Off-the-job training for apprenticeships needs to be effective for top Ofsted gradings. But how?
Training providers are businesses. We might idealise education, believing the outcomes for the individual apprentices are the only key performance indicator, but the cost-effective delivery of training for profit has different success criteria. The equation comes down to the best provision for the lowest cost.
We might idealise education, believing the outcomes for the individual apprentices are the only key performance indicator, but the cost-effective delivery of training for profit has different success criteria. The equation comes down to the best provision for the lowest cost.
When the government linked funding to outcomes through the levy, there was a genuine feeling that this was common sense. Yet, for some training providers, this posed an inherent threat. In 2020, 2500 learners were impacted when Progress to Excellence Ltd went bust after being judged inadequate by Ofsted.
Rigorous standards are established by Trailblazer groups, governed mainly by industry sector leaders. The training providers then seek to provide supporting evidence to prove adherence to these standards.
While best practice exists, Ofsted claims that the reporting of off-the-job training and adherence to standards by training providers was “unreliable” (FE News). In short, the administration of evidence of adherence to these standards to gain funding was more of a priority. The health of the business model relies too heavily on outcomes. Yet, sometimes, no matter your best efforts and intentions, learners fail. Therefore, training providers need to mitigate this risk.
When surveyed about apprenticeships, learners were highly satisfied with their employers but unsatisfied with off-the-job training. Ofsted reported off-the-job training to be a mixed picture, with some good practice but a lot of inadequate provision too.
It is possible that training providers reading this feel part resentment at the implication of this analysis and part resigned to some truth in what is being said. It is a tricky business. With a lot of money to be made, the temptation to cash in is high.
It is apparent there is a pain point here. It could be argued that high-quality provision, which is fool-proof, takes many talented professionals working with a low ratio of trainer to learner. Yet, we have already established that training providers are businesses, and PtE went bust because they onboarded too many students for staff to effectively manage.
Where there is a pain point, there is an opportunity for a solution.
Entelechy Academy believes they can provide close to 50% of the off-the-job training via an eLearning platform. The self-directed model of learning blends an online experience with on-the-job experiments and reflections. With a focus on Character, which tracks against the Behaviour standards set by the Trailblazer groups, learners explore, act, and reflect on what it takes to show up to be the best version of themselves in the workplace.
Of course, there are tracking tools within the platform to evidence off-the-job training hours. Better still, there is a means of calculating the amount of time it took to act on this learning while on-the-job. The application of behaviours while working with the employer should be seen as an extension of theoretical understanding.
There is also a quality assured mode of assessment that allows training providers to evidence successful completion of this learning.
Training Providers are expected to offer 302.4 hours of dedicated off-the-job training a year.
A license for the Entelechy Platform costs £100 plus VAT.
As the work done with Entelechy covers one of the significant criteria for Ofsted, it can account for up to 50% of these 364 hours. The consequence? Training Providers pay 58p an hour for high-quality provision, and learners are guided to evolve their Character and develop the best learning habits.