How do you respond to the needs of local businesses quickly and efficiently whilst delivering a robust and quality controlled framework, ensuring you have the right Assessor in place at the right time without incurring the cost of having Assessors on the books without candidates?

It’s a quandary that a lot of Colleges across the sector find themselves in and all have varying degrees of success – with some going from strength to strength and others falling by the wayside. This is only going to intensify with the governments drive to three million apprenticeships by the end of this Parliament. So is there a way on getting the balance right?

Getting the balance right…

It is a fine balancing act to ensure that you can respond quickly but at the same time not haemorrhaging costs when the new candidates do not fit into the skill set of your team of Assessors. Even when this does match there is still the funding Damocles’ Sword hanging over your head should you not retain or the candidate fails. Add to this that you are now not the only FE provider in your area as the Colleges that have made it a success are hungry for more and are now taking their delivery nationwide.

What Colleges need to make this a success is:

  1. Resources specific to:
    1. what the need is
    2. where the need is (be that local or national)
  2. Resource cost linked to the quality of the outcome for the learner

Is using an agency the answer?

Agency could be the answer! Now I know what you’re going to say – “You would say that Jamie!” – But bear with me, there are clear reasons for me saying so! Some Colleges realise the benefit that agency provision brings to the delivery of work based learning, using a nationwide provider to provide the local and national needs to ensure that the candidate you acquire can be delivered to. However, the big drawback is control and quality – you are paying by the hour, with no guarantee on the length of time the outsourced Assessor will take to deliver to your candidates and no guarantee they are going to get to certification.

The alternative – learner outcome based model

What you need to consider is if salaried employees or hourly paid agency staff are really the answer, or just a sticking plaster? Wouldn’t it be ideal if you could engage a service that dovetails in with your needs; be they local or national and where you pay when a learner reaches certain milestones, rather than the full amount whatever the result?

Protocol Assessment Services provides this with our Learner Outcome Model. This is being utilised by several of our clients and proves to be the most efficient way to deliver your local and national needs. It introduces a fixed cost per learner that you will pay on successful outcome. For example, if say for a basic Business Administration NVQ course you may pay £600 to Protocol Assessment Services for the successful completion of each candidate. This would be split into agreed stages when the payment is released – for example:

  • 25% on enrolment of the candidate
  • 25% at an agreed midpoint
  • 50% once whole qualification has been through your Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) Process

This provides the College and Protocol Assessment Services with the following benefits:

  • Access to Protocol Assessment Services nationwide assessment team
  • Fixes the maximum price for you – irrespective the time spent with each learner
  • You only pay the full amount on the successful IQA of the qualification
  • Incentivises Protocol Assessment Services to deliver quality learning

In addition to this, services in relation to Examination and Assessment are VAT free when delivered to a general Further Education College or VI Form College and as a result are even better value for money.

I am sure you can see the many benefits to this model through Protocol Assessment Services and should you wish to discuss further, please do give me a call or drop me an email, either way I do hope this information has given you some guidance on how you can save money on your Apprenticeship delivery.

Jamie has worked in FE sector recruitment, with Protocol, for nearly 20 years and been Protocol’s Head of Implementation & Training since 2006. Jamie is a highly experienced and knowledgeable professional with particular expertise in safeguarding, agency worker and employment regulations.

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