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Aptem’s Higher Education Forum July 2020 – sharing insights and discussing sector issues


The Aptem Higher Education User Forum, made up of Aptem’s University clients with representation from UVAC, met in July 2020 to discuss a range of sector issues and share insights. The Forum is designed to be an open and honest opportunity for our HE clients to meet up, network, share ideas and tell us what they think, so that forum members and Aptem do a better job of degree apprenticeship delivery. Feedback from Universities is overwhelmingly that they find this a very informative and useful way to meet up and share ideas.

Going virtual

Usually hosted by a University, face-to-face, the last two forums have been held remotely with the assistance of MS Teams, which has worked well. 

Paul Mullins, Aptem Chairman, summarised the past few months since the pandemic hit, and the range of possible consequences from an unemployment and skills perspective.

Everyone is having to restructure how they deliver courses, with online platforms at the heart of their new solutions. Forum members are still adding new learners and are actively planning for new cohorts and the new academic year. Apprenticeships – and degree apprenticeships – will play a hugely important role in our COVID recovery. Having in depth capacity to deliver online is the key to robust apprenticeship teaching.

John Brightwell, Aptem’s Chief Technology Officer shared recent and future developments on the Aptem system and demonstrated the new User Interface. Feedback was resoundingly positive and members asked a wide range of questions and requested helpful additional functionality. There was a good debate on the new Dashboards and members shared advice on gathering the most important insights and shared shortcuts. The group discussed the reports that they would need in the future. Feedback from this group, as usual, will be incorporated into Aptem’s future development schedule.

Steve Dewhurst, Aptem’s Higher Education Product Director, hosted an interactive discussion around the themes and current challenges identified by Universities in our latest member survey. This survey was sent to all Forum members, asking for feedback on the challenges Universities are facing and what help they require – either from Aptem or each other.

Themes discussed

The talk covered a wide range of issues facing the sector. We discussed:

Onboarding Practice and integration with other systems

Universities shared onboarding practices, integrating Aptem with other systems and the experience of their learners / apprentices.

COVID and engagement

Members discussed strategies to encourage regular engagement with Aptem by apprentices and Steve Willis and Jamie Wilson from Middlesex University, talked through how they have used the integrated Zoom feature within Aptem to maintain engagement with learners.

Initial Needs Analysis and Recognition of Prior Learning

Introduced by Alex Morrison from Bucks New University, members discussed the variation in practice and challenges associated with managing this process.

Off the Job Hours and ILR

Ideas and best practice on recording off the job hours were shared. As were options for monitoring planned and live off the job hours each month as part of the ILR return.

End Point Assessment

Members discussed the need for Integrated End Point Assessments and developing a process in Aptem.

The session ended with a member-led discussion, giving people the opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences.

The next Higher Education User Forum will be held at the end of October and we look forward to sharing the insights.

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