Upskilling your team with a Data Analyst Apprenticeship can help you build the internal capabilities your company needs to succeed both now and in the future. But choosing an apprenticeship training provider can be a complex task.
With lots of different providers out there, identifying the right one for your business can be a challenge. Do you go for one of the big apprenticeship training providers or one with sector-specific expertise? Do you choose a provider that emphasises learner support or a shorter programme that accelerates development? Or both?
In this blog post, we outline the seven most important factors you should be thinking about when choosing a provider.
“How is the learning delivered?”
Before you sign your team up to a Data Analyst apprenticeship, you need to know the details of how it’s going to work. It’s essential you get an idea of how it will impact your employees and your business on a day-to-day basis.
Some elements of the programme structure are the same across providers. Most notably, all government-funded apprenticeships require learners to dedicate 20% of their time to off-the-job training. So in most cases, that’s one day a week out of five that your employees will need to dedicate to learning.
But what often differs across providers is how the programme is delivered. In most cases, providers will offer a mix of in-person and remote training via the completion of e-learning modules. In-person training may be delivered at your place of work or an off-site location, such as a dedicated campus or apprenticeship college.
Where the training takes place will depend on the provider and often, the number of people your company has enrolled in the programme. For example, some providers will offer mixed cohort apprenticeships for companies wanting to enrol just a few employees, say up to 10 or 15. In this instance, learning is usually delivered as a mix of off-site training and e-learning. But if you have a more significant number of employees to enrol on the apprenticeship, some providers will be able to create a more tailored programme for your business and hold the training on-site, therefore cutting down on the need for travel and reducing time away from the business.
However, a good provider will be able to work with you to create a programme structure that meets the needs of your business as well as the needs and learning preferences of the apprentices.
Length of Programme
“How long will the programme run for?”
The Data Analyst Apprenticeship (Level 4) typically runs over 14-24 months, depending on the provider. That’s quite a marked difference. An accelerated 14-month programme will mean upskilling your team faster and minimising the amount of time they spend off-the-job. Losing one day a week of employee time over 14 months rather than 24 months is a big cost saving for your business. However, you may have other reasons for wanting to opt for a longer programme. The choice will come down to what’s best for your business and the apprentices themselves.
“Can the training be tailored to the needs of my business?”
The core curriculum of the Data Analyst Apprenticeship (Level 4) is the same across all providers, as is set by the apprenticeship framework. However, some providers may also build in additional training in Python and advanced data science topics. So it’s important to find a provider whose curriculum best suits the needs of your business. A good provider will spend the time getting to know your business and be honest with you about where they can (and can’t) meet your needs.
Quality of Provision
“Is the programme going to deliver what I need?”
While the curriculum remains largely the same across providers, the quality of provision can vary. Look for providers with a proven track record of helping businesses like yours with data science training and who have a good reputation amongst previous customers. You can look for evidence of this in case studies and testimonials as well as any awards and accreditations they might have won. Always request examples of training materials to get an understanding of the quality of learner resources too.
Interested in learning more? Have a look at our L4 Data Analyst Apprenticeship
“How will learners be supported throughout the programme?”
The more support learners receive throughout the programme, the more confident they will be when applying their new skills in the workplace. But from one-to-one coaching sessions to online communication channels and learning platforms, the level of support learners’ receive varies across providers.
One-to-one coaching sessions are an opportunity for learners to tap into the knowledge and expertise of experienced mentors and are part of the package for most providers. However, the frequency of these sessions can vary. Of course, more frequent coaching sessions are advantageous for learners, but you also don’t want to see your team travelling 50 miles every week for a one-hour session with their mentor. Some providers will support remote coaching sessions through a video link to limit time away from the job. And online communication channels allow learners to seek support and connect with other students at any time, so be sure to ask potential providers if this is something they offer as part of the programme.
Some training providers are also leveraging technologies like gamification and AI to support apprentices on their learning journey. Gamification is great for engaging learners and improving knowledge retention by enabling them to test their skills in a real-world context. At Cambridge Spark, our proprietary AI-powered learning assessment platform, EDUKATE.AI®, supports learners by providing real-world simulated projects with personalised feedback and recommendations.
The great thing about these tools is that performance can be monitored by coaches and mentors. This way they can see how learners are progressing and identify anyone who is struggling and needs extra support. Remember that your decision depends upon your business and your apprentices - the best way to decide is to sit down and ask them what they would feel most comfortable with and then factor in the implications for your business and their learning.
“Are they experts in data analytics?”
In an industry where the jobs needed to be done are evolving faster than businesses can upskill the people needed to do them, choosing a provider with significant data analytics expertise is vital.
Asking the following questions should tell you what you need to know:
- What experience do you have in providing data analytics training?
- How long have you been providing this training?
- What qualifications do your trainers and coaches have?
Having a look at what other related training programmes a provider offers will also give you a good idea of their level of expertise. In fact, you may find it more reassuring to choose a training provider who specialises in data analytics and related topics rather than one who offers apprenticeships in a broad range of sectors and disciplines. Ask to see the profiles of some of the key members of their delivery and support team. You are looking for a blend of expertise and experience!
“Are they a good fit for my business?”
Finally, consider whether a provider is a good fit for your business. Look at their company values - are they similar to yours? If you’re a young, dynamic business, look for providers who echo those qualities. The better fit they are for your company, the more your team members are likely to engage with the programme. Why not ask providers you’re interested in to visit you at your workplace so you can gauge your compatibility in person?
Enrolling your team on a Data Analyst apprenticeship (Level 4) can help you upskill your employees, increase productivity and improve talent retention. But the success of the programme comes down to choosing the right provider for your business. Hopefully, these tips will have given you some things to think about when canvassing potential providers.
For a full list of the data science and AI apprenticeships offered by Cambridge Spark, click here.