- On-the-job learning
- All courses are dovetailed into
practical workplace experience
Set up in 2014, Skills4Stem was the brainchild of our Sarah Davis. Recognising that many employers were keen to make the most of the Levy and Non-levy apprenticeships, it soon became clear that losing their staff to lengthy courses offered by the institutions was not ideal. Not only that but with much of the coursework being theoretical, it was often hard to see the benefits of an apprenticeship on site.
In addition, Sarah’s passion for helping more women enjoy a fulfilling career in a STEM industry meant the whole review of how a modern-day learner could accelerate their knowledge and skills and become one of our stars of the future.
It required a transformational approach
The Skills4Stem central focus is to provide personalised adaptive learning programs that dovetail into
For employers, this meant creating programs where up to 70% of the learning takes place in the workplace. This practical application of tutored learning embeds knowledge straightaway, whilst ensuring resources are optimised on-site. Better to have an apprentice working directly on a project providing commercial value than having them stop away in a college classroom for days on end.
As a result, helping the apprentice learn became key. But all apprentices are not the same. With different learning styles, different lifestyle pressures and different outlooks, it soon became clear that for many, the battery hen approach to institutional education was not always the best way to bring on individuals.
This forms the basis of what we now call adaptive learning. Even before we take on an apprentice, we find out what makes them tick, what motivates them, their preferred learning style and what level they can operate at. By doing this, we then build a qualification around them and their employer, adapting the content in a modular way so they can learn faster or slower as the subject matter changes. And apprentices loved it, with a knock-on effect in employer engagement too.
What surprised everyone was that by taking this adaptive approach, more apprentices completed their qualifications and often much faster than through the institutional approach. Using the unique modular approach any unexpected absenteeism could easily be accommodated by rescheduling. You can’t do that at college, miss it and you miss it.
Now became a case of scalability.
Key to all this was the quality of the trainers. To manage this flexible approach, Skills4Stem employed only industry literate tutors and trainers. It’s so much easier to learn from someone who has been there and done that and has reached a point in their career when they can give back to the industry. There was an additional benefit too. Trainers are not lecturers, so they are happy to work all year round. No term times here. So Skills4Stem runs all year round because of the modular approach to learning, apprentices can start at any time. If they come in at module three, we simply add modules one and two at the end. No waiting for course start dates, no managing long holidays. Just work at your pace and get qualified faster.
As Skills4Stem has become established, we become approved providers for most of the awarding bodies that monitor and provide end assessment qualifications and we have become a main apprenticeship provider in the UK Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
On average we have over 500 live learners at any given time, with many each year attending our graduation ceremonies. It continues to grow each year as employers and apprenticeships come to realise this transformational approach to STEM qualification is a great way forward.
What’s most rewarding of all, is that every day we actively unleash the untapped potential in our candidates in the knowledge that they will one day shape
- Adaptive learning
- A modular approach built around the apprentice.
- Industry trainers
- Experts who have been there and done that.
Skills4Stem are proud to employ ex-Armed Forces personnel within the organisation and provide a suite of resettlement programs funded by the MoD.
A commitment is reflected in the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant in 2020.
We are also committed to supporting Women into Construction as part of our ambition to bring more women into the STEM Industry.