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General guidance and help


To provide organisations with a starting point for their Training Quality Standard journey, we’ve collated some useful hints and tips below.

First thing’s first

The approach to writing the Application

The content of the Application

Preparing for the Verification Visit



 

First thing’s first

  • Make sure you can satisfy the eligibility criteria, which can be found here.
  • Ask yourself if you have systems and processes in place. The Training Quality Standard looks at the systems and processes that you have in place to deliver training and development solutions. Your processes should be consistent and documented.
  • Be clear about the commitment up front – writing the Application is quite time consuming, so be sure that you have enough time to invest in the process.
  • Be clear about the scope of your assessment: what should you leave in and what should not be included? You should include every area of your organisation that interacts with the employers you provide training solutions to. You can find more information on scoping here.
  • And finally, use our readiness check to get a feel for where your organisation may sit in relation to what the Standard is looking for. 

 The approach to writing the Application

  • Whoever you appoint as the lead in writing your Application should attend the Applicant Training Course and read the Applicant Guide to ensure that they have a firm understanding of the assessment framework and process.
  • Brief the team who will be involved in pulling together evidence or information for your Application – it’s important that everyone understands what the Standard is about and what it looks for before you start.
  • It may be useful to use a team approach to pull the information together. You could even ask individuals who are responsible for specific processes -e.g. managing enquiries - to write a draft for A.2.1 Manage Enquiries.
  • Think about using an evidence matrix early on – a grid that includes  each of the Standard’s indicators will enable you to mark relevant evidence against so you can see where there may be gaps.
  • Circulate drafts of the Application to other members of the organisation; this will ensure that nothing gets left out.
  • Though sections of the Application can be delegated, or drafts circulated to staff for input, it is important to have a lead author who can ‘bring everything together’. This will ensure that the style and messages are consistent and that it makes sense as a narrative whole.
  • Be sure to stick to the word limit (20,000 words for a Part A; 10,000 words for a Part B).
  • Ask someone to look at the completed Application. Recruiting critical friends will provide you with an objective view of your Application, which will help you to ensure it has the correct focus, makes sense to an ‘outsider’ and is easy to read. It can be useful to recruit critical friends from within the organisation and outside the organisation. Why not show it to your latest recruit?

The content of the Application

  • Write the Strategy (A.0 and B.0) first. You will find that you will refer back to your Strategy throughout the Application – and it will provide the context to the whole document, so it’s useful to have this complete first.
  • Your Approaches (Indicators within A.1, A.2, A.3, A.4, A.6, B.1 and B.2) should support your Strategy: the Strategy should provide a rationale for the processes you deploy.
  • Be sure to describe ‘who’, ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘to who’ you do something, as well as describing ‘what’ you do. You should also explain ‘how you know it works’.
  • When writing the Results Indicators (those within A.5 and B.3) remember to consider that they are concerned with:
    • Scope: how well does what you’ve collected address what you wanted to achieve in your Strategy?
    • Trends: a minimum of two years (at least three data points) can be considered a trend.
    • Targets: are you setting SMART targets; and are you meeting these?
    • Comparisons: Who are you comparing yourself with – how do you rate?
  • The Results Indicators (those within A.5 and B.3) relate to your performance, therefore an assessor will expect to see figures, graphs, tables and charts. You should bear this in mind when completing the Results section of your Application.
  • Write about what you do, don’t assume that it’s just good practice.
  • Explain any jargon and acronyms – remember, the Assessor is not an expert in your organisation – make it easy for the Assessor to read.
  • Remember to include everything relevant in the Application. The Training Quality Standard is an Application based assessment, so you must refer to all evidence within the Application, as new evidence can’t be taken into account on the Verification Visit.
  • Remember to make linkages throughout the Application. The Indicators of the Assessment Framework don’t sit in isolation; there are many linkages to be made.
  • Related to the above point, you don’t need to keep repeating yourself: if you need to refer to something you have already written in the Application, you can cross-refer to it.
  • Don’t forget – the Standard looks at your responsiveness to employers – it does not focus on the learner.

Preparing for the Verification Visit

  • It’s a good idea to brief all staff on your Application for the Training Quality Standard. Informing them about what will happen will prepare them for the visit.
  • Ensure that any evidence referenced in your application can be easily accessed on the visit.
  • Ensure that key members of staff are available for the Verification Visit. Prior to the visit, the Assessors will provide you with an agenda informing you of the key people they want to see on the day.
  • Remember that no new evidence can be considered at the Verification Visit.
  • You may wish to consider a dry run with your staff.
  • The Assessor has a limited amount of time and unfortunately may not be able to listen to presentations; they have a list of points for verification, amplification and clarification which they will need to get through.
  • Don’t be surprised if different staff are asked the same question – the Assessor will be checking for consistency of process, where appropriate.