Learn Opinion

Retention is not a dirty word

Adrian Grove, Learning’s Business Development Director, Qube

Solutions exist and they’re not as radical as you might think, says Qube Learning’s Business Development Director, Adrian Grove.

 Care work can be infinitely rewarding, but no one could claim it is an easy job: it often requires very specific skills, unlimited empathy and total dedication. So, once you’ve found such an individual with these qualities, you really want to hold on to them. And that’s not easy either.

Staff retention is a perennial issue across most industry sectors, including care. But you’ll be pleased to read, there is a tried and tested route to keeping good employees, and that’s training. Or, to be more precise, apprenticeships.

Despite their historical success, apprenticeships have until quite recently taken back seat as successive governments sought instead to widen participation in higher education.

Essentially, apprenticeships fell out of fashion.

But now, following a long consultative period which culminated in the Apprenticeship Reform, apprenticeships are back with a vengeance and widely lauded as performing a critical and vital role in developing workplace skills once more.

Qube Learning is central to providing quality apprenticeship programmes in the care sector, currently working with over 350 employers including Priory Group, Caring Homes Group, Gold Care Homes, Elizabeth Finn Care Homes, brighterkind, and Avery, helping them to adopt and present new Apprenticeship Standards as a gold standard in employer-led training.

Central to Qube’s training is its commitment to putting employers right at the very heart of its training and development process, involving them in the design of the apprenticeship programmes and in shaping the future of their employees’ long term learning.

Research conducted by Qube amongst adult care employers, explored views on the Apprenticeship Reforms, including the funding methodology and new standards: this enabled the company to restructure its training provision in line with the sector’s new requirements.

Qube’s bespoke Apprenticeship Needs Analysis Profiler is case in point and designed to assist non-levy paying care employers in their budgeting, helping them allocate their co-financing costs across the academic year and build-in any additional training required.

Similarly, a Mentoring Handbook illustrates the most effective mentoring in the workplace and was created by Qube specifically to help employers meet the new obligations placed upon them through the reforms.

Interestingly, the research also identified that employers feel that most apprenticeship training on offer by providers was insufficiently bespoke to their organisation. Qube has countered this with the introduction of a Programme Design team which collaborates closely with individual employers. The team uses blueprint schemes of work, but then embeds employer-specific learning requirements are unique to that organisation and applied across the whole training journey.

Qube also assists with initial recruitment of apprentices, organising Open Days to source candidates for the employers’ programmes. The activity includes a Skills-Scans analysis for applicants to ensure they are placed onto the correct programme of learning, a process which has delivered improved engagement between employers and apprentices and has helped achieve outstanding retention levels.

Within the Adult Social Care sector alone the results speak for themselves: retention rates since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in May 2017 stand at over 87 per cent for both Adult Care Worker Levels 2 and 3 – a phenomenal achievement.

But that’s only half the story: just as important is the genuinely tangible progression opportunities available to apprentices. This is provided through Qube’s bespoke Organisational Needs Analysis, developed in the belief that the only limits to career progression are the employees’ own ambitions, the analysis is undertaken with all employers to agree stepping stones to higher levels of learning.

Of course, all training success can only be achieved thorough high quality teaching. This underpins Qube’s teaching performance criteria which are is mapped to Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework, with processes validated by an ex-HMI inspector as meeting quality standards.

Apprenticeship training is here to stay and underpins retention. Qube’s training excellence saw the company take the Cre Services Apprenticeship Provider of the Year 2019, and now the organisation is sponsoring The Great British Care Awards 2020.

If you want to keep your staff, Qube learning is a great place to start.



Edel Harris





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