Case study: M Group Services
Finding an apprenticeship provider
M Group Services, a leading essential infrastructure services provider operating within water, energy, transport and telecommunication sectors across the UK and Ireland, have been running apprenticeships alongside other organisations for a number of years.
When the Group wanted to enhance apprenticeship opportunities with team building activities, bespoke programmes and opportunities to learn ‘off-the-job’ in a residential setting, it needed a new, interdisciplinary provider.
Skern Training and Skills was the perfect fit for M Group Services’ requirements. Working in partnership, M Group Services made their apprenticeship training programme more bespoke and impactful, while meeting their geographical needs as a national organisation.
Jayne Ellison, M Group Services’ National Apprenticeships Manager, said, “It was important our chosen provider understood and aligned with our vision and values, and recognised what we were trying to achieve with a residential element to our apprenticeship development scheme.
“We needed something we could tailor to work within our business frameworks, such as our capability and a behavioural framework, while contributing towards our development programme.
“I quickly realised that with Skern Training and Skills we had options to deliver our programme at a range of activity centres across the UK. This was ideal. With our apprentices based nationwide, we needed a partner with locations nationwide as well.”
What makes apprenticeships unique with Skern Training and Skills
Skern Training and Skills gives its partners the opportunity to create a tailor-made apprenticeship programme design. Through collaboration it can incorporate an organisation’s culture, vision and values, creating powerful learning outcomes. This way of working encourages personal development and growth that seamlessly absorbs an organisation’s values and vision, making a big difference back in the workplace.
Jayne commented, “The Skern Training and Skills team quickly understood our culture and understood that we want to deliver learning for our apprentices in a fun way, but with a serious message about what we’re trying to achieve for apprentices and graduates.
“The experience has been great. There is continuous communication and feedback sessions once or twice a year, following the programmes to make sure we’re getting the right outcomes for the apprentices.”
Skern Training and Skills expertise is in interpersonal communication and the ability to nurture talent within an organisation, which safeguards against skills gaps. Apprentices have the opportunity to ‘earn while they learn’ and organisations are able to shape the type of training necessary to improve growth and develop future leaders.
M Group Services’ Apprenticeship Development Scheme (ADS)
M Group Services takes on 40 apprentices each year from the hundreds of applications received. Apprentices are an essential element of the Group’s approach to filling skills gaps across the country, following highly effective training programmes.
The tailored programme created for M Group Services covers the foundation blocks of learning, including interpersonal communication, teamwork, collaboration and professionalism. Identifying leaders of the future and building confidence are also central to the Group’s Apprenticeship Development Programme (ADS).
Jayne added: “We blend classroom learning and various activities with learning outcomes to encourage enthusiasm and help the apprentices get to know one another better.
“A big thing about our ADS is consideration for mental health. It’s really important for us to look after our people and these development opportunities offer our apprentices a memorable experience that really gives them a positive boost. Being yourself, developing confidence and gaining support from peers, they get prompted and encouraged to try things that they perhaps didn’t think they could do.”
Apprenticeship programme success
The effectiveness of M Group Services’ ADS is evident not only within the workplace but industry wide. M Group Services won ‘Apprenticeship Programme of the Year 2022’ in The Learning Awards and is now shortlisted for ‘Apprenticeship Initiative of the Year 2022’ in the Construction News Workforce Awards.
Since launching its ADS, M Group Services has started a graduate scheme working with Skern Training and Skills to create and deliver a bespoke development programme specific to graduate’s learning needs. Discussion are also being held about a further development/upskilling programme for apprentices who are already at level four or five or are existing employees.
Recommendations for other organisations
Jayne said, “Come with some idea of what you’re trying to achieve, but then really draw on the Skern Training and Skills team’s experience. Visit their different training and activity venues, because all of them have different benefits that can suit different programmes.
“It’s definitely a worthwhile thing to do and the apprentices get so much out of it. Managers do too, they get just as much out of it as the apprentices do, because they’re actually seeing the apprentices relax and be themselves. It’s wonderful.”