Everyone here at DBC has been working really hard to support our learners since March, even harder than normal! It’s been fantastic to see that all of the information, advice and guidance that we’ve provided has been worth it though and we can celebrate some fantastic lockdown End Point Assessment (EPA) results. We secured 100% pass rate between March 2020 and September 2020 which is amazing!
When lockdown was announced we worked together as a team to plan out scenarios and to speak regularly with our partner End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs) this was really important for us as it meant we could look at different ways of completing EPAs and keeping our learners updated with the latest information. We’ve built really good relationships with our partner EPAOs and this has allowed us to work with them to use alternative assessment methods based on individual learner needs. This focus on being able to offer high-quality learning approaches and tailored solutions with the support of awarding bodies has been vital in allowing us to provide innovative training.
Even more important than our close relationship with EPAOs has been the work we did with employers to keep them informed at all times and make sure they were supporting their apprentices to the best of their ability. This included, where appropriate, using breaks in learning to allow apprentices the time they needed to focus on their personal situation but also bringing forward our delivery in some instances to maximise learning opportunities. By using this approach we’ve completed EPA with some of our Team Leader cohorts and seen 85% receive a distinction for their Apprenticeship. This figure is well above national average and a real testament to our commitment to preparing learners for their EPA.
All of our development coaches have worked tirelessly to keep employers updated with every new piece of guidance that has been released. This approach has meant we’ve worked alongside all of our employers to guide them as a trusted partner rather than simply a service provider and we’ve often been seen as an extension of their own internal L&D teams!
Then, and most importantly, we worked directly with all of our learners to find a solution that was right for them and their situation. We’ve been offering remote learning sessions throughout lockdown and have tailored these to each person and their own circumstances. That has meant some learners have been getting extra support and speaking to us weekly while others have been helped with SMART targets and maintained monthly contact with their development coach. All of our learners have had regular contact and updates on their progression towards gateway and their EPA which has been really important for mental health and wellbeing, by having a clear target and frequent communication our learners have said they felt supported throughout the lockdown period which has been great to hear.
We’ve also been really proactive in using the experiences of learners throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to demonstrate their new skills, especially on our leadership and management programmes where these skills have been vital. By combining this innovation along with the close relationships with EPAOs we have used evidence such as witness testimonies and video interviews to demonstrate clear progress towards achieving learning goals. This has translated into results like 93% of our Customer Service Apprentices receiving a distinction at their EPA. Brilliant!
Finally, we have made sure that we’ve celebrated the successes of learners wherever possible, social distancing measures have made this more difficult than normal but it’s really important to us that employers and apprentices alike take the time to recognise the fantastic achievement of passing an Apprenticeship End Point Assessment! This really helps to encourage a culture of learning and embeds a talent management plan within an organisation and something that we are really proud of.