Finding a Learning Provider
Learning providers offer vital help to businesses that are setting up or expanding apprenticeship schemes. Many firms simply cannot deliver all of the training required by an apprentice, and learning providers help to fill the gap.
What are Learning Providers?Learning providers allow businesses to ‘outsource’ the classroom-based element of the apprenticeship training process. Employers will always be expected to provide the on-the-job aspect of an apprenticeship themselves, but it is recognised that many firms lack the expertise or resources to deliver classroom training. This is where learning providers step in.
By taking on responsibility for the classroom-based element, learning providers can help to significantly reduce the costs to employers of running an apprenticeship scheme. At the same time, they can help you to concentrate on delivering the best possible on-the-job training.
Where are Learning Providers Most Commonly Found?Your local learning provider will often be a college or university near you. These establishments often partner with local businesses to help provide wider educational opportunities.
In addition there are many dedicated organisations fulfilling the role of a learning provider around the country. It is worth remembering that many learning providers specialise in specific industries or areas of employment. A learning provider that offers guidance for carpentry apprentices might not have the resources to help trainee accountants, for example.
Local establishments like further or higher education providers are normally a good first port of call. If these organisations cannot help you directly, they will often be able to point you in the direction of a suitable learning provider.
Is There a Central Database of Learning Providers?Somewhat confusingly, there are actually several national databases providing lists of learning providers. The National Apprenticeship Service has its own database which employers can search. This allows firms to filter by geographical area and area of expertise, amongst other factors.
The UK Register of Learning Providers is another database designed to enable firms to find suitable partners. Again, you can filter by a range of factors or simply search for a provider by name.
It is worth remembering, though, that many firms build lasting relationships with learning providers that do not appear on these databases. Often, simply contacting a local school, college or university is all that is needed. Many of these organisations are happy to help, and can tailor training to the needs of your business.
Do I Have to Pay?Learning providers obviously have their own costs. You should remember, though, that significant financial support is available for businesses from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). Depending on the age of your apprentices, you might be able to have 100 per cent of these costs covered. Alternatively, the NAS will cover up to 50 per cent of the costs associated with the training of older apprentices.
Many businesses simply would not be able to deliver apprentices without the help of learning providers. You should seriously consider finding a suitable organisation with which you can partner in order to ensure that your costs are kept down – and that you can concentrate on providing the best possible on-the-job training.