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Working with Training Providers
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Working with training providers



Choosing the right training provider and working with them effectively is key to running a successful programme. There are a range of useful tools to help you to do this effectively. It is common for employers to appoint a main provider to deliver apprenticeship training for their staff. Sometimes these main providers will sub-contract some of the delivery to other providers for a variety of reasons. You should talk to prospective providers about what services they will deliver directly and sub-contract to others.


Step 1 – Programme requirements

The starting point is to decide what your current and future apprenticeship needs will be.  The key questions are what programmes will you require, in what locations and what volumes.  Without those questions being answered it will be near impossible to select a suitable provider.


Step 2 – Single v Multi Provider model

The decision around selection one provider over multiple will depend on your programme requirements.  Some providers offer a broad range of programmes whereas others will specialise in niche areas.  You need to decide if you’re happy to manage a pool of providers or whether you’d prefer to use one provider for the bulk of your programmes. This may result in you reassessing Step 1 as you may want to narrow your range of programmes to minimise the effort required to manage multiple suppliers.

Another option is to select a provider who will manage smaller providers under a subcontract arrangement.  This is where the main provider, who delivers the majority of your training, will contract with niche providers for programmes they can’t deliver.  This is becoming less common place now as the regulations around subcontractor management are complex and many small providers prefer to have direct contracts with employers.  


Step 3 – Identify which registered provider can meet your requirements

Once you know the Apprenticeship Standards and locations you require delivery you can carry out a basic search function Find apprenticeship training. This is a government approved site that lists all approved providers.

From this list you can now start the filtering process to help you decide who you want to take forward to a formal tender process (If you want to go with that approach).



Laura Beswick, Director of Apprenticeships – Accountancy & Tax at BPP, and employer panel discuss four key areas businesses should be looking for when engaging with an apprenticeship training provider, including how to find a provider. 


Step 4 – Narrow down the list

There are hundreds of providers offering apprenticeships and that number will only increase as demand for apprenticeships rises.  You won’t have the time to speak to all those who came up in your search so here are some quick ways to reduce the list.

  • Call the provider and ask to speak to someone who is knowledgeable about working with a similar employer to yourself who is running a similar programme.  If they can’t find someone it will tell you a few things.  1. They are not experienced in dealing in your sector or those programmes.  2. They don’t have sufficient resources to build effective relationships with employers 
  • Check out what employers think of them using the TripAdvisor style survey results on the government website using the search function described earlier.
  • See if they have a published Ofsted report and find out what they say about the quality of provision.  Each report will probably take about 15 minutes to read.
  • Once you get through to a suitable person here are some key questions you would like answering:
  • What experience do you have in providing training for my business sector?
  • How long have you been providing Apprenticeship training, and what experience do your trainers and assessors have?
  • Do you currently work with any similar businesses to mine, and can you put me in touch with satisfied clients or offer testimonials?
  • Can you give me a copy of your last Ofsted inspection report and your most recent full year success rates?
  • Do you offer recruitment support?
  • How do you deliver the training?
  • Which Apprenticeship qualifications are you accredited to deliver?
  • Can the Apprenticeship be tailored?
  • How do you make sure we select the right people to start on programme?
  • How do other employers in my sector use apprenticeships?
  • What start dates do you have for each programme?
  • How will you keep me informed about the progress of candidates?


Step 5 – Formal tender and contracting process

You may wish to follow your own procedures for selecting and contracting with a new supplier.  Many organisations will use a formal tender process to allow you to test if the supplier can meet your needs and fit culturally with your organisation.


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