Shaping a digital future – part four

Choosing a training provider

An Ofsted report at the end of 2015 found that a lot of training providers did not sufficiently match the skills needed by the country. Shockingly, some learners on low-level training programmes were not even aware they were on an apprenticeship course.

Positive Outcomes, a national training provider specialising in government-funded apprenticeships, says that this has had a knock-on effect. Joint MD Kelly Ball says: “There have been apprentice providers that have given a poor service and tarnished other providers’ names as well. We have had it where we have gone into an employer and they’ve had a provider that has been appalling – you have to work doubly hard to turn them around. A lot of people have been stung by it.”

With that in mind, Ball and her co-MD Ryan Longmate offered some tips for SMEs looking for a training provider they can trust:

  • Check the provider’s Ofsted rating
  • Assess your business’ needs and what gaps you have in the training you can already offer – have a good idea of what training you need from the external source
  • Make sure the provider works closely with both the apprentices and employers to ‘cross-match’ them – a good provider will operate almost as a recruitment service in that sense
  • Take a look at what other businesses that have used that provider are saying – this sort of feedback can be invaluable.