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Apprenticeship Standards – Journey to Distinction

by Baltic Training

Technology is constantly moving forward: that’s why, at Baltic, we believe change is good. Keeping up to date with progress is necessary in the digital world to thrive in the sector.

During April 2017, there were huge changes made to the structure of how apprenticeships are offered to UK businesses. One of these new changes was introducing Apprenticeship Standards: a new course structure to deliver specialised training. Being part of a tech-driven, forward-thinking company, we were excited to implement these new advancements into our own courses.

As Standards were very new at this point, creating programmes and content for the courses was very much a venture into unknown territory. The creation of our programmes combined our own curriculum support, trainers’ guidance, and the expertise of those in the sector, including businesses we work with, to generate industry specific courses that applied directly to specific job roles in the sector.

The first apprentice we mentored through the Standards was Freya MacLachlan, a Software Developer apprentice at Aviva, who successfully completed her apprenticeship with the highest grade possible: a distinction. Freya was our starting point, blazing the trail for apprentices to come.

As our first apprentice on the new Standards, every process needed to be created to fit the new apprenticeship funding changes.  Our Support Services played a vital role ensuring all our funding documents were accurate, and the induction paperwork was prepared. However, ensuring that our programme delivered the highest quality training, and satisfied the criteria set by the government, was not without its challenges.

One challenge our team faced was creating mock exams, and study guides to complement the training received, and prepare Freya for her exams. During the creation of our study materials, no awarding bodies were able to offer support and guidance; so, our team of trainers, and curriculum support, used their own extensive knowledge to produce revision material, which ultimately lead to exam success for Freya. In addition to this, our team also had to plan how the End Point Assessment would integrate with the programme: including setting assessments to create a portfolio of work, providing technical knowledge to equip Freya with the knowledge to succeed in a project on her own, and preparing her for a structured interview with an assessor about her knowledge. The End Point Assessment combines everything that the apprentice has learned on their course and allows them to apply it to a new project.

Since Freya was the first apprentice to go through End Point Assessment, everyone at Baltic was experiencing it for the first time with Freya. This was an exciting, and nerve-wracking time, but after the interview, we were pleased to receive news that Freya had passed her apprenticeship with flying colours: a distinction! This was not a surprise to those who had trained Freya.

Kelly Pattison, Freya’s Consultant Assessor, said: “Freya was an absolute delight to have on the apprenticeship.  Freya demonstrated a passion for learning and always strived for excellence.  This dedication resulted in an outstanding achievement for Freya when she gained her distinction.  Richard, Freya’s manager, was also an excellent support for Freya, he helped her work with different departments to achieve what was required.  I hope to have many more apprentices like Freya.”

Richard Graham, one of Freya’s Trainers, also supported Freya’s fantastic aptitude on course: “Freya always gave 100% on her courses and this same attitude shows in the work she submitted for her assessment. I’ve seen Freya progress brilliantly through our Level 4 program, and become fluent in many different aspects of software development including databases, OOP and testing. Well done Freya!”

Baltic was elated to have supported Freya through her apprenticeship, and for our first apprentice to pass the new Standards with a Distinction. We’re extremely proud that our team worked together to overcome challenges, and truly reflect our brand values. We believe that change is good, and Freya’s Distinction success further illustrates how progressing forward has incredible results.

We’d like to thank Freya, and her fantastic employer, Aviva, for taking these first steps with us. We look forward to continued success stories with more apprentices completing the End Point Assessment with BCS.

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