So, another month has passed, but I think we might all agree not a normal one in any shape or form.  I have now been in lockdown for six weeks.

A highlight for me in April was the SDN and Mesma hosted webinar with guest speaker Chris Jones.  This was brilliant and an essential watch for any apprenticeship provider.  I had the pleasure of working with Chris for several months at Ofsted, and he is by far the nicest man and most sensible professional I have had the pleasure of working with, so please do take a look at the recording of this webinar on Mesma’s website for great messages and tips about high quality apprenticeship delivery.

Loved his view of the most significant changes in the new Education Inspection Framework, in that it has changed the focus, changed what we look at and what we measure.  This I agree with wholeheartedly, and think it is key in understanding how different the new framework is.  Chris also highlights the curriculum focus and of course the impact on the learner.  But of course, we measure the impact in a different way now.  It is not wholly about gaining qualifications and this is a message I try and get over to providers all the time.  What do you really add to the learner’s new knowledge, their skills and professional behaviours?  What is the real impact of what you deliver?

Other key considerations highlighted in this webinar:-

  • Recruitment of the right people to apprenticeships – absolutely key and of course we have heard that the retention figures for those on the new standards apprenticeship are currently very poor
  • High expectations always
  • Appropriate initial assessment to identify learner starting points
  • Focus on providing the right curriculum
    • What
    • Why?
    • Ensuring transfer into practice – so important – but too often overlooked by providers
  • Re-focussing on teaching not assessment (again, couldn’t agree more)
  • Ensuring a clear distinction but synergy, between on and off the job training
  • Nailing your self-assessment

Another key conversation was about how we train staff to deal with line managers and workplace mentors.  This is key in the new world of apprenticeships I believe, but very under-developed.  Practitioners often say to me that they feel unprepared in doing this, uncomfortable even, and too often they are not properly supported in this respect.  The importance of the tripartite meetings has been raised by both Ofsted and the ESFA.  Getting this right is also essential in the new world of apprenticeships, but this can be a real challenge for providers and practitioners.

Thank you SDN and MESMA for this really useful webinar.