Saks Education at the cutting edge
Acknowledged as one of the UK’s best work-based training providers, Saks Education delivers NVQ apprenticeship training to over 250 learners throughout its network of hair and beauty salons. In 2006, the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) ranked Saks as Grade 1 for providing outstanding training and, in 2007, Saks was awarded Beacon status.
At the start of an NVQ programme, all Saks learners are put through an initial and diagnostic assessment to identify the learning gaps, and to help educators develop an individual skills plan.
OBJECTIVES AND CHALLENGES
With its ongoing commitment to best practice and excellence in training, Saks identified a need to get rid of its paper-based assessments, which relied on manual marking. Instead, they wanted to introduce a new online system which would transform the process for both learner and educator and dramatically improve how learners were tracked and managed. The new system needed to deliver a number of key benefits:
- Better tracking of learners
- Integration of learner data
- Improvements in the quality of the assessment process
- Reduction in teaching time
- Cost savings to eliminate the distribution of large workbooks
- A mechanism for employers to review and track their learners’ progress online
Recognising that an off-the-shelf solution would not work for them, Saks was looking for an organisation who could not only deliver industry-leading assessments online. They also needed a customised solution that provided a complete qualification framework ILP, performed learner reviews, set targets and built an online portfolio of evidence.
An existing client of ours recommended ForSkills to them, and we worked closely with the Saks team to introduce a range of solutions designed to meet their objectives which included:
1. Conversion to Online Assessments
Saks converted from paper-based assessments to the ForSkills suite of online assessments and resources. Written to the Functional Skills standards, the assessments delivered significant improvements over the old method.
2. Integration of SkillsPortfolio
ForSkills worked with Saks to customise SkillsPortfolio to meet their needs and track all their learners through their NVQ. It was used to set targets, enrol learners to qualifications and carry out performance reviews.
A key objective for Saks was to decrease the administrative burden and reduce the need to collect huge volumes of paper-based evidence. This was solved by using SkillsPortfolio. Designed to capture and build the learner’s library of evidence, SkillsPortfolio can be mapped against any qualification and criteria, and flags up candidates’ work ready for review.
It can also run management reports and notifies the educator when new work is ready to be assessed, as well as providing feedback on the progress each learner is making.
Initial training was provided to ten Saks educators who then created a simple user guide for their other educators.
ADDED VALUE AND BENEFITS
- Learners are tracked and managed online
- Employers have full access to the system
- Educators can access learner data, wherever they are
- All of the learners’ data is totally integrated and stored
- Educators can spend more time focusing on learners
- The sign-up process is dramatically reduced
- Can be used to support Ofsted inspections
- Learners enjoy using an online, interactive system
Today, Saks are achieving total integration of their learners’ data, with very low set-up costs.