Damning Ofsted visit finds huge employer provider forced staff onto apprenticeships

A large employer provider in the security sector has stopped recruiting new apprentices after a damning Ofsted early monitoring visit found they were forcing workers onto apprenticeships.

Securitas UK had a heavily critical inspection report published this morning which said the company was making ‘insufficient progress’ in two of the three themes judged.

The provider has 650 apprentices but Ofsted worryingly found that not enough assessors were on the books to meet their needs, and a lack of resource led to some apprentices not having a progress review for five months.

Most concerning was that Securitas gave most apprentices no choice about enrolling onto the programmes.

Most apprentices do not have a choice about enrolling for the apprenticeship training programme

“As a result of this compulsory training, apprentices do not enjoy their learning or understand its nature,” inspectors said.

Under new rules from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, any provider with an ‘insufficient’ rating will be banned from taking on any new apprentices until the grade improves.

“We will not progress any new enrolments, in order to prioritise the actions required and focus on current employees undergoing the training,” a spokesperson for Securitas UK said.

The employer has around 11,500 staff and provides protective services across the UK. Apprentices enrol initially as security officers and on successful completion of the apprenticeship can progress to the role of protective services officer.

“Leaders and managers do not have sufficient resources in place to support the apprenticeships that they offer,” Ofsted said.

“Securitas has too few assessors to meet the needs of its apprentices. Those apprentices who should complete their programme in September are making slow progress and are unlikely to succeed.

“Too many apprentices are unaware of their entitlement and do not receive sufficient time allocated to off-the-job-training. As a result of this, the vast majority are behind schedule with their apprenticeship programme and lack motivation.”

Ofsted added that the majority of apprentices and Securitas site managers are “unsure about the range of activities that they should record” and most learners “do not have sufficient preparation for their end-point assessment”.

Inspectors slammed Securitas’ line managers for not taking enough “responsibility for progress reviews”.

Securitas UK is working closely with an independent consultant to address the Ofsted report findings

“Targets for apprentices are not specific enough to help them improve. As a result, most apprentices fall behind with their work and make slow progress towards completing their apprenticeship.”

Meanwhile, arrangements for recruitment “lack integrity”, according to Ofsted.

“Leaders, managers and staff do not give enough guidance to apprenticeship applicants.

“Too few apprentices have a good understanding of their planned completion date, and many are unaware of what they need to do to complete an apprenticeship.”

The planning and delivery of training to develop apprentices’ English and maths skills is also “poor”.

The only positive in the report was to do with safeguarding, which the provider is making ‘reasonable progress’ in.

“Leaders and senior managers ensure that safeguarding arrangements are effective, and apprentices stay safe.”

A spokesperson for Securitas said: “Securitas UK is working closely with an independent consultant to address the Ofsted report findings. Securitas UK is committed to ensuring employees receive the highest levels of training and support at all times.”