How useful is lag data?

DfE apprentice survey published in May 2022 found that personal or domestic factors such as a better job offer, mental health issues or caring responsibilities were among the key reasons for apprentices dropping out in 2019/20. When it comes to apprenticeship-related factors for withdrawals, the most common reasons were that apprentices felt they did not have enough time for training, poor quality training and badly run programmes. From FE Week 290622.

We are 18 months down the track from the ‘event’ end point as discussed in the above survey. Everyone is expected to be ‘getting on with it’ but many of the highlighted issues are still hanging around or, have magnified. Learner – Line Manager – Provider engagement is key to improving retention and, experience tells us that a return to face to face delivery is raising learner engagement significantly. Technology has been a useful tool but is no substitute for the personal connection between learner and educator.

What can be deduced from this? For me, big reports of this type take too long to reach the target audience meaning, lag data is of very limited value. We must be reading the signs and acting far more quickly. This is another reason why Mercuri have swung the pendulum back to ensure face to face training is a core element of our delivery strategy.

Barry Hilton
Managing Director, Mercuri International (UK) Ltd