The Bid Room Module
For the final module of the Bid & Proposal Coordinator apprenticeship, we wanted to give the learners the opportunity to experience the typical challenges and opportunities found in a bid room, but in a controlled environment. To achieve this, we devised a role play scenario-based module that simulated the bid preparation and submission process.
Apprentices were provided with real tender documents for a product in an industry in which they had no experience. Third-party attendees took roles as buyers, reviewers and subject matter experts. The module took place over three days (plus work in between). The apprentices worked in teams, with assigned roles and set out to research, write, submit and win the tender against stiff competition!
The activity embodies all of the challenges, learning and lessons we know bid writers/managers experience during tendering and day-to-day work activities. It was not just a check that our apprentices know how to undertake bid operations but it was also an opportunity for them to demonstrate a great deal of concentration, accuracy, perseverance, stress management and most of all, team working.
As it was not possible to meet in person, we used cutting edge technology to enable the bid practical exercise to take place by holding it in the secure JGA campus in virtual world, VirBELA.
Both apprentices and the supporting team loved it, they found the functionality of Zoom but with greater user control and no staring at yourself on screen all day! It enabled even the most camera–shy learners to come out of themselves and play an active role in the project.
The virtual campus has dedicated briefing rooms, private and common spaces and even a party area for the end of project celebration!
Our learners agreed that this was a great exercise to consolidate what they had learnt on the other modules.
Ryan Wilkes, apprentice at Kuehne+Nagel, said
“Meeting new people, working in great teams, and creating compelling & compliant proposals for our customers are part of the reason why I enjoy working in the world of bid management. The 3 days completing my final apprenticeship assessment in a virtual working environment, VirBELA, have been part of some of the most stressful, yet rewarding days of my career.”
Jodie Boast, apprentice at Eric Wright Construction, said
“WON THE VIRTUAL BID! Great ‘virtual reality’ module in line with my Bid and Proposal Coordinator Apprenticeship with JGA. A hard-working, testing and stressful few days but thoroughly enjoyed putting together a bid and all worth it for the result in the end! Group Effort!”
Gemma Waring, JGA Tutor, said
“Having watched a tender being created today I can honestly say I felt the energy and buzz you get in a team when the pressure is on to get a first draft ready – the extra fluidity of walking between rooms and having multiple rooms to work in are as close as you can get to real life with current restrictions!”
Healthy Teams Make for Healthy Competition
We are working with bodies such as the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) to help establish bid coordination, writing and management as a recognised profession with a well-defined career path. We aim to raise the profile of our apprentices – all are aspiring professionals, and to support them to achieve relevant and career-changing qualifications.
We find that healthy competition, combined with the right support, brings out the best in people, it tends to provide the right environment to push, stretch and challenge learners’ interests, attitudes, and motivations.