Why change apprenticeship providers?

7.5 min read time

The key to achieving long-term commercial goals is developing the right people, with the right skills. It’s one of the many reasons why apprenticeships are an invaluable tool for business success. Not only does apprenticeship training provide a clear route for upskilling new and existing staff, but it also brings in fresh talent that can be retained across businesses.

With a clear appetite for upskilling evident across numerous industries, many employers with apprenticeship programmes already in place will be evaluating whether their training providers are cut out to deliver training to their business needs – and give them a competitive edge.

If not, could finding another apprenticeship provider be more beneficial? And crucially, a key step in unlocking workforce potential?

Why find another apprenticeship provider? 

Your learners are not receiving support

The learner experience is pivotal. It’s the key to having an employee that gets the most out of their apprenticeship programme, completes it and adds real value to your business.

Learners start programmes at different ability levels, so it’s up to your training provider to make sure that every learner receives the best chance of success – and provides consistent support at every step.

Lifetime has a dedicated Learner Support Team, with a range of life skills resources available to every learner, alongside a 24/7 learner welfare helpline. It’s why Lifetime was voted as Top Training Provider in the RateMyApprenticeship Awards 2021 and 86% of learners would recommend Lifetime (according to the latest National FE Choices Satisfaction Survey).

A lack of clarity around learner progress and reporting

Clarity is key when it comes to monitoring an apprenticeship programme. As an employer, you’ll want key insights into how learners are progressing and whether they’re engaging with course modules and materials.

Real-time tracking of learner activities is something that all employers should have access to. It’s why our partners have 24/7 access to Lifetime’s own leading-edge reporting suite. Our bespoke platform provides real-time insight on learner progress, visits, and total achievements, and tracks levy spend. We also provide detailed candidate sheets, monthly learner specifications, and detailed end-of-year reports for key stakeholders.

Quality of coaches

Inspiring learners and delivering programme content in an engaging way comes down to the quality of the apprenticeship coach. Coaches should not only be trained to unlock potential, but also be subject area experts, with up-to-date knowledge of their industry. It’s their job to make off-the-job learning relevant and realistic, drawing on their up-to-date knowledge and real-life experience.

A lack of background expertise not only undermines learner confidence, but also results in knowledge gaps and could potentially affect learner performance at the End-Point Assessment stage.

At Lifetime, our regional coaches are experts in the sectors they teach (often with experience up to senior management level in their specific industry). They act as a natural extension of the team, attending regular back-to-industry days to live and breathe our partners’ culture and get to know the ins and outs of their business.

Quality of the curriculum

The taught curriculum is where your learners will gain the theoretical knowledge to underpin their on-the-job experience, so it’s crucial that the material learnt contains the correct methodologies and best practices related to their chosen field.

If your current curriculum is delivered in a way that doesn’t work to reflect your organisation, your learners could be cementing incorrect fundamentals (which could cause issues down the line in the working environment).

Lifetime provides a bespoke delivery model, complemented by our innovative online learning platform. Our industry-leading learning resources are designed and developed by a team of over thirty sector and curriculum experts, dedicated to writing cutting-edge apprenticeship programmes.

What are the benefits of changing apprenticeship providers?

Deciding to switch training providers should be based upon a business’s ambitions. When looking at a potential new training provider, you should consider how well-equipped it is to deliver the skills that you need, so you can reach your short and long-term business goals. And it’s clear that there are many benefits of changing apprenticeship providers.

Train your team with new standards

When looking at future growth and goals, your internal skills’ capability must match the demands of meeting those goals. Changing apprenticeship providers could mean access to more apprenticeship standards to train more of your people. You might find that the standards delivered by another training provider are much more relevant to your long-term skills strategy than what you’re currently receiving.

A HR consultancy that is partnered with a training provider providing HR standards would seem like a good fit. But, if this consultancy wants its teams to become more project agile and data literate, then HR standards alone won’t deliver this result.

This company would be much better suited to switch to a training provider that can deliver the right HR standards, alongside others (Project Management and Data Analyst standards, for example). This is why it’s worth considering what kind of skill areas you will need to reach your goals, and whether your current training provider is able to deliver them.

You could grow nationally

As a business expands on a national level, it’ll need the same quality training delivery that has been tailored to their needs – but at scale. Some training providers have limited national reach, with teams that only cover a few localities. For a business with national expansion ambitions, this can be problematic.

Employing multiple, local training providers across different locations does not guarantee consistent quality (and it could also mean selecting a training provider on convenience, as opposed to quality).

If employers find themselves in this position, it's worth considering a leading national provider that can deliver the required standards across numerous teams and locations, with a robust strategy that drives success.

Lifetime offers a nationwide reach, with an end-to-end service. With our well-established infrastructure, our partners get expertise in every aspect of apprenticeship delivery. It’s one way we guarantee consistency on a national level, working with our partners as their business upscales.

A higher intake tempo

The sooner you have a programme up and running, the sooner your business can realise the positive impact of newly qualified apprentices. This can only happen if the training provider provides a regular intake of rolling or monthly cohorts across their programmes. If intakes across programmes are limited to a few times per year, it not only slows momentum, but is also likely to dissuade starters who must wait months for a start date.

At Lifetime, we provide rolling nominations across our programmes to give greater flexibility. It means year-round programme starts, often with monthly cohort launches across multiple apprenticeships.

Want to optimise your apprenticeship levy? We work with our partners to develop ambitious strategies to maximise funding potential and minimise expiration.

Building an effective

levy strategy

Lifetime’s Apprenticeship Provider Launch Team

Launching a new programme can be complicated, especially if it involves a learner transfer. Lifetime is unique in having a dedicated apprenticeship launch team to plan and implement programme launch, providing bespoke support and advice every step of the way.

We’ve been facilitating the process since 2013, so we know the complexities employers face. It’s why we aim to make the process as seamless as possible for our partners, and their people.

From individual learners to large scale projects, we work closely with our partners to scope, plan and manage learner transfers, helping them switch training providers to deliver a programme that achieves clearly defined aims.

Engaging additional providers

As an employer, you could be managing a partner portfolio and might not be in a position where you want to change your full provision. You may already have strong partnerships with providers that deliver specific programmes.

But you also might be ready to manage additional programmes and or create new opportunities for your strategy. Lifetime has experience working alongside employers and their current providers to make this happen, so that employers have all their training needs covered.

What’s the process for switching to Lifetime?

A successful programme launch (including a learner transfer) is a process that can take up to around 12 weeks. Here’s the breakdown when working with Lifetime:

    • Planning. Initial scoping sessions lay out the foundations for the curriculum, compliance and reporting requirements, programme aims, levy management, and an in-depth review of current provision. Launch is fully mapped out, including any learner transfers.
    • Launch. After the curriculum is reviewed and final programme is designed, marketing collateral and guides are produced for launch to drive engagement. The nominations process is agreed, so enrolment and recruitment can begin.
    • Embedding. Engagement campaigns include marketing collateral, stakeholder meetings, and face-to-face workshops. Coaches are provided with partner briefings and can go through a cultural embedding process, including back-to-floor days.
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