Apprenticeships are increasingly recognised as a key means of skills development and are only set to increase in importance. For Independent Training Providers (ITPs) this involves finding ways to streamline the process of apprenticeship delivery and recognising that this is a necessary step to align with current and future education practices.
It is understandable that making the major change to a new technology provider comes with questions and uncertainty. Here, the factors that ITPs should look for in an end-to-end apprenticeship technology solution will be discussed.
Efficient automation of business processes, resulting in consistent data
Being able to streamline an operation lessens the need to manually manage data, and reduces entry duplication across multiple systems. Alongside this comes the importance of having ‘one version of the truth’. For any organisation, but especially ones dealing with large quantities of information like ITPs, ensuring there are no disparities between data is essential. This has been a common issue faced by training providers who do not use an end-to-end technology solution but instead rely on keeping information up-to-date on multiple systems. It is time consuming and challenging to correct any data inconsistencies across multiple platforms. An end-to-end technology solution ensures all data is provided in one place and removes the need to use various management information systems, Learning Management Systems or ePortfolios. As a result, data discrepancies are avoided and the process of managing data is streamlined, saving training providers valuable time and effort.
Compliance and quality assurance
Finding a system that helps to maintain compliance is essential when delivering government funded programmes which sits across all providers. ITPs are audited financially through the ESFA and in educational standards through Ofsted. Therefore, digital data must be captured accurately and follow all funding rules and guidance, within the apprenticeship platform. A training provider should be able to request, record, approve and track any change of circumstances or data issues using an end-to-end solution. This also provides the ability to flag an issue on a particular learner record and track it through to resolution without having to manage this externally through spreadsheets.
Using Automation to reduce data errors
Faults in data could lead to it being rejected by the ESFA. When this process is subject to automation and intelligence there is a far lower margin for error. Complex processes, such as completing the ILR file, become faster and less problematic.
Learner progress tracking
For a training provider, focusing on how learners are progressing with their studies is key to ensuring that goals are achieved and standards of training delivery evolve to meet relevant requirements. To facilitate this process, it is important to have clear analytical information on how learners are progressing, engaging with their programme and how they consume digital learning content. An end-to-end technology solution, using a fully integrated learning management system and a content delivery mechanism through the e-portfolio, can monitor how learners are progressing through the programme. Seeing how learning content is being consumed, for example how often students are viewing videos, can help to create a learning plan and ensure learners remain engaged – an Ofsted requirement.
Easy to use interface
User experience is a key part of training provision. It is important to find an end-to-end technology solution which focuses on creating the smoothest possible journey for learners, employers and tutors. Easy-to-navigate consoles and a clear and intuitive interface are basic requirements that a training provider should require in an end-to-end solution.
Reduce apprenticeship delivery costs by up to 15%
Cost will always be a consideration when looking to implement an end-to-end technology solution. Whilst it may seem daunting to invest money into a new system, this new end-to-end technology solution will combine all of the systems that would have been used in the past, resulting in a cost saving of up to 15%. Streamlining the number of vendors used to deliver training not only saves money, but time. With an end-to-end solution, training providers should expect to be dealing with one vendor in a partnership that can offer them the knowledge of a group of industry experts. An end-to-end solution vendor should not just be a software house but instead a panel of subject matter experts, offering what is currently needed by the training provider, as well as looking ahead to what will be required in the future. Use the Aptem Delivery Savings Calculator to see how much you could save.
Using a new technology solution that reaches into all areas of the organisation is an understandably unnerving leap for a training provider. The learners, tutors and administrators who use this system every day will be affected by the ease with which they can navigate it. Therefore, choosing a supplier who recognises this significant shift and is committed to making it as smooth as possible will make it an easier process.