Choosing the RIGHT apprenticeship training provider
It’s National Apprentice Week 4th March – 8th March 2019 – a perfect time to explore the possibilities of expanding your team by employing an apprentice groom!
All apprenticeships are supported by a specialist training organisation and choosing the right apprenticeship training provider is hugely important to a success outcome for both the learner and the employer. The Apprentice role (as opposed to “Working Pupil/Student”, Junior or Trainee which you may see from time to time), is the only role that is going to provide standardised training, assessments, and a nationally recognised formal qualification for the learner. In addition, for a young person under 18, who is legally obliged to remain in education or training (unless they have a full Level 3 qualification already in the form of either A levels or a level 3 vocational qualification), a formal apprenticeship or traineeship are legal forms of employment.
What is a Training Provider?
A training provider is an official training organisation that provide and oversee training programmes and assess a learner’s progress. Training providers that deliver apprenticeships leading to nationally recognised qualifications receive government funding through a contract with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), and OFSTED inspects all training organisations in receipt of government funding.
What do Training Providers do?
Training organisations are responsible for providing a range of support to employers. Once an employer has chosen a suitable training organisation they should do the following:
- In discussion with you, complete a formal skill scan clarifying the potential apprentice groom’s key areas for development
- Identify the right apprenticeship for your yard’s requirements
- Develop a training plan that reflects the apprentice groom’s and your needs in line with the relevant Apprenticeship Standard’s criteria, taking into account your yard routines, competition schedules and seasonal activities
- Regularly review and test the progress of an apprentice groom and provide feedback to you and to the learner
- Provide training to support the apprentice groom with off-the-job learning and the knowledge elements of the programme. Some training providers can offer training within the employer’s yard, so the apprentice doesn’t have to take time away to receive this part of their training.
- Support the maths and English learning of an apprentice who doesn’t have GCSE grades at A – C/9 – 4
- Prepare the apprentice for their End Point Assessment
How do I choose a Training Provider?
When choosing an equine apprenticeship training provider, there are a few things you should consider. If you already have a good relationship and receive good service and support with a training provider the old adage ‘if it a’int broke, don’t fix it’ should apply BUT not all training providers offer services to the equine industry, and it can’t be taken for granted that all training providers are equal! It’s important to pick a provider that has a track record of delivering what both the learner and the employer needs.
Before you can find the most suitable training provider for your yard you need to think about:
- What your horses do and how your yard operates
- The level of apprentice groom your require, e.g.
- an entry level trainee groom
- a trainee senior groom
- a learner looking for training in a specific equine industry sector
It’s the employer who chooses the training provider to deliver their apprenticeship programmes. The chosen college or training provider helps to identify the right apprenticeship course for both the yard and the learner, and will develop a training plan which reflects everyone’s needs. You’re going to be liaising with your training provider regularly and inviting them onto your yard to have input on the training of your apprentice, so this is a key decision the outcome of which will impact significantly on the outcome of your decision and it’s worth investing time to choose the right training provider for you and your yard. We are happy to recommend the best contenders! contact
Find a training provider who is available to deliver
Not all apprentice training providers cover all geographical regions, so you may have heard the name of one, or have been recommended one, but check they cover your area. The training provider must also have Trainer Coaches available to cover your apprenticeship. One assessor can only cover a certain volume of apprenticeships at a time, so you need to know they’re going to have adequate time and resources to take your apprentice on. It is a good idea to ask how many learners the Trainer Coach is currently working with – we understand that an ideal number is around 35 to ensure each learner receives a good level of support and regular monthly visits. We are happy to recommend the best contenders! Contact us here.
Don’t assume the biggest is the best for you
Get to know all the apprentice training providers available to you, and don’t just go with the first you hear of or speak to. Your local college OR a private training provider might suit your needs, but you won’t know for sure unless you investigate. They are all delivering the same service, but their methods may differ from each other, and what is right for one yard may not be ideal for yours so it’s worth shopping around. We are happy to recommend the best contenders! Contact us here.
Find a training provider you can get on with
When dealing and chatting with training providers don’t underestimate the value of hitting it off with a particular Trainer/Coach. The personal approach of the individual training providers will differ and if you find chemistry and synergy in dealing with them you’ll most likely enjoy a working relationship with them for all your future apprenticeships. We are happy to recommend the best contenders! Contact us here.
Find out what each training provider actually knows about horses
It may sound strange, but it’s a possibility that you can end up dealing with advisers from a training provider who don’t actually know much about horses and the equine industry, even if the company they work for is an equestrian college or training provider! It may be apparent that the person you’re speaking to is deeply knowledgeable about apprenticeships and funding, but if they don’t know much about horses and the different needs of different disciplines and types of equine business you’re soon going to find yourself feeling disappointed. And if they are advertising your vacancy too…well! We are happy to recommend the best contenders! Contact us here.
Linda Hudson, Head of Business Development at Educ8 Training, offers this advice, “Don’t be afraid to challenge the person you’re speaking to about their vocational background – find out what they actually know about horses and the equine industry, and if you find holes in their understanding then reconsider using them. There are training providers out there with representatives that are seasoned equestrians, who know what they’re talking about in both apprenticeship and equestrian terms, and you’ll get a far better experience and outcome as a result. Whilst you can usually expect that the Trainer Coaches will have a solid equestrian background, the initial advice and guidance you receive from office based advisers before enrolling your apprentice should also be based on good knowledge of the industry”
Try to find a training provider who puts quality above meeting quotas
If you are being given hurried advice and your gut feeling tells you that there isn’t enough care being taken in the guidance you are being given, it may be that the advisers are just interested in signing you and your learner up as soon as possible – trust your instincts and look elsewhere. A good training provider will have staff who take time to understand you and the needs of your yard and business first. You will know when you are talking to an expert who is taking a genuine interest.
Beware of using free recruitment services
Many colleges and private training providers offer a complete service and will advertise your apprentice vacancy for you as part of your arrangement with them, but beware of just using a free recruitment service. Sometimes things are free for a reason and you won’t necessarily get the result you want !
- if the person marketing your vacancy doesn’t understand the equine industry you are unlikely to get an accurate advertisement, which will not attract the right job seekers for you
- the scale of the audience to which your job is marketed will have a huge impact on the quality and speed of your applications – if it’s just within the college campus, or simply on social media pages you’re unlikely to get the right results quickly
From just £60 inc VAT you can advertise your vacancy on The Grooms List job board as well as searching and contacting apprentice job seekers directly yourself. Not only will you be advertising your vacancy to equestrian job seekers looking for apprenticeship opportunities locally and nationally, but you’ll have dedicated equine recruitment specialists on hand to help you get the best results and target the most relevant candidates for your needs. Find out more about how we can help you find the right apprentice groom for your yard by clicking here.
What should I expect of my training provider?
Each Training Provider should give you clear information on the level of service you can expect to receive and also set out what responsibilities you have throughout the apprenticeship. Details of funding and other financial arrangements will also need to be clearly explained. For apprentices aged 16 – 18 you may be eligible for a £1,000 Government Incentive and your Training Provider should check your right to this payment as well as clarifying the conditions and timing for payments. Small employers (up to 49 staff) do not contribute to the costs of an apprenticeship for 16 – 18 year olds but will be expected to pay towards an apprenticeship for 19+ learners – again, make sure your Training Provider explains this to you. Off the Job Training is a requirement for all apprenticeships and some Training Providers are better than others in supporting you with practical advice on how to comply with this as easily as possible.
Once you’ve selected a training provider you might wish to create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to help build a close working relationship. The SLA should set out the responsibilities and duties of each partner, including measures and deadlines that you’ll both follow. In any event, your Apprenticeship Training Agreement will set out the main terms and conditions.
Is the provider registered with the Education and Skills Funding Agency?
You can find the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) register on the Gov.uk website.
Are they on the Register of apprenticeship training providers?
Since May 2017 it has been possible to check this this Register.
What’s their latest OFSTED report?
You can find OFSTED reports here.
What’s their Learner Satisfaction reports?
You can find FE Choices survey results and OFSTED results here.