providers will try to railroad you into accepting the programme they think you want or the programme that they’ve always delivered in the past.

But apprenticeships should be about the knowledge and skills you want your apprentices to have in the future.

Is your relationship with the training provider a partnership? 

Your provider should work with you and co-create the programme you want. It should be a collaborative process. You should end up with a programme that is going to offer your apprentices the right curriculum for your business and fit around how your organisation operates.

It is up to your training provider to keep your managers informed and ensure your organisation gets the return on investment (ROI) that you expect.

So how are they going to communicate with you? And how often? Who is your primary point of contact at the provider?

And it is their job to make sure your apprentices are happy and well supported.

How are they going to support the apprentice?

I know from my experience of conversations with employers – as well as the organisations we work with directly – that supporting apprentices is their number one priority.

Outstanding apprentice support sets training providers aside. So how will you know if a training provider is supporting your apprentices the way they should be?

  • Ask training providers what structures and systems they have in place to support apprentices – including those with specific learning needs.
  • How often do they undertake progress reviews with your apprentices?
  • What learning materials and other resources will the apprentice be able to access?
  • And how does the provider expect you to support the apprentice with their learning?

Apprenticeships can be a really helpful tool for employers looking to develop and upskill their staff and diversify their workforce.

Choosing the right training provider is an essential first step.

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