My name is Kevin Foreman, I am the Operations Manager for SR Apprenticeships. I am responsible for ensuring the day-to-day delivery and operations are effective as well as managing the department leads for internal quality, curriculum and IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance). I have worked for SR Education for just short of 4 years and have worked in apprenticeship training for 17 years.
As a training provider, SR Apprenticeships have always prided ourselves on following our philosophy of quality training, teaching and learning for all of our Apprentices. We deliver a blended approach to ensure the Apprentices have the best experience being able to showcase their new skills utilising technology as a smaller proportion of our face-to-face onsite delivery.
Impact of Coronavirus in Apprenticeships
Needless to say, that this year we have been challenged in a way that we were not expecting with the Coronavirus pandemic hitting the country hard. This led to many businesses having to furlough their employees as the country went in to its first lockdown resulting in zero face to face visits for our Apprentices.
Around half of our Apprenticeship caseload were furloughed meaning we could not work with these Apprentices, however this still meant that we had half of our caseload that we needed to ensure we progressed and supported though this difficult time.
Adapting the Learning Experience
Our delivery team were able to quickly adapt and embrace a new delivery style utilising technology to its full potential whilst maintaining our quality of delivery. The Tutors used a variety of methods from Zoom, Microsoft Teams and the big blue button. Ensuring that all learners were seen virtually for their 1-1 meetings which also included the line managers in various meetings. As we continued to develop this approach, we began to get more creative and confident by running workshops, not only for closed Employer groups but for a wider group completing the same Apprenticeship Standard.
The results of this approach have been amazing, seeing Learners achieve with the support of our Tutors. Since the 1st August, 115 of our Apprentices have successfully passed their Apprenticeship Standard with 77% of these gaining a Distinction from their End Point Assessment.
This pandemic will undoubtedly change the way we live our lives and how Employers operate their businesses, and it will change the way we deliver our Apprenticeships in the future once the new normality resumes. I will always be an advocate for face-to-face being the best, most effective way to deliver an Apprenticeship. However, I believe that the use of technology will be more prominent as we have seen with our own successes that it can be a greatly supportive tool implemented in the correct way.