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The Aptem Higher Education Forum October 2023

Higher Education forum 2023

Aptem Higher Education forum members met in Birmingham in October 2023. The day involved sharing best practices, guest speaker and Aptem team presentations, Q&A and networking. 

The event is designed exclusively for the ever-growing community of providers who use Aptem to deliver higher and degree apprenticeships. The Forum brings together Aptem University customers both face-to-face and virtually to share industry and product knowledge. 

Here’s a summary of what was covered at this in-person meeting.  

Minimising apprenticeship withdrawals  

Our guest speaker, Bally Bhogal, is the Managing Director of LX Group. They kicked off the day with insights from her work through the collaborative Apprenticeship Workforce Development (AWD) project. She identified factors that lead to apprentices withdrawing from apprenticeship programmes and explored strategies to help mitigate this. 

Delegates shared experiences of a number of contributing factors, including a mismatch between learner expectations and reality; lack of time to balance the apprenticeship with work; and outdated skills and resources, particularly in IT. 

Bally spoke of six major areas to pay attention to: 

  • Functional Skills 
  • Staff recruitment and retention 
  • Employer engagement 
  • Career changes 
  • Challenges with EPA 
  • Malfunction of the Baker Clause 

Driving academic engagement: linking degrees to KSBs in Aptem 

The first of the Aptem Implementation team sessions was about linking degrees to KSBs to drive academic engagement, based on some interesting work from Aston University. Georgina Burton, Aptem’s Head of Implementation led the session, covering the touch points required in Aptem to demonstrate the link between apprenticeship standards and degree criteria. She also showed how to build bespoke qualifications in Aptem. 

Georgina gave a demonstration of what pre-mapping looks like for a learner, and how providers can drive learner engagement with their progression by allowing them to map content themselves. Aston University’s approach was shared with the group. Their day-to-day delivery is managed in Blackboard, and they bring high level module results back into Aptem, resulting in the effective sharing of progress with learners and employers. 

Collection of the Off-the-Job (OTJ) hours in Aptem 

The morning was rounded off with a session on using digital assets to create an OTJ journal. The group discussed using the OTJ card functionality within Aptem as an early warning system. They also explored the significance of forecast hours as an indicator of whether a learner is on target. The discussion covered best practice processes and learner/tutor responsibilities to consistently record OTJ hours and demonstrate progress. 

Aptem and Large Language Technology 

After lunch, Aptem’s Head of Product, James Love, shared plans around integrating Large Language Technology with Aptem, and the significant impact it could have on Higher Education institutions. Learn more here. 

Integrations – learning from experience 

The ‘how to’ sessions concluded in the afternoon with Implementation Consultant, Viki Ivan, and Lynne Salisbury, Apprenticeship System Administrator at University of Gloucester, speaking about the benefits of using APIs to maintain data between two systems, drawing on the university’s experience of integrating Aptem with SITS. Lynne shared some of the key considerations, including field mapping, workflow (i.e. what is happening to the data and when), creating a data warehouse, and internal IT resourcing. She gave insights into how the integration has resulted in data consistency. This has enabled the university to get the best out of both systems, including closely tracking applicants through the process. 

Making best use of the Aptem Help Centre 

For the final session of the day, James Love was joined by Gavin Marks from Aptem’s Customer Support team. Together, they led a discussion on getting the most from the Aptem Help Centre. It’s a valuable resource available for all Aptem customers. The session also explored Aptem’s future development plans in this space.  

Thank you to all our Higher Education customers for attending and for sharing your experiences and ideas so openly.  

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event. 

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