Introducing… Our Apprenticeship Outcomes Officers
Posted on: 2021-02-12
To coincide with National Apprenticeship Week, we decided to shine the spotlight on our apprenticeship outcomes officers – or AOOs.
We have 18 AOOs in total who provide one-to-one support to our apprentices. The AOO role is all-encompassing and includes providing pastoral support and ensuring apprentices and employers are meeting their contractual obligations.
The AOOs cover all our apprentice programmes and work hard to ensure those on apprenticeships with UCEM are successful. We could continue but, instead, three of our AOOs share their thoughts on the role and tell us a little bit more about themselves…
‘We support our apprentices as best we can’
Not a lot of other universities provide the service we do with coaching our apprentices. UCEM is unique in that respect.
We do 10 weekly progress reviews with apprentices. We monitor their development and offer pastoral support to make sure they are progressing academically and getting good results.
We help to ensure that they are on track with their assignments and complete the mandatory requirements for the apprenticeship.
We make sure they are aware of safeguarding and British values. We set SMART [specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound] targets to help their Maths and English development.
Some reviews can be hard if a learner is having personal problems. I recently had one of my apprentices go through quite a lot so I make sure I check in with them on a regular basis.
We provide one-to-one support to our apprentices. In the one-to-one progress reviews, we encourage our apprentices’ line managers to join the review – this helps us to better understand what experience and support an apprentice is gaining within the workplace.
Some apprentices feel they don’t need frequent progress reviews. It’s down to us [the AOOs] to set the scene correctly and set the record straight to say we are here to offer pastoral support throughout their chartered surveying degree. I explain to the apprentices the importance and relevance of their progress reviews.
I recently had an apprentice send me a message saying: ‘Thank you so much for your support. I don’t know what I would have done without it. It’s been helpful to have someone on the phone to speak to.’
It’s great for our apprentices to have someone on the end of the phone. The apprentices are thankful we are there to support them. If they are falling behind, we are there to provide advice and guidance in order to help them get back on track.
Due to COVID, we are not able to meet in Horizons once a month as we used to. Instead, we communicate as a team on Microsoft Teams or Zoom on a weekly basis to ensure we share best practice and ask for each other’s guidance. We also have ‘cuppa and catch up’ sessions scheduled and use this time to talk about anything we wish to. This has been welcomed, especially during these hard times.
The aim is to have a minimum of two progress reviews per day to ensure we have enough time to have an in-depth conversation and that the experience is a quality one for the apprentice. The majority of progress reviews are conducted via video conferencing rather than audio – stronger relationships can be built this way and we can better support those who have been and still are in isolation and have been for a long period of time.
We are all in the same boat. We support our apprentices as best we can.
I have been doing this role for four-and-a-half years. It was a career change for me as I was working in training and development in marketing and sales departments.
The reason I made the career change was, with my previous role, I worked with two or three apprentices. I had to support them on a day-to-day basis and I really enjoyed doing this. There was then a restructure and I took voluntary redundancy.
I then applied for my current role. It was a rare vacancy and I feel lucky to have found this as there were not many others like this around. I have loved it ever since as I love to support and coach others.
When an apprentice says: ‘Thanks for your help’, ‘thank you for listening’ or when they have passed their exams, it makes you realise that what we do does in fact make a difference to our apprentices.
‘Building a good working relationship with the apprentice and employer’
I joined UCEM at the beginning of December and look after a cohort of apprentices undertaking the Level 6 Chartered Surveyor degree apprenticeship.
I am the first contact point for both the apprentice and employer and carry out regular progress reviews with both the apprentice and employer, reviewing activities undertaken by the apprentice in the workplace and how that aligns to the development of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that have to be evidenced throughout the apprenticeship. We also track progress against their degree studies, functional skills (if applicable), employability skills, the APC RICS structured training and evidence of off-the-job training. We set targets and actions in the progress reviews accordingly.
I have worked in education for approximately seven years, having worked in a secondary school and FE [further education] college in a pastoral role before moving into apprenticeships. I worked at a local college for nearly three years looking after a cohort of apprentices studying Level 2, 3 and 4 apprenticeships.
I enjoy building a good working relationship with the apprentice and employer, and supporting the apprentice on their apprenticeship journey. UCEM is going through much change presently, streamlining processes, which I am sure will only benefit our apprentices, and I am excited to be a part of that going forward.
‘Working with people who want to improve their skills’
My role is to support the employer and apprentices through their journey. Any issues I answer myself or I signpost to the relevant person.
My background is in welfare and in getting unemployed people into work. What attracted me to the role is working with people who want to improve their skills.
I enjoy talking to the employers and the apprentices, listening to how they are developing and getting passionate about what they are learning, both academically and in the workplace.
For more about our apprenticeship provision, either take a look at our ‘Employing an apprentice’ webpage or our ‘Becoming an apprentice’ webpage.