AIM Assessment – setting the standard through personal experience!
2 February 2024
As a leading end-point assessment organisation for apprenticeships in the creative and cultural industries, AIM’s expertise and knowledge of apprenticeship standards is well-respected. The fact that we also recruit and employ apprentices also provides us with valuable insights which we can feed into the way we work and how we advise and support employers, training providers and apprentices.
National Apprenticeship Week gives us a great platform to share our own apprenticeship journey, in the hope that this helps others at the start of their journey.
So what did we learn?
1. Things to consider when recruiting an apprentice
- Is the apprenticeship standard the right one for your business?
- Does the position offer tangible career progression for the learner?
- Look for the potential in your apprentice rather than the hard skills and knowledge
- Are you able to provide a meaningful and supportive apprenticeship experience for their on-the-job training?
- Do you understand the relationship you need to have with the apprenticeship training provider?
It’s essential that you select the right standard to fit the skills and capabilities of the role you wish to employ an apprentice within. At AIM, we assess over 30 apprenticeship standards for the creative and cultural industries, with more in development for 2024! However, there are thousands of occupational standards available for different industries, that are being developed all the time on the IfATE website, so be sure to check them out and pick the one that's relevant for your business.
Think of hiring apprentices as shaping the future of your organisation and of shaping someone’s career. But be open and realistic as apprentices might:
- have limited experience - so focus on potential and eagerness to learn.
- be young with less work history - so evaluate soft skills and adaptability.
- be seeking a career launchpad - so assess for industry fit and long-term potential.
It’s a big step for both the apprentice and the employer but embracing the challenge and investing in an apprentice will gain you a loyal, skilled employee.
Do your research beforehand and be confident that you have the right structures to provide supervision and support to your apprentice. Ensure you provide meaningful on the job training that is relevant to the apprenticeship standard they are working towards, and not the tasks that no-one else wants to do!
Make sure you understand how you need to connect with the apprenticeship training provider – this may be a college or local independent training organisation and it is vital that you develop a 3-way relationship with them and your apprentice so progress and achievement can be recorded and supported.
2. The benefits
As an awarding and assessment organisation, we pride ourselves on empowering futures. Recruiting apprentices provides tangible credibility - evidence that we believe in what we are saying. We are able to ‘lead by example’, particularly in the case of the Business Administrator standard.
Over the past few years, we have recruited a number of apprentices and they have all brought a fresh perspective to our organisation. Their ideas and valuable insights have made us look at things in a different way; they have brought a different outlook to our ways of working, sometimes simply by asking different questions.
The opportunity to be able to tailor their experience to suit the needs of our organisation across different Directorates has been a great bonus and it has been wonderful to see our apprentices grow in confidence as their skills and knowledge develop.
Assessment Manager, Jenner Griffiths, said of one of our Business Administrator apprentices;
“Tisha is great at her job of providing administrative support to the immediate Qualifications and Assessment team, the Business Growth and Transformation Directorate, as well as the wider organisation”.
We are really pleased to say that Tisha has now successfully completed her apprenticeship and is a permanent member of staff at AIM.
3. The apprentices’ story
AIM has recruited a number of apprentices, many of whom are still with the organisations on permanent contracts. This article wouldn’t be complete without hearing from two past apprentices, turned permanent team members.
Latitia Tomlinson – completed her apprenticeship in 2022
“I chose the apprenticeship route as I thought it’d be easier for me to learn hand- on rather than being sat in a classroom, also because I would gain job experience. I chose the Business Administrator apprenticeship because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left school other than knowing I wanted to be in an apprenticeship. After looking at a few different ones I felt Business Administrator would be a good role to work in. I thought that I made a good choice with my apprenticeship as I enjoyed it, I was well supported through college as well as from my line manager at AIM. I proceeded onto the next level after completing my Level 2 as doing the first one increased my confidence and knowledge, I felt I was ready to do another and increase my skills further. For anyone looking to do an apprenticeship I think it’s the best option after school as you can get a qualification whilst working, learning and earning money”.
Will Cummins – has completed four apprenticeships since leaving school in 2016, two of which were with AIM.
“I joined AIM in March 2017 as a Level 3 Business Admin apprentice, my role was initially ‘Business Support Officer’ within the Customer Support Team. I then gained experience working in customer experience, business engagement, and as a relationship manager within the End-Point Assessment team. My most recent move was to the role of Business Growth Manager, where I now focus on driving business growth across all AIM products and services. During this period of progression, the support from AIM has been incredible and I have completed three apprenticeship programmes. We are an organisation with a great passion for lifelong learning and are apprenticeship advocates”..
A good apprenticeship is just as important to the employer as it is to the apprentice. Both have something to gain and success comes from how much both parties are willing to invest in the programme.
We have experienced first-hand, that you ‘get out, what you put in’, whether that’s the time spent on completing the application process, the level of support you provide, or how much you are willing to nurture an apprentice through their role and study programme.
If you are interested in recruiting an apprentice or are a training organisation with a cohort of business administrator apprentices, get in touch with our apprenticeship team.
T: +44 (0)333 034 8833