Supporting English and Maths skills development
Interserve Learning & Employment is one of hundreds of organisations using Skills Builder software, contributing to the 2.9 million initial assessments taken last year which help to develop learners’ skills in English and maths. Skills Forward, who developed the Skills Builder platform, was able to support a rapid launch of the software for Interserve Learning & Employment, ready for a January 2020 go live date.
Helping customers get reform-ready
Following the reform to Functional Skills qualifications, Skills Forward supported Interserve Learning & Employment to implement new initial assessment and eLearning software, Skills Builder, with the capacity to meet the newly introduced criteria. This consisted of a rapid launch programme, daily training sessions - which were bespoke in nature, to over 200 staff and individualised resources - and continued support and training.
The success of the programme has seen over 5,000 assessments issued as part of regular delivery whilst also supporting the organisation to maintain delivery during lockdown to ensure learners continued to progress despite the circumstances.
Matthew Smith, Learning Systems Manager at Interserve Learning & Employment, said:
“We realised that as the reform to Functional Skills qualifications was underway, our current provider of initial assessment and eLearning software would not be able to meet the demand and allow us to remain compliant in time for the deadline. We made the decision to look for a new provider.
“We reviewed the options available and following some research, a review of their testimonials and a free demonstration of the platform, we decided to take our conversations further with Skills Forward. We had known of Skills Forward prior to their rebrand and knew that they had a good reputation within the sector. We had a number of phone calls with Richard and Jo from the Customer Engagement team, to discuss our requirements against Skills Forward’s system functionality. After extensive research, the Skills Builder eLearning platform was able to demonstrate that it could engage our learners, provide ease of use and help our learners to get ready for the new Functional Skills exams which we felt were going to be more difficult than ever before."
About Skills Builder
Skills Builder is a comprehensive eLearning solution which can be used for both Functional Skills and GCSE for English and maths learners, as well as Essential Digital Skills and ESOL. The software incorporates Ofsted and ESFA compliant assessments and allows the provider to capture data at learner, group and institution level, as well as monitor continued progress on an interface that is easy to interpret and understand.
Alongside the initial assessment, Skills Builder also provides high-quality, mixed media resources, mapped against learner requirements, to aid skills development in an engaging way which caters to their learners’ individual learning styles. The flexible software also allows tutors to upload their own resources, which has been an invaluable asset for users during the extended period of lockdown this academic year when face-to-face teaching has become impossible.
How Skills Forward supported Interserve Learning & Employment
Skills Forward and Interserve Learning & Employment worked together to ensure that staff felt comfortable during the transition and confident in their skills to use the software. Support that was offered by Skills Forward to Interserve Learning & Employment included:
- quick account creation for all front line Assessors, Quality Assurers and Administrators
- reflection of their operational structure within Skills Builder and ensuring Operational Managers had access to the information they required
- 14 webinars delivered to ensure staff felt ready for go live
- classroom training for administrative and specialist staff to ensure their key role in ensuring the success of Skills Builder was deliverable.
Staff approved training and learner approved resources
Susan Roy, Functional Skills Specialist:
“Using Skills Builder is easier to navigate than [previous system], which I struggled with at times. It contains very self-explanatory sections, such as resources for both maths and English aims. Learners find this a good platform to use for easy access of resources to help them move forward with their learning, as well as the fact that they can access this at any time that suits them. The training was explained step by step and I feel quite comfortable using this to provide specific topics for learners to complete at a pace that suits each individual.”
“Throughout the launch, the team at Skills Forward were easy to work with (whilst always being professional), keen to support our organisation to achieve its goals and extremely helpful in ensuring user creation and organisational structure was built correctly into our version of Skills Builder. Whatever Skills Forward agreed to deliver was delivered within the timescales required. Their support in owning the creation of over 300 internal user accounts was particularly helpful and saved us a lot of admin hours.”
Helping to develop learners’ English and maths capability
Matthew summarised the experience and what it meant for learners:
“The overall experience of working with Skills Forward to launch Skills Builder in Interserve Learning & Employment has been a positive one and made the introduction of this new system to our organisation very straightforward. The team at Skills Forward is knowledgeable about their products and services, amiable, flexible and very easy to work with, and their Skills Builder system is a fantastic tool for initial and diagnostic assessments and supporting learners to develop their English and maths capability.”