Dimensions 100th EPA Achiever

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With the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and new apprenticeship standards in April 2017, Dimensions have been trail blazers in the new world “End-point Assessment” achievements.

Since the reform, Dimensions have enrolled more than 430 staff members onto the new Adult Care Worker Standards. And not only have they already reached the 100th achiever for the new standards but also hit a record high 53% of distinctions.

We caught up with Sarah Baiden who has partnered with Lifetime Training to understand what has motivated Dimensions to strive for success.

“Staff feel encouraged, valued and motivated to succeed and they work very hard to produce outstanding results in all aspects of their work.” - Sarah Baiden, Qualifications and Assessment Manager, Dimensions

How did Lifetime Training support you through the Apprenticeship reform and introduction of the Employer Levy?

Lifetime played a key role in ensuring we had a clear understanding of the reform and the implications this would have on us as an employer. It has been an excellent example of partnership working, with a particular focus on the implementation of the levy and the new Level 2 and 3 standards, along with the impact the new ‘End-point Assessment’ would have on learners.

Through regular meetings, newsflashes, engagement with management teams around the country and the production of clear and accessible marketing materials, we have been well equipped to offer individuals the relevant qualification for their role, which is well delivered and monitored.

Why do you think you are seeing such high volume of distinction learners?

I believe that our staff work closely to the Values of the Organisation and this is seen in the work they produce and demonstrate throughout. Staff feel encouraged, valued and motivated to succeed and work very hard to produce outstanding results in all aspects of their work.

By ensuring the staff member and their manager are clear on the requirements of the programme and their specific responsibilities throughout, have the right resources at the right time and are supported by experienced and qualified assessors, we have been able to offer a development opportunity to all permanent staff, which, when necessary, can be adapted to support any additional learning styles and as such creates an ‘all-inclusive’ approach to learning, which is extremely important to us.

What has led Dimensions to the successful partnership with Lifetime Training?

We have been working with Lifetime for a number of years and over that time, we have worked very closely with our excellent Key Account Managers and their teams, who have always been responsive to requests, concerns and queries. It is important to them that they ‘get it right’ for our business and they listen to and understand our Values and expectations.

They are willing to engage with our regional management teams directly to share knowledge and reinforce understanding around some of the more complex areas, such as the 20% Off the Job Training requirement.

When required, they have liaised with our Internal Comms and Marketing teams to highlight learner achievements, produce case studies and promote success wherever possible.

Their approach to sector changes is always well communicated, methodical and relevant to our needs as a business.

This has instilled our confidence in them as one of our main providers for many of our qualification pathways and their forward thinking approach makes planning for the future that much easier.

Have there been any barriers you have overcome to drive the apprenticeships within Dimensions?

Initially, the new reforms and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy could have had a negative impact on the qualifications we were able to offer and the funding available to us, due to the significant changes in requirements and whether, as a large employer, we would be able to successfully manage this, given the high numbers of staff involved.

The focus needed to be on our new and existing staff, who had yet to achieve a qualification relevant to their role. We focus on the apprenticeship standards as a natural step in their development pathway, once they have completed their Care Certificate or Manager Induction Standards or in Business Support, and also once they have passed probation.

By keeping managers up to date with changes, new initiatives and expectations, ensuring colleagues have the information they require at the right time and in the right format; we have successfully more than doubled the number of those on an apprenticeship programme in the last 2 years, along with expanding the number of apprenticeship pathways available to colleagues which in some instances have enabled them to take the next step in their development and secure a promotion.

“Being able to apply the things I’ve learned throughout the apprenticeship has enabled me to have confidence in the work I do for the people I support.” - Jodie Dutkiewicz, Support Worker. Achieved Adult Care Worker Level 2, with Distinction


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