Want to scale learner numbers successfully? Don’t make growth your goal


Any successful business ultimately sets its sights on growth. As a training provider, you’ll naturally want to support as many learners as possible – but making growth your only goal could undermine your efforts to expand provision.

Want to scale learner numbers successfully? Don’t make growth your goal

If you’re thinking about growth, it’s important to have a considered strategy in place. This will help to make sure that you’re expanding your provision where there’s a clear need and you’ve got the capacity to do so, and prioritise high-quality delivery every step of the way. 

Here’s how to do it.

Focus on intent

Before you start considering the “how” of your growth plans, it’s essential to understand the “why” to avoid growth for growth’s sake. 

A strong rationale for growth sets the foundation for a considered, collaborative approach across your organisation. For that reason, the early stages of planning your expansion should involve every department, from sales and finance to operations and quality.

Encouraging honest dialogue between these stakeholders will foster greater understanding of each team’s goals and challenges. The result will be a growth strategy that reflects your ambitions and is considered feasible by everyone involved.

Choose growth areas carefully

When it comes to choosing which part of the business to grow, look at your data to identify where you’re doing things right. Indicators like high levels of learner satisfaction and engagement, employer loyalty and programme popularity all suggest a solid foundation from which to expand. 

This is also a useful process to regularly identify programmes where you can make improvements, so they can become suitable candidates for expansion in the future.

Bear in mind that not all aspects of your training provision will be suitable for expansion, even if the data looks great. If a programme requires lots of contact time between trainers and learners, it won’t be suitable to grow unless you can properly resource this one-to-one time. 

On the other hand, if you have programmes that are always over-subscribed and don’t require as much one-to-one support, it’s worth considering as part of your growth strategy. Don’t forget to factor in emerging AI tools’ potential to develop personalised learning programmes and deliver tailored support at scale.

It’s also important to scale up programmes in partnership with employers who are dedicated to quality on-the-job training. Identify engaged and cooperative employer partners who are invested in apprenticeships and attend progress reviews without fail, to spot the ones who can support sustainable growth.

Be able to trust your data

Data is the basis for business decision making, so accurate reporting is essential to making these informed choices. As a training provider, your data is also subject to intense scrutiny when it comes to Ofsted inspections and ESFA audits.

Bringing more learners on board has the potential to drive greater revenue – but can also do real damage if it’s not managed properly. 

More programmes and learners means more data to collect, manage and store. To minimise the risks of non compliance, your data needs to be accurate, up to date and accessible. If you’re already managing your data effectively and using it to provide learners with a quality experience, you'll be in a much stronger position to do so at scale.

Blue Lion Training Academy implemented Bud to give learners an intuitive experience, so they could focus on learning rather than getting “bogged down learning how to use a system”. Only once high-quality processes were embedded and Blue Lion had been visited by Ofsted, did they turn their attention to growth.

“A lot of companies struggle with growing too big, too quickly and losing control of quality. We’re the opposite – we made sure Ofsted came in before we grew. So going forward, our focus is on growing our learner numbers,” said Harj Dhanjal, CEO of Blue Lion Training Academy.

Grow sustainably with Bud

Bud’s intuitive platform provides support with delivering quality training and ensuring compliance by:

  • Creating a consistent digital learning environment that’s easy for learners, employers and trainers to use
  • Capturing real-time business intelligence to identify high-performing and popular training programmes
  • Automatically collating evidence needed to demonstrate learner outcomes and hit compliance targets

Find out more about how Bud works by booking a discovery call now.