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New feedback feature for the apprenticeship service

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Agile, Apprenticeship service, Apprenticeships, Content design, Employer Digital Service

Paul Kelman, Product Owner, looking at a computer screen with a colleague

Product owner Paul Kelman tells us about a new apprenticeship feedback service designed to help employers share views on training providers.

We’re developing an exciting new feature so that users can give feedback on aspects of their apprenticeship programmes. Initially we’ll ask employers to give feedback on their training providers.

Why give feedback?

Employers want to know what other employers think of training providers - they regularly tell us this in our user research sessions. We have listened to employers who tell us that they want up-to-date information and to hear from their peers when it comes to apprenticeship training providers.

Who can give feedback

Feedback will initially be available to employers that use the apprenticeship service. We aim to bring all employers onto the apprenticeship service, so eventually everyone will be able to give feedback on the training providers that they use.

Capturing data

My team’s challenge has been to capture and share useful feedback from employers. We had to understand what information our users needed, and figure out how to capture that information.

Our users asked for a quick and easy system that showed:

  • A high level rating to show what employers think of this training provider overall
  • The reasons why employers gave their overall rating

We created questions that take less than two minutes to answer. Employers will be given a list of attributes to select what a training provider does well and how they can improve. They then give an overall rating based on the quality of training and service. This is measured on a four-point scale from excellent to very poor.

We offer four choices to eliminate users automatically choosing the ‘middle’ option.

We tested several questions and formats with employers. They preferred the ‘strengths’ and ‘things to improve’ question because it was quick but gave insight into provider service.

Publishing feedback

We don’t interpret scores or create algorithms, averages, or “good” or “bad” labels. We simply feedback exactly what our users have selected.

Anyone will be able to see this feedback when they search for a specific training provider in the Find apprenticeship training service.

Future enhancements

We are currently designing ways to notify training providers when they receive feedback so that they can address any issues raised.

In future, we plan to make employer feedback a key metric in all searches made on the Find apprenticeship training service. The aim is to give employers the information they need to help them filter search results so that they can choose training providers that best suit their needs.

We’re also looking to allow users to filter feedback results based on the kind of feedback they want to see - for example, some employers are keen to only see reviews from employers in their sector.

Once the initial feedback model is up and running, we’re looking to rollout a similar model more widely. We want employers to give feedback on specific apprenticeship standards and end-point assessment organisations.

The first release is due very soon. We’ll start with a small number of users and steadily build it up. We’ll learn, iterate, and improve.

For regular apprenticeship service updates follow @ESFAdigital

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  1. Comment by Tim Buchanan posted on

    What moderation processes are being introduced to support this feedback mechanism, we all know some of the pitfalls of well known consumer (travel sites) where comments are often adverse because a specific request has not been accommodated when it was unreasonable in the first instance

    • Replies to Tim Buchanan>

      Comment by Richard Handley posted on

      Hi Tim

      Thanks for your comment.

      Employer feedback is not moderated before it is published on Find Apprenticeship Training. The Provide Feedback tool asks employers to rate their training provider based on a prescribed list of attributes. Employers are asked to select particular strengths and areas to improve from a list of items such as “adapting to employer needs”, “improving apprentice skills” and “providing the right training at the right time”. They are then asked to rate the quality of their provider’s training, on a scale from “excellent” to “very poor”. Employers are not asked to provide written responses.

      Employers can only give feedback on training providers that they have registered apprenticeship starts with in the Apprenticeship Service. This means that we know the feedback will come from a genuine user of the training provider.

      The service is in Beta phase (live testing), so we'll be continuing to talk to employers and providers to see whether any issues like this arise. If they do, we will work through how best to address them.

  2. Comment by John H posted on

    Find apprenticeship training sounds really useful - where can I find it (no links in the blog)?

  3. Comment by Thomas posted on

    Hi Richard,

    Can you confirm where employers can actually leave feedback on training providers?


    • Replies to Thomas>

      Comment by Richard Handley posted on


      The apprenticeship service will periodically invite by email all registered users of the employer account to feedback on the training providers used to deliver their apprenticeships. Feedback is shown in the provider’s details on Find apprenticeship training and will be anonymous.

      Many thanks