Measuring the impact of your apprenticeships

8 mins

Do you currently measure the impact of your apprenticeships? Armed with tangible results from tracking your programme’s success, you can continue to grow, strengthen and execute an apprenticeship strategy that drives maximum ROI.

So, how can you prove your apprenticeships are creating change for the better, for both your people and business? In our latest webinar, we discuss the best practice for tracking, monitoring and reporting on your provision.

Lifetime’s experts, Senior Business Development Manager, Tim Scott and Insight Consultant, Dan Kunka, explore Lifetime’s Impact Evaluation Service. It's how we support our partners to identify programme success, ways it can improve and keep their apprenticeships evolving.

“This webinar was so helpful in qualifying where we’re up to when benchmarking against other employers. It’s definitely something we need to formalise and put even more thought into, as we’re now further into our apprenticeship programme. We should be making the most use of the info that’s starting to be available to us!”

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Hear from Lifetime’s experts

Watch our webinar to find out exactly how we measure our partners’ programme success.


Linking apprenticeship strategy to outcomes

From Lifetime’s award-winning partnerships, industry-leading programmes and outstanding learner feedback, we knew we delivered results. Our recent partner survey is just an example of how powerful apprenticeships can be:

of our partners said that apprenticeships are increasing the competency of their workforce
of our partners said that apprenticeships with improving the productivity of their workforce
said that apprenticeships are supporting their organisation to fill skills gaps

But we wanted our partners to have the tools to measure the exact business impact their apprenticeships were having. Backed by data, programme success could be brought to life for our partners, and importantly, shared with key stakeholders.

This is why we built our Impact Evaluation service. We create bespoke reports to link apprenticeship strategy to its outcomes. Measuring exactly where we’re creating impact can be as in-depth and as concise as you like, but there are often clear benefits:

Defining the scope of your report

We want to showcase how your apprenticeship programme is having an impact on your employees, but also your entire business. So how do we know where to measure success? And where to dive deeper too? This is all about understanding your business, workforce and apprenticeship strategy.

To start building your report, we first uncover the data we should track. Depending on what matters to you, we'll look at data that's readily available, how we can gather more and how to benchmark this internally and externally. We group this into three levels:

  • Business: what do your retention rates and recruitment costs look like? And crucially, how do your apprentices compare to non-apprentices?
  • Manager: what are the benefits for your managers? This might be increasing competencies, but also gathering data from surveys, interviews and focus groups.
  • Apprentice: are apprenticeships increasing your employees' knowledge, skills, behaviours, confidence and job satisfaction?

Impact Evaluations uncover how your apprenticeships are a success. But they're also an invaluable tool for providing content for your programme, award entries and importantly, influencing your senior teams.

To see how your apprentices compare to your non-apprentice population, we measure data to evidence the real benefits of your apprenticeship programme:

  • Retention: are lower turnover rates making a saving on your cost of recruitment?
  • Progression: how are apprenticeships supporting with your succession planning?
  • Promotion: are apprenticeships helping your people move up the career ladder?
  • Social mobility: how is your programme supporting those in deprived communities?
  • Improved proficiency: is there increased productivity/confidence/job satisfaction?

Industry data, relevant to you

Benchmarking is the best practice for understanding how well your programme is working. It’s what contextualises your stats and how we compare your success to industry data, whether that’s exploring demographics, ethnicity, industry-specific targets or driving social mobility.

To compare your programme against a vast amount of data, we use a range of resources: ONS, ESFA, Social Mobility Commission, Government research and statistics as well as sector bodies like Skills for Care and CIPD.

And because our employer partners work across different sectors, we can take benchmarking to the next level to evaluate your programme's performance. When we create Impact Reports, we use Lifetime’s own data to compare your programme across similar sectors. It’s how we can ask why things work (or could work better) to keep innovating your provision.

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Executing effective evaluations

So, how are Impact Evaluations actually used within businesses – and embedded within our partners’ apprenticeship strategies? Here’s how we optimise impact reports’ potential, from a non-data standpoint.

Success from the start

We want to leverage your report to know you have the right learners, on the right programme, at the right time. It's why we first nail down what your report will measure.

We get to know you, your strategy and identify your organisation’s objectives, main people challenges and goals. This defines where your apprenticeship programme fits within your business, where we can create impact and how we can solve problems.

Maximising impact

Now we've got your aims and are ready to merge any of your existing data. Depending on your unique business objectives, measuring and maximising impact can mean anything from more apprentices, to increased support for learners. To make reports bespoke to you, we uncover some essential details:

  • What? What makes your stakeholders tick? And what content and format should the report be in that works for your business?
  • Who? Who are we involving and informing at each level? Is it Board or site-level (or both?)
  • When? This isn’t about releasing data for the sake of data. When do you want insights – and how often?

The end-product

How do we release Impact Evaluations? It's entirely up to you. Anything from in-depth reports to social media snippets, we’ll get the right messages through to the right audience.

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Impact Evaluations in use: B&Q case study

To show what our Impact Evaluation life cycle looks like, we’ll use our partnership with B&Q as an example. Although as a business, B&Q was already pretty engaged with apprenticeships, there were operational stakeholders that still weren’t fully bought in.

The challenge: B&Q wanted to promote that apprenticeships were available for every colleague, so needed a way to prove apprenticeships were worth the investment. The reason why Lifetime’s Impact Evaluation measures were so powerful, was because we could put a cost on it:

  • 13% lower turnover rates for colleagues on a Level 2 apprenticeship, compared to the wider B&Q turnover rate for Customer Advisors (an estimated cost saving of £97,188 on re-hiring every 12 months)
  • 1.7% lower absence rates for colleagues undertaking a Level 2 apprenticeship, compared to the wider B&Q turnover rate for Customer Advisors (an estimated cost saving of £196,142 due to improved sickness)

So, how did we use the findings as a tool for changing the mindset? Here's how we created impact:

  • Board and Senior level: we know elevating L&D as a priority can be incredibly challenging. Sharing findings that showcased the benefits of B&Q apprenticeships ultimately gained buy-in and increased engagement.
  • Managers and Operational Stakeholders: this data provided fresh apprenticeship stats for the impact on B&Q, whether that was entire regions or individual stores.
  • Coach and Learner: it impacted on-programme conversations too; an opportunity for a shared vision, that could be measured. It helped with pinch-points during apprenticeships, used as a vehicle for increasing line manager engagement.
  • 76% of colleagues who had completed their apprenticeship had been retained a year after achieving.
  • Store engagement increased from 76% to 83% (from 2021-22)
  • Increase in agreement for the statement “My apprenticeship is important to achieving my career goals” from 62% to 86%

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Bringing data to life: tangible business results

To give more examples of the measures we investigate, the data points we capture and the questions we ask our partners, we'll focus on retention, performance, satisfaction and well-being.


One of our recent surveys was sent to apprenticeship achievers to find out if they’re still with the same employer. From our sample size of 8,000 respondents, 74% of them were still employed two years after achieving their apprenticeship.

But apprenticeships aren’t just great for retaining people – they’re effective at creating a talent pipeline too. In another survey, we found 52% of employees who achieved an apprenticeship have been promoted or taken on additional responsibilities. This is both important for succession planning, but also opening up opportunities for anyone working their way up the career ladder.

Job performance, satisfaction and wellbeing

Apprenticeship benefits extend beyond retention, with the power to have a real, positive impact on individuals. Our other recent surveys have found more incredible stats:

achievers said it helped them perform better at their job
of achievers said it improved their job satisfaction
of achievers indicated it gave them a clearer idea of their future
achievers said it helped to keep them physically and mentally well

If you’d like even more of a deep dive into Lifetime’s Impact Evaluation service, why not watch our webinar? You can get further expert advice, more case studies and find out what it’s like working with us.

Tracking your apprenticeship

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