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Learn Better Series - Summer Special with Kaplan CEO, Kathy Walton

CEO of Kaplan UK, Kathy Walton

As Season 3 of our Learn Better podcast comes to an end, we have an extra special bonus episode available to listen to this summer.

Our guest for this episode is none other than Kathy Walton, the CEO of Kaplan UK. Kathy and Stuart discuss all things apprenticeships, highlighting Kathy’s background and passion for education, and drawing comparisons between an apprenticeship and professional qualifications. If you’re still unsure whether an apprenticeship is right for you, this episode will surely help you make a decision.


Stuart and Kathy approach Kathy’s background experience, and how she has experienced the best of both worlds through working in a bank and then attending university.

This chat is followed by the theme of apprenticeships: what they are, what they are not, why they are important, and how they define the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to excel in a role.

Opportunities for all

Diving deeper into apprenticeships, Stuart and Kathy talk through how they are delivered at a national standard. This means that no matter where you’re from in the UK, you will have access to opportunities throughout the country after your training.

The duo mention how employers are constantly searching for diversity and new talent in their workplace, so apprenticeships can significantly assist with this.

Speech marks

“All employers really want to create opportunities for people who may not have thought about their industry as a profession. I think apprenticeships in combination with that impetus is what’s unlocking the ability to do that for organisations.”

Knowledge, skills, and behaviours

Kathy shares her views that the true value of education is what you do with it afterwards, and how you apply it. This is another reason behind her passion about apprenticeships, as it is directly applied to the workplace where yourself and your employer can see the benefits.

They compare professional qualifications and apprenticeships, expanding on many of the pros and cons between the two. For example, those who struggle to showcase their capabilities in exams will also be able to prove their knowledge through applying their learnings to the workplace. Therefore, the method of assessment can be much more accurate and convenient in an apprenticeship. Whereas those who are unsure of what career path they want to take may benefit more from a professional qualification.

Bridging the skills gaps

The skills gap is a common topic of discussion whenever analysing apprenticeships. Kathy explains what the skills gap is, and how employers and apprenticeships can bridge that gap. She further identifies the way in which necessary skills are reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that an apprentices knowledge is always relevant to the workplace.

Benefits to the employer

Continuing the skills gap conversation, Stuart and Kathy talk through a few examples in detail of how apprenticeships are beneficial to the employer. Examples such as improved loyalty and retention rates are addressed, why Kathy gives a closer insight into how employers can get involved in their apprentice’s journey.

Kathy also provides a short breakdown of what employers can expect from putting their employees through an apprenticeship. The duo discuss topics such as what off-the-job training entails, regular appraisals and who an apprenticeship may be suitable for.

Speech marks

“If you know you want to be something and you’re prepared to sign up for three years with a specific employer, then go for it.”

The involvement of the training provider

Listeners can expect to hear all about apprenticeships from the employer’s and trainee’s perspective, and now the training provider’s perspective. Kathy and Stuart discuss how the training provider contributes to an apprenticeship training plan, ensuring that this meets the employer’s and apprentice’s goals. They touch upon the coaches, mentors, and others involved in ensuring all goals are met while guiding them through the apprenticeship journey.

They summarise the conversation by assessing the quality of the support and education provided from an apprenticeship, as well as the life skills offered.

Speech marks

“Rather than looking at which one is best, it’s a personal choice for what you want to achieve. It’s a career path choice: what do you want and which is the best route for you.”

Listen to our Learn Better podcast

For the full conversation between Kathy and Stuart, head over to our Learn Better podcast and listen to our very special summer bonus episode.

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