“Seeing an apprentice progress and grow into a new person is the most rewarding part of the job”
For National Apprenticeship Week we caught up with Nyla Ahmed who shares her journey to becoming an apprentice assessor at Leeds City College.
What occupational area are you an apprenticeship tutor in?
Digital Marketing, Data Analyst and IT Tech Solutions.
How did you become an apprenticeship assessor?
The opportunity arose when I was working as an IT Lecturer at North Notts College. I accomplished the assessor qualification and gained experience in managing an apprenticeship caseload.
From that point on I worked as an assessor in the private sector until securing a position here at Leeds City College. Getting the experience has been the biggest game changer for me, the job became an instinct making it easy to improvise and meet learner needs.
How many students do you assess?
What’s your favourite thing about being an apprenticeship assessor?
I’m a people person. I enjoy analysing the learner’s capability and defining what their strengths are.
I work with the learner to help build their confidence so they can deliver their best at the end-point assessment (EPA). Some learners don’t have the confidence or self-belief, so it’s all about coaching their minds throughout their journey towards the EPA.
I also think having a bit of banter with the learners is important as it helps them feel at ease and feel heard during the course. Seeing an apprentice progress and grow into a new person is the most rewarding part of the job.
What does a typical day look like?
A typical day includes reviewing my calendar and attending sessions with my learners. I know how my learners work so the session can be from project guidance, presentations and exam prep. My day also includes interaction with numerous employers during learner progress reviews.
How do you offer advice to students who are not meeting the standards?
I determine why the learners aren’t on track. This will be an honest conversation about the journey up to that point and what’s caused the learner to fall behind.
If the learner is struggling due to personal reasons, then I will offer additional learning support. It’s important the learners know that they are heard and there’s support there if they need it.
However, if it’s the learner not pulling their weight due to lack of commitment then I invite their manager and determine how the learner is performing at work. A rigorous action plan with milestones and meetings is then outlined. The learner and manager agree to the plan with regular reviews to monitor progress.
What advice would you give to someone looking to study an apprenticeship?
If you are someone who wants to practically learn and apply knowledge and skills of the trade, then the apprenticeship route is for you. You learn more by doing.
I went down the university route but looking back I wish apprenticeships were a credible advised route back then.
My advice is to take the hands-on apprenticeship route to test and carve your future.
What are the benefits of apprenticeships to employers?
The employer has the advantage of investing in the learner, nurturing and training them to suit business needs.
The apprenticeship structure is so powerful and inspirational for employers – they control and drive the apprenticeship journey in line with the apprenticeship framework. It is a cheaper recruitment option with vast benefits in return, one of which the apprentice is retained with a full-time contract.
How do apprenticeships play an important role in shaping the future workforce?
The apprentices are learning and investing in a trade that is shaping the future sector. It’s a powerful mindset to have and providing the learner has this mindset, they are carving future steps for their generation. The learners become active members of the workforce from the start of their contract and instantly strengthen the sector they have specialised in.