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Wyre Academy IT Apprenticeship Scheme success driven by open source blended learning portal

Today’s workforce needs to be responsive enough to adapt and thrive in the knowledge economy in which we operate; skills shortages are a real issue. Wyre Academy IT Apprenticeships afford employers the opportunities to grow and develop their staff with the skill-sets that they need now and in the future. For employees it enables them to ‘earn while they learn’.

Challenge

For the mixture of on and off-job learning that the Wyre Academy offers, TDM needed a platform that would provide an optimum environment for a structured and personalised learning experience. The core teaching principles of the Wyre Academy are that:

  • Learning is just in time: learning what you need, when you need it;
  • Work-based learning should be delivered by use of sensibly blended digital media and real-world environments.

The Totara Learn Solution

Totara ‘out of the box’ had most of the feature set to achieve the key requirements for the programme:

  • Booking system for a range of delivery methods – classroom, online courses, webinars
  • Competency-based learning
  • Pathway programmes using Totara positions
  • Structured reporting for assessors (as well as internal and external verifiers)

To further encourage learners to reflect on their learning, gather and showcase evidence, TDM’s own software developers wrote and incorporated additional features. This is where the open source nature of Totara has really come into its own. Firstly, single sign-on integration with the ePortfolio system Mahara allowed a much more rounded picture of e-learning. This provides a personalised portfolio that learners are able to continue in the workplace after completing their training with the Wyre Academy.

Business Results

The dovetailing of Totara and Mahara functionality has enabled the Wyre Academy to offer a real advantage over its competitors; learning and assessment can be delivered and managed online, streamlining processes, meaning less site visits from assessors. The result: better quality education at less cost.

Since launching in January 2011, the Wyre Academy has:

  • Been mentioned in the Houses of Parliament for their achievements
  • Become the Linux Professional Institutes Master Affiliate for the UK and Ireland
  • Engaged in excess of 30 organisations with their blended learning programmes
  • Enrolled in excess of 50 Apprentices

“IThe TDM Wyre Academy were really good at the recruitment/screening process and we ended up short listing two very good candidates and went on to offer one of them a job. Our apprentice is really great, so much so, that we are already fast tracking him and giving him responsibilities that  we would normally give to a graduate after they’d been with us for at least 3 months. We will definitely be using the Apprenticeship scheme again in the future.

Tony McDowell, Managing Director, Encryption IT Security

“IThe course was a great experience; I have learnt a lot more than I thought I would. I would definitely recommend training with the Wyre Academy and I will be attending more myself!

Martin Needs - Wyre Academy ICT Security Apprentice