Choosing the right training provider
People are getting pickier – but we think that's a good thing!
We're doing more market research than ever before. We check out menus, read reviews and suss out social media before even going to a restaurant – let along partnering up with a training provider. With so much to think about, finding the right training provider can be difficult. There are thousands to choose from, you'll be working with them for years, and they'll be responsible for training your future workforce – so you need to get it right.
With that in mind, we've identified 5 key factors to look out for when choosing a training provider – and come up with 10 must-ask questions before you do.
1. Ofsted grading
Training providers are regulated by Ofsted – so their most recent rating is a good place to start. Ofsted reports are available on the government website, so it's easy to check which providers make the grade. If you can't find the Ofsted report you're looking for, the training provider may be delivering via a sub-contractor. Just give them a call and as who they sub-contract with.
Ofsted has 4 grades – 1 = outstanding, 2 = good, 3 = requires improvement, 4 = inadequate. A good provider will normally be grade 2 or above.
2. Success rates
The stats don't lie! The government uses various statistics to measure the quality of training providers, They measure what percentage of apprentices starting a programme successfuly complete, and how many do it within the agreed timeframe.
You can find these stats using the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). Here, you can search for training providers, see their success rates and compare them to organisations.
In order to deliver apprenticeships, training providers must be accredited by the Awarding Organisation (AO) of each qualification. The AO regularly checks the training provider's delivery to ensure they meet the AO's quality standards – if not, they lose their AO accreditation and can no longer deliver their qualifications.
As a general rule, the best training providers will be accredited by all the major awarding bodies. You can usually find out a training provider's accreditations on their website.
You'll be working closely with your training provider throughout the apprenticeship, so find out what communication channels they use. A good training provider will already use an eportfolio to store evidence, track progress and communicate online. This makes it much easier for you to access your learner's portfolio and means you can stay in contact with your provider throughout the programme. Find out what eportfolio they use, and see how they rank against others – look for an eportfolio with a good reputation, plenty of features and an offline app.
5. Value for money
We all know you get what you pay for, but we all like getting our money's worth too. Whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not, you need to find out all the costs involved. Think about registration fees, assessment costs and extra charges.
Different organisations have different rules, so you'll have to speak to the training provider directly to find out.
Now you know what to look for, it's time to put your chosen training providers under the microscope. We've selected 10 must-ask questions for you to pose to your provider, so you can find out everything you need to know before you make a deal.