Technician Development Framework

Technician Development Framework

Design and Deliver Effective Development Programmes
for New and Existing Technical Staff

Key terms and definitions

The framework provides guidance under the following headings:

Section 1: Taking a strategic approach 

A strategic approach 

Identifying a business need 

University-Level Engagement 

Project Structure 

Communication/Engagement 

Section 2: Overall Programme Design
for Technician Development Programme (TDP) 

Options for Delivery of Apprenticeship 

Options for Recruitment 

Options for Central Support for Delivery 

Terms and Conditions 

Funding 

Other Key Considerations 

Section 3: Detailed Design for Delivery

Selecting Apprenticeship Standards and Frameworks 

Selecting Training Providers, Negotiating Price and Contracting 

Detailed Programme Design 

Section 4: Marketing, Recruitment and Selection

Marketing, Recruitment and Selection 

Section 5: Implementation and Ongoing Review 

Implementation and Programme Delivery 

Ongoing Review 

Each heading includes guidance about the activity, who to involve and a proposed output. Please click on the headings above for a brief description. If you require further information about the guide or support to design and implement an apprenticeship programme contact tdm@sheffield.ac.uk

Section 1: Taking a Strategic Approach

A Strategic Approach

Staff development at all levels needs to be strategically managed to be effective. This will include accessing the apprenticeship levy, developing internal funded trainee programmes and providing access to wider staff development activities.

Taking a strategic cross-university approach to development, design and delivery of an apprenticeship scheme will:

  1. enable the organisation to make the most effective use of the levy
  2. build and deliver a programme which supports workforce planning, both in terms of recruiting and training new people and developing existing staff
  3. enable the development of a programme that takes an inclusive approach, benefiting all staff groups / business areas
  4. provide added value through cross-institutional support, which can:
    1. ensure a consistent, high-quality approach across the institution
    2. bring economies of scale for training provision
    3. ensure managers are supported to deliver the apprenticeship

A starting point

Experience suggests there are several stages which need to happen almost simultaneously to take this forward, from:

Identifying Business Need

What is your current need? What programme will best meet your need?  These decisions require a clear understanding of your workforce and what the business needs are from that workforce both currently, and in the future.  Experience tells us that in many cases the technical community is not effectively involved in workforce planning and those that lead this do not have a clear picture of their technical workforce.

To help achieve this, the guide includes a series of questions designed to prompt an understanding of business need.  

We would also recommend considering using ‘Understanding Your Technical Workforce to support this area of work.

University-Level Engagement

Who in your institution needs to drive this forward to ensure University-wide engagement and a cross-institutional approach? What are the key drivers and constraints to achieving that commitment? How can these be addressed and managed?  From discussions we understand that some HEIs plan simply to focus recouping the levy by taking a quick win approach. Whilst a more strategic approach will take more time it will bring longer term benefits and ensure that all areas of the HEI are able to benefit from the fund.

The guide suggests ways in which this could be achieved.

Project Structure

What project structure best suits your organisation? How can you ensure that key policy and related decisions can be made speedily and effectively? How can you ensure effective governance? How can you ensure that there is local involvement in the key decisions?

To help achieve this, the guide suggests a structure led by a strategic steering group, which, from experience helps achieve the above. The key to ensuring the groups make things happen is to ensure that everyone within the project structure is has a clear remit and is committed to their role.

Communication/Engagement

Do you have a communications and engagement strategy for this work? Who is best placed to lead and deliver communication and engagement activity? Who needs to know what and when? Effective communication is critical, not least because the new approach to apprenticeships is very different to the previous model and preconceptions need to be managed effectively. If not, these preconceptions could derail current activity.  Experience also tells us that many technical communities are disengaged to a greater or lesser degree and effective open and transparent communications are vital.

To help achieve this, the guide includes clear guidance based on practical experience and best practice.

Section 2: Overall Programme Design
for Technician Development Programme (TDP)

There are a number issues and options to consider when developing your HEI’s approach. Decisions about these issues will help to inform future evaluations. Some of these are highlighted below.

Options for Delivery of Apprenticeship

How do you plan to deliver an apprenticeship within the University?  How best will this suit both the institution needs and the needs of individual managers?  Are there different approaches to delivering apprenticeships for new recruits and existing staff? Officially piloting different approaches during this first year of the new scheme will enable you to test out different approaches and learn what works best at a time when new official guidance is being tested.

To help decide what approaches may best suit your institution, the guide provides some suggested models and their applicability to apprenticeships for new and existing staff.

Options for Recruitment

How do you want to manage recruitment – do you want to have a cohort approach or something more flexible to meet the needs of the business? Again, piloting different approaches will help establish best practice for your institution.

To help decide what approaches may best suit your institution, the guide provides some suggested approaches and their pros and cons.

Options for Central Support for Delivery

How will the scheme be managed? Who will support managers in their expanded role? Who will ensure consistence and quality across the institution? We believe it is essential that there is central support to run a university wide apprenticeship scheme effectively.

To help decide the best approach to central support , the guide provides some suggested approaches and their pros and cons.

Terms and Conditions

Can your current terms and conditions be adapted to support both new apprenticeships and apprenticeships for existing staff at all levels? What needs to be taken into account when considering salaries for new staff at higher levels?

To help understand the issues, the guide provides some suggested approaches and their pros and cons.

Funding

Are you clear about the funding rules? Have you thought about the extra non-staff costs needed to support the apprenticeship?

To help understand more about funding, the guide provides summary information and links to government guidance, plus good practice advice.

Other Key Considerations

Have you thought about how the scheme might be evaluated? Have you thought about the barriers and enablers to setting up a scheme and how you might overcome these? The apprentice technician will need to be working towards professional registration; have you thought how to support this?

The guide provides pointers and practical advice to support these issues.

Section 3: Detailed Design For Delivery

Selecting Apprenticeship Standards & Frameworks and Selecting Training Providers, Negotiating Price and Contracting

Are you clear what Standards are available, why these are needed and how to choose the most appropriate Standard for your apprenticeship? Do you know how to choose the provider that delivers training that meets the needs of your organisation?

Each apprenticeship requires a government approved occupational Standard (or framework) which guides the design and delivery of the apprenticeship. The Standard sets out the Knowledge Skills and Behaviors that will be achieved by the Standard, as well as the level of the standard and any related qualification that will be taken as part of the apprenticeship. The standards have to be delivered by approved training providers.

As the scheme has just started there are challenges to identifying and matching a Standard to your business need, and then, once you have identified the Standard finding an approved training provider that can deliver in the way that needs your needs.

To help understand more about this, the guide provides guidance to help support the two key processes.

Detailed Programme Design

Are you clear how to set out a development programme that works in tandem with the Off the Job Training? Are you clear what the objectives are? Are you clear who will be supporting the delivery and are they clear about their roles and responsibilities?

The guide highlights good practice by outlining some of the key considerations when designing an apprenticeship programme that aligns with the selected Off the Job training programme.

Section 4: Marketing, Recruitment and Selection

Marketing, Recruitment and Selection

Are you clear how you will market and recruit to your vacancies and how this process will fit with your internal recruitment policies and requirements? Are you clear who has overall responsibility for ensuring the eligibility of candidates for your apprenticeship? Are you clear how the Training Providers may help with this? Many providers are offering help with recruitment, which is invaluable, particularly in some cases, however, it is important to understand the pros and cons of this and to make an informed choice about how to recruit your apprentices.

The guide highlights different models for marketing, recruitment and selection, some of which are supported by training providers, to help inform decisions about the best approach to take.

Section 5: Implementation and Ongoing Review

Implementation and Programme Delivery

Are you clear what needs to be in place to implement the programme and to maintain support and ensure quality throughout the programme?

The guide highlights key considerations to ensure an effective launch and ongoing management of delivery and completion.

Ongoing Review

Are you clear what aspects to review, and how and when, to ensure a process of continuous improvement of the programme? Programmes will hit problems and as these are managed, it is essential that the learning is fed back into the programme itself.  Recording this is essential to support future development of the scheme, regardless of whether the scheme is a pilot or not.

The guidance emphasizes the importance of this process to ensure the programme evolves but maintains it key aims.

Section 6: Programme Evaluation

Evaluation

Have you been clear, from the start of the programme, how you are going to evaluate its effectiveness? Are you clear how you plan to assess whether the scheme has met its intended aims? Evaluation of interventions such as this is poor within HEIs. Introducing an effective apprenticeship programme carries considerable internal resource costs. Key questions need to be answered to assess if the scheme has achieved its aims and if not, why not, what can be improved and should it continue?

The guidance highlight some of the key questions that need to be answered and highlights some metrics to support this.