Put down your notebook, close your spreadsheet. Creating a shortlist of apprenticeship training providers just got easier! With our useful tool, you can easily add training providers to your shortlist as you go along. Conduct your search and explore your options, then review your shortlisted providers all in one place when you’re ready.

Why is building a shortlist a good idea?

Understandably, choosing the right training provider for your apprenticeship programme is not an easy decision. It’s vital that you select a provider that you can develop a close working relationship with, hopefully for years to come. You need to trust them to deliver consistently great training, to provide exemplary customer service, to be flexible in their approach and make sure your apprentices are safe, happy, can learn the skills they need to be successful in their role, and can add value to your business. 

Making the wrong decision can set you back significantly. The wrong training provider could lead to issues with recruitment, with staff retention and with the performance levels of your apprentices. 

With that in mind, It’s certainly not a decision you will want to rush.

The decision making process...

In an ideal world, you’ll instantly find a training provider’s profile that jumps right off the page and, within a few moments, you will know they’re the right one. You’ll click through to their website or give them a call and pretty soon you’ll be ready to instruct their services. The likelihood of this happening, though, is quite slim. 

In reality, you’ll tend to follow a decision-making process like so:

1. Conduct preliminary research...

Most people who use Find a Training Provider are currently at this stage of the decision-making process, or are about to embark on this initial step at the very least. You’ve probably got an idea about what you’re looking for in a training provider, but you need to actually use those criteria to conduct a detailed search and start assessing your options to see which providers might be suitable. 

2. Add a range of options to a shortlist…

When you view a training provider’s profile that piques your interest and you think they might be a contender, you’ll want to note them down, and then continue your search to evaluate a range of other options.

3. Review your options in more detail and whittle this down to an even shorter list...

Once you’ve got an ample shortlist of possibilities, you’ll want to revisit them and further evaluate their suitability. In doing so, you’ll be able to discount some completely, pick out your front-runners and mark some down as maybes or back-up options.

4. Get a second opinion

When your shortlist is primed, you’ll probably want to get a second opinion. You’ll perhaps want to discuss the options you’ve gathered with a colleague or even seek sign-off from a more senior member of the business. 

5. Approach the shortlisted training providers

Once you’ve finalised your hit list with help from your team, it’s time to start having initial conversations with the training providers. Through these interactions, you’ll be able to narrow your options down even further.

6. Set up meetings or send out invitations to tender

Now the formal procurement process really starts! Hopefully through this process, your shortlist will finish with the name of just one training provider written on it. Then it’s time to start the hard work and get everything setup for your first cohort of apprentices to start their training.

Making the wrong decision can set you back significantly. The wrong training provider could lead to issues with recruitment, with staff retention and with the performance levels of your apprentices.

Getting started with a Find a Training Provider Shortlist: Step-by-step instructions

1. Search for a training provider

Enter a keyword search query and get started. Filter the search results by apprenticeship standards, location, industry, apprenticeship level or mode of delivery, e.g. block release. Make sure to check out the perfect matches for your search query first, then take a look at any partial matches too to widen your net. 

2. Review each training provider’s profile

Click through and consider all the information listed on each training provider’s profile. Hopefully, if the provider has opted for a full profile, you should be able to gain a really in-depth understanding of what they can offer and how they operate. Even if they’ve only got a free basic profile, you’ll be able to read a description of the company and see what apprenticeship standards they offer. You’ll also be able to add them to your shortlist. 

3. Click the 'Add to Shortlist' button

Simple. At the top of the training provider’s profile, you’ll see an ‘Add to shortlist’ button. Don’t be shy, give it a click! You’ll also notice that you don’t have to click into the provider’s profile to add them to your shortlist. You can actually just do this on the search results page.

4. Register with Find a Training Provider

In order to use the Shortlist function, you’ll need to register with Find a Training Provider first. When you first click Add to shortlist’, you’ll be prompted to login or register. It’s super quick and easy, just follow the onscreen instruction. We’ll ask you for some basic details, like your email address, so you can login whenever you want and enjoy the full benefits of this feature.

6. Review your shortlisted providers again

Within your shortlist, you’ll see the key info about each training provider at a glance, i.e. their name, their locations, the sectors they work in and the type of provider they are, e.g. FE college, university, specialist or national provider. 

You can then click through to their profile again from here to review them properly, without having to conduct another search. 

5. Making your shortlist even shorter

Once you’ve added a bunch of training providers to your shortlist, it’s likely your shortlist will be more like a longlist. 

In order to narrow your options down further, you can rate each training provider within your shortlist as a ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or a ‘Maybe’ using our super simple ‘traffic light’ labels. You can then filter these accordingly and sort the real contenders from the slightly less suitable options.

7. Make a collaborative decision with your team

We understand that the decision to work with a training provider is not normally made in isolation. With that in mind, you can share your shortlists with your colleagues. Simply click the Share Shortlist button, enter your colleague’s email address to add them as a collaborator and click send. Bingo! You’ll both be able to add, edit and manage the shortlist. In order to gain access, your colleague will also need to complete the sign up form to register with Find a Training Provider. You can add as many collaborators as you’d like. 

8. Create multiple shortlists

Running a programme with apprenticeship standards might mean you’ll have to use multiple training providers to fulfill your training needs. You might be looking for entirely different criteria for each apprenticeship standard. Not to worry! You can create multiple shortlists and share these in exactly the same way. You can switch between these shortlists within your account with simple click of a button and whenever you want to add a provider to your shortlist, you can specify which shortlist to add them to or even create a brand new one. Pretty great, huh?

Save a list of quality training providers for the future

Building a shortlist is not a process which needs to be restricted to those periods when you’re actively hunting for a new provider.

If you’re considering running a new apprenticeship standard at some point in the future, for example, but perhaps you don’t have sign off for this yet or you’re not in a position to start the procurement process fully, you can still use the shortlist feature whenever you’d like to build a future list of quality training providers. So when you’re ready to kick things off for real, you can dive back in straight away and get a head start on the procurement process. 

So, what are you waiting for? Search, find and start adding training providers to your shortlist now!