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Department for Education

We work with the Department for Education (DfE) on the National Apprenticeship Awards, a flagship product. The project has since expanded, and we have built on its success every year.


In 2017, we won a contract with the Department for Education to develop on their existing platform.  It was an established project, with aging technology.

  • DfE were experiencing a decrease in the number of high-quality applications on their site
  • There was a large amount of manual labour and admin involved when using their aging platform
  • The platform had usability challenges
  • There was no ongoing technical strategy or roadmap for the platform, thus tech was not empowering strategy
  • There was little ongoing progression of the platform; there were no targets for technical continuous improvement


The results of this partnership continue to grow.

  • High quality applications increased by 59% in our first year
  • We’ve empowered 11 stakeholder groups on the project with tech automation, so suppliers for the DfE can concentrate on the applicants and the quality of the experience
  • The National Apprenticeship Awards were able to be held in lockdown, by ensuring the entire process was remote and adding live-streaming of the event
  • Estimated thousands of hours of time saving for suppliers through automation
  • 95% of people gave feedback that the platform very easy, easy or average to use
  • 5 complex portals have been created in response to the increase in demand
  • We have a multi-year strategy to better leverage several DfE flagship products for apprenticeships
  • We have a roadmap to bring in 3 more flagship DfE products as part of their growth strategy


The Department for Education mark an important milestone in our journey as a business. We were moving away from general web design, and transitioning to custom web platform development. Having won the contract, it was realised by Wubbleyou and DfE that we had to rebuild the entire platform. This was made more complex by the fact that we had 6 weeks to hit the awards opening deadline.  This platform marks a major success as not only did we hit that timescale, but in the process we have built a strong relationship with the DfE and other suppliers.

The Software

The system is a complex multi-platform project with many stakeholders and requires many complex features. The application process itself- the core service of the project- passes through 5 different web platforms, each with unique and complex processes, but made easy for end users who are not technical people.

We took an agile and just-in-time approach to project delivery, ensuring that all key features were delivered in time to hit complex deadlines.  Over the 5 years in contract, this has meant hitting all major deadlines and ensuring the stakeholders we support always have what they need by when they need it.

A Major Challenge

In 2019, we had been working with the DfE for 2 years. We had automated a huge amount of work and we’d rolled out a fresh UI/UX design for the whole platform. We’d just been contracted again for 2020. But then lockdown happened.

The whole National Apprenticeship Awards was thrown into doubt. DfE had planned a huge ceremony, yet the entire country was in lockdown. We had to pivot very quickly. They had the idea to hold the ceremony online. So, we all worked together to realise the vision and worked through the concept of live streaming through the website.

2023 and beyond

Our work with the DfE continues to be challenging and valuable. This has been more than a one-off project for us. The DfE have invested in the tech so that they can meet their objectives and diversify. The project is evolving all the time, and we are hyper-focused on continuous improvement.

Every year we have made tangible progress on the previous year, and the suite of platforms and stakeholders engaging with the platforms associated with the project has grown as a result. We’ve been able to capitalise on the success of the NAA platform, and launch other projects, such as the National Apprenticeship Week platform.

We are driven by our success on this project, and every year we’re excited to work together and achieve great things.

With a further 2-year contract, we have an exciting roadmap of change on the horizon, to unify the National Apprenticeship Awards with a set of other flagship products, to make them worth more than the sum of their parts.

Inspiring Success

Working with the DfE has inspired our business too. We hired Dan in 2017 from Baltic Apprenticeships. In 2022, we made the decision to put Dan as the lead developer on the National Apprenticeship Week platform to give a developer the opportunity to deliver National Apprenticeship Week. He flourished on the project and has grown in confidence.

By the end of this contractual period, we will have been working with the Department for Education for 7 years. We’re very proud of that. We have a strong relationship with the DfE which is psychologically safe, supportive and accountable.  We work well together.

This is a project which makes a difference. The National Apprenticeship Awards put apprenticeships in the spotlight, which can be hugely beneficial for young people.

We value education and learning at Wubbleyou. There is no better project to support the celebration of that!

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