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No false starts for new starts

Similar to when you begin a new job, every new apprentice starting with us needs to undertake an induction. It’s the first step of their apprenticeship journey, and at Estio, we make sure we start as we mean to go on.

Despite the whole country being in lockdown, over the last 6 weeks our New Starts team, led by Carley Perkin, has been busy onboarding over 150 new learners. Normally, this would’ve involved a lot of face-to-face activity at our training centres and in employer workplaces, but with remote working now the only option, the team have been focusing hard on ensuring the experience is just as good from afar.

Carley says:

“Onboarding learners is a really important stage of their apprenticeship as it’s the point at which they get all the information they need to start their training, such as their schedule and how to access the various resources they’ll need to use. When we first went into lockdown we knew we couldn’t risk offering any less of an experience than if it was face-to-face, as we see our role as very much making sure learners feel comfortable and ready to begin their apprenticeship.

“Much of what we do involves showing the learner how to use systems, such as the progress portfolio and VLE, so it was important we could still do this using video conference. So far though it’s been working well, and learners are really happy be inducted remotely because they just want to get going. It feels like business as usual – just with a different view from the window!

“We also play a role in apprentices’ ongoing learning, as we set them up on Cognassist. This is an assessment tool designed to help the trainer and skills coach better understand the learner’s individual learning style. As a business it’s something we’re really proud of because we recognise that everyone is different in their approach, and it means that if people need more personalised support, we can offer it.

“It’s not just making sure learners are ready for training either. Many apprentices, especially those whose first job this is, need advice and guidance around employment skills. Again, we’ve been delivering our workshop via video conference and that covers what to expect, some top do’s and don’ts, and key information such employment contracts, payslips and safeguarding. We also deliver awareness sessions for line managers and mentors, so that they are best equipped to support their apprentice, especially while in lockdown, both in their work and their training.

“As a team we all love the role we play in the apprenticeship journey, especially making sure learners feel prepared and supported. We get loads of great feedback and even in lockdown it’s as much like any normal day as it can be – all of us together helping people to build their skills.

Here’s what one of them says:

“I just wanted to say thank you for yesterday’s session – it was very insightful and engaging. I appreciate the efforts you made given the current situation and I think you did a fantastic job. Getting to know you a bit has made me feel really confident in this apprenticeship, and I look forward to learning lots from you all.”

Keep calm and carry on learning!

Amy Smith

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