A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 7 March 2018

Being National Apprenticeship Week, we’d like to take the opportunity to shine a light on the achievements of our excellent apprentices right across the trust. We’d also like to take the opportunity to encourage even more people to choose apprenticeships as a pathway to a great career by dispelling any myths that may be lingering in the minds of E-ACT staff wishing to take part.

What better time then to catch up with Matt Elson from E-ACT’s apprenticeship training provider 3aaa to find out more about how E-ACT employees can get involved. We also catch up with two members of E-ACT staff to find out how they’re getting on with their apprenticeships.

The apprenticeship levy

In May 2017, the government introduced a levy on UK employers to fund apprenticeships training. As a result we’re pleased to have an even greater pot from which to fund the development of our staff.

Through training provider 3aaa, rated outstanding by Ofsted, we’re offering apprenticeships in a range of roles and at a variety of levels, giving staff the opportunity to gain a meaningful qualification in their area of work. Staff can currently choose from the following courses:

  • Leadership & Management (Supervisor)
  • Leadership & Management (Manager)
  • Accountancy Assistant
  • HR Level Support (Level 3)
  • HR Consultant Partner (Level 5)
  • Digital Marketing
  • IT Infrastructure Technician
  • Software Development
  • Administration and Customer Service
  • Facilities Management (through Skillscert)

Courses are delivered in almost 40 different locations nationally and usually take about a year to complete. Participants attend workshops and classes at a 3aaa training academy, applying the skills gained to their job role while supported by an experienced 3aaa mentor with knowledge of their industry.

It’s not just for school leavers

 A common misconception about apprenticeships is that they are only suitable for young people who have just left school. However, as Matt points out, this is not the case.

“It’s really a learning and development course. You’re a participant on a CPD course, not necessarily someone fresh out of school. It’s an opportunity to enhance the skills that you’ve developed, perhaps over years of experience in your role.”

Apprenticeships aim to develop our staff further, helping them to carry out their roles more confidently and giving them the tools they need to progress to the next level. Alternatively, apprenticeships can give experienced members of staff the chance to gain a formalised qualification for the work they already do.

Franco Politi, Leisure and Community Manager for North Birmingham Academy, has years of experience but signed up for the Leadership and Management Level 5 Apprenticeship because he wants to keep up with current practice in his industry.

“I enrolled on the course to develop my skillset in an industry I’ve been working in for years. I want to keep up with new methods and ideas and also push myself in progressing on a personal level.”

20% off the job – a big time commitment?

The government has set a requirement of at least 20% off-the-job training for all apprenticeships, and whilst the prospect of taking time away from our daily tasks can be off-putting, this is not as big a commitment as it may seem.

For example, if you’re a manager preparing for a one-to-one with a staff member, you can use the time spent preparing and collating performance figures as evidence of your learning, and because you’re delivering learning to someone else in that one-to-one, that also counts as part of your 20% off-the-job training.

Matt has first-hand experience of fitting this training time into his busy schedule as he is currently undertaking an apprenticeship in project management.

“For my off-the-job training, I already capture evidence in my day job anyway, so I don’t have to create any extra work. I go to workshops, and they deliver some core skill sets for me. I just need to collate evidence of how I put my learning into practice, filling out my tracker with details of time spent doing things like learning a new activity, or devising a new programme.”

Investing in our staff

 Investing in our staff through these apprenticeships, as well as our wider CPD programme, helps both the individual people taking part and the trust as a whole to become more skilled. It enables us to develop our staff and grow our own future leaders.

Kerry Vowles, Regional Academy Operations & Compliance Officer for the South West, was delighted to enrol in a Leadership and Management apprenticeship to see where it could take her.

“I saw the apprenticeship as a fantastic CPD opportunity. It was a chance to gain a qualification and further my career within the operational side of E-ACT.”

For more information on the apprenticeships we offer, or to enquire about other possible courses, please get in touch with our national HR team by emailing HR.team@E-ACT.org.uk.