Behavioural programmes deliver big impacts for STFC
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a UK government agency that carries out science and engineering research. They work to fund UK research into unique areas such as particle physics, nuclear physics, space science and astronomy.
At Skern Training and Skills, we have been working with STFC on their apprenticeships scheme for the past five years. We predominantly work with their first-year engineering and computing apprentices on the apprenticeship scheme's behavioural element (or soft skills aspect), such as teamwork, problem-solving, effective communication, and understanding leadership.
At Skern, we always work closely with the client to tailor the deliverables of the course; in this case with STFC, it is the residential aspect that they particularly favour, as they feel strongly that this is part of what helps the learners to retain their learning from the course. Therefore, working in groups of 30-35 apprentices, we carefully tailored the four-day residential course to enable the learners to see how the behaviour (communication, problem-solving, networking) works in different environments and methods to apply their learning in the workplace.
The residential aspect of our courses is being able to take part in activities in the sea or on the beach to provide invaluable experiences for our learners. In some cases, particularly for apprentices, it is the first time they have been away from home, which provides a vital growing opportunity.
Helen from STFC, said, "Skern are so great at accommodating all the different programmes and any changes we want to make as we go along – they are brilliant. Once we arrive, the Skern team kindly takes over, and we can relax knowing we (and the learners) are in safe hands. It also takes a lot of pressure off the management team, we only have to organise getting everyone there."
Helen continues: "Once they are at Skern, our apprentices get to take part in a wide range of team building activities, such as sailing, kayaking and rock climbing, and it is the learning outcomes of these activities that we want from our apprentices. It also provides the learners with an enormous sense of achievement, as some have never done rock climbing, and when you see them reach the top, you can see the massive sense of accomplishment and achievement. You can see their self-belief improving day by day.”
She goes on to say: "They also get the chance to better learn about the other apprentices, which provides a great networking and crossover point for them. You can really see some of them come out of their shell; they've made friends and have started the networking process. It's often a big contrast to how they arrive, where the groups that don't know each other won't even sit together. It's always really nice to see how they have bonded at the end of the course."We love that , everyone is encouraged to get involved at Skern and barriers are broken down."
At Skern, we work to ensure that the apprentices learn the critical behaviours to succeed in their apprenticeships schemes and make a valued and sustainable contribution to their workplace and allow employers to see what they are fully capable of.