EMPLOYER ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY
Policy Statement and Purpose
London Professional College is an independent training provider focusing on the needs of the employers, the learners and the community at large. We believe that successful employer engagement is essential for our training and education services in particular for our apprenticeship provisions.
The purpose of this policy is to set out our commitment to engage and work with employers to design, develop and enhance our curriculum offering opportunities for employers to make an active contribution towards the delivery of our apprenticeship. The engagement allows us to respond effectively to the needs of our employers by providing a workforce with the opportunities for up skilling and professional development.
Our commitment and working partnerships with employers are set out within this policy in order to outline the key mechanisms of delivering well developed, employer focused apprenticeships.
ESFA regulations outlined in the funding rules identifies key requirements of this policy, ensuring there is a transparent approach and evidence to the agreement of apprenticeships between an employer and training provider. The provision is also under scope of Ofsted and therefore the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) supports the development of this policy.
This policy covers all our training and education services provisions including our apprenticeship programme.
Roles and Responsibilities
Our Operations Manager has overall responsibility for this policy however the Account Managers will oversee the day to day management of the policy. This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis or as and when required.
The Employer Account Managers are responsible for ensuring that a copy of this policy is available to the Delivery Team members and that the policy and procedures are reviewed annually. The Delivery Team member is offered the necessary training in order to successfully use this policy. The employer account managers have the responsibility to ensure this policy is fully explained and understood by our employers.
The Delivery Manager and Quality Manager are responsible for ensuring the adherence of this policy by the Delivery Team members and supporting them when they encounter issues with learners and/or employers.
The Employer Engagement Manager who reports directly to the quality and curriculum manager holds overall responsibility for managing relationships with employers. The Employer Engagement Manager will lead on any complaints, contract review meetings, employer feedback and implement new processes as and when necessary.
The Recruitment Co-Ordinator is responsible for working with the Marketing Team to market London Professional Colleges learning programmes to employers and ensure all course information is updated on the online course portal. The Marketing team will also share good news stories and updates via social media, email, face to face meeting, phone calls and any methods deemed appropriate.
Tutors are responsible for involving employers throughout the whole learner journey. This includes programme development, delivery, encouraging participation in feedback at different stages and progress reviews. The tutor will act as a day to day contact for employers and be available to answer any general enquiries, questions or offer any support. Where the tutor is unable to help the employer or where there is a complaint this will be escalated to the Employer Engagement Manager. The matter can be further referred to the quality and curriculum manager.
All employees are required to act in accordance with this policy, to enable effective employer engagement.
Key Strategic Priorities
1. To enhance employer networking, collaboration and collective action by sharing knowledge and good practice, research and closer working relationship with all.
2. To secure mutuality of benefit for employers, learners and including structured support for staff development and network opportunities.
3. To apply appropriate, quality assured systems and processes to maximise opportunities for engagement and to evaluate impact which will be used to make informed decision on improvement of the training and education services including apprenticeship programme.
4. To share practice, promote up skilling and staff development culture to support the employers and their staff.
5. To communicate this strategy to employers, local business networks, partnership organisations and stakeholders.
Implementing the Strategy
• Growth in our employer facing team to ensure active engagement to promote or services
• Increase opportunities for our representatives to engage in strategy groups, workshop, consultations, forums, partnerships and sector skills groups on a local and regional basis, as appropriate, to inform on patterns of demand.
• Effectively analyse and disseminate market intelligence and ensure action through a variety of programme delivery and offer in addressing skills needs.
• Conduct research to ensure that activities such as employer engagement events, consultancy services and knowledge transfer partnerships are driven by the needs of employers.
• Source funding streams to support and promote employer engagement.
• Promote and re-iterate the benefits to existing and new employer partners of actively engaging in our apprenticeship programme.
• To improve the financial and reputational sustainability of our organisation through developing new income streams, increased alignment to government funded opportunities and positive outcomes for our learners.
• Implement the systematic use of employer feedback and student satisfaction surveys at different stages to inform and benchmark our engagement and support activities.
• Promotion of gov.uk schemes, national apprenticeship week and find an apprentice training service – including regular up-dates to the provider portal so information is up-to-date for employers.
• Actively encourage staff to engage in industrial updating through necessary continuous professional development activities and review staff skills to match the needs of employers and industry requirements.
• Ensure employer engagement informs operational planning and expected outcomes.
• Increase satisfaction rates in Employer survey.
• Target Levy paying employers to educate and deliver quality apprenticeships to them.
• Support employers to offer Apprenticeship Standards and actively engage in 20% ‘off the job’ training.
• Support employers to use the DAS and find an apprentice, including posting of vacancies for employers, shifting of candidates and assistance with interviews where required.
• Support employers through the apprenticeship process by regular quality assurance checks, formal and informal communication including formal quarterly reviews.
• Partnership working to offer our employers a stronger and customised portfolio of qualifications.
Our employer engagement team promotes the benefits of all our training education services and apprenticeship programme through various means including face to face meeting, email communication, marketing activities, use of multimedia, word of mouth and referral and other ways deemed necessary. Other engagement activities include attending networking events, training events, seminars, webinars, employer’s forum and others.
In relation to apprenticeship frameworks and standards the assessment plans are issued and discussed with the employer to find a suitable qualification to fit their needs. If we do not offer the appropriate qualification or an apprenticeship is not a suitable or fundable option then information, advice and guidance will be issued to the employer for alternate providers, including using the find an apprenticeship training site.
Our employer engagement team offer end to end recruitment working with the employer on all elements of recruitment and design of the apprenticeship programme, including agreeing off the job training opportunities, completing a skills scan or knowledge, skills and behaviours assessment, accreditation of prior learning of mandatory training and requirements for an apprentice. A commitment statement is agreed with the apprentice and employer at this stage to outline each parties’ responsibilities in relation to the apprenticeship, including how to record the off the job training, and attendance days required at London Professional College.
Throughout the apprenticeship delivery, the employer has constant contact calls with the employer engagement team to quality check the apprentice and the apprenticeship being delivered with any concerns to the appropriate personnel to rectify swiftly. Employer feedback is also sought in necessary internal and other stakeholders ( ESFA, OFSTED) survey, and in reviews, which is collated and used to improve quality improvements and training.
Our Employer engagement team regularly visits the employer(monthly) as appropriate and also completes a 9 to 12 weekly reviews with the employer and apprentice where development opportunities are sought and off the job training is agreed.
We make us of a personalise and flexible approach to delivery of training and work around the employer and learner commitments such as offering training outside of busy periods and creating unique opportunities for new learning which links to the standards to ensure progress is being made in line with the framework or standard being undertaken. Furthermore, we offer flexible learning through access to virtual learning environment-CANVAS.
Employer complaints are handled by the quality manager who will discuss the concerns with the employer (nominee and/or key personnel) and find a suitable solution to all parties, any best practice or standardisation/training then required will be implemented as deemed necessary.
Employer questions and/or queries are dealt with by the employer engagement team in most instances, however any technical issue may be referred to quality and curriculum manager. Questions raised via our website or social media are also effectively dealt with.
Monitoring of the above process and strategy are completed at the monthly employer engagement team meetings and within our Self-Assessment Report, SAR and Quality Improvement Plan, QIPs used to reflect any changes. Any complaints/queries are dealt with immediately in struct confidentiality, and continual contact is maintained throughout the whole learner journey with employers.
Initial employer engagement
The employer account manager who is an occupational expert in the apprenticeship provision will meet face to face with employer to identify their needs and how we can support them in building apprenticeship provision within their business.
The Employer account manager will carry out the necessary health and safety checks and relevant insurance. The employer account manager will ensure accurate information about apprenticeship including wage of apprentices, duration, 20% off the job training requirements, engagement responsibilities, assessment processes and other contractual requirement are provided and fully understood by the employer.
An employer account manager will be nominated by the employer who will have the overall responsibility to ensure all employer’s duties and responsibilities are carried out to ensure successful delivery. Furthermore, the employer nominee will ensure the employer is fulfilling all its contractual obligations.
The Employer account manager will ensure the employer or its nominee signs necessary contractual agreement in due time.
A training needs analysis is carried out to ensure relevant information is captured to design and deliver the right apprenticeship programme including selection of optional modules to customise the provision for each employer. The training need analysis will be revised annually by engaging the employers.
The Employer account manager will maintain monthly communication (written, phone calls, multimedia) with the employer’s nominee and a quarterly face to face meeting with the employers’ nominee and those who are acting as mentors and coaches.
The employer account manager will offer necessary training to the employers’ personnel who will be mentoring and coaching the apprentices.
Summary of main activities but not restricted to:
• Initial engagement meeting;
• Presentation of curriculum and delivery
• Providing marketing materials for employer to utilise and including Find Apprenticeship Training (https://findapprenticeshiptraining.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/Apprenticeship/Search), Recruit an Appentice(https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/apprenticeship-vacancies ) and others
• Employer training needs analysis with an agreed review date
• Identification of key people (nominee, coaches, mentors) in the organisation who work alongside our staff.
• Contract agreements and design.
Training offer and Location
It is our aim that all of our education and training programmes including our apprenticeship programme delivered for employers are tailored to their needs, along with individual needs of the apprentice. Our approach is to design an apprenticeship programme alongside the employers and its key personnel to establish the knowledge, skills, competence and behaviours needed to develop their workforce.
Our bespoke design and delivery also take into account:
• Personalised curriculum and module development
• Selection of optional units
• Accreditation of prior learning
• Mandatory training offered by employer
• 20% off the job delivery
• Flexibility of delivery, weekend and add hours support, use of virtual learning environment -CANVAS
• Additional and personalized learning support
• Personlised progress reports
• Coaches and mentors’ responsibilities and duties
• Reviews and monitoring approaches
• Timetable, scheme of work and lesson plan are adjusted according to employers’ needs.
• Preferred assessment methods
• Choice of EPA
Outlined below are a number of strategies we adopt to manage employer relationships and contracts:
• Formal contract review meetings (face to face meetings at agreed stages throughout the year)
• Informal contract review communication (regular calls for example weekly or monthly as deemed required)
• Joint quality observations of teaching and learning and sharing of report
• Identification and sharing of good practices
• Involvement of employers and its key personnel in necessary action plans and establishing timescale.
The tutors have the ability to act independently make decisions to support the employer. However, where a requirement will change a fundamental process or agreement, the Employer Account Manager may need to be consulted to ensure the action is implemented across provision.
Where the employer has concerns that are not fully addressed by their Account Manager, they will be able to escalate their concern or issue to the Operations Manager. Additionally, the internal complaints procedure is available to an employer and they can escalate a concern following this process.
Additional to the contract management activities there are events throughout the contracting period and beyond that we undertake to support our employers.
These include but are not limited to:
• Employer forum and surveys;
• Employer network events;
• Support with national apprenticeship week and Learn at work week;
• Employer communications such as news bulletins;
• Reviews of learning (line managers to be involved which enables the delivery team to arrange and agree targets and off the job training on a regular basis);
• Regular meeting and involvement with the key personnel (nominee, mentors, coaches and nominee)
• Direct helpdesk for general questions and queries (this is for employers to contact our central team to action any day to day queries such as system support for e-portfolio).
Employers that are found to be in breach of their contract agreement by not adhering to the principles of an apprenticeship such as not allowing staff adequate off the job time will be issued with contract concern notice. It is in the best interest of the all parties to resolve any breaches by identifying short term actions that will tackle the underperformance. An updated agreement will be outlined and managed to ensure the programme is brought back on track.
Throughout a contracting year there can be contracting updates, this can be due to changes in ESFA guidance, Ofsted guidance, fee updates, change in employers’ needs, change in appentices’ needs and others. Therefore, an updated agreement will be issued to employers to agree to any changes to the contract of service and commitment statements. This updated agreement will be kept as part of the employer’s file.
We are committed to re-iterate our policies and procedures, contractual requirements and necessary protocols through regular face to face meeting and training session and through regular communication via phone, Virtual Learning Environment (VLE-CANVAS), emails, newsletters with all our employers (nominee and key people)
The Centre Administrator will update the ILR accordingly.
Through our performance management approach, we continually review and manage a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). The Curriculum Managers and the Quality Manager are responsible for analysing performance against the goals and contracting terms. The Curriculum Manager holds regular meetings to review performance which includes employer satisfaction and feedback.
Performance is reviewed by collating and analyzing information from:
• Employer forum feedback;
• Employer and key personnel survey feedback at different stages;
• Learner feedback on curriculum
• Complaints analysis;
• Queries and feedback from contract meetings;
• Employers quarterly meeting;
• Employer performance through data scrutiny e.g. achievement rates by employer, progress of learning and management of 20% off the job by employer.
The QIP will form the central record of all continual improvement activities that are established from employer related meetings, data and feedback. This is reviewed and updated monthly and is overseen with the Quality & Curriculum Manager.