League Football Education

League Football Education

LFE’s learner assessment strategy gathers pace

Incorporated in 2004, League Football Education is a partnership between The Football League and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA). Its primary goal is to promote and enhance educational and vocational training for 16-18 year old apprentice footballers.

All apprentices are put through a 2-year sporting excellence (ASE) programme which provides them with a qualification and a route to an alternative career path, should they need it. With only 30% to 40% of trainees offered a professional contract, the ASE qualification can be used by the apprentices to pursue an alternative career within a sports-related field, such as football coaching, or away from football altogether.

The challenge for LFE was to develop a strategy which would enable it to move away from its existing paper-based assessment processes and to use technology to make it more effective and efficient in meeting the needs of the ASE programme. With over 1000 learners on the programme at any one time, LFE recognised the need to create a uniform programme that could be consistently applied by regional officers at all of the 74 participating Football League clubs located around the country.

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OBJECTIVES AND CHALLENGES

The main objective was to introduce a high quality online solution that could assess, track and record each learner’s journey. It needed to incorporate a rugged and reliable initial and diagnostic assessment tool and be capable of supporting every part of the process to track and manage their learners’ qualifications online.

There was also a need for an online management tool so that a portfolio of evidence for the apprentices could be built. It was crucial that the tools were accessible from anywhere. This helped the learner, who could log-in at home, and also assist the regional officers when they undertook their reviews on-site with the apprentices.

Another key challenge was to remove the need to collect huge volumes of paper-based documentation. The old system relied on collecting a large amount of paperwork to track the progress of each apprentice. This placed an enormous burden on regional officers who had to use at least five paper documents for each apprentice review.

SOLUTION

1. Introduction of online assessments to assess English and maths

LFE converted from paper-based assessments to the ForSkills suite of highly interactive online assessments and learning resources. The assessments are used at the start of the programme to assess a learner’s English and maths ability and direct apprentices to the appropriate learning resources to fill the knowledge gaps. The results of the assessments are used to create the learner’s individual learning plan which is stored online. The regional officers also have access to a range of useful management reports which can be used to obtain an overall picture of an individual or group’s progress.

2. Tracking apprentices through their qualification

To track learners’ progress, regional officers visit the football clubs every twelve weeks to carry out formal apprentice reviews. SkillsPortfolio is now being used as the primary tool to undertake these reviews and has completely replaced the paper-based system.

LFE use it to set and sign-off learner targets, enrol apprentices to qualifications, track qualifications by criteria, record evidence of achievement, and to store and update each Individual Learning Plan. Because it is fully accessible over the internet, Regional Officers can carry out reviews anywhere and are assured that all of the learners’ data will be available when they need it.

ADDED VALUE AND BENEFITS

To track learners’ progress, regional officers visit the football clubs every twelve weeks to carry out formal apprentice reviews. SkillsPortfolio is now being used as the primary tool to undertake these reviews and has completely replaced the paper-based system.

LFE use it to set and sign-off learner targets, enrol apprentices to qualifications, track qualifications by criteria, record evidence of achievement, and to store and update each Individual Learning Plan. Because it is fully accessible over the internet, Regional Officers can carry out reviews anywhere and are assured that all of the learners’ data will be available when they need it.

“The systems we use today to track and manage our apprenticeship programme have been transformational for LFE. We can now access apprentices’ data, wherever they are, and paper-based documentation has almost been eliminated.”

Paul Bartlett, Project Manager and Regional Officer East and North, League Football Education

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