Frequently asked questions

Find the answers to your questions here

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The Apprenticeship

How long does the programme take?
It is planned that you will complete the programme over an 18 month period. You should aim to finish within that time; however, you cannot complete an apprenticeship in less than 366 days, so pace yourself accordingly.
How often will I see my assessor, in person and on the phone?

 You will have contact with your assessor for a formal review every 4-5 weeks. Those sessions will either be face to face, or over the phone (a ‘remote’ visit.).

How many workshops will I need to attend?
You will attend a workshop, on average, once a month and will be away from your workplace.
Will I get to meet other apprentices doing the same programme?
Yes at each workshop you will come together with 9 other apprentices
Who will be my employer?
An event agency, an hotel, a conference/meeting venue… you can work for any employer who organises events.
Will I have to complete programme work in my own time?
Yes you will be expected to do some ‘homework’. It is your career and you need to invest some time in it – probably a couple of hours per week
How much will I get paid?
This will depend upon your employer   – https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
Am I entitled to holiday and sick pay?
Yes you will, just like all other employees who work at your company
What happens at the end of the apprenticeship programme?
You will be encouraged to apply for vacancies at your company, if they are available. There will be workshops as you get close to the end to help prepare you for applying for your first full-time role.

The Programme

What do I receive in terms of qualification from undertaking my apprenticeship?
You will receive a Level 3 NVQ in Event Management.
You will also receive an ICT certificate if applicable.
Can I get any exemptions because of my existing qualifications?
Part of the programme includes English, Mathematics and ICT training. If you have a suitable qualification you will not need to take an exam. However, even those who are exempt have found attending the workshop a useful reminder – they just don’t need to sit the exam.
How many hours should I be spending on my NVQ assignments?
The government’s official guidance is that you should spend 20% of your time on ‘off the job’ activities. So you might be at REALISE on a study day, or you might be in your workplace, working on completing an NVQ unit. That would be an average of 7 hours a week. However, there will be times when your ‘day job’ gets in the way, and you don’t have any time for your apprenticeship. You may have to give up some of your own time to complete the work.

Workshops

What time do the workshops start at REALISE?
The workshops start at 10:00, so we suggest you get there at 9:30 so you can have coffee and get ready.
If you are more than 15 minutes late, we will call your manager, to check on your well-being. If you arrive 30 minutes late you will not be able to attend and will have to be booked on the next available workshop.
Workshops are normally finished by 16:00.

 

Who should I call if I am sick or unable to get into work or attend a workshop?

Email contact@realise.me.uk, or call 07718 111696. Or call your manager, and ask them to let us know.

What happens if I miss a workshop?
These things happen. You can rebook on the next available programme; email contact@realise.me.uk and they will reschedule you.

 

Assessment

How often will I see my assessor, in person and on the phone?
You will have contact with your assessor for a formal review every 4-5 weeks. Those sessions will either be face to face, or over the phone (a ‘remote’ visit.).

 

How long will these sessions be?
Sessions will be around 60-90 minutes, although the assessor will then need some time to write up the Visit and Assessment Report (VAR) which they will send to you, and which should be shared with your manager.

 

Every three months – so usually on every third visit – your manager will also be invited in, using at the end of the assessment meeting, for a quick update, and to provide feedback and ask any questions.

What do I need to do in preparation for these meetings/calls?
At each meeting you will be given guidance on how you are doing, which units are complete, what work is required to complete a unit, and which unit or units you should work on next. You should keep that VAR handy, so that you know what is expected of you.

 

Generally, you should make sure that work is submitted to your assessor 2-3 days before the visit, so they have a chance to read and review it, and provide appropriate feedback when they speak with you.

How do I track my progress of my NVQ?

You have access to the Learning Management System, which will give you an indication of your progress, although this is also added to the VAR.

What should I be doing with the learning log?
Your learning log (sometimes known as ‘Guided learning Hours’, or GLH) is an important part of the programme, showing your commitment to ongoing learning through the duration of the apprenticeship. You should complete this regularly, constantly adding to it whenever you do any learning. In your first few months almost everything you do will be new, and is therefore learning. Learning can be formal – an internal training course, or an REALISE workshop – or informal – a chat or working lunch with someone who shows you a new system or process, or shadowing your manager at an internal meeting.
What happens if I get behind on my work?
Your assessor is there to help you, so make sure they are kept in the loop. If you are ill for a long period, or have personal issues, or a major project which keeps you from progressing with your work, you MUST let your assessor know.

 

Sometimes progress may seem slow, because you are working on several units at the same time; and suddenly you will complete 2 or 3 together and feel like you’ve made huge progress. So occasionally you may seem behind with your programme, and then suddenly you’ve leaped ahead.

The secret is ‘little and often.’ If you do just a few minutes each day, it’s amazing how easy it is to complete the programme.

However, remember your progress is your responsibility.

The NVQ

How long should my answers be to a statement within a unit?

The short answer is ‘they must be long enough to answer what is being asked! Some might be quite short; for example, if you are asked about a ‘mission statement’ a quick ‘cut and paste’ is enough.

However, most will require a longer answer, maybe 2-3 paragraphs. You can help yourself in a couple of ways.

Firstly, read the statement carefully, and look at what the verb at the start of the statement is actually asking (the ‘Bossy verbs’ sheet will help you). For example, if the statement asks for ‘advantages’ and ‘disadvantages’ those are plural, not singular, so one answer is not enough.

Secondly, you don’t always have to write log answers, especially if a screen grab, and a few words of explanation serve the purpose. If appropriate, you could also provide your answer in the form of a table, especially if you are being asked to ‘compare.’

Do I need to complete a whole unit before I start the next one?

Not at all. On the Learning Management System you might find that you have been marked as having completed half, or a third of the unit. That may be bacuse you’ve had the opportunity to provide evidence against some of the statements, but not others. That’s fine; we just assess you against the ones you’ve done, and will come back for the others later on.

Similarly, you may want to be working on 2 or more units at the same time, because the work you are doing lets you complete more than 1 unit. For example, if you are undertaking some market research about a campaign, you will be generating evidence for a ‘market research’ unit and a ‘campaign’ unit.

Do I pass or fail a unit?
Not at all. You are either ‘competent’ or ‘not yet competent.’ If it’s the latter, your assessor will ask for more evidence, but you certainly won’t have ‘failed.” The assessor might ask you to write some more content around one statement, or come and observe you, or ask you some questions, or go and ask someone to provide a ‘Witness Testimony’ for you.
Is there a best way to approach a unit?

Although people have different ways of approaching a unit, you might like to consider the starting point will be an essay (which can be called an assignment, or case study.) Think of these as the ‘backbone’ of each unit, in which you start answering each of the statements with an explanation based on the work you are doing. Your assessor will normally request that you send these through in advance, so that they can give you feedback at your next meeting.

Depending on the unit, and how you’ve approached it, your assessor will then look for other ways of generating evidence, which put ‘meat on the bones.’ This is when they will ask your questions, ask for other examples, or talk with your manager and colleagues.

What is ‘observation’ about?

It’s just another way of assessing you, and avoids you having to write additional assignments. For example, the best way to see you to prepare and send out a press release is to watch you do it, and record your actions. And, because it’s an audio recording, we may ask you questions, because we also have to paint a picture for the person listening to the recording.

However, you may also have written a case study; an observation is just additional evidence. Assessors regularly get asked by apprentices if the whole NVQ can be done by observation and recording. Sadly the answer is a definite ‘no.’

I find some of the statements are a bit confusing in the way they are written. What help is available?

Remember that the NVQs have to be broad enough to apply to anyone working in a marketing role, across all sorts of sectors and disciplines – public or private sector, for profit or not for profit, large and small, providing products or services – and so sometimes the language can be a bit vague. But your assessor is able to ‘contextualise’ or ‘customise’ the work you do to fit the requirements of the NVQ.

So, if you are struggling, there are a number of steps.

  • Firstly, don’t worry about it, but also don’t let one troublesome statement stop you from moving on to the next; you can come back to it.
  • Then ask your line manager; they have more experience, and may be able to see what the issue is.
  • After that, you could try your fellow apprentices. Although they may work in different departments, they will be working on the same units and have identified a suitable answer.
  • If that doesn’t work, your assessor will be delighted to help. Send them an email. You may not be the first person to have the issue, so the answer may well make its way to the next edition of FAQ!
Is there any issue about security?

We take such things very seriously, and all our assessors understand that there are many reasons why some material that could be used as evidence has to be treated with sensitivity. They will work with you to make sure all necessary steps are taken to remove personal data, and will respect any security classifications which may apply to your work. If necessary, they may review work, but not upload it to the Learning Management System; instead they upload a statement that confirms they are happy with the evidence.

Our assessors have worked in numerous organisations where commercial issues are a concern, and they are adept at dealing with these situations.