Diligenta, a leading provider of business process services for the life and pensions industry, has succeeded in using the apprenticeship levy to transform its learning and development strategy.

With Seetec’s support the business has developed and implemented a series of skills development programmes that drive higher standards of work-based competence and create identifiable career pathways for individuals at all levels within the organisation.

Choosing an apprenticeship levy partner

With the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017, Diligenta recognised the need to choose a training provider that understood the needs of the business and could effectively manage all aspects of the levy. This included programme development, supporting apprentices, having oversight of levy funds and managing end-point assessments.

Training was needed to meet a range of business requirements and deliver qualifications in a number of areas, including leadership, project management, IT and financial services.

Equally important was the need to find a provider who would stand out from the rest – and could engage the hearts and minds of its people.

Seetec’s lead provider solution

Following a rigorous selection process, Diligenta chose Seetec as its lead provider. With a long history of supporting employee development through professional training programmes, Seetec stood out as a provider that had both the passion and experience required. Seetec’s Director of Excellence, Skills and Apprenticeships had led and chaired the trailblazer group responsible for developing the new level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor and level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager apprenticeship standards – programmes that Diligenta planned to invest in.

Offering a fully managed apprenticeship levy service, Seetec was able to support Diligenta with all aspects of its levy, including curriculum development and management and end-to-end learning delivery. Where specialist training was required, Seetec was able to source and manage suitable partners through its supply chain network, eliminating the need for Diligenta to engage multiple training providers.

Further solutions included the provision of e-portfolio and learner management systems, online learner resources, quality and performance management and management information reporting.

Investing in leadership and management

The first initiative that Diligenta was keen to implement was the introduction of two leadership programmes, incorporating the level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor and level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager apprenticeship standards.

These programmes provide newly appointed team leaders and managers (or those aspiring to a management career) with opportunities to develop the skills needed to be effective in their roles. These include project management, decision-making, effective communication and relationship-building, finance and budget management and the ability to solve problems in the workplace.

Individuals selected to participate in the programmes were given time to attend regular training sessions every month. They were also given access to a personal development coach, who supported them in applying the skills and knowledge they’d gained in their job roles. Programmes lead to professional certification from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Pathways to success

The programmes were highly successful, enabling Diligenta to create tangible learning and development pathways that hadn’t existed previously. As a direct result of its apprenticeship levy investment, Diligenta was also able to launch its first ever graduate scheme.

Of the employees on leadership programmes, over half were promoted to more senior roles or took on additional duties as a result of the training given. And even experienced staff benefited from developing new skills that would support them in their day-to-day roles, adding value to both the individual and the wider organisation.

Sam Little, Customer Service Manager at Diligenta, was among the first employees to complete the level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager apprenticeship programme. She said,

“Having worked in the business for 18 years, it’s great to be able to be able to evidence my existing knowledge and experience with a formal qualification. The level 5 programme supports me in my day-to-day role, adding new skills to those I already have. I found the module ‘Becoming an Effective Leader and Developing People in the Workplace’ particularly beneficial, and I regularly use much of the subject matter we covered in my existing role.”

Working in partnership

Pam Hicks, Learning & Development Manager at Diligenta, values the support that Seetec has given the business throughout its apprenticeship levy journey. She said,

“Working with Seetec has been an absolute pleasure. The service provided has been second to none. They really care about making a difference to people by helping them grow.

“As a training provider Seetec has exceeded my expectations ten-fold. They have developed a really strong, trusting relationship with us and show the epitome of partnership working. They have added so much value to our apprenticeship levy journey.”

Taking the apprenticeship levy further

Diligenta now has plans to launch three further learning and development initiatives, focussing on project management, customer service and IT skills training. Seetec is working closely with the business to develop and deliver programmes that will meet all of its requirements and ensure the levy delivers real return on investment.