When it comes to learning, everybody has a preferred learning method and there are lots of learning theories that can be applied to deliver better learning outcomes.

One such theory is the left vs. right brain theory, which suggests that people are either left-brained or right-brained. People who are creative or artistic will generally be determined to have a right brain, while people who are more analytically minded will be regarded as having a left brain.

The left hemisphere of the brain is said to be responsible for analytical thinking, mathematical problem solving, and linguistics. The right hemisphere is believed to be responsible for emotional, visual-spatial processing, and creative thoughts.

How this affects studying

People who more commonly use right-brain thinking are thought to be better suited to more creative types of careers but they also prefer to learn in more creative ways. Adapting teaching to suit the preferred learning method is usually more effective, as the learner will learn faster this way.

For a right-brain thinker, learning is generally easier when presented in visual form rather than auditory (listening to lectures, etc.). For a left-brain thinker, learning in sequential steps methodically is generally the preferred and more effective approach.

 

At Blue Lion Academy, we analyse students’ preferred learning styles, using the VARK questionnaire and we also identify left-brain and right-brain thinkers so that teaching can be adapted to the most effective learning style.

 

This means that when we are helping apprentices to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in their apprentice roles, the learning will progress at a faster rate than using a generic training approach. It also means that the information presented in training is more likely to be absorbed and understood by using the preferred learning style of the specific learner.

At Blue Lion, we work with numerous creative businesses to deliver successful apprentice programmes, to help apprentices to become valuable employees.

 

The government’s current incentive scheme which provides a grant for apprentices ends on 30 September. Up until this deadline, the grant is for an additional £3,000, as well as receiving the usual grant of £1,000 per apprentice. So, if you have been considering the benefits of setting up an apprenticeship scheme, this is the best time to do it while there is such a great incentive to use it.

 

We also provide training for existing employees to up-skill them in areas that will benefit your business, including soft skills and Lean Six Sigma courses. Check out more about our courses here: https://bluelionta.com/apprenticeships/

Contact Blue Lion and we can help you to get your apprenticeship scheme up and running before you miss the deadline for the government grant.

There are so many benefits to investing time and effort into upskilling your workforce. Providing your employees with good learning and development opportunities improves engagement, makes people feel more valued, and develops new skills that will boost business productivity and performance.

 

When employees feel like they have progression opportunities at your business, they are less likely to apply for external jobs as they will feel they can achieve their career targets while working for you.

 

Upskilling is also important for business continuity, for example, if one person is absent and they are the only person who usually does a specific task, another person who has been upskilled on the task can step in during the absence.

 

Upskilling your workforce can involve a wide range of activities and some of the most effective include:

 

  1. Learning and development

 

Setting specific learning objectives as part of a performance management framework provides a structured approach, with employees having set goals to work towards. Regular performance meetings with a line manager or performance coach should be scheduled, where they discuss progress and provide support if required. The learning objectives could include doing online courses or learning a specified new skill that is relevant to their role or future progression to another role.

 

  1. Job rotation

 

Another way to upskill employees is to provide opportunities for job rotation. For example, someone working in the HR team could spend time working with the marketing team and vice versa. The bigger your business, the more opportunities to try different job roles but this can still work well with smaller teams.

 

  1. Job enlargement

 

Job enlargement involves adding some more role responsibilities to an existing role to provide more scope for development. For example, in addition to admin duties, an administrator could get the opportunity to work on a project or could take responsibility for organising charity events or engagement activities.

  1. Peer coaching

 

As well as learning from trainers in training courses and from people in more senior roles, many employees develop skills by learning from their peers. Peer coaching can be beneficial to both parties; one will learn new skills, while the other can get a sense of achievement by helping their peer. It can help to build stronger working relationships and also encourages collaborative working so teams are more productive.

 

  1. Hire external experts

 

If you do not have an in-house learning and development team, you can use external experts such as Blue Lion Academy. They provide a range of different courses including leadership courses to upskill employees and to deliver all of the benefits that come with that.

 

By using a specialist training provider, your employees can develop their leadership skills and as a result, make more effective decisions. The Lean Six Sigma courses help even the most experienced leaders to learn new techniques and improve their overall leadership capability.

 

If you are looking for a way to upskill your employees, Blue Lion Academy has a range of courses that you should take a look at.

When it comes to employee development, many factors influence how well employees progress. The type of training they are provided with, as well as their motivation and commitment to learning, will be integral to their progression.

 

As an employer, you should also consider how different learning styles will impact development. Apprentices require a lot of initial training, both as part of an apprentice training programme and on-the-job training.

 

Research shows that using the VARK questionnaire to identify a person’s preferred learning style and then using that predominant style (or styles), provides better learning results. Blue Lion Training Academy utilises the most effective learning style theories to ensure apprentices can reach their full potential.

 

How does VARK work?

 

These are the four different VARK learning styles:

 

Visual

When someone has a preferred learning style that is visual, they learn more effectively through the information that is presented in visual formats such as charts, graphs, maps, flow charts, and other graphical representations. When information is provided in this format, they are more likely to retain the key learnings.

Auditory 

With this learning style, people prefer to learn by listening to someone speak and having conversations. This type of learning takes place during lectures, group discussions, and listening to audiobooks, for exam

ple. Talking out loud helps the person to understand and absorb the information, in the way that they interpret it.

 

Read/write

Some pople prefer to read and write when they are learning, so reading books or online information in text format works be

st for them. Reading or writing documents such as manuals, essays, reports, and online guides are usually the preferred method of learning for people who have this learning style preference. These types of students will usually take lots of notes to help them to remember the key points.

 

Kinesthetic

Kinesthetic learners learn most effectively when they are physically working something out, for example, learning mechanics by putting a mechanism together. Or if they are doing something like graphic design, they learn by designing the graphics, rather than reading how to do it or watching a video.

 

How the VARK questionnaire works

 

Students complete the VARK questionnaire, which is a multiple-choice questionnaire asking a set of questions that determine their learning style. There are a few different versions but generally, there will be around 16 questions, each with four answer options. Each answer will be based on one of the learning styles.

 

For example, a common question used in VARK is:

 

I like websites that have:

 

  1. things I can click on, shift or try.
  2. interesting design and visual features.
  3. interesting written descriptions, lists, and explanations.
  4. audio channels where I can hear music, radio programs, or interviews.

 

With this example, a. would represent kinesthetic learning, b. would link to visual, c. would be read/write and d. would be auditory.

 

The student completes the questionnaire, then the scores would be calculated and the scoring chart would determine the preferred learning style based on which one was chosen the most times.

 

Once the preferred learning style has been determined the training for the individual should be tailored around their specific learning style as much as possible. When you are asking someone to teach an apprentice a particular task within your business, you should encourage them to use the preferred learning style.

 

There will usually be elements of all learning styles used but predominantly using the preferred one will deliver better results. At Blue Lion Training Academy, one of the reasons we can help apprentices to develop to a higher caliber of employee is because we utilise the VARK learning style approach.

 

This methodology has been successfully implemented for many years and while school classes are too big to allow teachers to adapt learning styles to suit every individual learner if you have one or two apprentices, it is the ideal scenario for implementing VARK to ensure that learners are being trained using their most effective type of training.

 

We have been designing learning programmes to suit all four learning styles across a range of industries and for different types of roles, including creative roles in the marketing sector. Many apprentices who follow a career in creative jobs find that visual-based learning is their preferred method, but this is not the case for everyone, which is why the VARK questionnaire is important to identify how to structure the training programme to deliver the best learning results.

 

Get in touch with us so we can work with you to develop a VARK based learning programme for your apprentices, which will help to ensure they thrive at your company and become key employees.

When you are considering hiring new employees, you might be a bit hesitant to employ school leavers, or graduates due to their lack of experience, but there are many benefits of employing school leavers that you might not have considered.

Some of the key benefits include:

 

Receiving a government grant

 

When you hire an apprentice, the government will usually award you a £1,000 grant but a recent initiative provides an additional £3,000 on top of this, provided that you hire before 30 September.

 

Motivation to work hard

 

Most students are excited to start their career journey and the opportunity to earn money for the first time motivates them to do well. They are fresh out of an environment where they have been encouraged to work hard and to display good behaviours, so they should easily adjust to your working environment.

 

They often have good IT skills

 

The National Curriculum includes subjects including iMedia and Computer Science, meaning that the majority of students are digitally literate, especially in comparison to employees who did not benefit from modern IT-specific education. The Curriculum is constantly adapted to include essential skills that suit the current job market and digital skills are an area of major focus.

 

Current students tend to be proficient in using social media platforms, creating videos, and lots of other skills that are ideal for working in creative media roles. Many of them will also have a passion for doing this, rather than seeing it as a job.

 

They won’t have picked up bad habits from other companies

 

If this is their first employed role, they will not have had negative experiences at other companies. Sometimes when you recruit new employees, they bring working methods or attitudes into your company that might be detrimental.

 

Steps to hire an apprentice

 

  1. Advertise

 

There are a few options for hiring an apprentice, you can advertise for an apprentice yourself. If you have a recruitment team, they will take care of this like they would with advertising for any other type of role.

 

Alternatively, you might have links with local schools where you can co-ordinate apprenticeships. Some apprenticeship training providers will be able to find apprentices for you. You need to try and make the job as appealing as possible for school leavers or graduates to ensure that you get a lot of interest from high-quality applicants.

 

  1. Find a good training provider

 

Once you have found an apprentice or a group of apprentices, you will need to find the right apprenticeship training provider. Blue Lion Training Academy is renowned for training high calibre apprentices, to ensure that they have the skills and motivation to progress with their employer.

 

Unlike many other training providers, we train apprentices using their most effective learning style, which means that they can develop faster than using ‘one size fits all’ training.

 

As well as being a cost-effective way of employing new staff, when you hire an apprentice, it could be the start of a long and successful career at your company, where they grow and develop into a key member of staff.

 

With university fees so high, many of the top academic school leavers are looking at applying for attractive apprenticeship opportunities instead, so they could be a massive asset to your business.

 

Contact Blue Lion to arrange your apprenticeship training and we can work together on developing exceptional apprentices.