Ofsted watch: Promising week for new apprenticeship providers

It’s been a promising week for new apprenticeship providers, with only one ‘insufficient progress’ finding from six monitoring visits.

One of the reports, for LDN Apprenticeships Ltd, even scored a clean sweep of ‘significant progress’ findings.

Inspectors found that the provider’s managers “use progress tracking systems and frequent discussions with the provider’s learning and development specialists to identify apprentices at risk of falling behind or leaving.

“However, data for the current year shows the proportion of apprentices who have completed on time is high, with a further 15 apprentices still in learning, who are on-track to finish on time”.

Apprentices have “had the chance to work with a well-known film company to edit advertisements on film trailers and business learners learn how to how to plan and coordinate events and ensure that the correct security measures are in place”.

The one poor report came in for JM Recruitment, Education & Training Limited, based in the Wirral.

It was found to have made ‘insufficient progress’ for ensuring it is meeting the requirements for successful apprenticeship provision and was criticised by inspectors for its record-keeping.

Its leaders and “managers have not implemented an effective quality monitoring process, so cannot check if apprentices are receiving high-quality training; they do not analyse management information rigorously; and both they and the tutors do not have sufficient oversight of off-the-job training”.

Information about the quality of subcontracted provision is “inaccurate” and leaders are “unaware if apprentices have left their course early”.

Inspectors did find that assessors challenge apprentices with potential scenarios that they may not naturally encounter in the workplace, such as what a teaching assistant should do if a teacher spoke inappropriately to a pupil.

Apprentices also receive good support to develop their skills and achieve qualifications in English, maths and ICT.

The four other reports all resulted in ‘reasonable progress’ findings across the board.

The West Midlands Creative Alliance Limited, based in Birmingham, was commended for building links to the creative industries.

Apprentices are on the right apprenticeships for the right job role and managers use monthly quality meetings to ensure apprentices get back on track if they fall behind.

Meanwhile staff at Absolute HR Solutions Ltd, based in Warwickshire, work “very closely with employers to recruit only those who will benefit from learning and will add value to the employer’s business”.

The apprentices develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours in management and customer services, which prepare them for management roles and provide more options for their next steps when they finish training.

Thanks to the training, a levy-paying employer has been able to open a new store and increase sales. Apprentices tend to stay with the employer and rise “quickly through the ranks”.

GLAS Business Solutions Limited is a Pontypridd-based independent learning provider which also came in for praise from Ofsted.

Its leaders make “effective use of their close involvement in a trailblazer group, which sets apprenticeship standards, to ensure apprenticeship programmes are matched closely to the needs of both apprentices and employers”.

Tutors are “role models” for apprentices and use their good occupational knowledge and experience to deepen their apprentices’ vocational knowledge.

Kreston Reeves LLP, a Kent-based employer provider, also made reasonable progress in all three areas.

On its apprenticeship provision, inspectors found the provider offers very intensive off-the-job training, including ethics training and tutorials in how to use spreadsheets to record and analyse financial data.

On the quality of training, inspectors reported: “Apprentices rapidly develop the substantial new knowledge, skills and behaviours that managers need them to have. For example, apprentices gain strong technical skills alongside much improved confidence in their own abilities to complete audit work and to professionally interact with clients.”

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade  
JM Recruitment, Education & Training Limited 21/11/2018 28/01/2019 M M IRR
The West Midlands Creative Alliance Limited 09/01/2019 01/02/2019 M M RRR
LDN Apprenticeships Ltd 09/01/2019 01/02/2019 M M SSS
Absolute HR Solutions Ltd 09/01/2019 28/01/2019 M M RRR
GLAS Business Solutions Limited 16/01/2019 01/02/2019 M M RRR

 

Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade  
Kreston Reeves LLP 10/01/2019 30/01/2019 M M RRR