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Aptem Case study: Central YMCA

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YMCA Training had a long and illustrious history, having been set up during the deep recession of the 1970s to help young people to find new opportunities through training and employment. Five years ago, YMCA Training was brought into Central YMCA.

Central YMCA’s training programme has three branches: skills, education and commercial, with approximately 6000 learners per year across all the programmes. It’s a complex delivery, says Ryan Palmer, Director of Quality and Impact at Central YMCA:

“We are a unique organisation and work in quite a complicated way, with many different procedures. For example, we deal with the Charities Commission as well as Ofsted, so we have a few more hoops to jump through.”

Merging YMCA Training and Central YMCA also left the organisation with a legacy of administrative confusion and multiple delivery platforms:

“We had about six different systems operating our funding provision and our commercial provision – an MIS system, three different portfolio systems, a CRM system, and a Moodle system. We were looking to consolidate and make things simpler.”

Looking for solutions

They were in the market for a replacement, so initiated a lengthy procurement process. In the end, the YMCA chose Aptem after whittling the competition down to two contenders. Why?

“At the time, neither solution could exactly hit what we needed. So we set a couple of challenges. There were two key things we were looking for really – the end-to-end delivery and education delivery. Although Aptem didn’t have a lot of experience in the education side, that was one of the challenges we set MWS, and they came up trumps in a very short time.

“Aptem were exceptionally receptive and showed they could develop what we needed. It gave us the confidence that, while we are still working on aspects of implementation – because of the sheer complexity of our organisation – Aptem was as close as we could get in the market.”

How Aptem has helped

Aptem, says Palmer, has led to some critical transformations of the YMCA’s training and education delivery.

“Aptem has allowed us to merge our MIS and our learner portfolio systems into one place, so we can now truly go out and say we have an end-to-end system for our learners and employers, which is great for apprenticeships. It has also given us our first foray into ePortfolios for our education learners, which is brand new for them, so that’s a huge step forward.”

And Aptem has proven to be critical in the transition to 100% remote delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic:

“Given what is going on with the pandemic, says Palmer, “it’s become quite apparent that we wouldn’t have been able to continue delivery right now to our education learners as they are classroom-based. What we’ve found is that with remote delivery after shutting our centres, our attendance has gone up. So the learners are engaged in Aptem and really like it.”

With Aptem, he says, frontline staff and employers can access real-time information about learner progression. Administration and management benefit too – submitting ESFA paperwork has reduced workloads for this task to a quarter of where they were before Aptem, and the reporting functionality of Aptem has enhanced the possibilities for business performance:

“From a management perspective, it’s given us access to a huge swathe of live reports, something we didn’t have before. And that allows us to have real-time reporting and real-time performance management of our staff.”

The YMCA is only just coming out of Aptem’s implementation process, but they already see what it can do for the organisation. Says Palmer:

“Introducing Aptem has been hard work, but now we are out the other side, we all are beginning to see the benefits!”

Remote delivery with Aptem – watch the video

Click here to learn how Aptem enables every element from onboarding onwards to be undertaken remotely. It provides the support and tools you need to quickly transition and deliver quality training online.

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