Elmfield Training Case Study


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Just how did Elmfield Training process 20,000 NVQ\'s in four months......? innovation technology that\'s how........ intrigued

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Elmfield Training Case Study

  1. 1. Speeding up vocational work-based qualifications“The challenge was made achievable with the aid of the digital pen!” saidTrish Frettsome – Operations Director of Elmfield TrainingThe challenge: 20,000 NVQs in just four monthsEstablished in 2002, Elmfield Training Ltd is the fastest growing vocationaltraining provider in the UK. They deliver learning programmes to more than25,000 learners who work for some of the country’s largest organisations.Helping to develop skills and capabilities through assessment, training andaccreditation, they create tailor-made work-based learning programmes thatare built around employers’ specific business requirements, their people, andthe key qualifications they need for success. The main benefit of vocationaltraining delivered in the workplace is that learners continue to earn whileachieving nationally accredited and recognised qualifications such as NVQs,apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships and technical certificates.In July 2009 Elmfield were asked by one of their largest customers, one of thecountry’s largest supermarket chains, to carry out a pilot programme with 350learners across six stores – one in each region. This was a key part of their’Skills Pledge commitment that 20,000 of their employees would achieve anNVQ in retail by April 2010, and 100,000 by 2011. The pilot went well – butthe pressure was then on to scale up for the first wave of 20,000 learners dueto be enrolled in January 2010 and gain their accreditation by April.As well as recruiting 100 new Elmfield assessors and additional programmemanagers, it was clear that technology would need to play a major part inachieving this ambitious timescale. It was also essential to speed up theprocess of checking and validating the registration information sent in byassessors from the field, and to get it onto the Maytas information andtracking system at Elmfield HQ as accurately and rapidly as possible.Historically, Elmfield had relied on manual paperwork systems - sendingforms by post or faxing, photocopying duplicates for distribution, emailingdocuments and rekeying information onto the Maytas database. They lookedurgently for a more efficient method that would save time and avoid the risk oflost information. They considered but rejected laptops because of theirpractical drawbacks – the uncertainty of finding a suitable surface or reliableInternet access, and the barrier of assessors having to look at a screen whenthey want to be face to face with a learner.The solution: digital pen technology ... and a lot of trustAs part of their research Elmfield talked to ITEC Training Solutions, one of thelargest independent training providers in Wales, and an established Destiny
  2. 2. user. ITEC’s successful experience and proven dramatic returns oninvestment gave Elmfield the confidence they needed to choose Destinydigital pen technology, even though there was no option to carry out livetesting, a pilot project or a phased rollout. January the fourth 2010 was aroundthe corner – the date for going live with the first wave of 20,000 learners, 100new assessors and digital pens ... all at the same time. It called for a lot oftrust.One of the first tasks for Destiny was to convert the existing individual learnersign-up forms to digital format, making as much use as possible of tick boxesto speed up their completion and avoid too much handwriting. The similarforms already being used by ITEC provided useful inspiration. Destiny alsoprovided “train the trainer” support so that Elmfield administrators could easilypass on to assessors the very simple instructions they needed to be able touse the digital pens and transmit digital information back to base. Then, justeight weeks after their first conversation with Destiny, Elmfield went live.The early feedback was excellent. Over 90% of the assessors took to the newtechnology very well and easily, and could immediately appreciate the time-saving benefits it would bring to their working lives. To complete the sign-uppaperwork with a learner at one of the customers’ stores, they now write outthe form in the usual way but using a digital pen, and then tick a “send box” atthe bottom of the form. This simple action is all that’s needed to transmit thedata instantly from the pen via Bluetooth to their mobile device, and then on toDestiny’s secure servers.From here it’s processed, converted into image and text and sent on in lessthan a minute to Destiny “Manage” which is a web based editing tool.Elmfield’s administration team log in and view a pdf of the original handwrittenform and an editable version that has all of the required fields alreadyconverted to computer editable text. If there are any queries the administratorcan contact the assessor immediately while they’re still with the learner, anyamendments can then be made there and then and at the click of a buttondata is imported into Maytas.In addition, administrators now have the facility to go online at any time toDestiny’s hosted and password-protected “Manage” service. Here they canreview the information relating to any individual learner, including status suchas outstanding approvals or missing information. This enables them tohighlight and take necessary action much faster than before, rather thanwaiting for reports that might previously have taken weeks to prepare.The results: the benefits are growing all the time“Through continued developments with Destiny, the digital pen has proved itsworth and continues to do so”, says Trish Frettsome, Operations Director forElmfield says “It’s fantastic to be able to get information back from the fieldand into our head office system in just a few minutes, and to know that our
  3. 3. management information on where we are with each learner is always up-to-date.“Our assessors can complete the sign-up paperwork within the agreedtimescales, and we’ve successfully processed 38,500 NVQ qualificationswithin 7 months – so using digital pen technology has definitely helped us tomeet the commitments we made to our customer.“In any ambitious programme when you’re working at this scale and speedthere is bound to be a few teething problems – but Destiny have always beenvery receptive to any issues, and have worked with us to come up withsolutions to our queries or issues.”One key benefit to Elmfield is that by registering new learners on the Maytasdatabase the same day it means that we have up to date learner caseloadinformation, which is a key management tool. Another is that it’s now easier toscale up for and confidently take on additional training contracts. As of January 2011 we’re now onto phase three of the customers NVQprogramme with another 30,000 learners coming on board. And we’reconstantly finding and developing new applications – from leaverdocumentation to changes of circumstances and awarding or fundingprocesses ... in fact anything auditable where doing it digitally saves time andmoney, and avoids sending it by post. The benefits are growing all the time.”
  4. 4. About destinydestiny® is the registered trademark for Destiny Wireless plc, a world leaderin the business market for the delivery of mobile workforce solutions. destinyis a global Platinum Partner of Anoto Group AB, one of seven in the world.destiny owns the IP rights of the Logitech io2 digital pen, making them one oftwo digital pen manufacturers in the world.destiny® enables organisations with mobile workforces to get fast returnsfrom high technology at low cost, with little or no training or change to workingpractices and upfront capital. The destiny digital pen is based on Anoto DigitalPen and Paper technology and replaces paperwork delays and expensivejourneys back to the office with an easy-to-use and energy efficient way ofcollecting accurate, reliable data from the field and transmitting it back to basein seconds.destiny’s services include digital pens; digitised forms, mobile devices andweb-based tools for the efficient collection and management of data from thefield, effective job push and allocation, resource management, intelligentscheduling and asset tracking. For more information please visitwww.destinyplc.comdestiny’s award accolades includes: Environmental Product of the Year 2010with the destiny io2 digital pen; 2009 Outstanding development in informationtechnology award with client DSV Road; Docuware wins Best Private SectorProject of the Year award 2009 with the destiny digital pen; 2007 GrowingBusiness Awards Technology in Business ; Microsoft’s People MovingBusiness, Quality in Construction for Excellence in ICT and the InformationAge Effective IT Award. Edward Belgeonne, CEO and founder of destiny, isthe national winner of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of The Year Award forthe Science and Technology, 2007. destiny was also nominated a finalist inthe BCS IT Industry awards for the Best Use of Green Technology ProjectAward in conjunction with Advanced Peripheral Systems (APS).About Anoto GroupAnoto Group is the company behind and world leading in the uniquetechnology for digital pen and paper, which enables fast and reliabletransmission of handwritten text into a digital format. Anoto operates througha global partner network that focuses on user-friendly form solutions forefficient capture, transmission and storage of data within different businesssegments, e.g. healthcare, bank and finance, transport and logistics andeducation. The Anoto Group has around 110 employees, offices in Lund(head office), Boston and Tokyo. The Anoto share is listed on NASDAQ OMXNordic small cap list under the ticket ANOT. For more information:www.anoto.com