‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’
LDN Apprenticeships offers hope for the future to budding Salesforce Professionals
Back in February I had a message on LinkedIn. Someone in my network got in touch to suggest that there might be an opportunity for me to deliver a piece of work for one of their contacts. As ever, when someone recommends me, I was flattered and grateful for the introduction. However, when Covid-19 hit, I felt sure the opportunity would come to nothing.
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The person making the introduction was Joe Stean, Delivery Director at Salesforce Gold Partner, Ignyto. Joe is a graduate from a programme I developed with another well-known Salesforce Partner, Westbrook International, some years back. Believe it or not, Joe Graduated from the programme with one Ben McCarthy – now more commonly known as Salesforce Ben.
Ignyto, Westbrook and several other Salesforce consulting partners and end users had been working with LDN Apprenticeships for some time to develop an apprenticeship based around the Salesforce.com platform.
This is what would become the Salesforce Professional Apprenticeship.
With monthly rolling inductions and an on-demand led approach to the learning programme, LDN’s vision and ambition is to eventually offer the programme to potential apprentices based anywhere in the UK. To begin with, however, the programme will run mainly with London based employers. The learning journey is designed to be delivered online and on demand, facilitated through a world class Learning Management System, complete with resourceful links to Salesforce’s own Trailhead platform. All of this is carefully supported by qualified and experienced skills coaches who offer the expertise and guidance the learners need to apply their learning in the real world.
This model was a million miles away from the traditional day release model I was familiar with in apprenticeships. My mission was to work with the LDN team and advisory board of Salesforce employers to come up with the right shape for the programme, to source or develop relevant online content and to have all of it ready for a September start! A tall order by anyone’s standards and that’s without the additional challenges of a global pandemic!
So how did we go about building the content for the programme?
Stage 1 - Validation
The first stage was all about validation. We needed to ensure that the apprenticeship standard we had selected was closely enough aligned to the job role of a Salesforce Consultant or Administrator. With a range of different employers now expressing interest, this meant ensuring our offering would support consultancies and end-user environments alike. To complete this stage of the project, we had to map the competencies in the standard to the jobs that our apprentices were likely to perform.
My previous work with Westbrook gave us a head start in understanding what was needed in terms of consulting and soft skills. In terms of business analysis training, the standard was a useful guide to what skills and knowledge our apprentices would need. We also knew that Trailhead would enable our apprentices to follow a set path to develop their Salesforce skills, with the first step being their ADX 201 certification. Beyond that, LDN plans to offer a degree of flexibility to suit both learners and their employers.
Stage 2 - Content Development
We then began to identify and create learning content that would help us to develop the core consulting and business analysis skills that our apprentices would need. These are the skills that will enable our Salesforce apprentices to work with internal and external stakeholders to analyse requirements and processes and develop the best solutions. This was a trickier ask, so we scoured the market for high quality online content to fit the bill and mapped this to our programme framework. This content sits alongside a suite of personal and professional skills development courses created especially to cover those all-important soft skills that our employers told us make a crucial difference!
Stage 3 - Knitting it all Together
Once we had an outline of the content for the programme in place, we needed to weave it all together. This is where LDN’s content team came in. We worked together to create a detailed scheme of work, setting out the learning outcomes and objectives for every element of the programme. This structure was then translated into a series of learning paths, courses and modules consisting of content from our business analysis courses, Trailhead and our own bespoke soft skills development courses. The result: A well-structured, carefully thought out programme, designed to take budding salesforce professionals on a steep, but incredibly rewarding learning journey.
It all sounds rather simple doesn’t it? As you can imagine, there have been all sorts of challenges and my guess is that many businesses would have taken a more cautious approach in such uncertain times.
I do however believe LDN were right to push on. There is a much bigger picture here – and a bigger mission - to help as many young people as possible to find productive and fulfilling careers. To undertake a project like this and to make it work at a time when the world economy is struggling to keep going is nothing short of miraculous!
So, where are we now?
The LDN team continue to put the finishing touches to the programme to ensure it’s a seamless, smooth learning experience from Day 1.
LDN’s Talent Team are hard at work, selecting candidates with the aptitude and motivation to become the very best Salesforce Professionals. So far they have matched 10 young people with apprenticeships for the pilot programme launch in September.