Developments to Damar Apprenticeships

Over the last few months, the team at Damar have been working hard to improve our apprenticeship delivery. These developments are based on feedback from our apprentices and employers, we all as learning and delivery data, and are designed to improve the quality and impact of what we do for our apprentices and partner-employers.

The Benefits

Learning will be broken down into more regular chunks of activity. Running face-to-face sessions has often resulted in longer meetings set further apart. Remote sessions will be shorter but much more frequent and this will help to maintain momentum and increase engagement, with a more manageable flow of activity.

Technology will allow us to connect apprentices to tutor sessions, regardless of geography so that apprentices get the benefit from more subject specialist expertise.

Where apprentices have historically worked one-to-one, they will now have access to workshops and virtual classrooms with other apprentices at a similar stage in their apprenticeship journey. There are a vast array of benefits to this type of peer-to-peer learning, including more active learning, interpersonal skills development and mutual support. You can read more about peer-to-peer learning here.

Revisions to our assessment strategy mean that there will be a clearer distinction between ongoing learning checks and the compulsory summative assessments that are needed when the student hits their end-point assessment. Exams will also be more accessible with more regular sittings nationally (dependent on ongoing social distancing restrictions).

There will be better wraparound support at the outset of the apprenticeship with getting students on board, so we will be able to implement faster enrolments and launch visits delivered by programme managers. And at the end of the apprenticeship, there will be better support post-gateway with subject-specific completion plans and supporting materials on OpenLearning.

Apprentices who are accountable and feel empowered nearly always succeed. By taking ownership of their studies, managing their workload and seeking out learning opportunities, they are setting themselves up with the habits and skillset that will enable them to achieve their qualification, but also to progress, adapt, learn and thrive as the business world and job roles evolve.

Key Developments

Fewer face-to-face visits – As we emerge from the crisis, in-person visits will not be possible in most cases and so “face-to-face” will normally mean via video-conferencing. Experience during Covid-19 has shown us that visits using Zoom, Teams or Skype are just as effective, far more efficient and less environmentally costly than in-person visits.

Enhanced use of technology – As well as ongoing use of the video-conferencing systems that most of us have used during the crisis, we will be making greater use of OneFile and our virtual learning environment, Damar OpenLearning. In particular, all learning activity will be recorded on OneFile, which means that it is easy for our team and for employers to monitor progress and provide support where necessary.

More teamwork – Apprentices will benefit from the virtual classroom environment and the ability to share questions and learning across a group. Accordingly, all apprentices will be registered to a Damar OpenLearning virtual classroom with others who are at a similar point in their programmes. This enables coaches and specialist tutors to share content as well as group discussion in a moderated forum. 

Greater accountability – Ultimate responsibility for learning rests with the apprentice. Employers provide a supportive environment, appropriate work and time for off-the-job study. Our coaches and specialist tutors will ensure that the programme is designed and delivered appropriately. Coaches will be supportive but also robust in holding apprentices accountable for achieving the learning goals they set for themselves and we will let you know if progress is falling behind. This will include the use of Microsoft Bookings which will allow apprentices to see their coach’s calendar and book meetings in with them directly.