As an apprentice myself working for Pearson TQ, a training provider, I feel I have a unique perspective. I have recently commenced my Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship Standard and as such I am in the early stages of understanding and learning about my own apprenticeship programme. At the same time I am gaining valuable insight into the complexities of the operational delivery of apprenticeships from a training provider and employer provider (behind-the-scenes) perspective.
I thoroughly enjoyed the event, the key learning I took away was around Pearson Apprenticeship Programme updates by Anne Ashworth, Contracting by Lorraine McKay, Pearson as an End Point Assessment Organisation by Ellyn Duggan and Pearson and Ofsted Education Inspection Framework by Maureen Deary, Ofsted Inspector.
The Pearson Apprenticeship Programme update by Anne Ashworth, gave an impressive insight into how dedicated Pearson is as an employer to Apprenticeships. It was interesting to learn that I am 1 out of 100 apprentices in Pearson currently on an apprenticeship programme and that Level 3 apprenticeships are the most common apprenticeship programmes Pearson delivers (shown in graph below).
Contracting by Lorraine McKay provided me with further insight into the agreements and clauses that a contract between an employer and training provider includes.
There are three main agreements between:
- the employer and training provider,
- the Education Skills Funding Agency and training provider,
- a Learning contract between the employer and training provider
This helped further my understanding of how Pearson and my apprenticeship training provider Apprenticeship Connect handle contracting and all the hard work that goes into this element of an apprenticeship programme.
Learning more about Pearson as an End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), by Ellyn Duggan, was particularly interesting to me as this section directly impacts upon my current role. Ellyn’s session was extremely informative and provided a detailed overview of Pearson End Point Assessment (EPA) processes and procedures.
The key information I gained from this session was that EPA requires a different way of working in comparison to the delivery of apprenticeship training by training providers - making the relationship between the EPAO and training provider crucial to bridge the gap. The sign off at Gateway between the apprentice, their line manager and the assessor is critical in determining whether the learner is ready and prepared to take their EPA. I am intrigued to have a say in when I will be ready to undertake my own EPA, as I have never had this opportunity throughout my educational journey.
The Ofsted Educational Inspection Framework session by Maureen Deary gave training providers some useful advice on the areas that will be judged by Ofsted during their inspection:
- the overall effectiveness of the quality of education
- how the framework will contain focused curriculum reviews
- what works well for preparing for an inspection.
These are challenges that Pearson and my training provider Apprenticeship Connect will face, meaning the insight is essential.
There is much more to an apprenticeship than meets the eye as three important elements must work together: the Employer, the Training Provider and the End Point Assessment Organisation.
The quality of relationships and collaboration between all three parties is imperative as each must have a system in place to ensure the apprenticeship process runs harmoniously, while ensuring they can match the criteria set by the Education Skills Funding Agency and Ofsted.
Education is a constantly changing sector, meaning there is an urgency between all three parties to keep up with these new challenges, maintain quality and meet the needs of learners. As an apprentice, I am grateful to all the parties coming together to make my apprenticeship programme possible.