Ofsted slams training for 500 apprentices at ‘world leading’ security firm

A new provider that trains nearly 500 apprentices for a “world leading” security company has been rapped by Ofsted.

Inspectors listed a catalogue of issues with the training delivered by EGS Nationwide Limited, which was found making ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas of an early monitoring report.

The sole employer it works with is G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Ltd, which was itself branded ‘inadequate’ across the board by the education watchdog in an inspection it had in 2013. It later had its own government skills contracts terminated.

“Too few apprentices develop significant new knowledge, skills and behaviours”

It appears that G4S is continuing to let its trainees down, after Ofsted reported in today’s report that leaders at EGS “do not take enough steps to ensure that the employer fulfils its obligation to apprentices”.

“The employer does not adequately release apprentices to complete off-the-job training or provide apprentices with a workplace supervisor,” inspectors said.

“Therefore, too few apprentices develop significant new knowledge, skills and behaviours.”

Supervisors are “too often based in different locations” meaning the majority of apprentices “do not receive first-hand feedback on their progress in the workplace and cannot access the support that they need to achieve their goals”.

Ofsted also found that around a fifth of apprentices should have completed their programme by now but cannot progress to their end-point assessment because of leaders’ poor arrangements.

Inspectors said that leaders “do not have adequate oversight of apprenticeship provision” and they “do not measure progress to identify the necessary steps for apprentices to complete their programme on time”.

“Of the apprentices who are past their planned end date, most of those who need to achieve functional skills qualifications in English and maths have not done so,” they added.

At the time of the monitoring visit, EGS trained 499 apprentices based in locations around the country for G4S.

Over two thirds of the apprentices are studying the level 2 customer service standard, while just over a quarter are studying the level 3 team leader. The remainder are studying the level 3 business administrator standard.

A spokesperson for EGS said the organisation “remains committed” to delivering apprenticeships and is “working with both Ofsted and employers to ensure findings are addressed”.

Head of Apprenticeships for G4S in the UK, Tony Summers, said the employer works “hard” to ensure staff get the “internal support they need to further develop their skills and we have processes in place to make sure programmes are delivered to our own high standards”.

“We are working closely with EGS to support them in acting on the recommendations made by this inspection,” he added.

Ofsted did praise EGS leaders for using their “knowledge of the security industry to plan the curriculum to meet the employer’s training needs”.

Trainers also support apprentices “well” to develop their English and math skills, which develops their confidence and benefits their work in the workplace.

EGS was found making ‘reasonable progress’ in safeguarding, an area which Ofsted said is given a “high priority”.

“They implement and apply a suite of policies effectively to provide high levels of support for staff and apprentices in difficult situations,” inspectors added.

Any provider found making ‘insufficient progress’ in an early monitoring report is usually suspended from recruiting apprentices, until it improves to at least ‘requires improvement’ in a full Ofsted inspection.