Arfon Dwyfor Training (ADT) has grown to be one of the leading vocational training providers in Wales. In collaboration with the Welsh Government, they have developed strong and lasting working relationships with small, medium and large employers to provide quality training and assessment towards Foundation Apprenticeships, Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships for employees in the workplace. ADT has a strong track record of maximising learner achievements, its apprenticeship attainment levels being amongst the highest in Wales.
Facing the challenges of the sector
The biggest challenge, even for a relatively small provider, has been the regulatory changes around delivery. But because of their size and the flexibility of Maytas, ADT have always been able to quickly adapt to the market, easily customising the system where necessary to meet funding and other regulatory bodies’ requirements.
The most recent example of adapting quickly concerns the Welsh Government’s increased requirements around evidence provision in order to comply with ESF and European Office Funding regulations. The MIS Team at ADT, led by Brian Jones, were able to quickly adapt Maytas to be able to produce and share the relevant reports addressing learners’ eligibility to work in the UK and recording letters from learners’ employers. On dealing with the pressures of a changing landscape, Brian commented, “Potential burdens thrown up by the market are quickly dealt with so the business can operate as normal, even in times of change.”
A business built on best practice
ADT’s entire business runs on systems and processes built around Tribal’s Maytas MIS so the monitoring and management of every training scheme is handled completely by Maytas.
Brian explains how line managers for cohorts of assessors needed ‘Outstanding Review list’, so Brian’s team built a robust process around that element in Maytas. As with most of ADT’s data processes, it means on an operational level the exercise is quick and painless and the data’s integrity can inform key decisions with confidence. The outstanding review list acts as an early-warning system; whether the underlying issue is something like a back-log for training co-ordinators sending the information on to the admin team, or something with more serious implications, the Team Managers have that live picture and can chase it up and take any corrective action deemed necessary.
Confidence in data driving confident decisions
Confidence in the data held within Maytas is critical, especially when 99% of ADT’s income is based on the data they get out of their MIS system. The board also scrutinises data and performance in greater detail as market conditions put increased pressure on Training Providers. The Senior Management Team receives an automated suite of reports on a weekly basis delivering live KPIs around the standard in training, progression, and leavers without certificates. They also receive live data around caseloads so these can be optimised to influence greater learner outcomes but also so leaders can manage by exception, making the most effective and timely interventions with learners and delivery teams alike. “Thankfully, long gone are the days of trawling through paper reports,” comments Brian, “we work smarter and the reports are indispensable.”
The ease of reporting touches many different stakeholders, from SMT to individual assessors, all the way to the consortium that requires data exports from the system to address KPIs around achievement and financial positions; all with minimal or no impact on ADT’s MIS resource.
ADT’s attainment rates remain the highest in Wales, maintaining a 90%+ rate on all their schemes. Brian attributes this to a culture whereby success is deemed as normal, but also on the business’ ability to concentrate on the learner. This learner-centric approach is partly down to the commitment of the staff at ADT but also due in part to the fact that Maytas frees up their time and enables them to concentrate on influencing learner outcomes. And the MIS team is no different – they expect success and expect their MIS system to help deliver that. Using the data in the system means they can monitor and react at a market level and an operational level to support the business’ ongoing success.
Constant drive for efficiencies
As Welsh Govt introduces regulation requiring 90% of learners to be under 25, providers like ADT working in employment markets where the typical occupancy is more like 30-40% need to be ever-watchful over their operations, seeking out the most streamlined way of doing business.
Maytas enables ADT to constantly challenge what they do and how they do it, to see if there is a better, more streamlined way of operating. Automation of reporting in itself saves Brian’s team an estimated half-day each week compared to manual approaches.
Continuous Quality Improvement:
The Managing Director of ADT, Jon Roberts, has a keen focus on the quality of provision, requiring a constant picture of how the business is performing against the Estyn framework. Brian’s team therefore automates the reports to provide performance data addressing percentage of learners achieving apprenticeships in each occupational sector in order to gauge success. This means Jon can see trends, spot weaknesses early on and make corrective action before issues around the quality of provision can take hold, critical in an industry where competition is high and reputations are precious.
This issue is also key for employers who get inspected for quality, and who often want evidence that their learners are capable and competent to certain levels. Taking one of ADT’s customers as an example, Welsh Water operates in a highly regulated industry and naturally takes the training and competency of its staff very seriously. ADT as their provider, supplies the board with monthly progression and attainment reports. The programme is so successful that Welsh Water won Employer of the year at the 2015 NIACE Awards due to their delivery and subsequent achievement and attainment of essential skills programmes. Over 500 staff signed up to the programme in 3 years, achieving 1,060 qualifications in literacy, numeracy, and ICT making it by far the most successful workplace essential skills programme in Wales. As a union-led programme stakeholders included the union as well as the employer, and once again ADT, through its use of Maytas, was more than up to the task of providing the evidence of the programme’s successful delivery. Being able to provide such robust evidence of successful programmes puts ADT in a strong position for securing future contracts.
“We couldn’t live without Maytas, especially the reports. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Maytas – it’s great, it works and the business depends on it.”