How this training provider is helping to support apprenticeships for a diverse workforce
Culture and diversity
Training provider Access Skills has received award nominations over the past two years for their support for apprentices from diverse backgrounds. They explain their approach.
Valuing equality, diversity, and inclusion
For Access Skills, their approach to equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) begins at home with this being a fundamental value of their own organisation and something they look for when recruiting staff. Taking a values-based approach to recruitment, the organisation ensures that EDI is something all their staff value as much as they do.
Their approach to EDI encompasses their four key values which are:
- do what you say
- make it better
- help the team succeed
- do the right thing.
They say that these simple messages ensure that their staff approach their work in a way that’s ethical, supportive, and provides a high-quality service for their clients.
Supporting diversity in social care
Access Skills provide off-the-job training for people completing a social care apprenticeship, working with employers to provide this vital element of the apprenticeship programme.
In the last 12 months, 47% of the apprentices enrolled onto training with Access Skills have been from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. They have seen a high completion rate among these apprentices with 92% having remained on the programme.
This is a consistent trend for Access Skills, as over the past three years they have seen an achievement rate of nearly 75% for their apprentices from diverse backgrounds.
This is just one reason that the training provider was shortlisted at the BAME Apprenticeship Awards for ‘Training provider of the year’ in 2021 and 2022.One of the apprentices completing their training with Access Skills won the ‘’Health, medical and social care employee of the year’ award.
Access Skills feel that this demonstrates that their engagement with employers, their knowledge, their delivery of training, and their learner-centred approach all have a positive impact in supporting apprentices to achieve their goals.
How Access Skills works with apprentices and employers
The first point of learner/employer contact with Access Skills comes via their information advice and guidance team (IAG). Access Skills highlight that this is a diverse team, with more than 80% of the team being from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds.
This means that the team is attuned to the differing needs of learners from diverse backgrounds – whether that is culturally, academically, or in terms of their first language.
This team are trained to be well-placed in providing unique and individual advice to apprentices, ensuring they’re able to find the right course, set at the right level and pace to meet their needs.
The learner support requirements identified by the IAG team are explored further at induction by conducting a confidential assessment with each learner to identify any additional learning needs which can be supported through reasonable adjustments.
The team also encourage apprentices to share any other issues that may impact on their learning such as overcrowded housing or mental wellbeing issues.
In these cases, support is often offered in conjunction with the employer, for example, using the company laptop and providing a quiet space to complete assignments.
Access Skills’ aim is to develop each learner, with an individually focused approach and bespoke provision.
This holistic approach to the learner considers external factors, rather than just focusing entirely on learning outcomes. Having a diverse workforce of their own makes it easier for them to understand and support issues related to people with specific backgrounds.
Access Skills was shortlisted for the ‘Training provider of the year’ award at the BAME Apprenticeship Awards in 2021 and 2022, and two companies who the training provider works with were also shortlisted in the ‘Small/medium employer of the year’ category.
The employer who nominated Access Skills said:
Access Skills says:
Find more information about supporting workforce development and recruitment with our #BuildingYourWorkforce spotlight.
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