Blog

Jan17

Thinking of QTLS?

- posted by Simon Linard on


Are you considering QTLS as part of your Professional Development in 2017. The information below comes from the Society for Education and Training and gives details of what you need to do ahead of the application window closing on 31 January 2017. 

New Year, new career goals! Increase your confidence, develop your skills and enhance your professional standing by undertaking QTLS.

Why achieve QTLS?

  • QTLS offers you professional recognition of your status as a qualified teacher or trainer
  • It enhances your career prospects
  • It demonstrates your commitment, skills and knowledge to employers
  • You will be able to use the initials as a designation in your signatures and online profiles
  • It is an excellent CPD opportunity that will build your confidence and enhance your skills
  • QTLS status is recognised in law as equal to QTS for teaching in schools

In order to be eligible to apply for the new QTLS, you need to be a member of the Society for Education and Training (SET). By joining SET now, you can benefit from 15 months' membership for the price of 12. To become a member, please register on the SET website.





Mar15

It's NAW 2016 - a great time to become an Assessor

- posted by Simon Linard on

National Apprenticeship Week 2016 is here and its a hot topic within the education and training sector.

When most people think about Apprenticeships, it is either doing one or providing one. The majority of events supporting National Apprenticeship Week are focused around encouraging take-up amongst both potential apprentices and employers (with the levy and trailblazers being themes this year). There is one group of people commonly forgotten during this celebration of all things Apprenticeship. They are an integral part of any Apprenticeship programme (quite often the unsung heroes); it's the Apprenticeship Assessors.


Assessors are vital in ensuring Apprenticeships are successful as year on year the number of young people taking an Apprenticeship increases. They play a crucial role in maintaining the standard of Apprenticeships, learning, teaching and up-skilling, as well as ensuring every programme delivers training that is relevant and valuable to both the learner and their employer.


There is currently a problem, a shortage of Assessors, a national shortage at a time when the number of people taking an Apprenticeship is increasing. At present there are literally hundreds of assessor jobs available across the country, so the shortage of Assessors is apparent.


A key issue is that Colleges/Training Providers want ready made Assessors, who can work with learners immediately (all the media attention during NAW is raising awareness and numbers rapidly). There tends to be a focus on employing already qualified and experienced assessors only, ensuring learners can be distributed immediately. Whilst it is easy to understand the rationale behind this approach I question whether highly competent would-be assessors are deterred from taking up a new careers due to potential barriers in place at entry level.


The problem is not just one of encouraging new talent into the industry, but one of retaining the excellent Assessors already in the field. We need to ensure every step is taken to provide them with ongoing training and support. Offering career progression opportunities and a clear 'path' for those who desire it is also vitally important.


In light of this, our focus for each year during National Apprenticeship Week is to champion the role of the Assessor and encourage 'would-be Assessors' to join the industry. After all, without excellent Assessors, we wouldn't have excellent Apprentices.


Here at SL Training and Development we specialise in the delivery of assessor qualifications and want to aid the next generation of assessors to enter the sector. If you are an Employer, Training Provider, College wanting to develop your team of Assessors or an individual looking to become an Assessor, we can help you so please get in touch.

Oct01

Goodbye QCF, hello RQF

- posted by Simon Linard on

The Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) came to a close yesterday (30.9.15). Today the new RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework) starts.

Here's what OFQUAL say:-

 ‘Removing the QCF rules will allow AOs to design qualifications that meet the needs of those who use them and, where certain elements of design are no longer prescribed, enable us more clearly to hold awarding organisations to account for the choices they make.  A new qualifications framework will be one way to help employers, higher education institutions, funding bodies, students and other users to navigate their way through the range of qualifications available and make informed choices’.


It only seems like a short time ago that I was going to the consultation for the QCF (Qualification and Credit Framework), attending briefing events and taking part in training programmes to relay the big changes from the NQF to the QCF. 

The QCF has had its critics, I did see the benefit and haven't had too many issues over the past seven years. This change is now in place (1st October) and we will see some major changes to the way qualifications are regulated and developed after Ofqual announced the withdrawal of rules governing the QCF. 

The QCF rules guided Awarding Organisations (AOs) when they were designing and developing qualifications by setting out the criteria and guidelines that must be met and followed to ensure those qualifications were fit for purpose, a genuine benefit to learners and could be accepted onto the QCF.

Most of the changes will have a greater impact on AOs. Providers, learners and employers will have to adapted to the changes as they get rolled out. This could mainly be terminology there shouldn't be much of a change to the way qualifications are offered. 


So why the change? - Since its introduction in 2008, there have been some concerns that the QCF did not always meet the needs of employers and learners, and that it created a system that encouraged formulaic, generic and ‘one size fits all’ qualifications.

What next? - The replacement for the QCF will be the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), which will begin to be implemented from summer 2015.  Among its many intentions, the RQF has one basic aim that Ofqual believes will give it an advantage over the QCF – simplicity for employers and learners.

Rather than set out guidelines on how AOs should design qualifications in order to be recognised, the RQF will simply describe the qualifications that are available.

How the RQF will work? - Although the RQF will not impose design rules on AOs, that is not to say there will be no structure and no requirements.  There will be.

Each qualification will be required to have a level and size, although qualifications that already have an appropriate level will not have to change.  There will also be a new set of level descriptors – divided into knowledge and skills categories only and ranging from Entry 1 to Level 8 – that point to what a learner will be expected to achieve.

There will be a greater emphasis on prior learning, making it simpler for this to be taken into account when starting a qualification, improving efficiency and minimising unnecessary rework. A significant change is in how the size of qualifications will be measured, with Ofqual stating that all qualifications will have a size, expressed in terms of total qualification time (TQT) and where appropriate guided learning hours (GLH).





Mar12

Don't forget the Assessors

- posted by Simon Linard on

National Apprenticeship Week 2015 has been running all week and been a hot topic within the education and training sector.

When most people think about apprenticeships, it is either doing one or providing one. The majority of events supporting National Apprenticeship Week are focused around encouraging take-up amongst both potential apprentices and employers (with the apprenticeships reforms being a theme this year).  There is one group of people commonly forgotten during this celebration of all things apprenticeships. They are an integral part to the running of apprenticeship schemes; the unsung heroes that come in the form of Apprenticeship assessors.

Assessors are integral in ensuring positive outcomes for both the learner and employer. They play a crucial role in maintaining the standards of learning, teaching and up-skilling, as well as ensuring every scheme delivers training that is relevant and valuable to both learner and employer.

In order to maintain and improve the standards of Apprentice schemes, it is vital that more talent is encouraged into the assessing industry. The substantial increase in the number of Apprenticeship starts is great, but delivery could prove problematic if there aren't sufficient talented assessors available. Sector competence is not sufficient on its own. We need assessors who can teach, assess and regulate but truly inspire and motivate; often a rare combination.

In addition to encouraging talented individuals to consider becoming assessors, the industry needs to ensure it is accessible as a career path in order to ease the route in, particularly in the skills shortage areas.

There are literally hundreds of assessor jobs available at the moment, so the shortage of assessors is apparent. A key issue is Colleges/Training Providers considering applications from already qualified and experienced assessors only. Whilst it is easy to understand the rationale behind this trend, I question whether highly competent would-be assessors are deterred from taking up this option due to a lack of opportunities at entry level.

The problem is not just one of encouraging new talent into the industry, but one of retaining the excellent assessors already in the field. We need to ensure every step is taken to provide them with ongoing training and support. Offering career progression opportunities and a clear 'path' for those who desire it is also vitally important.

In light of this, our focus for National Apprenticeship Week is to champion the role of the assessor and encourage increasing numbers to join the industry. After all, without excellent assessors, we wouldn't have excellent Apprentices.

Here at SL Training and Development we specialise in the delivery of assessor qualifications and want to aid the next generation of assessors to enter the sector. If you are an Employer, Training Provider, College or an individual looking to become an assessor, we can help you so please get in touch.


Jan30

Learning Technologies 2015

- posted by Simon Linard on

Yesterday I travelled to London, enjoyed a day at Learning Technologies 2015 and found lots of inspiration. 

As a training specialist I find continuous professional development (CPD) vital as part of my own development. I also need to practice what I preach as I encourage all my learners to take their CPD seriously. 

I've been wanting to get to this conference for the past couple of years, so this year I made sure I had it booked in my diary early and I registered as a visitor. Ahead of the conference I was able to get a real flavour for what to expect as I followed @LTuk15 on Twitter to get updates and tweets on the upcoming seminars and exhibitors. 

I went with a view to watching seminars and listening to the experts, whilst gaining a good insight into 'what's current' with technology in education and training. I knew there would be a few exhibitors I'd like to speak to and see what they had to offer. 

The whole day was great, I saw some really good seminars on everything from introducing e-learning to best practice in webinars. I also took in some top tips on making presentation slides (PowerPoint) more engaging and how some e-learning and LMS products work. 

I took lots away with me from the conference, as well as loads of information flyers. The key points to come out were simple - it's not about the technology you use, it's about what you do with it. This basically means you need to really understand the technology tools and system you use, before letting it loose on your learners. It's about:-

Planning 

Testing

Practicing 

Using it to engage with your learners

So basically it's like face to face classroom training, you ensure you plan your session, you practice delivering your presentation, run through your slides and engage your group. All the things I teach people during the Education and Training courses I run. 

Technology is a great tool, don't be afraid to use it with your learners, it will open up endless possibilities for you. 

My own training is being given a technology boost, with 2015 being focused on blended and e-learning, so attending Learning Technologies 2015 was perfect timing. If you can go next year, I'd highly recommend it.   

Dec30

Review of 2014

- posted by Simon Linard on

As 2014 draws to an end and 2015 dawns I thought I’d take time to reflect (as good teachers and trainers do) on the past twelve months.

2014 has been a busy year for me at SL Training and Development, with a mixture of delivering courses for clients and to individuals, providing support to people enrolled on my courses and to help them achieve their qualifications, freelance work and within my role as an External Quality Assurer (EQA) for an Awarding Organisation.

The year began with the conclusion of a training programme for Lifetime Training, where I trained nearly fifty of their Regional Trainers on the PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) course, with great success. This was swiftly followed by visits to Arsenal FC to work with and support their trainee Assessors who were completing their assessor qualification and training with me.

I’ve been lucky and privileged to work with and train some great people this year. Some of my highlights have been Assessor and Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) training for staff employed by NCFE, Trainercourses Ltd and TVS. I also ran a PTLLS programme for Bourne Leisure, enabling some of their Sports & Leisure Managers to gain the qualification to allow them to teach, train and assess first aid under the changes in first aid regulations and move of qualifications into the QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework).

Freelance work saw me delivering teacher training courses on behalf of a number of organisations, working as an IQA for League Football Education (LFE) and quality assuring first aid courses for TED Leisure. 

Centre approval was gained with Training Qualifications UK (TQUK) in the summer as it was necessary to find another Awarding Organisation to certificate the EQA training courses I offer and compliment the centre approval held for the past three years with NCFE. Having worked with TQUK for a few months I found them extremely helpful and have started using them for several other qualifications.

A personal highlight has been the success of the EQA courses I delivered throughout the year, with events running regularly in London. Several people have been able to take the qualification and then progress onto employment with an Awarding Organisation.

The year concluded with more EQA courses, Education and Training courses, more assessor training for Arsenal FC and the development of an e-learning platform to support courses in 2015.

Throughout the year I carried out my role as an External Moderator/EQA for NCFE, visiting and supporting their approved centres and quality assuring the qualifications they offer. I was also kept busy with national training events for NCFE, centre approvals and even some investigations into malpractice within some of their centres, something I valued and found a great learning curve.

Plans for 2015 include more Assessor, IQA and EQA courses throughout the country and in various formats, collaboration with other training providers to offer Education and Training qualifications, new options for individuals wishing to take the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training and the launch of an e-learning platform to support everyone taking a qualification with me. One of the most exciting developments will be the launch of the Level 4 qualification for Technology Enabled Educators, a programme that gives people the opportunity to explore e-learning, use of technology and solutions to help move training into the digital world.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you've had a great year. Please comment below if you’d like to and if I can help you or provide any information about what I do please get in touch.

Happy New Year and my very best wishes for 2015. 




Aug14

Choose your training provider carefully...

- posted by Simon Linard on

If you are an individual taking training to further your own knowledge and skills or a buyer of training who is looking to develop your workforce, it is important to choose your training provider carefully.

Poor training can lead trainees to become deflated, negative, unsure of what to do next or worse still not competent to carry out the functions they have been trained to do.

There has recently been some high profile cases, with lots of media interest, of poor and misleading training courses within the sector I work on. This not only devalues qualifications, it gives the whole sector a bad name.

Whether you are looking at doing a short one day continuous professional development course or a more lengthy formal qualification, the training provider you choose should be specialists in their area. You want to learn from the best don't you? Lack of specialism can lead to watered down training that might be delivered by someone because they've been a manager, or they've got an interest in the subject, or worse still they've just done the course themselves. Specialists will be able to share their vast knowledge, own experiences, talk confidently about the subject matter and ultimately provide you with the best possible training.

Training comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, bite sized workshops, one day courses, e-learning, qualifications or substantial development programmes, to name a few. What consumers do need to consider is, what if I have a bad experience? All training providers will collect delegate feedback to help the trainer and organisation improve, but what if your training is not value for money? What if you don't get what you paid for? What if you pay for training that never happens? Organisations generally have complaints procedures to deal with unhappy customers, but this might not lead to the outcome you want. There might be a ombusman that could help. To protect buyers why not consider training that is accredited and regulated, this means your provider will be regularly audited and quality checked. You might come under the protection of an Awarding Organisation, Regulatory Body or Accreditation Service if you choose a provider who takes the time to operate under such organisations.

There is so much competition among training providers to get customers, sometimes everyone is vying for the same type of person. Offers are a plenty, deals and discounts can be found, the price might just be very cheap. It's worth shopping around to see what you get for your money. Does the 'cheap' provider offer such good service and support resources/materials as much as the more expensive option? Is there any aftercare?

Three tips to help you find good training:-

1. Choose a provider that specialises in what they do. Go to the expert.

2. Consider a provider that holds some form of accreditation or is regulated, this gives you some added security if things go wrong.

3. Don't make decisions based on price, cheap isn't always best.

May20

It's Adult Learners' Week 2013

- posted by Simon Linard on

This week it's Adult Learners' Week 2013, what are you doing to get involved?

Adult Learners' Week is a national celebration of the benefits of lifelong learning and the opportunity to explore the many types of learning available. It gives people the chance to discover how returning to study could transform their prospects. Learning could provide the skills to secure a new job or a promotion, while an additional qualification could enable people to change career. 

SL Training and Development are here to help during Adult Learners' Week. If you want to change career why not think about training to be an Assessor? Working as an Assessor is a rewarding career, or it can give you some extra income, the flexibility and freedom of working freelance is very attractive. Assessors work in areas they have prior experience, so you could assess within customer service, plumbing, hairdressing, management, or whatever you have an occupational background in.

Do you have a hobby or interest you would like to teach others? Why not look at our Teaching and Training qualifications. Learning to become a Teacher can give you the confidence to pass on your skills and knowledge to others. Teaching others a vocational skill can be extremely satisfying and can also add extra income for you, or even lead to a complete career change.

Whatever you are considering or choose to do, take part in Adult Learners' Week and enjoy your lifelong learning experience. If SL Training and Development can help, get in touch, we're here for you. You can also keep up with us on social media, Facebook and Twitter.

May01

Technology and teaching

- posted by Simon Linard on

Technology can support teaching and training

Today I came across a really interesting article that relates to the use of technology in teaching and training. Here at SL Training and Development I firmly believe that teaching ans training should engage your learners, use methods that capture their attention and make them want to listen and learn. Technology is all around us and very much part of every day life. Technology in teaching and training works. 

Have a look at this article and let me know what you think.

The boring university lecture is going to be the first major casualty of the rise in online learning in higher education, says Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

The custodian of the world's biggest online encyclopaedia says that unless universities respond to the rising tide of online courses new major players will emerge to displace them, in the way that Microsoft arrived from nowhere alongside the personal computer.

"I think that the impact is going to be massive and transformative," says Mr Wales, describing the importance of the MOOCs (massive open online courses) that have signed up millions of students.

"It's also been slower than anyone would have anticipated. But I'm not a person who thinks that people will be able to just go online and get a complete education without the guidance of the teacher. That sort of simplistic model shouldn't be our framework."

Instead he thinks that universities need to use online technology where it really works.

And from his own experience as a student, the traditional university lecture should have been condemned decades ago and replaced with an online video recording that can be stopped and started.

Here is the link to the full article 

Mar14

Fancy a career change or a new challenge? Train to be an assessor

- posted by Simon Linard on

If you like the idea of motivating and encouraging people from all walks of life and enjoy working at varied locations, a job as an assessor could be exactly what you are looking for.

To become a full-time QCF (NVQ) assessor you will need work experience in the sector you plan to assess, and a level 3 assessor qualification.

As well as having an interest in helping people develop, a good assessor has a lot of patience, can write accurate reports and is good at keeping records up to date.

This article from the National Careers Service gives some great, impartial advice about how to become an assessor:-


You can speak to us about how to become an assessor and train with us, after all we specialise in this training.