The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Amy Lalla

Lockdown learning: have you considered an apprenticeship?

Guest blogger Amy Lalla highlights the value of ‘educate while you isolate’: could this be your opportunity to embark on a course which will enhance your career?

Who would have thought at the start of the academic year that we would be here? Collectively we have never experienced such a change and we don’t know when or how we will return to what we know as 'normal' – our education system is no less affected. 

Schools, like other organisations, face a difficult challenge: how to change the traditional status quo that leaders have spent years developing and instilling. A predicament most school leadership teams are working hard to resolve, and the same questions are being asked across the country.

  • How can we maintain the learning of our students?
  • Can we facilitate 100% remote working and how would we incorporate training and development for our teachers?
  • How can we encourage our existing workforce to uphold their motivation and passion for their role?
  • How can we ensure our mental health stays balanced?

What is clear for schools is that while we are thinking about our students, we need to think equally about our staff.

It’s vital that organisations across the country continue offering the training, CPD and development opportunities that the workforce needs

Maintaining training

While isolated employees have adapted to working remotely, waking up to a Joe Wicks’ PE session and attempting to make the 15th bowl of cornflakes in a row exciting, it’s really important that organisations across the country maintain the training, CPD and development opportunities that the workforce needs. Not only does this further education and ability, it will also create engagement, support staff wellbeing and provide an extra outlook or focus area during lockdown.

Sustained learning and apprenticeships

Apprenticeship training is often an overlooked way to achieve this. Apprenticeship training provides significant learning which allows staff to focus on something beyond the lockdown era; having a course to work on over 12–18 months is empowering. Some multi-academy trusts have been quick to recognise this and respond. They realise they need to future proof, retain staff in the industry and keep staff motivated and occupied.

As one learner says: Starting training now, during this time, has been a great leveller. I needed to think about my future career and development beyond the ‘now’. Along with 19 other staff members, I'm starting a team leader apprenticeship which will help us develop our leadership skills. It shows me that the Trust is interested in developing me and I am part of their future plans. I have something to focus on and feel valued.

Apprenticeship training is of course fully funded by the apprenticeship levy, and the cost is born from funds that have already been paid into the pot. If you are already using this – our advice is to continue doing so. If you haven’t yet started, if not now, when?

Research your options

The best place to research apprenticeship training is the Institute of Apprenticeships website. Here you will find every single available apprenticeship along with what is involved as well as how you are assessed. Before you approach your employer, find out the programme length, funding band and the time commitment you are going to need within your working hours. You and your employer will then be able to decide if this is the right programme for you.

What employers need to consider

The first thing an employer should be doing is carrying out a training needs analysis to identify skill gaps within their workforce. Once skill gaps have been identified, you can then look at apprenticeships that will address these gaps by going onto the Institute of Apprenticeships and researching relevant training.

I would always recommend that you understand what funding stream you will be looking to utilise to pay for the training as well as how each programme will be delivered and tracked to ensure that you and your member of staff are compliant and get the most out of the programme. We would also recommend asking a training provider that specialises in your industry to carry out this activity for you. They will also be able to recommend programmes suitable for your staff.

What does a training provider do?

The organisation I co-founded, LMP Education, is a national training provider, specialising in apprenticeships. We currently work with 150 schools nationally and train over 800 apprentices. LMP operate in three specialist areas.

  • Professional Services
  • Specialist Services
  • Teaching, Early Years and Sports

We deliver courses such as departmental manager, team leader, business admin, laboratory technician, teaching assistant and much more. LMP Education has quickly evolved to the new ways of working and now offers 100% remote delivery on all apprenticeship programmes.

Relationships are of the utmost importance, especially in these testing times. We are continuing to work closely with clients and apprentices, helping them to stay motivated and focused.

An opportunity?

We are encouraging people to ‘educate while you isolate’. LMP wants to encourage, inspire and restore the motivation, passion and enthusiasm into existing work forces across the country.

So, if you’re an employer and have put the apprenticeship levy at the bottom of your ‘to do’ list, maybe now is the perfect time to think about how your workforce can benefit from training and CPD?

Find out more at LMP Education or email info@lmpeducation.org

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