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Driving down apprenticeship delivery costs using technology


With the changes to funding rules, profitable delivery of apprenticeships is a challenge facing every
provider. A growing number have either gone out of business or have decided to wind down their
organisation. At the same time, some providers are doing extremely well. This short briefing paper
describes how technology can be used to drive down delivery costs and increase profitability.

How delivery costs mount up?

There are three main areas where apprenticeship providers’ costs can mount up.

  1. Staff time
    This is expensive. A delivery model that has staff spend too much time doing direct delivery,
    travelling or working on paperwork turns what should be a profitable programme into a loss making
  2. Overly lengthy programmes
    These impact a provider in three ways.
    • Costs are incurred every month that an apprentice stays on a programme; programmes
      that last longer than necessary, perhaps when an apprentice makes slow progress, drain
      away a provider’s profits.
    • In many cases an apprentice will progress to a higher-level apprenticeship, a revenue
      stream that a provider relies upon. Revenue from this second apprenticeship is both
      delayed and jeopardised when learners fall behind on their initial programme.
    • People leave their jobs for all sorts of reasons. Any unnecessary delays in apprenticeship
      completion bring the risk of the apprentice leaving the employer and not achieving their
      apprenticeship. When this happens, the provider cannot draw down completion
  3. Compliance failings
    These result in expensive and time consuming recovery processes and the very real risk of
    clawbacks. The provider has spent the received funds delivering the programme and clawbacks
    are a direct hit to the bottom line. If the failings are serious, there is also the extra risk of
    contract termination, which can result in business closure. On the flipside, some providers have
    extremely strict compliance programmes. If they are too bureaucratic or restrictive they can be
    an unnecessary resource drain.

The economies of scale
Apart from controlling costs, the other productivity lever available to providers is to increase
learner numbers. The more learners a provider has the more economies of scale can deliver organisational profitability. Providers that have programmes that employers see as inefficient,
overly bureaucratic and with poor completion rates are going to find it hard to grow their business.

How MWS can help
MWS has developed Aptem, the market-leading apprenticeship delivery platform. Aptem has
been designed for Standards and has all the tools you need for effective and efficient delivery.
Aptem’s blended learning programmes help you use your staff’s time efficiently. With eLearning,
webinars (virtual learning environments) and assessment you can reduce 1:1 tutor contact time and
keep travel to a minimum.
Apprenticeships involve a minimum of 12 months of ‘getting things done’ and the Aptem
Collaboration Centre® and Nudge Engine® maximise your delivery efficiency. They help ensure that
apprentice, tutor and line manager know what needs to be done and when and reduce the risk of
things being missed.
Efficient electronic processes, from recruitment, onboarding and paperwork completion onwards,
help you ensure and monitor compliance. You automate large elements of your delivery, eliminating
double-keying of data and making processes easier for apprentices, employers and your staff.
Reporting becomes easy and real-time, putting you in control of your business.
Aptem’s end-to-end functionality helps with every area of delivery. It makes apprenticeship
programmes easy to set up and guarantees efficiency, quality and compliance.

Aptem’s functionality includes:

  • Employer engagement CRM
  • Recruitment
  • Candidate Management
  • Onboarding including ILR
  • Blended Learning Plan mapped directly to Standards
  • ePortfolio evidence gathering integrated into learning delivery interface
  • Evidence collated into a presentation format for end point assessment
  • Reporting tools
  • Communications
  • Learner progression tracking
  • Batchfile upload to ESFA hub

See all Aptem’s features

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