Apprenticeship Challenges – Behavioural vs Technical Skills
How do you strike the balance between technical and behavioural development?
Introduction: The Current Context
Since 2015, the Government has driven improvement in apprenticeships. This programme of reform was responsible for the launch of the levy and the introduction of standards, amongst other changes.
In 2019, Ofsted revised its inspection criteria, releasing the New Educational Framework. The emphasis of this NEF was on intent, implementation, and impact, with much-reduced credit given to achieving data-driven outcomes. With the apprenticeship reform's introduction of the behavioural standards, and now Ofsted introducing two of only four criteria that focus directly on these components, many providers are rightly worried about their next inspection visit.
This article is the third in a series of short reads covering the pain points faced by apprenticeship training providers in this new world.
In this piece we take a look at the challenges experienced by employers when the importance of releasing apprentices for OTJ training is emphasised.
Behavioural standards are not as important as technical skills: The need for a mindset shift
It is not only employers who favour the delivery of technical skills. Tutors are employed because they have a sector-specific skillset of competences required for specific training. They are likely builders, carpenters, engineers, carers, etc., who wanted to go into training and development. There is a tendency to take the behaviours they demonstrated to get to this level of success for granted and overestimate their ability to "teach" these behaviours to others when some simply do not have the skills needed to develop apprentices in this aspect of the course.
Employability and work readiness are genuine concerns to most leaders of business. The CBI states, "While 45% of businesses rank work-readiness as the most important factor they look for when recruiting, 44% of employers feel that young people leaving school, college or university are not 'work-ready'."
It is not a lack of skill that fails the young people entering the workplace, but unpreparedness for the world of work.
Changing the mindset of tutors to see that behavioural standards are critical to apprentices is a challenge. It might be a matter of how skilled they feel, the pressure of time, or a genuine lack of appreciation of their importance. It is likely a mix of the above in different measures depending on the team involved.
Understanding the significance of developing the right behaviours is essential to gaining the buy-in of all stakeholders. The benefits of character-based development are best appreciated when the benefits have been felt personally.
At Entelechy, we understand that the tutor is our conduit to the learners. The tutor needs to believe in the process and outcomes for the learners to benefit from the evolution of work-based behaviours through character development. We believe that upskilling the tutor and shaping them as advocates for the programme is the best way to succeed.
Our training doesn’t stop at onboarding. We offer ongoing support with coaching sessions and responses to questions via email. We also offer additional training to support assessment.
When the tutor feels an improvement in themselves and is skilled in delivering the programme, the importance of the behaviours becomes self-evident.