A North London training provider where every one of its childcare apprentices left early has been slammed by Ofsted.
The UK College of Business (UKCB), based in North Finchley, got hit with an ‘inadequate’ overall effectiveness rating in its first full Ofsted report which was published today, after a damning inspection in April. It received ‘inadequate’ ratings for education quality, leadership and management, and apprenticeships, with ‘requires improvement’ ratings in behaviour and attitudes, and personal development.
Ofsted said all 42 of the provider’s childcare apprentices left early, while some learners were left without supervisors at work and some learners were not in “appropriate employment” when they started their apprenticeships.
Inspectors flagged that because apprentices have no access to English training, many are unable to complete tasks independently.
Apprenticeship training on offer at UKCB ranges from levels three to seven in standards including content creation, dentistry, digital and childcare. On top of the 42 childcare level four and five apprentices who had left their studies early, a further 10 apprentices also left early from courses in content creation, fundraising and senior leadership. At the time of the inspection, 46 apprentices on level three courses in content creation, fundraising and senior leadership were waiting to take their end-point assessments.
Just two level four dental practice manager apprentices, one level four digital community manager apprentice and four level seven senior leader apprentices were in learning at the time of the Ofsted inspection.
The provider is currently suspended from taking on new apprentices according to the apprenticeship providers and assessment register (APAR).
Back to basics
Ofsted found that apprentices do not receive “planned regular support” to prepare for their assessments, and were missing basic individual training plans. That left apprentices “unclear” on what they need to do to make progress in their studies.
Inspectors said “too few apprentices” complete their programmes. According to government data, just 27.8 per cent of the learners achieved their apprenticeships in 2021-22, half the national average.
Though the leaders “recognise that they have made numerous errors and have tried to correct some of these,” their “poor management” had a “negative effect on too many apprentices”. Among many of the criticisms aimed at leaders was that they “do not ensure” their staff have the expertise to plan and teach apprenticeships.
However, apprentices on the level 3 fundraiser apprenticeship said they feel “well supported” by their tutors and enjoy their programmes, while on others they learn behaviours that are valued in the workplace.
‘Not aware’ of the potential risks
Safeguarding at the UKCB was deemed ‘effective’ yet inspectors found the leaders do not routinely carry out risk assessments of the employers their learners work for, meaning “they are not aware of the potential risks their apprentices face when they are at work”.
The UKCB is too small to publish full accounts, but had fixed assets worth £104,000 in the year to 31 July 2022, according to its micro business accounts for that year. It also reported debts of £100,000.
Its website boasts “We have the necessary physical and human resources to provide adequate support to students.”
Its owner and chief executive, Abdul Matin Khan, is also principal and owner of the Commonwealth College of Excellence, based at the same premises as UKCB. The Commonwealth College has not been inspected by Ofsted but is on the Office for Students register.
UKCB did not respond to requests for comment.