Distance travelled so far and where to next for Skern Training and Skills?

Distance travelled so far and where to next for Skern Training and Skills?

Alex Coyle - Head of Skern Training and Skills

Skern Training and Skills has grown significantly since its inception at the end of 2019. Designed with a vision to bring together 45 years’ experience delivering excellence in experiential development courses for early careers through to senior leaders and with a new direction into apprenticeships.

STS successfully achieved admission onto the government’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP), becoming a Main Provider in September 2020. After this Covid-19 momentarily put the brakes on the full apprenticeship launch until April 2021, when the easing of lockdown measures allowed face to face delivery for the very first cohort.

During the challenging time in autumn 2020 STS were able to adapt development courses to offer flexible, safe, high quality outcomes for employers at their locations within all relevant government guidance at the time. These training courses continue to go from strength to strength and have shown the industry-leading agility STS have to work directly with employers and in partnership with other types of providers at Skern Lodge, Inspiring Learning (IL) centres and employer’s locations.

STS carefully selected apprenticeship standards to align with its traditional areas of strength and expertise having delivered extensive training in the outdoors and leadership and management alongside a highly successful residential offer. STS also partnered with leading apprenticeship technologies such as Bud, Cognassist and BKSB to be certain of correctly supporting, stretching and challenging each individual learner.

Skern Training and Skills now deliver levels 3 and 5 in Outdoors, level 2, 3 and 4 in Catering and Hospitality and levels 3 and 5 in Leadership and Management. STS are proud to support in delivering apprenticeships across the country ranging from entry to higher levels, helping the skills rebuild required across the country, as laid out in the recent government skills bill.

STS remains a full member of the Association of Employers and Learning Providers (AELP) and takes great advantage of training, conferences and sector updates available. Also using the training opportunities from the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) for delivery staff, leaders and managers to remain close to wider sector updates and adapt quickly around policy and guidance changes.

Where are STS now? On the road again, in the recent weeks continuing to display agility and expertise in offering bespoke training and development programmes for clients across the UK. Getting more full apprenticeships underway with existing and new employers and gearing up to guide its first apprenticeship cohorts through to successful English, Maths and End Point Assessments.

A successful ‘critical friend’ visit in January affirmed the fantastic progress STS is making in its apprenticeship delivery, now well prepared for its Ofsted monitoring visit. Another strong RoATP (refresh this time) submission in February and a growing staff team filled with superb sector passion and expertise sees STS looking to build its presence at multiple events throughout 2022. This kicks off with the Manchester Northern Restaurant and Bar Hospitality event and the Annual Apprenticeship Conference (AAC) in March.

In recent weeks STS have be able to offer great flexibility for one long standing client, the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), to remedy concerns over any potential impacts of Covid -19.  Skern have delivered Apprentice, Graduate and Internship training programmes for STFC since 2015. The flexibility offered throughout this collaboration, including during the pandemic has ensured STS continues to be the first choice for their added value behavioural programmes.

STS were able to quickly adjust the bespoke programme, due to run at a single location, to be delivered concurrently for STFC at 3 of their own sites across the UK - Rutherford and Appleton Laboratory Oxford, Daresbury Laboratory and the Edinburgh Observatory. Feedback from each of the programmes and locations has been of continued high quality delivery by STS, a testament to the agility, experience and expertise the team achieve to meet and exceed customers’ expectations.

February saw the final approval of the long awaited level 5 Outdoor Learning Specialist Apprenticeship Standard. STS and IL invested in the employer trailblazer groups to create both the L3 (OAI) Outdoor Activity Instructor and the new L5 (OLS) Outdoor Learning Specialist. The development of a clear career pathway to level 5 in the outdoors is a huge step in recognising the talent and expertise required to deliver quality learning outcomes for the sector.

March also brings another great new collaboration between STS and Gen Healthy Minds, an organisation that approached STS for support in tender writing, designing and co-delivering products for a new joint client, Babcock International. Another venture delivered at the IL Dearne Valley Centre making great use of the outstanding Peak District to bring learning to life.

The launch of the brand new STS website ahead of the National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) brought together all the high quality products on offer, with other STS added value products to follow such as National Governing Body awards, Safeguarding, First Aid and education qualifications. Learner and employer handbooks, further resources and apprenticeship vacancy adverts for employers and learners to connect will all drive the next stage of exciting growth for STS.

STS dedicated business development and delivery teams are working closely with new and existing employers to best meet the needs of each organisation, learner and region through in-depth initial organisational needs analysis and initial assessments.

The added value to offer flexible residential development programmes continues to set STS apart from other apprenticeship providers in the market. As with any Independent Training Provider (ITP) there are plenty of compliance hurdles still to jump and operational problems to solve but as ESFA, RoATP and Ofsted requirements begin to become part of a well organised backdrop, the high quality team at STS are well set to support learners and employers in achieving superb learning outcomes and talent growth throughout the UK in the years ahead.

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