What to ask when you’re choosing an apprenticeship training organisation

What to ask when you’re choosing an apprenticeship training organisation

Behind every great Apprenticeship Scheme is a great Training Provider. Choosing the right one for you is therefore critical in ensuring you get the right apprenticeship, and even the right apprentice, for your business.

Like schools, all training organisations are subject to an Ofsted inspection and you can review their Ofsted results online. The Find Apprenticeship Training search tool on Gov.uk also provides a ‘completion rate’ for each training organisation listed, which shows how many apprentices complete an apprenticeship with that organisation. However as with choosing a school, these figures only tell one side of the story. It could be for instance that the training provider delivers apprenticeships which have a notoriously tough completion rate, or if they’re new to apprenticeships delivery they can’t gain an outstanding result until they’ve been delivering for a set time. Therefore it’s a good idea to look beyond the official figures to decide for yourself whether you think this training provider will do a great job for your business.

To help you find out more about a potential training provider, we’ve compiled a list of questions that you could ask them prior to appointment:

The training provider’s sector experience

  • What experience do you have in providing training within my sector and how long have you been doing this?
  • Do your trainers and assessors have particular relevant experience you can describe to me?
  • What references or recommendations can you provide from other employers? Are there any I could speak to?
  • Aside from your Ofsted report, do you hold any quality marks or accreditations?
  • Can you outline the recruitment support you offer?
  • How many students undertake this specific apprenticeship each year, and how much interest does the programme generate?

The costs associated with training

  • What funding do you receive to support the training costs and where does that funding come from?
  • Is this a Apprenticeship Framework or Apprenticeship Standard? How does the funding differ between comparable programmes?
  • Would my business be required to make a contributions and, if so, how much?
  • Please can you outline fully all other costs involved, for example registration fees, travel expenses, payment for materials or equipment?

The facilities apprentices will have access to

  • What facilities and equipment do you have and is it possible to take a tour of these?
  • Will my business be required to provide any specific equipment?

Delivery of training

  • Can the Apprenticeship be tailored to meet the specific needs of my business?
  • How is the Apprenticeship training delivered (day release, on site, etc.) and can you deliver training out of hours if required?
  • What percentage of the apprentices’ time will be spent training?
  • How are individual training needs assessed and how is training altered to meet them?
  • How frequently will you visit the workplace to carry out assessments?
  • Can an apprentice start their apprenticeship at any time of year?
  • Do you have a copy of the Apprenticeship Framework or Standard learning objectives and assessment criteria?
  • Can I talk to any existing or ex-apprentices on this programme?
  • What time estimate would you put on an apprentice’s extra workload each week?
  • How will you keep me informed about how each apprentice is progressing?

By asking these questions, either via email or in a face-to-face meeting with the training provider, you can gain a clearer idea of how the apprenticeship will work on a practical level. Additionally, setting out the details in this way can shape your expectations and prevent surprises in the months ahead for all three parties – you, the training provider and the apprentice themselves. Good training providers will be happy to help and keen to share their knowledge and experience.

Remember too that Apprenticemakers is the ideal place to ask other employers about the training providers they would recommend for their region or sector. Search for similar businesses and drop them a line to see if they have any suggestions, or ask a question in the community forum.

Good luck with your search and please join Apprenticemakers to share experience that could benefit other budding apprentice employers.

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