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Apprentices in a pandemic: 33 passes and a bright future

I’ve been Head of Apprenticeships at The Learning Enterprise since October 2019, but I’ve worked with apprentices for 10 years now. It’s fair to say that in all those years, I have not experienced challenges quite like the ones this pandemic has forced us to face.

Despite these difficulties, we’ve worked tirelessly over the last year to ensure that our apprentices have continued to receive all the support they require to succeed. As a result, from June 2020 to December 2020, we put 33 apprentices through their End Point Assessment, and I’m proud that all achieved a pass, merit or distinction.

Overall, we’ve delivered training to over 180 people, and we’re continuing to build the future of apprenticeships.

Hiring an apprentice or giving an existing employee the chance to complete an apprenticeship is a productive way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

National Apprenticeship week is from the 8th-14th February 2021, and I want to take a moment to tell you about the incredible work our team has seen through this year and celebrate the successes of our apprentices.

After the appearance of Covid-19, we’ve worked closely with regulators such as the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) to develop flexible assessment approaches so that all of the people we’re working with could continue learning and adapt to the new circumstances.

For example, like many organisations we transitioned to a fully virtual learning environment overnight but we also needed to make sure apprentices could access what they needed. We made sure our apprentices had access to our online systems and were comfortable with the technology they were using. We were also considerate of their individual working environments, some had to take on the responsibility of home-schooling their children for example.

Our apprentices have shown exceptional resilience, rising to the challenges of the situation and constantly adapting.

Our team have sustained high levels of optimism and creativity, and some have even taken on the role of councillor. With some apprentices working full time alongside their apprenticeships, including on the frontline of the health and care response, many have confided in their assessors, who have being empathetic and compassionate with their circumstances. These levels of support deserve huge recognition, and prove that it’s not just about the education, but the mental support we provide too.

To offer optimum levels of support to our apprentices, we partner with CognAssist, which supplies cognitive and neurodiversity assessments that identify individual learners’ needs. This process allows us to better support the unique needs of learners through tailored delivery of our programmes. Overall, we are able to provide seamless and high quality support to apprentices that is specific to them.

We want to build the confidence of our learners, as well as their futures. There are endless amounts of benefits to apprenticeships; they allow us to gain new knowledge and skills, build resilience and open new doors. The value is undefinable.

We would love to work with more organisations, whether you’re considering on boarding someone at a junior level, or want to provide your existing employees, at any level in their careers, with the opportunities of learning and development. I’d like to leave you with some facts.

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation.
  • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity.
  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service.

Apprenticeships are the way forward in the future, they are beneficial to both the learner and the organisation, and they are a key route to increasing productivity and retaining staff.

For more information, you can find us here.

Virgin Care
Virgin Care
Virgin Care
Virgin Care

Jacqui is at gateway point now and preparing for the End Point Assessment of her Level 3 Senior Healthcare Worker Apprenticeship. She said, “From the first day my whole team have been supportive and encouraging. They want me to be the best I can be”.

Virgin Care
Virgin Care

Kim is currently halfway through her second year of the Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship. She said, “I would recommend this apprenticeship as a good opportunity to develop new skills and confidence.”

Virgin Care
Virgin Care

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Virgin Care
Virgin Care

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