Ofsted finds ‘many’ employers did not know staff were apprentices

“Many” employers working with a new independent provider for the care sector did not know their staff were on apprenticeships, Ofsted has found.

Care Assessment Training Services was deemed to have a made ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas of an early monitoring visit for a host of issues with its provision to 102 apprentices.

The report, published today, criticised the provider’s leaders and managers for not using “integrity” when recruiting apprentices.

Inspectors discovered that apprentices on the level 5 care apprenticeship framework, for example, complete their courses early but remain on programme until the planned end date.

“Many” apprentices do not know that they are apprentices or why they are on an apprenticeship programme.

Shockingly, Ofsted’s report went further and said “many employers” also “do not know that their staff are on an apprenticeship programme”.

Many of the employees are often placed on an incorrect programme, as assessors do not use the results of initial assessments to ensure that they are on the right one.

Leaders and managers did not ensure employers were aware of the requirements of an apprenticeship, so a majority of level 2 and 5 learners did not receive sufficient time to complete off-the-job training – meaning “too many” learners did not receive their 20 per cent entitlement.

And nor do leaders and managers make sure employers and standards-based apprentices are aware of the end-point assessment.

“They do not plan effectively in preparing apprentices for the professional discussion and tests,” inspectors said.

“Assessors do not encourage apprentices to work towards merit or distinction grades. Consequently, apprentices do not achieve within the planned timescale or at the level of which they are capable.”

Assessors also “do not plan or sequence learning” to ensure that apprentices develop the “substantial new knowledge, skills and behaviours that they need to progress in their careers”.

Ofsted added that the “external scrutiny” of policies, systems or quality arrangements “does not exist” at Care Assessment Training Services.

As a consequence, they have been slow to put changes in place such as recruiting more assessors to give learners the full support they need.

There were some positive findings in the report; the provider had made ‘reasonable progress’ in ensuring effective safeguarding arrangements.

All the apprentices know how to safeguard residents and clients who are in their care.

A few of them also increase their skills, their confidence and their communication skills, and can use the knowledge and skills they gain at the provider to adapt how they communicate with residents and clients.

For example, apprentices at level three use electronic translation tools to communicate with residents who do not speak English.

Ofsted added that assessors have the “appropriate knowledge and expertise” in the care sector to carry out training and assessment.

Due to its poor performance, Care Assessment Training Services can expect to be suspended from recruiting new apprentices, under ESFA rules. It will only have this ban lifted if it improves to at least a grade three in a full inspection.

The provider did not comment at the time of going to press.