Assessment for Apprentice Learning Support

Why you may need an assessment

If you are an apprentice learner or student with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDDs) and you need extra help in order to successfully complete your apprenticeship or training course, support and funding is available.

The government is committed to ensuring a level playing field for apprentice learners and students with LDDs by offering funding for extra learning support where it’s needed.

This support includes, but is not limited to:

  • Specialist study support 
  • Specialist software 
  • Extra resources 

If you are an apprentice learner or student with an LDD and wish to apply for this kind of support for the first time, then you will need to go through an assessment. The assessment is there to help identify your individual needs and is a crucial part of accessing the help all apprentice learners with LDDs are entitled to. 

This is not a test!

Think of an “assessment” and you’re likely to think of “test” – this is not the case. There will be no need to prove your LDD or be challenged about your condition in any way. The assessment is a conversation between you and an independent expert who is there to explain what options are open to you for your additional learning support. The assessor will also make the recommendations available to your apprenticeship provider.

Students are often pleasantly surprised by the relaxed nature of the assessment. This is a recent quote from the a student forum:

“Mine [assessors] were lovely, she already had a sheet filled out with everything they      thought would benefit me and what I ended up being recommended was very close to it     bar a few things I turned down because I had tried them before and they hadn’t worked   out, such as a scribe in exams[1].”

The assessment is not about trying to “catch you out”. It is about assessing your needs as an apprentice learner or student with LDDs, so you can succeed in your apprenticeship or course.

What the assessor will consider

During the conversation, you and your assessor will discuss different aspects of your apprenticeship or training course and how your particular circumstances affect your learning. This is effectively a list and some categories will be relevant to you and some not, but the assessor will ask you about everything. 

Among others, these categories could include:

  • Reading printed or digital material
  • Producing written work like assignments and exams
  • Taking notes in lectures
  • Speaking such as using a phone, face-to-face or in groups
  • The impact of mental health on your learning
  • Hearing and/or sight
  • Practical aspects of your course
  • Using the library
  • Communication and social situations
  • Attendance (some people’s disabilities may leave them too ill to attend college some days)
  • Work placements[2]

Once you’ve discussed the severity of the impact your particular circumstances has on each of these categories, the assessor will outline your options and how they could benefit you. This is an open discussion and you will be free to agree or disagree with their suggestions. It is important to be open and honest.

Following your assessment, a Needs Assessment Report will be written that will recommend the various learning support most appropriate for you. Discuss this report with your Apprenticeship Provider and they will guide you to the learning support available. 

If you have tried things that didn’t work out, let your assessor know

You may have already tried certain types of support or equipment, which haven’t been successful. That’s fine and it is important to let your assessor know. They can then suggest alternatives, if there are any. Their goal is to help get the right support for you and it is important to be upfront.

Think you need an assessment and want to learn more? 

Your training provider can help if you’re not sure where to go for an assessment, and we can provide information on local centres that will support you through the process. Contact one of our friendly team to discuss how we can help you and your apprentices and learners get the support they need and succeed.