Case Study: Enhancing Apprenticeship Development at Babcock through Skern
Babcock Group, a well-established company, noticed inconsistencies within its apprenticeship development approach. While various divisions within the group had their individual development programmes for early careers, there was no consistent method or standardisation across the board. Recognising the need for a unified approach, especially given the increasing importance of mental well-being post-COVID, Babcock was motivated to improve.
To find an external partner capable of crafting a cohesive and effective apprenticeship development programme for Babcock.
Babcock launched a tender to establish a structured apprenticeship development programme. The tender was successfully awarded to a partnership between Generation Healthy Minds and Skern Training and Skills (STS). This marked the beginning of a transformative journey. Two years on, Babcock was about to embark on its third year of this fruitful collaboration.
The primary offering was an STS residential programme that integrated well with the Gen Healthy Minds programme. Taking place in October, it aimed to cultivate key behavioural skills and practical attributes in the apprentices. Some of the standout features of the programme included:
- Outdoor Activities: This was key in promoting teamwork, collaboration, and building a robust peer support network among the apprentices.
- Feedback Mechanism: STS provided genuine feedback throughout the residential stay, pushing individuals out of their comfort zones. This was pivotal in moulding behaviour and aligning it with Babcock’s core principles.
- Leadership and Communication Skills: Through various on-site activities, apprentices were encouraged to guide their peers, honing their leadership and communication capabilities.
- Teamwork: The exercises emphasised the importance of sharing responsibilities and enhancing team dynamics.
- Motivation: Tasks were crafted to push apprentices both mentally and physically, ensuring they rallied behind one another, fostering an environment of mutual support.
Following the residential training, Babcock observed:
- Increased Confidence: Apprentices showcased greater self-assuredness and proactiveness.
- Strengthened Networks: Despite disparate backgrounds and roles, apprentices forged lasting relationships, expanding their internal network within Babcock.
- Improved Resilience: Challenges faced during the training, like adverse weather and constant changing conditions provided by the natural environment, and the carefully planned and facilitated sequence of activities, helped apprentices realise their potential to withstand difficult circumstances.
While the programme was largely successful, Babcock worked in partnership with STS to make improvements based on feedback from both the delegates and leaders who attended the programme. STS has developed the programme year on year to continuously improve impact.
Advice for Potential Collaborators
Babcock strongly recommends companies to be clear about their objectives when considering a partnership with STS. Being explicit about expected outcomes will ensure that STS can tailor the programme effectively. Babcock's resounding sentiment: Don't just consider it, do it! The tangible benefits, both for apprentices and the broader business, are substantial.