May 2019

The Project Management and Systems Development courses are very similar can they be merged?

This is something we have explored and due to the specific learning outcomes that are to be covered in each course they cannot be merged. There are areas within the course that are similar, but there a wide range of outcomes that are specific to each course and therefore merging them is not appropriate or possible



Can the pace of the Cloud Fundamentals course be slowed down slightly?

We deliver the official Microsoft course which is a 3 day course, in addition we offer a day of revision to embed the 3 days of knowledge.


On the 409 Database course, why are we made to use a certain software?

We do not dictate the database software to be used, we recommend certain software to ensure accessibility, but at level 4 if you can meet the learning outcomes with your own choice of software you can use it.


On the 409 Database course, why is the assignment completed on the last day?

Different courses lend themselves to have the assignment completed either on the last day or throughout the week. On this course, in particular, the learning outcomes and structure of the delivery has meant that the assignment best fits to the end of the week.


Why do we have to complete the Dell EMC exam when it is not relevant to my workplace?

When the government designed the Data Analyst Level 4 apprenticeship it was decided by them that there must be a vendor exam included; the Dell EMC is the only option available as a vendor so must be completed to achieve the apprenticeship.


Why do the labs on the Mobility & Device MTA course change my computer settings?

There are various reasons this is the case, however all labs require admin rights of the local machine which will change settings, this is so you can replicate the scenarios in the exam questions.


Can learners be sent headsets prior to the course starting, on my 311 Digital Marketing course this would have been useful for all learners to have received headsets?

All learners are sent headsets prior to starting the apprenticeship and are encouraged to let us know if their headset becomes lost or broken so we can send a new one prior to any training taking place.


The slides for the Networking MTA course were missing information for the test.

We deliver the official Microsoft course slides which cover every exam topic, they do not however cover specific questions. In addition we also supply additional learning materials to assist with the exam such as: MeasueUp, mock exams and a study guide.


The ITIL course was too short and there aren’t enough practical activities in the course.

This course is officially a 3 day course which we deliver over 4 days. There are no practical activities as it is a theoretical subject matter and the course is theory based to provide knowledge and understanding to pass the associated exam.


The coding and logic course could cover more exam specifics.

We deliver the outcomes set by the awarding body and ensure all exam topics are covered, but specific exam questions cannot be covered. We do however supply an exam study guide and mock exams.


It would be better to provide specific real-world examples on the Online/Offline marketing course rather than general examples.

Due to the diverse range of job roles our learners have general examples are provided to ensure they are accessible and understandable to all learners attending.


On the CW course there isn’t a workbook to complete like the other courses. This would be helpful.

As this is an official CW course there is no workbook and all learning and revision materials are within the uCertify system.


The 502 IT Virtualisation could be more practical and technical.

This course contains a vast amount of technical elements and over the course of the week there is over a day of practical activities all related to working on IT Virtualisation within AWS. In addition we have to deliver the course in accordance with awarding body learning outcomes for learners to be able to complete and pass their assignment associated with the course.


In the CIW course there are questions which are phrased badly.

As this is an official CIW course we have to deliver their materials, however we have raised this with uCertify who wrote the course  and requested updated materials.


The Dell EMC course is too short and doesn’t include enough practical work.

This is an official 5 days course which we deliver over 5 days. The course is also provided by Dell and is a theory based course designed to provide knowledge and understanding to pass the Dell EMC exam.



On the Networking Fundamentals MTA course there was no testing completed until the last day of the course.

We run this course as three days of theory, an exam revision and prep day on day 4 and the actual exam on day 5.


The Software Context and Methodologies part 1 course didn’t provide the basics of software development.

This course is delivered to the BCS learning outcomes which are the theoretical fundamentals of software development and by their very nature cover the basics of software development.


The Software Context and Methodologies part 1 course contained too many research tasks.

There are many teaching methods used on this course, however there are research tasks to ensure learners are able to find relevant information relating to the course outcomes in their own way as the course requires a degree of autonomy in order to learn the outcomes and pass the exam.


The Data Analysis Concepts part 1 course was slower than expected and should the pace should be tailored to individuals attending the course.

This course is the first course within the programme and by its nature is introducing the concepts of data analysis. The programme is suitable for varying skillsets and there are tasks which are designed to stretch and challenge those who are adept within the subject matter.


There was very little feedback given to me on my work on the Social Selling course.

This course is designed as a knowledge enhancing course and the workbook is purely for learner consumption, it is not marked in anyway and is to be used as a tool for the learner to refer to in any way that they see fit, to that end it is explained to all learners on course that feedback will not be given as only the learner sees it.


The ISTQB Foundation course had very little practical activities within it.

As this course is a vendor course which requires an exam pass we have to deliver to the learning outcomes supplied by the ISTQB in order to provide the best chance of learners passing the exam, this leads itself to a heavily theory based training course.


It would be better if there could be a 50/50 split of practical and theory on the Coding & Logic course.

As this course is a knowledge module which requires an exam pass we have to deliver to the learning outcomes supplied by the awarding body in order to provide the best chance of learners passing the exam, this leads itself to a heavily theory based training course.


On the programming part 2 course of the Software Development Technician apprenticeship has minimal coding within it.

As this course is a knowledge module which requires an exam pass we have to deliver to the learning outcomes supplied by the awarding body in order to provide the best chance of learners passing the exam, this leads itself to a heavily theory based training course which covers the principles of programming.


The Network Fundamentals MTA course is too short.

Microsoft state that this officially a 3 days course, we deliver a 4 day course which includes all theory relevant to the course as well as a revision day prior to the exam.


On the 421 Object Oriented course it would have been beneficial to know what was going to be covered prior to attending.

All learning outcomes are provided prior to the course in invite emails and by the programme assessor.


On the 044 Web Development course t would be useful if there was more information regarding syntax.

On this programme there is an advanced websites course (355) which does cover syntax in more depth.


On the Mobility & Devices Fundamentals MTA course it would be good to have more practical activities.

As this course is a vendor course which requires an exam pass we have to deliver to the learning outcomes supplied by Microsoft in order to provide the best chance of learners passing the exam, this leads itself to a heavily theory based training course.


Why were there so many people on my course?

We limit course numbers to a maximum of 14 learners; this is a number which is manageable for trainer to provide support and is low in comparison to a traditional classroom where class sizes often exceed 20 learners.


Why couldn’t more time be spent on the practical element of the 502 IT Virtualisation course and why couldn’t we create more virtual machines?

The virtual machines used are what is necessary to meet the course outcomes set by the awarding body, and there is a full 1.5 days spent on the practical element of the course. More time cannot be allocated as you still need time to learn the content to complete the practical element and write your assignment.


Can the Coding & Logic course be longer?

The recommended amount of guided learning hours from the awarding body for this course is 18 hours, we provide close to 30 guided learning hours to ensure learners have a good opportunity to understand the concepts of the course and pass the exam


Can you add more C# into the Coding & Logic course?

No, the coding & logic course is a course within the It Infrastructure apprenticeship programme, it is touched upon in the coding & logic course to provide an awareness of programming languages and paradigms. This is just one element of a course that requires learners to understand Systems Development, UNIX, the three key programming paradigms and web development.


Can more practical work be added to the HTML5 MTA course?

No, this course is focused on providing learners with the knowledge required to pass the exam. This course is delivered as part of the Software Developer Level 4 programme and we have four other courses which are heavily based around practical activities such as Object Oriented Programing, Human Computer Interaction, Web Development and Database Design & Development.


Can the ITIL course be extended?

No, the official course length of the course is 3 days and we deliver this in 5 days allowing additional time to help learners better prepare for the exam.


Why are the questions in the Online/Offline Marketing exam that aren’t covered in the course, and why are the questions worded in the way they are?

The principles of the exam topics are fully covered in the course, however, we can’t cover specific areas within the course as the scope for questions is broad. In relation to the wording, it is the awarding body that set the questions and word them, so we have created exam revision materials that mirror this to help better prepare learners for the exam. In addition, we have created a study guide for this course which does focus on the exam areas more closely than the course.


Why are the questions in the Principles of Coding exam that aren’t covered in the course?

The principles of the exam topics are fully covered in the course, however, we can’t cover specific areas within the course as the scope for questions is broad. However, we have created a study guide for this course which does focus on the exam areas more closely than the course.


Can there be more group and interactive activities in the Principles of Coding Course?

BR: This course is interactive in the fact that you build your own WordPress site, due to these sites being individual it does mean there are less group activities within this particular course.


The Business Process/ITIL course covers too much information and it is a lot to get through in only 4 days.

We have amended the course content to only focus on the Business Process outcomes and the official guidance for course timings for this course is 3 days. Our model provides the 3 days of theory, 1 day of revision and then a test at the end of the week. This model is proving successful with an exam pass rate of over 90% for the Business Process exam.


During an IT Professional level 4 course, we weren’t made aware of how to gain a Credit or Distinction for our assignment.

Instructions have been issued to our trainers on advising of the grade boundaries, however as each assignment is graded on its own merit and requires a different number of marks to gain a certain grade this information is generic.


On the Network+ course there is too much theory work.

This course is designed to provide you with theory to pass the Network+ exam; he course is an official CompTIA Network+ course and is delivered as intended by CompTIA to provide the best chance of achieving the exam.


On the Digital Marketing Business Principles course, there needs to be more technical content in relation to SEO and Search Advertising.

The course outcomes are determined by our awarding body and we must deliver to their specification details. In addition this course is designed and delivered to provide theory for the exam  relating to this course, as this is also set by the awarding body we must deliver to their outcomes to provide learners the best chance of passing.


Within the level 3 C# course there was no de-bugging tasks.

This course is delivered to achieve the outcomes of the assignment set by the awarding body; in order to provide learners the best chance of passing the assignment we need to deliver the areas and subjects set by the awarding body to best prepare learners for the assignment.


Provide learners with revision materials for the C# course.

There is no need for revision materials as this course is assessed via an assignment. The assignment is completed on the final day of the course, with the preceding 4 days providing the theory and practice exercises to prepare you for the assignment.


Why is the Coding & Logic course part of my IT Infrastructure Apprenticeship, and why was the course so easy?

The course is a mandatory unit and is required to be passed as part of the apprenticeship. It’s ease is subjective and dependent upon your knowledge and experience of coding. The course is aimed to provide an understanding of coding based on the IT Infrastructure typical job role.


Can the assignment questions be made clearer on the SQL course on the Software Development Level 3 apprenticeship?

The assignments are written by our Awarding Body, City & Guilds and only they can make changes to assignments, however these are also approved by Ofqual before they are released, so deemed to be clear and fit for purpose.


Can apprentices have further work and revision following the Software Context & Methodologies course?

This is a two part course and a study guide and mock exams will be provided following the second part of the course to help study for the associated exam.


Can there be more practical activities in the cloud services course?

This course is there to provide the theory of cloud services to help pass the associated exam therefore this has to be the priority, however, we have included some Amazon Web Services cloud platform labs to provide hands-on experience within the course.


Can a MeasureUp account be provided for the Business Processes course?

Unfortunately MeasureUp is only available for selected Microsoft & CompTIA courses and exams; as this is a City & Guilds course and exam MeasureUp is not available.


Can slides be provided for the full week at the start of courses?

No, all slides are provided to learners after sessions have been delivered; they won’t be provided prior as the trainer needs to take the class though them and explain and teach the content before giving them out.


Can the Server 2012 course focus more on hardware?

This is an official Microsoft course based on Installing & Configuring Server 2012, as it based around the server operating system which is software this course doesn’t lend itself to cover hardware.


Can the Network Fundamentals course be longer and have more practical elements?

The official course length as stated by Microsoft is 3 days and we deliver the course over 4days, so we have provided additional time for this course. As it is preparing learners to pass the exam it is a theory based course with very few practical exercises.


Why is the waterfall method used on the Software Design & testing course when this an old method?

We have to teach the waterfall method for two reasons; firstly the waterfall method is what is needed to meet the needs of the assignment set by the awarding body of the apprenticeship. Secondly, although dated it is still very much in use for a number of software design projects.

We would also add that we have included the Agile method in to the course as an additional session so more up to date practices are taught


Within the A+ Part 1 course why is there so much theory?

There is a lot of theory and knowledge components within the A+ Part 1 course as this course s preparing our learners for a knowledge module exam that must be passed as part of the apprenticeship. In addition this also prepares learners for the actual A+ exam too, so has to be theory driven to meet the needs of the exam outcomes.


On the 355 web development course you teach Java, why?

The Java component of this course is a mandatory element and must be taught so learners can achieve the required marks to pass the assignment and achieve the apprenticeship.


The digital marketing Principles of Coding course could be more practical

On this course all learners build their own CMS website, this is a very practical course mixed with knowledge elements that will help prepare for the associated exam


The trainer should identify where learners are failing within the digital marketing Principles of Coding course

This course isn’t a pass or fail course, it is all about building knowledge and understanding to help pass an exam, so the emphasis is on the learner to build their knowledge to adequately prepare for the exam


Baltic should communicate potential grades of assignments

We cannot communicate potential grades, only actual grades; these are reported to apprentices once assignments have been marked. This is communicated within the SLA of a month from the course end date


On the IT Pro Level 4 programme there should be a course order

Our IT Pro Level 4 programme operates on a roll on/roll off model as all courses are standalone. We are however updating this programme and merging two particular courses which are closely aligned, we will be official announcing this in the coming weeks


The Web User Experience course was focused on digital marketing rather than software testing

This course features in both the Digital Marketer and Software Tester, and is suitable for both. On this occasion the trainer has made a mistake and not provided the correct activities for our software tester apprentices. This has been rectified and will not happen in the future.



The 426 systems testing course is irrelevant to my job role

For learners on the Software Development Level 4 apprenticeship framework this is a City & Guilds requirement to achieve the apprenticeship. We have recently transitioned to apprenticeship standards and this course only features for Software Testers on our new programmes.


The courses should be available for download after attendance

All of our courses are available for a minimum of 6 months after they have ran; these can be accessed via a link.


Visual Basic is outdated and not widely used in the development industry

For learners on the Software Development Level 3 apprenticeship framework this is a City & Guilds requirement to achieve the apprenticeship. We have recently transitioned to apprenticeship standards and this course only features for Software Testers on our new programmes. This course is no longer being delivered on our new programmes.


The web development apprenticeship should have more web units

On our software and web development programme we have included both web development units that are available by the awarding body.


The CIW materials need to be updated

Following feedback from us and a very conducive meeting between Baltic and CIW they have committed to reviewing the curriculum and exams in January 2018.


More information needs to be on management within the ITIL course as there were questions on this in the mock exam

The mock exam, actual exam and ITIL foundation course is centered around Service Management and not management as a position of seniority in business. The course focuses on Service Management in IT in regards to creating, implementing and following business processes.


Provide learners with a pass, merit or distinction grade on all assignments

It is our awarding body who set the grades for assignments and across all of our programmes that require assignments we have a mix of either pass, merit and distinction or just pass and fail.


Make the HCI course more practical

Where possible we add practical activities to our courses, however these need to be of value and merit to the subject being taught and we will not add a practical activity if it is not relevant. For this course, in particular, it is a theory driven course looking into the principles of Human Computer Interaction. We have added practical activities where the course allows but our main priority has to be ensuring learners are provided with training that allows them to access and pass the assignment for completion of the apprenticeship.


The competency questions for the 402 course are misleading

These questions have been set by the awarding body and we must adhere to their specific wording. There is, however, guidance available from the course trainer when answering these questions.


The CIW course needs more practical elements and the slides need to be more visually pleasing

As this is a course on a new apprenticeship standard it is geared towards preparing you to pass the exam, as this is a theory exam the course needs to delivered as such and practical elements on this course aren’t required and wouldn’t help with passing the exam. In relation to the slides, these are supplied by CIW as it is an official CIW course and we cannot make changes to them.


The A+ Part 2 course focuses on the outcomes of the CompTIA exam rather than the City & Guilds exam

The A+ part 2 course has been developed so the outcomes of both the CompTIA and City & Guilds exams have been met; there is a lot of crossover in both exam outcomes, but we have developed the course ensuring all outcomes have been met. We have done the same with A+ part 1 and it’s corresponding City & Guilds exam also.


The City & Guilds Cloud Services exam questions are very difficult.

We have no control over the exam questions as these are created by City & Guilds, we have however produced some mock exams and a study guide which will be useful when preparing for this exam, we will also feedback to City & Guilds the thoughts of our learners.


The 417 IT Management course is “Death by PowerPoint”

This course is a theory based course and requires a lot of delivery via presentations from the trainer. We have, where possible, added practical activities such as reviewing policies and procedures, creating documentation for use within a business and report writing. Where possible we do include interactive labs in our courses, however, this course does not lend itself to these labs and we have had to use other activities to make some dry subjects more interesting and engaging.


The ITIL course needs to be more practical

The ITIL course is a theory based course on business processes and the aim of the course is to prepare learners to pass the associated exam, to this end the course needs to be theory driven with mock tests and exams to provide the correct skills and knowledge to help pass the exam.


The 355 assignment should be completed over the week of training rather than on the last day and more web languages should be covered

The assignment is completed at the end of the week in order for you to gain the required skills and knowledge Monday – Thursday to be able to complete the assignment adequately on the Friday; we have some courses where assignments are completed across the week if the format of the assignment and course delivery allows. This is done on each course’s own merits. With regards to more languages being covered we need to ensure that the outcomes of the assignment are met and the course is accessible to all delegates; if we concentrated on specific web languages as suggested he course wouldn’t be as accessible.


The PowerPoint slides don’t relate directly to the assignment for Level 3 SQL

The PowerPoint slides aren’t designed to relate to the assignment, they are designed to provide you with underpinning knowledge and understanding along with the skills within the practice exercises to pass the assignment.


The Network Fundamentals MTA course needs updating

This is a course that was launched in May of this year and contains the most up to date official Microsoft Courseware content; in addition this is designed to help learners pass the most recent version of the associated MTA exam


The Digital Marketing 401/402 should have been shorter and better headsets need to be supplied to learners

This is a relatively new course and we must ensure that we are providing enough time for all of the outcomes to be trained and achieved. If we continue to receive feedback of this nature we will look at the possibility of reducing this course duration


The 409 database course focuses too much on front end not back end

We have to teach where possible to the learning outcomes set by City & Guilds in order to allow learners to pass their assignment for the unit; if the learning outcomes set by City & Guilds focus on front end then we must do so in our training.


Separate classes based upon abilities for the 030 and have less learners on course

We promote having mixed abilities on our courses as this aids in improving people of all abilities and gives the opportunity to learners who may require more development to develop in an environment where they can learn from their peers as well as course trainers. With regards to class sizes we set this based upon trainer experience and deliver to classes of up to 12 or up to 14 for more senior training staff.


More real life examples required in the 426 Software Testing course

This one of the first deliveries of this particular course and we have made amendments to it following the feedback; we will continue to review course feedback and make revisions to the course as and when necessary.


Improve communication so that upcoming events are consistently communicated

We have a very robust system that is governed by an internal SLA whereby all departments that are customer facing follow the same communication processes. They are all required to provide accurate programme information at designated points throughout the apprenticeship regardless of who the Coordinator or Assessor is and which programme they are enrolled upon.


Remove the personal development aspects of the apprenticeship and streamline paperwork in relation to this

The personal development aspects are the very essence of what an apprenticeship is and stands for – developing skills to improve personal performance both at work in life. This is an extremely important part of the apprenticeship and it is also mandatory.

The paperwork that is completed as part of this is also mandatory and needs to be completed and logged in a particular way as the documents are used for differing purposes.


More mic interaction from learners on 413/420

Our trainers consistently encourage mic participation and this is monitored in various ways. Our internal Teaching & Learning Specialist observed our trainers and he has a benchmark that 30% of participation should be via mic. Since we implemented this in May 2017 we have seen a dramatic increase in mic use by our learners. In addition we are asking every learner in our end of course survey if mic participation was encouraged and if it actually happened.


Provide more in-depth content on back end database design and use an alternative programme to LibreOffice on the 409 course

Course learning outcomes are dictated to us by the Awarding Body and we need to deliver to these so that we ensure learners achieve the best grade possible on assignment to help towards the completion of their apprenticeship. With this in mind we cannot deliver in-depth content if it doesn’t form part of the learning outcomes on the course.

LibreOffice is used as an example by the trainer as it is free and accessible to all learners on the course; it is not a requirement to use this. Learners are encouraged to use software they are familiar with and will give them the best chance of passing the assignment.


Segregate Software and Hardware learners on the 030 course

We believe in learner integration where possible and as this is a customer focused course based around service and soft skills it is appropriate for both hardware and software learners to attend together.


The 044 wed development course needs to be updated

Our full Software and Software & Web programme will be under review later this year and a decision on what will be updated and when will come from this review. Once we are fully aware of what will change within the programmes we will communicate this on our website.


Have a grading system for assignments to challenge learners to better themselves

All course grading criteria and grades awarded are governed by our Awarding Bodies and this is something we must adhere to. Where there are different grades available within in an assignment this is communicated on each course and the grades available are: Pass, Credit or Distinction. Any courses that involve official vendor training such as CompTIA and Microsoft courses are a pass only and our Social Media and Digital Marketing framework programmes are a pass only.


Do not outsource training

As a training provider who prides themselves on having a 97% course run rate over the past 18 months there are occasions where it has been necessary to use a contract trainer to maintain this excellent record; the recent 421 course was one of these. Following feedback from our learners as of w/c 21/08/2017 we will not be using any contract trainers to deliver the 421 course in future.


The 502 lab guide is complicated to follow and not easy to understand

We have reviewed the guide and had a Senior Trainer do the same; due to the technical nature of the lab and the systems used within the lab the language and instructions are appropriate to the task(s) within the assignment.


The Network+ course needs to be updated

We review our course content on a regular basis and with the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards we no longer offer Network+ as part of our level 3 apprenticeship, this has been updated and oved in to our level 4 Network Engineer apprenticeship standard.

Academic Year 2016/17

Why as a Software Development Apprentice do I need to complete a Customer Support module?

City & Guilds (our awarding body) and The Tech Partnership (our Sector Skills Council) stipulate that this a mandatory unit that all IT apprentices must complete; a value that is shared by Baltic Training. Customer Support skills are transferable and at some point in your career you will come in to contact with customers (internal and/or external) who require help or guidance.


Can we use a different Content Management System other than WordPress? 

WordPress is the chosen CMS for our programme as when conducting research to find the right system for us we discovered this is a popular CMS with our customer base (predominantly SME’s) and in the sector as a whole. It’s easy to use and requires little coding which meets the needs of the learning outcomes from City & Guilds which we must adhere to.


Can more coding be added to the CMS course?

All courses are tailored to meet the needs of the programme and City & Guilds learning outcomes; the CMS course is centered around administering and developing a site using a Content Management System, not developing through coding or web languages. As an addition to this point there is the option to customise and use add-ons within the site that is created to allow for small elements of coding to be used.


Why do you cover the OSI Model and Networking Topologies on more than one course?

All courses are tailored to meet the needs of the programme and City & Guilds learning outcomes, if City & Guilds specify topologies and the OSI model are to be covered then we as a responsible training provider need to include it in the each course where it is specified. As these topics are covered across levels 2, 3 & 4 there will be minor repetition, but, greater knowledge and understanding of each topology and layer of the OSI is required at each level.


Why is there a lack of practical activities on the 333 course?

The 333 course does lack practical activities due to the nature of it. The course is around Implementing Security Policies which is heavily theory based and requires report writing, analytical and critical thinking skills and being able to use these skills in conjunction with technical knowledge. Being able to show understanding of a subject matter (especially within security) is as important as being able to use skills in this area. This is one course of either five on a level 3 apprenticeship or six on a level 4 and the other courses do offer much more practical involvement such as A+ and Network+ on the level 3 and Microsoft Server 2012 and ICT Virtualisation on the level 4.


Maybe the units for the Level 3 IT Apprenticeship need to be something like an optional extra due to the fact that it (in my opinion) does not really explore enough IT relevant materials.

We have to adhere to both Awarding Body and Government guidance and they have both stipulated that the units covered in this course are mandatory units and therefore must be completed. The level 4 qualification is aimed at IT managers and future managers; their roles encompass much more than “just IT” such as projects and the management of projects which is the crux of this course.


Some of the questions in the document (For the Software Development Apprenticeship) were hard to follow and were not totally clear. As discussed with other learners on the course we all believe that some practical activities (labs) would be more beneficial where applicable.

We have to word questions specifically as set out by our Awarding Body, but trainers are always happy to explain and translate the questions. With regards to the use of labs, this course is centered around the Systems Development Lifecycle and methodologies; it is very theory based, and has an assignment which assess knowledge and understanding rather than skills; to this end there is little opportunity for practical activities within the course. Our other level courses such as IT Virtualisation, Networking & Server 2012 do have interactive labs and practical activities.


I’d massively suggest teaching an open platform database engine like MySQL or SQLite. Continuing to teach students Microsoft technologies is continuing to fuel their monopoly. Also in reality, the open platforms like MySQL are more popular. Only overshadowed by Oracle; not SQL Server/TSQL

We use Microsoft as we are an official Microsoft Gold Training Partner so will use these products where available. As part of our programme we are teaching methodologies and skills using the Microsoft technology but the skills learned are readily transferable to MySQL and SQLite.


I feel the 400/401 course could have been more detailed in some places (i.e. some gantt chart functions appeared to go under the radar a little bit)

This course is centered around project management as a whole and the Gantt chart element is just one tool that can be used in managing a project so we can’t cover the tools in depth; its focus is the methodologies and importance of processes and procedures in managing projects.


The labs tend to be monotonous and due to the speed in which the course is paced at, you tend to rush through the labs without taking much in.

The labs are to be used on the course as an assessment of the skills learned via the training to form part of the assignment; to this end it is the training deliver that needs to be absorbed in order to complete the lab correctly to show you have the skills and or knowledge that the assignment requires.

We do however allow access to the labs for 6 months following the course if you wish to use them as a learning/revision tool.


The time to build the application was limited. It was enough, but it made the application build intensive. 

The application build forms the main part of the assignment which is time bound; so the application build needs to be started and finished at specific times. However, the delivery of this course is still relatively new to us and we are reviewing each delivery to see where improvements can be made.


You should offer a session on essay writing skills for the Level 4

This is included at level 3 for report writing skills, at level 4 it is expected that learners can write comprehensive reports and we have an eligibility test to gauge suitability which is in a report format so all learners on a level 4 programme are screened and able to write a report.


The C# course was too basic and constrictive, i think it would be better to allow people to use their own coding conventions and if they can find a better way to do the assignment let them.

At level 3 using your own code is not a skill that is assessed; at level 3 we have to adhere to the guidelines set out by the Awarding Body and complete the assignments that have been approved by them. If you progress to level 4 this is something which is prevalent in all coding courses.


Some more technical insight into email marketing would be interesting. For example, how email servers and spam filters work.

The course focuses on email and mobile marketing strategies; how email servers and spam filters work are not part of a digital marketers role, it is more akin to an IT support technician.


Would love to have some more labs on these level 4 courses

As the level 4 courses aren’t as vendor centric as level 3, and different skills and knowledge are being assessed there aren’t as many courses that require them. They will however use labs on both Server 2012 and IT Virtualisation courses on their level 4


Go back to the old way of emailing work, google docs is glitchy, laggy and has limited capability.

We are a digital training provider using digital tools to complete work. Google docs was chosen due to its simplicity and ease of use; it was trialed and tested to ensure its features and functions were suitable for apprentices to complete their work, and it is. It allows trainers to concentrate on the quality of work without having to move people to breakout rooms and we have received positive feedback from both trainers and apprentices on the switch to google docs.


I think there was a massive gap between basics and building an application on the C# course. More of an emphasis should’ve been made on SOLID principles.

The application that is built is a basic application built on the principles taught and learned over the 4 days prior to the application build. There is nothing in the assignment that is not covered as part of the teaching and learning.


The content was very clear, but the technical depth of the concepts was lacking a little. Although there was an explanation as to how things work, why they work etc and what the .NET framework is doing behind the scenes wasn’t covered. The course itself was very good, but in real world situations things seem to be approached slightly differently with respect to how projects are organised and what code is used. For instance, the course requires the use of methods in places where properties with specific letters would be used instead. Also, some of the code shown is really not used anymore as .NET and C# has newer and better options available for programmers to use.

As this is a level 3 course the technical depth is basic. The principles of projects and how code is organised is something that is covered in the software design and testing course; this course focuses specifically on the paradigm and language. The code used is supplied by City & Guilds and we are required to use it as they are the awarding body.


The Power Points on the 429 course didn’t seem to be as helpful as previous courses.

This course is very learner centric and based heavily on research of facts as we’re not teaching concepts or theories. If the slides and teaching delivery were as in depth as some of the other level 4 courses we would be providing the answers.


The questions could be worded much more specifically and with some sort of indication about how many marks each question is worth to give you an idea how much to write.

We can only set the questions that City & Guilds allow using specific terminology, which we do. We also encourage all learners to answer questions in as much detail as possible to the best of their ability regardless of how many marks a question is worth.


Better quality microphones for tutors as it can be quite hard sometimes to listen to what Jon was saying.

Jon’s mic and headset has  been tested and it was working fine; at the start of each session Jon has been made aware to check that the learner can hear him and adjust sound levels accordingly.


This is all theory and every place has a slightly different way of doing things. Implement these into the C# and VB courses, please. 

The course is heavily theory based as it is dealing with design and testing concepts; however, there are practical elements when producing designs as part of the assignment and there is a practical testing element with pseudo code.


The course was great but the only issue was the time, this course didn’t need to be completed in a week and would be possible to be done in a shorter amount of time but on the upside this allowed the week to be relaxed in terms of the workload. 

Taking in to account the amount of tasks, presentations and recommended Guided Learning Hours it is necessary to make the 030 a five day course.


There seemed to be a lot of very specific information required to answer the questions that were not well explained on the PowerPoint making it hard to answer the questions. The questions that were asked were also not the type of questions that you could look up easily online. 

At level 4 apprentices are required to use higher order thinking skills and draw upon their own experiences, research and interpret information to form their own opinion to answer questions.


Is Visual Basic only useful for Software Testers 

The Visual Basic course follows the same formula and structure of all of our paradigm and language courses in that you must plan, design, develop, test and document test results. This is to ensure at level 3 all learners get an understanding of the whole process for software development with the paradigm and language being taught. These skills are useful for both developers and testers.


UNIX course is too short

 We have been running our Software Developer programme for over three years and for the first year of the programme we ran the UNIX course over 5 days, we received feedback on a regular basis that this was too long and acted upon this to reduce the course to four days. This reduction meant there was less impact to our apprentices and their employers and was well very well received; in turn the course feedback improved. Over the past two years we have ran the course successfully with a 100% pass rate over four days.


Level 4 IT Professional Courses Need to be Updated

Our response – There have been many changes to apprenticeships recently and we are in the process of making exciting changes to our existing level 3 programmes as well as introducing four brand new programmes. Now we are near the completion of this exercise we will soon be in a position to update and revamp our current level 4 programme which will be complete by the end of the year and bring it in line with the excellent curriculum we have for our level 3 courses.


Level 4 400/401 & 402 Courses Aren’t Relevant to my Job Role

 Both of these courses are mandatory at level 4 which means that the governing body and awarding body see these courses as providing essential skills that must be taught by us and gained by all apprentices on the level 4 programme in order to successfully achieve. These two courses are required on both our Software Developer and IT Professional programmes and context is provided below for both roles:

400/401 – Effective Communication in Business and Project Management

IT Professional – Effective communication is essential for an IT Professional as you required to communicate with colleagues and customers on a daily basis both in writing and verbally. Effective communication allows IT professionals to troubleshoot issues quickly and efficiently, ask a range of open, closed and directed questions in order to identify root cause and enables them to provide succinct and accurate advice, guidance and resolutions when working on tasks and issues. Project management skills will allow you to apply structure and a formal approach not only to projects but daily tasks as the methodologies are transferable. In addition project work is often carried out by IT Professionals in what they see as isolation when realistically is being completed as part of a wider project; this course will allow for those skills to be developed and allow IT Professionals to understand their role within a project and how they can better manager themselves and others when working on projects.

Software Developer – A software developer requires effective communication skills in order to understand the reasoning and requirements of the software they have been asked to develop. It will also allow for effective error identification and fixing when working with testing and implementation personnel. Project management skills are essential for Software Developers as usually any work they are doing is part of a wider project; each piece of software that is required will have been part of a project as it is all planned, developed, tested and implemented. This course will allow for those skills to be developed and allow Software Developers to understand their role within a project and how they can better manager themselves and others when working on projects.

402 – Systems Development

IT Professionals – This course provides variants of the Systems Development Lifecycle which is used in most businesses for any type of change or development within an organisation or department. These skills will help the IT Professional learn and understand how to implement changes effectively following a model that is benchmarked within the industry.

Software Developers – The Systems Development Lifecycle is the  life-blood of any software project and during the planning stage of any piece of software the SDLC is used to formulate and build the project and is followed all the way through to implementation and beyond.


Use a Different Online Platform to Adobe Connect

We have chosen the Adobe connect after having used the Illuminate platform previously and us not being happy with its performance and functionality. In addition we trialled WebEx and Citrix solutions before deciding upon Adobe Connect. The Adobe platform best suited the needs of our apprentices due to its ease of use, functionality and the stable nature of the hosted solution. We are confident that this is the most suitable platform to deliver our Online Live Learning courses.