Reflecting, as one does twixt the excesses of Christmas turkey and New Year libations…

It is clear that 2018 will once again be a year of great change for those involved in post 16 skills delivery, but also one of opportunity and at least two very significant firsts.

2018 will see the first full year of the levy based Apprentice funding methodology with all of the changes, opportunities and frustrations it is bringing. If you are a new or an existing provider how are you dealing with the changes to processes, procedures and reporting criteria required by the new methodology? Have you successfully adapted the way you plan, monitor and review progress against targets and the allocations, such as they are? Possibly most important of all, are you taking full advantage of the new opportunities this funding regime provides with levy paying employers? Or are you, and let’s be honest here, just a little “challenged” by the changes, particularly give the issues with policy implementation?

2018 will also be the first year in which providers will need to plan strategically for the introduction of the early T level routes. It seems like no time at all since the Sainsbury’s review was published, 21 months in fact, with just 33 to go till the first cohorts are being taught. We are almost half way there! What have we done about it so far? Successful implementation of these reforms at provider level will require huge changes in curriculum deliver content and approach with fundamental implications for staffing and resources. These will need to be planned for well in advance. Effective strategic planning of the curriculum has now become a must with the mapping of the existing offer against the T level routes a good place to start (see my post of 2nd November, “Developing an offer which is fit for the future”).

With all of this fundamental change comes great challenges but also opportunities and whether you or your organisation can seize the opportunities, reaping the rewards, is dependent on how you respond. Are you in a position to say “yes” and “we have done/are doing just that” to the questions raised above; or, are there doubts, are you watching to see what others do, and are you just a little worried of making mistakes and getting it wrong?

It all starts with the right mindset and here I can do no better that quote the Deputy Principal of an outstanding College whilst commenting on the November 2017 Industrial White Paper at a strategic away day to his curriculum Directors:

“The direction is set. Get on board or get left behind!”

So, my final question is “are you on board and if so what are you doing about it?” List the initiatives!

It’s time to get proactive to seize the opportunities and if you are worried about making mistakes along the way, don’t be! If you haven’t seen The Last Jedi, I’ll just say that the latest words of wisdom from Yoda are:

“the greatest teacher failure is”.

Wishing you all a proactive and successful 2018.

Bob Hill

Mobile: 07802 883466

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