I would say emphatically “no” to that question. In addition to differing quality of tuition for your chosen PQ the level of service and support for your apprentices in developing the skills and behaviours as well as in preparing for the final assessment (EPA) vary widely between providers. Recently I have spoken to a number of employers who are disappointed with their initial choice of provider and have been looking to transfer their apprentices to FI. Here are some pointers to help you choose the right provider first time.
- Think of this as a long term relationship. Many finance apprenticeships last 3 years so you will be working with this provider for quite some time. Can you work with this team over a prolonged period?
- Ask yourself whether this provider is designing a programme to suit your business needs or just rolling out a generic programme. Not all businesses have the same needs and a programme should be tailored accordingly.
- Has your provider given you a team of contacts so that you, and your apprentices, know where to go if you have questions. You are bound to have questions as the programme rolls out and a key factor to the success of your programme is how quickly these are dealt with. Make sure that you have a day to day contact as well as an escalation process for any problems and an agreed turnaround time.
- Make sure that the onboarding process is adequate for your apprentices and line managers. Poor communication is a key cause in the breakdown of the programme.
- Check the support offered to your apprentices – a good provider will offer a minimum of quarterly progress reviews and will offer support to keep apprentices on track and “back on track” policies for those who are struggling.
Finally be aware of a provider who tells you that you do not need to do anything to support the programme. There are complicated compliance rules surrounding apprenticeships and a reputable provider will be honest about these guiding you through the minefield.
You can also find more information in our post on National Apprenticeship Week.
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