A key part of your planning is thinking how you will achieve the forecasted outcomes across the project duration.

While it might seem to make sense to divide the totals by the duration of the project (for example, 240 ULRs over 2 years = 20 per month), in most projects a great deal of groundwork takes place before actual delivery begins; outcomes in early periods may seem low but will follow later as a result of the preparation that you have done.

It’s much less work to try to be accurate: if there’s a large difference (variance) between what you’ve achieved and what is in your profile, the ULF database software will prompt you to complete an extra report explaining the reason for the difference. Thinking carefully about when things are likely to take place means that this is less likely to happen.

At the bidding stage you will have identified the sum of money you needed to achieve the project’s outcomes. As part of your initial visit by the ULF team, you will receive help in completing an online profile that forecasts project expenditure, either monthly or quarterly, for the duration of the project.

Profiling – some considerations

  • Membership profile (who is your target market?)
  • Will there be a focus on promotional activity at the start, leading to higher numbers for dissemination and supporting learners (IAG) rather than learning activity?
  • Will there be months when there will be less activity (e.g. Members in the retail sector would find it difficult to get release for training over the Christmas period)?
  • What are the holiday periods of members and providers?
  • How long might it take to achieve certain qualifications and negotiate Learning Agreements?
  • At what times of year are providers likely (or unlikely) to be able to provide data?

The key thing to remember with your profile is that it should reflect when you would be charged for items, rather than when they were ordered: so for example, if your project includes the purchase of computers consider when will you have to pay for them, rather than the order date.