Most learners don’t know they’re apprentices at management provider, Ofsted finds

A provider of management courses has been declared ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted after it was found learners and their bosses did not know they were on the apprenticeship programme.

EQV (UK) has been handed a grade four for its provision to nearly 80 apprentices, who are either on the level 3 team leader or level 5 operational manager standard.

The Leicester-based training firm was previously suspended from taking on new starts in July after being found to have made ‘insufficient progress’ in all three areas of an early monitoring report.

In today’s full inspection report, Ofsted reported that apprentices “do not benefit from a well-planned programme of study” and “most” apprentices and their line managers “do not know that they are on an apprenticeship”.

“Too many” apprentices also do not develop the “wider range of knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to progress in their careers”, they “just complete their management qualification”.

The provision mostly focused on learners completing qualifications from the Institute of Leadership and Management, the website for which offers diplomas at both level 3 and 5 which can be run alongside the team leader and operational manager apprenticeships.

Ofsted said too many apprentices leave their training early, having not received feedback or support to make better progress and while “a small minority recognise they have gained new knowledge and skills”, the majority “only have their existing knowledge and skills confirmed”.

Inspectors reported that managers, trainers and assessors do not use an apprentice’s prior learning to plan the curriculum: level 5 apprentices who completed a level 3 in management cannot identify any new knowledge gained.

Assessors and trainers do not work together to ensure apprentices, who are pulled from the public and private sector, can develop greater knowledge in workshops and then apply this to the workplace and their assignments.

But leaders and managers do not review the performance of trainers and assessors. Instead, they relying on feedback from awarding bodies and “very brief critiques” of workshops.

The watchdog did say most apprentices gain new confidence in their roles while at the provider and both feel and are safe, thanks to effective safeguarding measures.

Following EQV ‘insufficient progress’ monitoring report in July, a follow-up monitoring visit in August found the provider was making ‘reasonable progress’ in safeguarding.

As of last week, the register of apprenticeship training providers still showed EQV as being banned from new apprentices.

Private providers that receive a grade four from Ofsted typically have their funding contracts with the Education and Skills Funding Agency terminated early.

EQV was approached for comment.