Training Partnership has developed very good training on employability. This training links well with the good systems for arranging work placements for most E2E learners. Work experience is effectively linked to the other aspects of learners' programmes. Learners are well supported at work and progression rates to employment are good.

How you can use this

All providers which provide training that helps to improve learners' employability could adopt the model of a week's training on employability skills and additional training sessions on the world of work. Factors that should lead to effective courses:

  • groups with appropriate numbers of learners to carry out the activities and generate useful discussions
  • availability of enough staff to stimulate discussion and support learners
  • appropriate accommodation and resources
  • allocation of additional time for learners and staff to review each learners' participation, identify achievements and development needs and evaluate the course.

Providers of work-based learning needing to increase the number of learners who go on work experience, would need to invest in staff time to be able to adopt Training Partnership's approach. The well-structured and well recorded procedures should provide useful templates for providers to adopt.

How it works

Learners on Training Partnership's E2E programmes spend the equivalent of at least two and a half days a week receiving off-the-job training in well-equipped vocational workshops. Learners follow individualised learning programmes that include training in literacy, numeracy, using computers and the development of their personal and social skills. Training to improve learners' employability includes has three elements:

  • Week-long training in employability skills called "Employability Week"
  • A short course entitled the "W.O.W factor" (world of work) (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Work experience
  • "Employability Week" takes place approximately three weeks after the initial induction training and involves a good range of innovative learning activities that effectively raises learners' awareness of the social and personal skills required for employment. Each learner has an individual timetable of activities that helps them identify:
  • how well their current behaviour and attitudes meets employers' requirements
  • changes they need to make
  • any training or support they will need from Training Partnership to help them overcome these barriers

Activities, such as an employability treasure hunt and a simulation of a production line, help learners develop and assess their communication skills and ability to work with others.

The week of activities are well managed. An employability diary and employability plan are used to keep a record of the skills covered on the course, completed jobsearch documents and agreed action. Learners and staff evaluate each session in a way that is used well to plan improvements for future courses.

The "W.O.W factor" builds on the skills learners developed during employability week. It consists of four one-and-a-half-hour sessions for a group of approximately 8 learners training in different occupational areas. The objectives of each session are:

  • To introduce the importance of first impressions and assist learners in promoting their positive assets
  • To continue to develop a positive self-image via "what am I like" sessions and gain understanding of how to answer common interview questions.
  • To gain confidence and skills to answer common interview questions and to take part in mock interviews
  • To create a video advertisement based on knowledge gained during previous sessions and reflect on impact of the programme.

Training Partnership works with over 100 employers to provide work experience for its learners. Most learners need to develop basic occupational skills in the vocational workshops before they are ready for work experience. Approximately 80 per cent of training partnership's E2E learners attend work experience at some stage of their programme for at least one day a week. Arrangements for work experience are very well managed and consist of well-co-ordinated stages:

  • Work experience introduction - that identifies the scope of potential work experience, learners' aptitude and potential barriers to a successful placement
  • Job description agreed with employer and learner - that forms the basis for managing learners' work activities and assessing their achievements and learning needs
  • Placement induction - that is carried out jointly by the employer and Training Partnership's staff
  • First day review - that helps learners reflect on their first impressions and identifies their achievements and any support required before the next day at work
  • Evidence reviews - that provide learners with a useful reminder of what the sort of evidence they can collect to show their achievements at work
  • Employability-related learning activities - that include tasks such as putting together a profile of the company providing the work experience
  • Work placement reviews and monitoring - that focus on collecting learners' and employers' views to assess learners' progress and identify ways to extend learners time at work and potential progression routes

Progression rates to employment and training from Training Partnership's E2E programmes are good. The organisation keeps good records of learners' progression (1, 2) and uses them well to evaluate the effectiveness of its programmes. Records include data on the number of learners that progress to employment with companies that provided their work experience.