National Apprenticeship Week 2019 Laser Learning Business Administration

National Apprenticeship Week 2019 – Choosing an apprenticeship in Business and Administration

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 4 – 8 March and is a time to celebrate the legacy of apprenticeships, while also taking the opportunity to inform young people and businesses about the positive impacts apprenticeships could have for them.

Our team of educators and writers believe strongly in the importance of lifelong learning and apprenticeships. This is why we work hard to create the best possible online learning resources for colleges and training providers to use as part of their blended teaching and learning approach for their learners.

Why choose an apprenticeship in Business and Administration?

The skills and knowledge you gain as part of a business and administration apprenticeship are versatile and transferable for those who want to move into a wide variety of roles. If you’re interested in how a business works, and how each of the business elements come together to ensure success, then choosing a business and administration apprenticeship will prepare you for a future in the professional business world.

Building a portfolio of transferable skills is a great way to begin your professional work experience. Understanding etiquette in the business environment, how to communicate with colleagues, and how to complete office administration tasks will be of value to you in a number of roles.

You might consider starting an apprenticeship in business and administration if you are passionate about the business world and enjoy the office environment. It’s also a great first step for those who want to go on to start their own business or work at a high level in a specific business environment.

What will you learn?

An example of a qualification you might complete as part of an apprenticeship is the NCFE Level 2 Diploma in Business and Administration, though our learning resources are relevant to the standards for a wide variety of awarding organisations.

Throughout your apprenticeship, your on the job learning will help you develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively communicate in the work environment, complete business and administration tasks such as collating data and creating reports, as well as helping you to effectively manage information, and build relationships with your colleagues.

How will you learn?

As an apprentice you learn ‘on the job’ which means you gain hands-on experience from day one. This gives you the advantage of gaining invaluable experience from colleagues and managers in a real work environment. It also means you earn a salary while working towards achieving your qualification, and in most cases your apprenticeship costs are covered by Government funding.

To achieve your qualification you will need to produce work to show you are competent in each of the qualification criteria, which means you will successfully pass each unit. You will also need to show you are competent in your work environment.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you are asked to produced a written piece of work for each of the criteria as there are many different ways to collect evidence for your portfolio. You may also take part in a professional discussion with your trainer, produce reflective accounts, take part in group discussions, produce videos to show your competence, and be assessed via observation in the workplace.

If you are completing a qualification with a training provider or college who use our Laser e-portfolio and/or Laser Lessons resources, you will be supported by a trainer who will guide you through your qualification, set your workplans, and mark your work. They are the person you can contact whenever you have a question about your coursework or need advice about your learning journey.

Your trainer will conduct teaching sessions with you and you can then use the Laser Lessons resources to continue your study during your allocated learning time.

Here’s an example video created specifically for this qualification as part of our Laser Lessons resources.

As our resources are online you can access them with an internet connection anywhere and at any time. If you are using the Laser e-portfolio you can also upload work, read feedback comments, and email your trainer at any time.

What roles can you go on to work in?

You can go on to work as an administration assistant, or at junior level across a wide variety of business support roles depending on where you want to build your skills and gain experience.

There are also higher levels of qualification you can achieve at levels 4, 5, and 6 which can aid you to move into manager positions or to further specialise your knowledge and skills. In the business environment there are a number of ways you can specialise once you have the foundation skills and knowledge. Some examples of the areas you might choose to move into are human resources, marketing, finance, customer support, and sales.

More about our Laser Lessons resources

Laser Lessons resources are written by subject specialists with vocational experience in their chosen area. Each lesson follows our unique Laser format, giving each learner:

  • A filmed tutorial with a professional presenter and accompanying text for those with hearing difficulties
  • Selected reading available in PDF format and also from trusted websites
  • A presentation to give further explanation of a specific topic
  • Good practice example videos, including videos scripted by Laser Systems for Canal Wharf Studios to cover specific criteria
  • An interactive quiz to test knowledge gained
  • Evidence opportunities which allow the learner to produce work towards their course
  • Extended learning materials for those who want to develop their skills and knowledge even further
  • A think and challenge activity which asks the learner to put the knowledge they have gained towards a real-life scenario

If you’re considering applying for an apprenticeship, look for local apprenticeship vacancies on the Find an Apprenticeship website.

If you are a training provider, college, or business who would like to more about using the Laser e-portfolio and Laser Lessons resources to deliver apprenticeship teaching and learning, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Remote Working CPD Short Courses Laser Learning

A Love Letter to those who Work from Home: Stay Safe and Stay Motivated

This Valentine’s Day we’re showing some love to those who work on their own.

Whether you’re travelling for work or working from a home office, it can feel a little lonely sometimes. It’s important that you are granted the same motivation and safety as those working in a head office.

We’ve put together some of the most common safety considerations as well as tips to stay motivated to support you.

Smiling young female entrepreneur working on a laptop at home


Make sure your equipment is working

Before you leave and head out to an appointment, make sure you check your equipment.

Is your phone fully charged?

This is the most important question as you may need to contact someone throughout the day and particularly in event of an emergency. It’s also important that any other equipment you need is working and that you have all the cables, chargers, and information you need for the entire day, so you do not have a wasted journey.

Make sure you check this before you need to leave to begin your journey.

Invest in the right equipment

If you are travelling a lot in your role you may need a product with Bluetooth so you can use your phone while you drive. If you want to be able to call or take calls while driving, you must have a hands-free device and should never use your phone while driving as it endangers the safety of yourself and others.

If any of your equipment is starting to look or behave like it’s seen better days, don’t leave it until the last minute to replace it. Make sure you have a backup ready to go and take it with you if you have any concerns.

Tell someone where you are

Staff at your head office should know your schedule so they know where you are and when they can contact you. It’s also important you confirm you have arrived at a scheduled visit and that you have made it safely home. This could be crucial if something were to happen or if someone didn’t know your schedule.

If you don’t have a head office then make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you should be home. It could make a real difference if anything were to happen to you.

Consider where you park or your travel by foot

When driving to an appointment you need to consider where you park your car. If it’s winter, you may be leaving your visit in the dark, so don’t park your car somewhere with bad lighting or in a place you don’t think is safe. If you don’t feel safe going back to your car for any reason, ask a member of the organisation to walk you to your car or to watch you get into your car.

The same principle applies for anyone who is taking public transport to an appointment. Make sure you know how to get from the station to the building. If it is quite a long walk and you are leaving in the dark, then it might be safer to take a taxi back to the station to catch your train.

Take breaks

It’s just as important to consider your health and safety in your home office as it is when you are out travelling. Make sure you take regular breaks from your work throughout the day and don’t sit in the same position for your entire working day without moving.

You need to give your eyes a break from the screen in the same way as you would at an office desk. You also need to get up from your desk, move around, and get some fresh air if you can. This is for your well-being and will make you more productive throughout the day.

Assess your work space

Is your desk appropriate for working?

Is your desk set up so you are sitting correctly?

Do you need a rest for your wrist or any other additional support?

Staff working in an office will have a risk assessment completed at their desk to ensure the environment is safe, and you must do the same thing. Working in a position which damages your back or neck could cause you serious problems. You also need to ensure your equipment is being used safely and that you give the same consideration to confidential documents and data protection as you would in your head office.

You can consult IOSH for more information about risk assessments in the home office.

Remote Working CPD Short Courses Laser Learning

Staying motivated


When you work in an office environment, you’re likely to have some sort of routine. Whether it’s the time you start your day, your lunch break, or the order you approach your work; the routine is often part of the charm!

Having a routine for a remote office or a home office is just as important to keep you motivated and maintain the line between ‘work’ and ‘home’ life.

Decide on your work hours for that week and stick to them. Wake up like you would if you had to leave to go to work and make sure you give yourself time in the morning before you start work.

Having this routine will make your day easier to manage and organise and will also stop your work day blurring into your home life. Letting the two become one can have negative effects on both as you’ll either be unmotivated to work and complete work tasks or the complete opposite will happen, and you’ll be unable to switch off. If you’re working for yourself you might not mind putting in the extra hours, but you won’t want to be working at home when you’re not earning for it.

Get ready for work

You wouldn’t go to an office in your pyjamas, so don’t sit at home in your pyjamas to do your work.

If you don’t get yourself ready for the day then you’re unlikely to have the motivation or correct mindset for work tasks. If you’re finding your work is getting a bit sloppy then make sure it’s not because you feel sloppy. It doesn’t matter what you look like as long as you feel confident and capable, so make sure you’re doing what you need to before you start work to feel your best.

Obviously, if you are contacting clients or colleagues via a video call, it’s even more important to ensure you look presentable as you are an ambassador for your company even when you’re working from home.


Plan your day and give yourself goals for that day and that week.

Organising your day will help you stick to your working hours and also make it clear what you need to achieve.

As you have your own workspace, you can use it in any way you wish, and so you can use wall organisers or calendars to encourage yourself and push yourself towards your goals.

Make sure you get some fresh air at lunch time even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Keep in touch with head office

Even though you are not physically in head office, you are still part of a work team and it’s important to build on your relationships with colleagues, as well as keeping up-to-date with the business.

If you’re feeling lonely or unmotivated then reach out to your colleagues. You can contact them by phone, email, or video call and discuss how business is moving or if there are any changes you should be aware of.

When you’re struggling with something don’t just struggle alone in silence. Reach out to the appropriate member of your team and ask for help.

Make sure you share your achievements with your manager and colleagues so they can congratulate you like they would in an office. However, remember that they can only be involved if you tell them about it!

Know when to stop

Finally, working remotely can often mean you lose track of time. As you’re not walking away from your desk or travelling home, you may be tempted to carry on working.

Finishing a task after the time you should finish work is often the right thing to do, however, scheduling work for outside working hours or carrying on with new tasks which see you working for hours after you should have finished is not healthy.

This is why planning your day is so important.

If you find you aren’t able to handle your workload in your allocated hours, firstly consider whether you are being distracted during the day or whether your planning and schedules are working, then speak to your manager to discuss how you can move forward.

Remote and flexible working is now common in a wide variety of businesses and so it’s important we take care of our remote workers.

You can find out more about supporting and managing remote workers with our CPD short courses:

Personal safety for lone or remote workers

Supporting remote or virtual teams

A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop Short Course by Laser Learning

What is A Winning Attitude for Parents?

Rosie Hamilton-McGinty and Professor Pat Preedy are passionate about the importance of parents or guardians working with practitioners and carers to support children. The first step towards this is often providing parents or guardians with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve this.

A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop course is written by Professor Pat Preedy and Rosie Hamilton-McGinty and is designed to train practitioners and teachers to be able to deliver the A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop to the parents or guardians of the children they work with.

We asked Rosie and Pat to explain more about the course, A Winning Attitude, and why they believe this training is essential for ensuring the best outcomes for children.

How did you come up with the idea of A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop?

Rosie: My background is as an author on character and attitude development of people. I organise a range of training with presentations on ‘How to Bring out the Best in People’ for organisations. When Pat and I first met in 2011 at the school where Pat was Executive Principal, she told me how she used quotes from my A Winning Attitude book in her school assemblies.

Pat: Rosie went on to speak at the school’s speech day and to present A Winning Attitude books to the leavers. I had been doing a lot of work with parents and from that time we partnered and developed A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop, with a course tagline ‘How to bring out the Best in your Child’.

What makes you so passionate about the role of the parent(s) in a child’s development?

P: I completed my masters on effective ways of partnering with parents and went on to work with Dr Kay Sanderson on the Parents and Carers as Play Partners Project. There is considerable research available e.g. by Professor John Hattie, that when parents engage with their children by sharing, encouraging and talking about their learning there is an acceleration in academic and personal outcomes for children which can be the equivalent of two years of schooling.

R: Schools have a major role in helping parents to engage with their children. We designed A Winning Attitude course in order that teachers and early years practitioners develop the skills and have the resources to run effective workshops to support parents.

Why did you choose to make this course available online?

R: At the launch of A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop in March 2017 we ran two pilot courses at The Revel School and Pattison College which were extremely successful. The enthusiasm from teachers and practitioners for this new course led us to develop the course further to include an Introduction to the Parent Workshop.

P: Following on from this standpoint we decided to combine the two courses and with the assistance of Laser Learning the online version allowed us to reach schools throughout the UK and internationally. The online course was launched on 1st November 2018. We are delighted that providing the course online enables us to reach many more schools and settings.

Professor Pat Preedy and Rosie Hamilton-McGinty recording for A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop with Laser Learning
Professor Pat Preedy and Rosie Hamilton-McGinty recording for A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop with Laser Learning

Can you tell us a bit more about what you consider to be ‘a winning attitude’?

R: Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. One’s attitude, the attitude you adopt when interacting with others, sets an emotional platform for happier and successful relationships to develop. Your interactions and attitude can make a person feel significant valued and loved, which is everyone’s birth right.

What are your hopes for parents who attend a workshop?

P: That every parent leaves the workshop motivated to make positive changes in the way they interact with their children. Parents need to become strong role models if they wish for their children to become well rounded individuals in life.

R: Small changes can lead to a more fulfilling happier relationship.

Can you briefly outline what the course covers?

P: The A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop course covers four sessions/modules:

Session 1: Meeting your Child’s Emotional Needs; Making Choices

Session 2: Code of Conduct, Behaviour and Manners

Session 3: Discipline, Children Need Limits, Structure and Consistency

Session 4: Fun, Engagement and Play; Building Strong Relationships

By completing the course, you will also then have access to the resources needed to deliver the Parent Workshop yourself.

What are you most proud of in the A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop course?

R: We are both interested and passionate about our work in helping to make a difference by enabling schools to assist parents to realise and bring out the best in their child. We are proud to have written a course that can make a positive difference to children and parents.

P: We understand that teachers and practitioners have very demanding jobs. It is very rewarding to know that the resources we have written are appreciated and enable the parent workshops to happen with the minimum of pressure on staff. 

Any other comments you would like to make?

P: If we can attract funding for this course it will enable us to fund schools in underprivileged areas of the country to receive the course free of charge. We would really like all schools and settings to be able to implement A Winning Attitude for the benefit of their children and parents.

A Winning Attitude: Parent Workshop course is also a strong contributory factor when inspectors judge the quality and impact of the partnership with parents within the school or setting.


Six Steps to Maintain your Positive Mindset in 2019 by Laser Systems

Six Steps to Maintain your Positive Mindset in 2019

As we approach the half-way point in the first month of 2019, a lot of us will be feeling a real mixture of emotions, whether it’s settling ourselves back in the monotony of every other year or facing up to the goals we set ourselves to achieve within the next 12 months.

Goals are important, but it can be difficult to keep the motivation accompanied by ‘new year, new you’ messages. If you’re feeling a little lost or need some reassurance, here are a few considerations while you look back on the first two weeks of your year as well as forward to the rest of 2019.

  1. It’s only 14 days

Whether you’ve had a productive first two weeks, stumbled slightly, or have been knocked down completely, it’s only been 14 days. In the grand scheme of your entire year, this is the tip of the iceberg so congratulate yourself on what you’ve achieved so far and don’t berate yourself if it’s not been the start you were hoping for.

You’ve still got 351 days to achieve your goals!

  1. You’re not alone

Launching into something new at the start of the year can feel intimidating. If you’re feeling anxious about getting started it can be helpful to discuss your reservations and fears with others in a similar position. It doesn’t have to be your usual support group, and you might benefit from reaching out to a new group who have experienced what you’re feeling.

It’s surprising how often other people can give us the support we need and it’s worth taking the chance to reach out if you’re feeling unsure.

Similarly, if you are in a position to provide encouragement and support to others then this is the time to step up to the plate. By being a source of encouragement, you can boost your own self-confidence and create a positive environment for you to assess your own goals and experience.

  1. Take small steps and celebrate them

Even if you achieve something very small every day of the year, you’ve achieved 365 things, or taken 365 steps towards your goal. That’s a big achievement!

You don’t have to achieve something every day, and you don’t have to always be moving towards your goal. If you need a break or take some steps backwards you can still achieve so much by recognising the small steps and celebrating them as they happen. Doing this also keeps your goals and achievements in a positive light, rather than only celebrating when you reach a certain milestone or at predetermined times.

  1. Keep going – forget failure

When the ‘new you’ feelings start to fade, and January is behind you, it can be difficult to keep motivation. You might make a few mistakes, fall behind, or stop working towards your goals completely.

Whatever you do, don’t look at this as failure.

Every step you take is a learning experience and you can return to your goals at any time. If you start looking at your year as a set of failed attempts, you’re missing an opportunity to pick up the reigns again and carry on. Finding the strength to keep going can feel impossible, but it’s much more productive to dust yourself off and keep going than to give up entirely.

Also consider whether your circumstances contributed to you feeling like you were failing.

  • Did you have enough time to dedicate to your goals?
  • Did you have the support you needed?
  • Was your goal a realistic one?
  • Did you approach it with a positive mindset or were you waiting for the moment you would fail?

If you can make any changes to remedy these circumstances, then make that your priority before getting back to it.

  1. Your goals are more complex than you might think

If your goal is to develop your leadership skills in 2019 by achieving a CPD course, then you are actually working towards a number of new skills throughout the year.

  • You’re developing your understanding of leadership in terms of knowledge which can be used in the workplace as well as in your everyday life
  • You’re developing your leadership skills which can be used in the workplace as well as in everyday life, whether it’s organising social events or taking control of a situation when the moment arises
  • You’re developing your interpersonal skills
  • You’re building your confidence in the workplace either for a role you already have or are working towards
  • You’re opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and evaluating the skills, and knowledge you already have, with the potential to develop these even further in the future
  • You’re discussing ideas with others, developing relationships, and taking on criticism

All of these developments are just as important as your overall goal and each step you take is building your skills, knowledge, and confidence in the workplace and in your personal life.

  1. Your personal New Year’s Day can be any day you choose

It’s easy to get swept-up in the ‘new year, new you’ mindset in January, but it’s important to remember that your new year can start at any time.

If something happens today that means you can’t achieve your goal, give yourself time to recover and start again when the time is right. That might be 3rd February, mid-June, or next year. It might be never as your goals might change entirely!

Every day is a chance to start again and take a tiny step towards a greater goal. As long as you look at your goals as ongoing and remember that you are developing more than one single outcome, you can continue to make positive developments and changes throughout the year and maybe achieve so much more than you initially thought was possible.


New year, new skills, new knowledge, new confidence

Make Personal Development and Learning your Priority in 2019

January arrives on the coattails of December, a month stuffed to the brim in every way possible, whether it’s social engagements, deadlines, or a dinner plate. December can be just as exhausting as it is exhilarating, and January can feel a bit like salvation with its normal everyday routine and the promise of a fresh start.

With January’s resolutions and resolve it can also feel a little daunting when considering how to get your year off to the best start, especially with an influx of marketing messages asking you to ‘change’ in the new year. However, focusing on development rather than complete change is a healthy way to ease yourself into a new year with a positive start.

Developing your skills and knowledge with learning is an investment you will continue to benefit from year after year and is also an investment that doesn’t demand drastic change.

Why learn something new at the start of 2019?

Community learning helps to combat loneliness

‘The culture of adult learning encourages settings and behaviours that favour connection-making. It can be supportive; inclusive; accessible; respectful; positive and forward-looking; collaborative and social. It also provides a common link – a shared interest in a subject or a shared challenge, but in a largely non-competitive and supported environment.’ – TES

If you learn as part of a community or learn alongside others you will reap the benefits of sharing ideas, conversation, and gaining the experience of others. This could be a community both online or offline, and your contributions to the community will help support the learning of others.

Learning can lead to new opportunities

Developing your skills or learning something new can lead to different opportunities. Whether it’s discovering a love for something you never thought about before, making new friends and connections, or building your confidence in new areas, this can all lead to new opportunities in your life.

Confidence in particularly important and learning something in 2019 doesn’t have to mean taking on a big subject. You might want to learn a bit more about something you already do on a daily basis, or perfect a skill you’ve been meaning to revisit for a while. Dedicating time to yourself and your development can build confidence and self-esteem which in turn can lead to opportunities because you feel more positively about things you may not have done in the past.

Laser Lessons

Personal development is part of professional development

Traditionally, learning new skills or developing your knowledge is part of building your work resume. Even if you start small, you may find you have a talent you haven’t given the opportunity to blossom, or that you want to go on to learn something in more detail. All of this can lead to further work opportunities or even a new career path.

Don’t be afraid to approach your employer about personal and professional development around your job role. This is an important part of your employment and it’s important your job role gives you the opportunity to develop.

As an employer, January is the perfect time to encourage staff to develop their skills and knowledge whether it’s for personal or professional outcomes.

If you’re looking for some inspiration and ideas of what to learn, you can see a full list of Laser CPD Short Courses on our website.