An interview with
a Vampire an Assessor tells me gentle persuasion is needed when apprentices are struggling!
I have been blogging recently about the new 12-month stay rule for apprentices and how it affects those hardworking apprentices who really want to crack-on with their qualifications and gain promotion at work.
There is, of course, another side to the coin, which was highlighted recently when one of my assessors was celebrating the completion of an apprentice who has really struggled to achieve his level 3. The apprentice in question has worked very hard but has faced many pitfalls and challenges in his life and this has resulted in taking over 30 months to complete his full apprenticeship. The determination to succeed from both the apprentice and his assessor is what has driven this programme through to its conclusion.
So how do the assessors keep the learners going when they want to give up? Kerry says, “At level 2, the learners really want to keep their jobs and this is usually tied in with the apprenticeship. When the learners are struggling I visit them frequently and set small achievable targets so they can see their achievement percentage bar going up on each visit. I say ‘we need to do….’ rather than ‘you’ so they really feel I am there to support them”. She adds “I can also vary the evidence by using video and voice recordings rather than written work”. Gwyneth agrees, and adds “I can help them to think of evidence or change their units to make life easier for them and I point out the positives of what they can gain once they have completed their apprenticeship.”
How do they motivate themselves? Kerry laughs “your newsletter with all the coloured success rate targets, especially when they turn red!” Gwyneth joins in with the laughter “yes, think of the pay cheque!” Then they both turn serious and say “we’re always thinking of ways to help our candidates to achieve their goals. When they achieve, we achieve, so it’s a win-win situation”.
How do you feel when you get somewhere with them and they stumble again, either at work or in their personal life? Kerry, Rose and Gwyneth all concur “frustrated!!” However they all agree that it’s time to change tactics again, pick them up, dust them off and set them on the road again.
How do you feel when you can finally sign them off as completed? Kerry says “Fantastic, dance, jog, skip about, Whoop whoop!” This is usually when I can expect to see some cartwheels down the corridor!! Gwyneth says “Knowing that I have had an impact on someone’s life and helped them to achieve their goals is a great feeling”. Rose agrees, “I feel elated with a sense of relief that my persistence has paid off”. She adds, “In a way, though, I lose an acquaintance that I really like and have really got to know well!”
So, in talking to my team of assessors this week, I get a true sense of this being more than just a job. They all have one thing in common, the feeling of satisfaction when a learner achieves their goals and the feeling they have really helped to set their learners firmly on their career path.
One last thing to consider, though. The apprenticeship is an all-in price so learners that exceed their target dates by a considerable time tend to be a costly journey for us but, as we are not-for-profit, our main concern is to get the learners through to their finish-line. It is, of course, ‘swings and roundabouts’, as some learners take a while to get their programmes finished, others have been completing in a timely manner. We are, after all, dealing with human beings, not widgets (and certainly not vampires!)
Wendy Vickers, CEO
17th August 2012