1) Never use a broker. Ever. They have no interest in you or your needs, just your fee. Some brokers are offering £15k+ to buy 3aaa learner and employer data and induce staff to act illegally. Appalling conduct. And there isn’t a provider in the land that works ‘exclusively through agencies,’ despite what the agency may tell you.
2) Use public domain information to test the quality and credibility of the training provider you are looking to work with: Ofsted Grades, ESFA contract allocations, ESFA qualification achievement rates (QAR), FE choices learner and employer satisfaction scores, accounts on companies’ house, staff reviews on Glassdoor. All quickly found through Google.
3) Ask yourselves, will the ESFA really transfer my learners to this training provider? The ESFA have stated that Levy payers will have to follow their own procurement process. For apprentices who are not funded by the Levy, the ESFA will be using their data to allocate learners to providers who score highly on their quality matrix (Ofsted, QAR, financial health rating, audit reports, provision delivered in the locality).
4) Is the company credible? What is its reputation locally? Do I know anyone who works there? The 3aaa model was underpinned by classroom delivery. Does the provider have learning centres in the region that apprentices will be able to attend quickly and easily?
5) Will they put their money where their mouth is? Many 3aaa learners will be out of funding. This means the new training provider might have to pay up to £1000 for EPA costs and up to £700 for vendor certification costs (Microsoft, AAT, etc). Some providers are refusing transfers and will only take on a ‘new’ 3aaa learner which would set the apprentice back months. Don’t be afraid to protect your learner and ask if the new provider is prepared to pay these fees – it’s probably a good indicator of how much they’re prepared to invest in you.
6) Does it feel right? Trust your instincts. If it’s not right, look around. Plenty of offers of support on LinkedIn – but do your due diligence first.
Don’t be afraid to do your research. It will instantly remind you that there are many exceptional training providers out there who share your values and want to put the learner first.
If you would like a chat to one of our team call our dedicated hotline on 0115 951 7261