A Coach's Guide To Supporting An Accessible Apprentice

By John Moore

At Dynamic Training, we care deeply about providing Accessible Apprenticeships which support every learner according to their specific needs.

John Moore is an experienced Skills and Development Coach in our Business Skills Team who has taken the time to share his own experiences in supporting an accessible learner, and the valuable lessons he has gained from it.

Having been in the training arena for many years - probably more than I can recall - I thought that I knew a fair bit about training, apprenticeships and especially learners. That was until I was first allocated an accessible learner.

The accessible learner was registered on a Facilities Services Operative Level 2 programme, placed by a local council in a factory environment which caters for children and adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The learner had a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He also had features of dyspraxia, tourette syndrome and some learning difficulties. His care plan outlined difficulties including the learner struggling with expressing himself and appearing quiet and withdrawn.

Armed with the appropriate knowledge and materials, I arranged the first meeting with the learner and line manager. The learner was very withdrawn, with the line manager asking most of the questions about the qualification. It was obvious that I need to get the learner engaged, so I asked for some individual time to build up a rapport.

Lesson Learned – Always have engagement time with the learner.


The first question he asked me during our one-to-one was how old I was. This took me back. I told him and he said that I reminded him of his Head Teacher at school. I’m still not entirely sure if this was a good thing or not, but I discussed with him how different the apprenticeship process was from the school environment. This went some way to building a positive relationship and an understanding of the expectations of the apprenticeship process.

Lesson Learned – Find an ice breaker early on.


As normal, I started talking about the aspects of the qualification as part of the induction. His eyes glazed over. Clearly this was too much information at once. The learner had only been employed for a couple of weeks and was still very new to the workplace environment. It was obvious that he would have no grasp of what Facilities Services was all about yet. I needed to alter my plan to suit the learner’s circumstances, and alter my delivery and assessment methods so that the training benefits him more. I needed to start thinking about reasonable adjustments I could make to help get the best out of the learner during the apprenticeship process.

Lesson Learned – Always think on your feet, accessible apprenticeships are where reasonable adjustments are really helpful.


I decided that we should take a tour of the factory with the learner. The learner could be easily distracted, it was quite difficult to get him to concentrate. This was a big focus for me early on.

As all skills and development coaches will know, it is normal to cover the knowledge first and then the skills. I became obvious, however, that the learner preferred to do things rather than hear about them, so I decided to reverse the training around.

For example, I asked the learner to check over a fire extinguisher. I showed him first and then asked the learner to carry it out himself. He struggled to remember all the aspects he needed to check and was constantly looking for reassurance at each stage. It took some for the learner to complete the task, but it was a step forward in helping me to understand and support him.

Lesson Learned – Have complete patience, keep to the learner strengths, and use repetition to cultivate the knowledge and skills.


“There is a spark of motivation in everybody. It is up to someone to identify this spark and act upon it” - Douglas McGregor


As Skills and Development Coaches, we talk about a holistic approach for gathering evidence. I built on this by taking as many opportunities as I could as they presented themselves, knowing that the learner was beginning to enjoy the skills element of his job. For example, I found that he was interested in a carpentry task being carried out. Whilst this situation suited Learning Outcome later on in the qualification, I saw this as a perfect natural opportunity to collect evidence. I asked the engineer if the learner could assist. I completed an observation, obtained a witness testimony from the engineer, and completed a professional discussion at the end.

Lessons to be learned: Seek opportunities as they naturally occur, build upon parts of the qualification that the learner is very responsive to.


As the learner journey progresses, it is always worth looking at some achievements. Some might be small, others might be big. It could be as simple as the learner identifying a health and safety hazard, reporting it to the line manager and getting involved in fixing it.  One major and significant achievement in this was the learner noticing that there was no manual for a piece of equipment he worked with. The learner, with some guidance, set out to design a document explaining the process for using the machine from beginning to end. This was not only great evidence, but incredibly useful for his workplace with the manual still in use today.

Lesson Learned: Don’t underestimate an accessible learner’s capabilities.


There have been two opportunities now for the learner to showcase their brilliant work; The Apprentice of the Year Awards and the County Council Apprentice of the Year Awards. I met with the learner’s line manager and mentor and encouraged them to . Whilst the learner was on the list for The Apprentice of the Year awards, which is a great achievement, the learner was not successful. However, the learner came third in the Council Apprentice of the Year award and received a nomination certificate.

Lesson to be Learned: Initiate and celebrate the learners’ successes.


All of the Apprenticeships and Workshops we offer are purpose-built with accessibility and inclusion in mind. You can view our courses or contact us to find out more.

This article is part of our series on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), where we discuss our experiences in empowering workforces and creating accessible training solutions. If you would like to hear more about our experiences on this subject, please check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook to hear about our future posts.

Explore Our Blog
Workshop Learners

Dynamic Training are experts in Healthcare Education. Follow our blog for the latest industry news, insight and advice from industry experts.

Our Apprenticeship Programmes
Training Workshop

Dynamic Training has an expert team of trainers delivering high-quality apprenticeships across the health, social care and business sectors, making sure you get the best out of your workforce.

About Dynamic Training
Apprenticeship Coach With Learners

Dynamic Training cares deeply about creating an inclusive and accessible enviroment for our learners. We have a proud record of getting the best out of every learner and adjusting our training to suit them.

Learn more about how Dynamic Training has provided a positive and inclusive learning environment.

Published by: John Moore