For learners undertaking work-based learning, an effective induction to their programme is crucial for providing them with the best start to their learning.

As part of Skills Development Scotland Quality Assurance review process, Border Engineering Training Association (BETA) were commended for their induction process. BETA, an employer led organisation in the Scottish Borders, deliver apprenticeship frameworks in Engineering Maintenance, Electrical Engineering and Business Improvement Techniques.

David Miller, Group Training Manager at BETA, offers his reflections for other providers, while apprentices at BETA speak about their experience of their induction.

Border Engineering Training Association Induction Case Study

Border Engineering Training Association Induction Case Study

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Familiarising apprentices with their programme

The induction process at BETA is comprehensive and is used progressively to support learners at each stage of their learning journey. New apprentices at BETA attend an induction over two days at the start of their apprenticeship. The session covers important information about the apprenticeship, including expectations for each year and an outline of the roles and responsibilities for all parties involved. The delivery of training and workplace requirements are also explained to apprentices. This ensures that apprentices are familiar with the qualification and are very well prepared, with a clear understanding of what is required when they start their programme. As David explained, it is important for apprentices to have an induction that offers “a very clear idea of what is required to achieve the Modern Apprenticeship certificate”.

Apprentices at BETA reported a good understanding of their apprenticeship following the induction. Zak Thomson, an apprentice working with Mainetti (UK) Ltd, explained:

“The induction was very beneficial for me as it ensured I was aware of what to expect in the next four years of my apprenticeship”.

Zak Thomson, apprentice with BETA

Daniel Philip, an apprentice with Ahlstrom Chirnside, also benefited from receiving a clear outline of the learning experience. Daniel said, the induction “broke the apprenticeship down into manageable sections, which gave me a lot of newfound confidence”.

At BETA, apprentices also participate in induction activities to further facilitate confidence building. These include icebreaker activities and group discussions, so apprentices can interact with each other and feel at ease. These activities at the induction also help new apprentices to form bonds with their peers and get to know other apprentices in their cohort year. As John Graham, an apprentice with Evolution BPS, stated, the induction “helped settled any nerves I had as I started”. Apprentices also complete learning styles questionnaires, which support an individualised learning approach. David explained this was important to help each apprentice understand “what learning style suits them best and helps with their learning”. These activities, in addition to the comprehensive overview of the apprenticeship, represent excellent practice in induction. BETA, a small provider, demonstrates that investment in effective induction processes is possible regardless of provider size.

Finally, course administration is also carried out at BETA’s induction, which includes completion of key documents such as individual training plans, and registration forms for various apprenticeship bodies. This ensures key apprenticeship body requirements are met at the outset. 

Ongoing support: Resources and Year 2 Induction

At BETA, the induction session is the first stage of support provided to apprentices when they begin their qualification. An Induction Booklet is given to apprentices to take away from the session. This allows apprentices to build on the information provided at the induction and means they have the content to refer to later if required. Apprentices also have access to Moodle, an online learning platform, where resources relating to the induction and learning activities are maintained, enabling ongoing support for apprentices. David commented that this ensured “apprentices have all the information at their fingertips, as and when they need it, to help with progression through their apprenticeship”. 

In addition to the induction provided at the start of the apprenticeship, BETA provide an induction at the start of year two. In year one of their qualification, apprentices' complete activities at college before returning to their workplace to develop their skills following the off-the job foundation phase. As David highlighted:

"The induction at year two is important as it ensures apprentices are clear on expectations and workload as they progress to a different stage of the programme"

David Miller, Group Training Manager

During the induction, detailed exemplars for specific job-related tasks are provided to guide apprentices on the standard of completion expected. This includes guidance on portfolio write-up, use of observation check sheets, inspection reports, sketches and drawings, cross referencing and assessment plans. This gives apprentices an excellent understanding of how to gather and present their evidence in a structured format suggested by the provider.

Apprentices highly value this session and leave with a clear understanding of the standard of work and presentation style expected for their qualification portfolios. Kyle Amos, an apprentice with Mainetti (UK) Ltd stated, “I found the 2nd year induction beneficial as it showed me what is involved in the portfolio and made it easy to understand”. Apprentice John Graham added: “to have a second induction which covers what you will be doing at work with your portfolio was hugely beneficial and if this was covered in the first year, you would probably forget”. The second-year induction was highlighted as effective practice by Skills Development Scotland.

At the appropriate time, BETA aims to continue the induction for apprentices onsite. Continuing the group induction is important for BETA, given there are a suitable number of apprentices to be onsite and there are recognised benefits to apprentices of having a group induction.