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Success Story

July 11, 2022

Lloyds Banking Group: Supporting Apprentices in an Era of Hybrid Work with Innovative Learning Game

In partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, Kaplan helped develop a gamified learning experience to make meaningful apprenticeships possible from the home office.

About Lloyds Banking Group

The largest retail and commercial financial services provider in the U.K., Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) supports more than 26 million customers through a family of staple brands, which include Lloyds Bank, Halifax, and the Bank of Scotland, among others. 

Led by a brand purpose of Helping Britain Prosper, the firm has earned a reputation for innovative thinking and social responsibility, making significant contributions to efforts in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and small business support.

At the heart of LBG’s success is its human talent, including the development and training of apprentices. These are both colleagues who are expanding their skill sets and new-to-bank talent who join the LBG team to gain valuable experience in the workplace or earn a professional qualification.

Since 2017, Kaplan has played a key role in fostering these apprentices, providing programs for LBG’s financial services, accountancy and tax, and digital colleagues. These arrangements can lead to full-time hires and serve a valuable role in providing a diverse, resilient pipeline of new employees into the bank.

A Global Challenge

As LBG adapted to new ways of working during the COVID-19 pandemic, it recognized the impact closures could have on the apprentice learning experience: With in-person work on hold, so too went the water cooler conversations, in-person learning, and moments of connection that define an apprentice’s first weeks at the bank.

Questions loomed: Would apprentices thrive without in-person connection? How would retention fare without the bonding and camaraderie of face-to-face learning? How could LBG support the well-being of apprentices entering the workforce at such a high-stress time?

Working closely with LBG's apprenticeship team, and in collaboration with Virginia-based simulations developer Interpretive Solutions, Kaplan created a bespoke learning game that secured this valuable program’s success, bolstered the skills of every apprentice involved, and cultivated a sense of unity across teams—even at an unprecedented distance.

The Path to a Solution

Five years of fruitful partnership with LBG equipped the Kaplan team to power rapid, efficient transformation for the organization. Together, the teams identified the opportunity in a learning game, outlining the strategic imperatives that would make it successful for LBG. The solution would:

  • Support learning for new apprentices working remotely

  • Foster connections between apprentices and encourage productive networking

  • Develop essential professional skills and habits in a safe environment

  • Instill LBG’s values in new team members

  • Provide the freedoms of play

  • Ultimately, retain the apprentices by providing a meaningful experience

Meet BizCafé

An interactive business learning simulation, BizCafé builds professional skills among learners by challenging players to run their own virtual coffee shop. Players hone their decision-making skills by working together to navigate the intricacies of a service-based business, including management, marketing, and accounting operations.

Backed by Kaplan’s extensive pedagogical experience, and through close collaboration with BizCafé developer Interpretive Solutions, Kaplan expanded the game into a custom, 6-week course—delivered by Kaplan’s expert skills tutors—that is strategically aligned with the unique needs of LBG apprentices and the organization's internal values.

This enhanced BizCafé experience was presented to LBG in June 2020—mere months after the U.K.’s pandemic shutdown.

“Playing the BizCafé game had more of a lasting impact on my skills development than a 2-day traditional skills training course would have had.”


Launched as a pilot in October 2020, the BizCafé solution was received with praise from learners and leaders alike and has even outperformed traditional apprenticeship efforts.

“The game created a real buzz amongst the apprentices and it’s had a positive impact on their confidence, skills, and creativity—resulting both in immediate and long-term measurable benefits for the business. All participants are continuing to flourish and make good progress in their apprenticeship and career with LBG.” — Kathryn Marshall, Senior Manager Apprenticeships, Lloyds Banking Group

Notably, the solution has had a demonstrable impact on retention: Of the 57 apprentices involved in the game’s pilot, all of them remained at the bank one year later. Two BizCafé games with additional groups of apprentices ran in 2021, again with high participant retention, and another intake of apprentices is planned for 2022.

A Hit with Apprentices

  • 97%

    Of learners said the BizCafé game was enjoyable.

  • 97%

    Could demonstrate improvements in their skills and behaviors.

  • 78%

    Said BizCafé improved their creativity and ability to add value.

  • 89%

    Said BizCafé improved their problem-solving and resilience.

  • 97%

    Said BizCafé improved communication skills and team relationships.

  • 97%

    Said BizCafé improved their team’s collaborative skills.

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