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Three ways to make your apprenticeship provision stand out

The first round of providers to join Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers has been revealed – but employers are still asking how they can tell which apprenticeship providers are the best for their business.

We’re talking to employers that are in the process of creating their apprenticeship strategies on a daily basis, and, when it comes to choosing a provider, there are a few common themes that crop up a lot.

If you’re looking to set your organisation apart, here are three key things that employers say makes a provider stand out from the competition:

1. You don’t stand still

The world of apprenticeships has changed considerably in the past couple of years – the new employer-led standards mean that there’s a renewed focus on keeping training current, and making sure it’s really delivering results for the industries it’s been designed for.

Employers want to know that their provider has an excellent understanding of their industry, and keeps abreast of the latest issues they are facing – so making this a key part of your strategy can make a real difference to how they view your offer.

Having a robust plan to stay up-to-date with both industry trends and apprenticeship developments – including things like employer engagement, staff development, flexibility in design and delivery, apprentice development and evaluation – is something businesses say they really value.

One provider that takes this approach is HTP Apprenticeship College. Not only does it have a dedicated business development and marketing team who are tasked with staying up to speed with the needs of the hospitality industry, but it also makes sure it is actively involved with local, regional and national government and hospitality networks. This allows the team to quickly identify and respond to any key industry changes as well as statutory policy.

2. You treat every employer as an individual

Every employer is different, so most say they’d be put off by a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to apprenticeship delivery. Instead, they’re looking for providers who are willing to be flexible and work with them to understand their specific needs and the format that they want to deliver the apprenticeship in.

Going through this process will help your client see how you can create a programme that will achieve results for their business, and improve productivity. If you can build a programme that focuses on developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the business needs, but that also meets the requirements set out through the apprenticeship reform, you’ll tick a lot of employer boxes!

One way to do this is to have a dedicated resource for assessing your clients’ needs. Vision Business, part of West Nottinghamshire College, has responded to the recent changes to apprenticeship reforms by restructuring its provision.

Its solutions architect now works with employers to map their in-house training against the new apprenticeship standards, creating a blended approach to learning. This allows employers to maintain control of their own delivery, while Vision Business provides consultative business support to the talent-planning process.

3. You protect and value the apprenticeship brand

When it comes to identifying elite providers, businesses say they are looking for the ones that don’t compromise on quality – no matter what! Results speak for themselves, so making sure that your apprentices achieve high-quality outcomes, and that their programme truly helps them become fully competent in their role and ready to progress, is vital to helping employers distinguish you from other providers.

It’s one thing to have fantastic results, but businesses need to know about them, and be able to find them easily when they’re researching providers.

Shouting about your apprenticeship success stories is an ideal way to show businesses what they can achieve by employing apprentices and working with you. One provider that does this really well is HIT Training, whose website is packed with clear examples of how both businesses and individuals have been transformed by its provision. Take a look here.

Follow these three tips and you’ll be well on the way to working with more businesses!

Helping the best apprenticeship providers stand out from the crowd

To help employers find apprenticeship providers that are doing all of the above and more – just like HTP, Vision Business and HIT – we’ve established our gold standard apprenticeship provider network.

Whether you’re already working at gold standard level, or would like support to raise the level of your apprenticeship delivery, joining the network will help raise your visibility with employers and show them that you are committed to providing the best possible service.

Find out more about the benefits of becoming a gold standard provider or get in touch below to find out how we could help you:

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