The Impact Skills Programme (ISP) is a skills and behaviours programme for students on the accountancy apprenticeship programme with First Intuition. First Intuition’s expert tutors created the ISP for students to develop the skills that will help them gain a better understanding of the business world and thrive in the workplace.
This is alongside the knowledge-based skills they also learn in their apprenticeship programme.
Why the Impact Skills Programme?
Well-rounded, highly-developed skills can be invaluable to business success. While these skills can sometimes be more difficult to develop than technical skills, they are arguably equally important in running a successful business. These types of skills include communication, emotional intelligence, time management, interpersonal skills, leadership and management, teamwork, relationship building, and flexibility.
Focusing on these skills within the apprenticeship standard means that those who could be the leaders of firms and sit on boards of listed companies in the future will be well equipped to deal with all different aspects of business and working life, as well as more able to adjust to changing trends and technologies.
The ISP is designed to hone in on these skills. Employer consultation has guided the programme to allow First Intuition apprentices’ to add greater value within the workplace. The ISP introduces the following skills to apprentices throughout their apprenticeship programme:
Introduction elements of the programme:
- Personal effectiveness
- Producing and communicating quality information
- Welcome to the world of work
- Working effectively in a team
- Working in the business environment
- Xero certification
Core elements of the programme:
These are essential skills which benefit the individual and the business at all levels of the organisation.
- Business and commercial awareness
- Change management
- Focus on integrated data
- Digital technologies and data
- Effective communication
- Leading yourself
- Managing professional relationships
- Problem-solving and decision making
Integrated elements of the programme:
For those dealing with a range of stakeholders for the business and are progressing their career in the business.
- Integrated focus on teamwork and problem solving
- Integrated focus on risk
- Focus on project management
- Integrated focus on leadership
- Focus on integrated digital technologies and data
- Professional development
Advanced elements of the programme:
For those senior business leaders skills who are experienced in the business world and operating at a high level in the workplace need to build leadership skills, behavioural impact and resilience.
- Professional development
The programme has flexibility in delivery modes. The introduction for each of the elements of the skills programme can be delivered as a face-to-face in-centre offering with learners working together with other apprentices to practise the skills in a safe space and to reflect as they continue through their careers.
The programme can also be delivered remotely in a virtual space. In this case, the introduction for each of the elements of the skills programme is delivered as a ‘kick-off’ facilitated set-up with guided development tasks for the apprentice to complete and share with their skills and development coach. Every unit is supported with additional resources in the apprentice’s FILearn account designed to aid them through their key learning areas and theories as well as provide activities to support the use of these skills in the workplace.
Key benefits of the Impact Skills Programme
Apprenticeship students who are part of the ISP benefit from the following:
- More awareness of the wider skill sets that can aid success and career progression
- Gained experience in learning different skills and translating them in t0 real work-place based scenarios
- A greater understanding of how the workplace operates
- Better equipped to manage new or challenging situations
- Improved confidence in different workplace scenarios
- Become an all-rounded and more aware member of the workforce
Student feedback from ISP sessions
“I learnt the importance of a team being a ‘safe environment’, this meaning everyone feeling confident enough to talk out amongst the group as they feel a sense of trust. I think it is essential to ensure everyone feels like this in the workplace, otherwise potential ideas and expertise may not be shared and inevitably the best decisions aren’t reached. I think this sense of trust comes hand in hand with communication and respect.”
“I have learnt that teamwork is an extremely important aspect to thrive in a workplace. Also, I have learnt new terminology and can apply these learnings when returning to work.”
“It helped us learn to communicate as a team, but also with people we have not met before of all different ages, which is a useful skill to have in the workplace.”
“I feel better placed to analyse a business from a commercial point of view than before the course.”
“I improved my confidence after having to deliver a speech to the during the skills day, this has made me more confident to speak out and raise points during meetings.”
“It was really helpful getting some experience at presenting financial information and working under pressure.”
“I had very little experience in project management before attending the course and now feel much more confident that I have learnt skills I can apply in my workplace.”
“I attended the Project Management skills workshop… which has been highly useful given the work I have been involved in and I have definitely been able to put the skills we learnt on the skills day into practice.”
“These modules have been really beneficial as it allows you to learn more about yourself as a person. You can gain knowledge in these different skills and then bring them to the workplace to work more effectively both independently and as a team. I feel these skills sessions have been vital in improving my confidence. This has grown a lot over the 3 years I have been studying at FI.”
Employer feedback on the ISP
“The L4 apprenticeship has always been a great way to ensure that school leavers joining the profession have the appropriate skills to deliver great client service, however the importance and value of the scheme has been amplified due to the pandemic. The skills programmes have been vital in helping plug skills gaps that sadly arose during the several lockdowns. At Larking Gowen, we continue to recognise the importance of these skills when delivering great work, and the skills programmes ensure that our people have the platform to grow and develop at the earliest opportunity in their accountancy career.”
John Atkins, Partner, Corporate Audit & Advisory at Larking Gowen
“An apprenticeship for Scrutton Bland is more than just passing exams. We feel our apprentices get a great opportunity to learn key skills to support them in becoming the best they can be in their chosen field, putting their learning into practice in their day to day role, whilst developing additional skills the apprenticeship offers. With the apprenticeship you have a coach, with this comes some great one to one mentoring as well as attending tailor made skills days through the impact skills programme which suit each individual’s needs. These help to build much needed skills such as working in a team, self-awareness, managing relationships, problem solving to name only a few, all of which add up to a more rounded skilled individual. Let’s not also forget how much Covid has impacted school students, they would benefit from these skills more than ever.”
Harriet Livermore, HR Advisor at Scrutton Bland
Feedback from Tim Howes, Client Director at First Intuition whose daughter has used the ISP
“My daughter Molly is 20 years old, after deciding a degree was not for her, she began her career journey on a Level 3 AAT ‘Assistant Accountant ‘Apprenticeship. Molly has faced challenges in her young life and this was a massive step for her, leaping into the world of work, being with others in a close working environment, needing to be both self-motivated and a team player at the same time. All skills that she hadn’t been exposed to before.
“The Impact Skills programme within Molly’s apprenticeship has made a significant and palpable difference to Molly. She has been learning to work with others within teams, collaborative problem solving & decision making, commercial and business acumen, effective communications and all of this has seen Molly become so much more confident in herself, around others and I would suspect, a much more valuable asset to her employer, one that adds value to their business. On top of all of this, she is progressing extremely well towards gaining a Level 3 Apprenticeship Certificate and the AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting.
“Holistic training for which the apprenticeship standards have been written by employers themselves ensuring that employees develop the skills and knowledge to make a difference. I can see first-hand that well-structured apprenticeship programmes, delivered by those that understand the industry and work closely with their learners, has the capacity to change lives through helping individuals achieve their career aspirations.”