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This policy details Harriet Ellis’ process for performing initial assessments of an apprentice’s prior learning.

It is a requirement that an individual’s prior learning is assessed prior to starting an apprenticeship, Harriet Ellis conduct this as part of the initial assessments.  The purpose of the initial assessment of apprentice prior learning is to:

  • determine if the apprenticeship standard is the most suitable programme
  • identify any changes required to the delivery of the standard to account for prior learning
  • ensure the apprentice will not be spending paid time doing training they do not need
  • calculate any price reductions as a result of prior learning

Pre-initial Assessment

  • If an employer is putting forward an existing member or their staff to join our apprenticeship programme, we must make them aware of any prior learning that may count towards the apprenticeship. This could include, their relevant work experience, any previous apprenticeship commenced, prior educations, training or associated qualifications to the Dental Nursing Industry or relevant related sector subject. Similarly, for any apprentice candidate, the same prior learning must be established and discussed to assess their eligibility for Harriet Ellis’ apprenticeship programme.
  • Any potential apprentice’s first point of contact will be via telephone from the resourcer on the recruitment and engagement team, based in house at Harriet Ellis. The candidate will be asked by Harriet Ellis to consider any relevant information in relation to prior learning that may count towards their apprenticeship. The resourcer will ask if they have completed or commenced any prior apprenticeship programmes, in any sector; as well as any relevant work experience (this is especially crucial to be aware of if they are an existing employee in a Dental Practice).
  • Harriet Ellis require prior academic achievements, employment history and proof of eligibility to work within the UK from the learner. Harriet Ellis use its Learning Management Solution tool, Maytas, in order to validate information against the Personal Learning Records (PLR) for individuals. Using the ULN (Unique Learner Number), which can be sourced using Maytas; it allows Harriet Ellis to access information on prior academic achievement records that the individual learner has gained. This allows Harriet Ellis to consider relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours obtained through prior learning and will also indicate if an apprentice candidate has any cross over/conflicting prior learning which is taken into account in the initial assessment.
  • During this pre-initial assessment, we also check the learner’s prior attainment of English and Maths. Further details are available in the Functional Skills Policy and Process.

Initial Assessment

  • The method of assessing an individual’s prior learning is broken down into three sections to measure what can be used against the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship:
  1. Prior Education

The Harriet Ellis resourcer will ask for documented evidence of their prior academic achievements in Maths and English Language. Copies of the certificates/grades are sent via email in a scanned document or clear image, which is the stored on our internal CRM system, and LRM system Maytas. Harriet Ellis can also obtain a learners prior learning via the PLR system on Maytas as above. If the learner does not meet the academic requirements, their details will be passed over to our Functional Skills Tutor Angela Gardener who will carry out an initial assessment test via online tool Dynamic.

  1. Prior Training or Associated Qualifications

By using the Personal Learner Record service tool on Maytas, Harriet Ellis are able to access any recognised qualifications that have been undertaken by a learner that are associated with an examining or awarding body. Harriet Ellis staff on the engagement team also enquire via email or telephone communications if any additional training or qualifications have taken place that may be relevant to the programme and classed as prior learning. Evidence of these will be added onto our CRM system and will be passed onto Rachel Thompson, the Quality Assurance Manager to determine whether or not any amendments will be made to the learner’s apprenticeship programme based upon their knowledge, skills and behaviours acquired on these additional training courses, or associated qualifications.

  1. Prior work experience

As part of the initial assessment of all learners, Harriet Ellis require an up to date curriculum vitae, to evaluate their previous employment, and any transferrable skills obtained that may qualify as prior learning. This is especially apparent if the individual is currently employed within a dental practice, or within the dental industry and health sector.

  • In support of our eligibility checks, we also require a Government issued form of identification e.g. passport or birth certificate. A signed application is also completed by the learner, adhering to our GDPR policy which allows the engagement team to learn about any personal data, caring responsibilities, criminal convictions and learning difficulties, disabilities and health issues. Any learner must have the right to legally work within the UK, and further documentation may be required in order to ensure the learner is eligible for an apprenticeship. This information is gathered an uploaded to Maytas and our internal CRM system.
  • Harriet Ellis use a variety of tools in the initial assessment period to determine the full occupational profile and learning of all the skills, knowledge and behaviours required are addressed these include:
  • The Personal Learning Record, checked via the Learning Management Solution platform Maytas to determine any prior education, training or associated qualification(s) in a related sector subject area.
  • For applicants with functional skills needs, Dynamic Learning by Hodder Education – online tool used to assess the level of Maths and English any learner is at and whether they are capable of completing our Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths or English. They are tested on questions both challenging Level 1 and Level 2 learning.
  • A telephone-based skills scan is a tool used in conjunction with Maytas by the recruitment consultants on the Harriet Ellis engagement team to assess the skills, knowledge and behaviours the learners already possess, prior to enrolling onto our apprenticeship programme. They will be tried on their role of a dental nurse, their reasoning for wanting to become a dental nurse and why they have chosen the apprenticeship route. The candidate will be asked their aspirations in the dental industry, and how they see themselves progressing after this apprenticeship programme is completed. The candidate will also be asked of their current skills and behavioural strengths from prior learning and experiences, and whether or not they have any learning difficulties, disabilities or health issues, which may require additional support from Harriet Ellis’ welfare officer, and potential alterations to their apprenticeship programme. The skills scan will also allow the consultant to discuss the apprenticeship programme in depth and explain the process, and what they will need to do past the initial assessment period and how the programme will be delivered. This information will also be discussed with any employers prior to a learner starting on programme.

 Decisions at Initial Assessment

  • Following the initial assessment all results identifying prior learning are presented to Rachel Thompson the Quality Assurance Manager. Using this information decisions are taken as to whether:
    • the prior learning sufficiently meets the standard and requirements. Harriet Ellis baselines the current level of competency against both the occupational job role as provided by the employer, and the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the apprenticeship standard.  All relevant prior learning is taken into account in order to establish if the remaining content required is sufficient to meet the minimum duration of 12 months and at least 20% off-the-job training.
    • the apprentice is eligible and continues to meet the eligibility criteria of requiring significant and sustained new training (minimum duration of 12 months, with 20% off the job training).
    • a funding reduction would be appropriate
  • Should a funding reduction be appropriate, we calculate this based on the proportion of learning and delivery not required. This is discussed with the employer and confirmed in the apprenticeship agreement. Harriet Ellis will not use apprenticeship funding to pay for or certify the delivery of existing knowledge, skills and behaviours.
  • All decisions are recorded on the Initial Assessment log.

Post-Initial Assessment

  • If an individual is deemed in-eligible for the apprenticeship programme, Harriet Ellis works with the employer to establish if there may be alternative training offer Harriet Ellis can support them with. This may include a self-funded qualification where they can still qualify in the industry.  Should this not be appropriate we would support the learner with information, advice and guidance and refer them to the National Careers Service or a local college.
  • An initial assessment outcomes document is completed in two stages, prior to enrolment, a Harriet Ellis Recruitment consultant will complete sections 1-4 with the learner and this will detail English and Maths levels and whether or not functional skills will be delivered to the learner. Parts 5 onwards will be completed by the Dental Educationalist once the learner has been enrolled onto programme.
  • An individual learning plan (ILP) will be developed, taking account of any prior learning and English and Maths requirements, with clear milestones against which progress will be monitored throughout the apprentices’ programme. In the commitment statement the ILP, English and Maths and any ILP will be documented.

Challenges and Disputes

If there are any questions, concerns about the decisions taken throughout our initial assessment process these can be raised using the complaints policy.

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