Anglia Ruskin University, which trains more than 2,000 apprentices, has been handed a ‘requires improvement’ rating by Ofsted, after concerns were found in curriculum planning and progress for those with learning difficulties.
The university, which runs campuses in Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough, has just over 2,000 apprentices across 22 different higher-level programmes, largely in the healthcare, construction, digital and business management sectors.
Ofsted said apprentices’ experiences varied too much between programmes, highlighting that “too many healthcare assistant apprentices struggle to keep up with the workload,” while “too few chartered surveyor apprentices successfully complete their apprenticeship programme”.
Elsewhere, planning issues were highlighted by the education watchdog, which said planning was “poor on a minority of courses” and “did not always consider the study requirements of the professional body when planning”.
The report said that existing skills and knowledge were not considered enough in planning the curriculum, while “too few apprentices with a learning difficulty and/or disability receive effective support to enable them to make progress in line with their peers”.
The report praised the collaborative environment and found that apprentices felt valued and respected, but said that while most who reach the end of their programme achieve their qualification, too many take breaks in learning or withdraw from their programme.
Registered nurse apprentices were found to be working above their contracted hours, while progress reviews were infrequent, inspectors said.
The university says action on specific points has already begun.
A spokesperson from Anglia Ruskin University said: “ARU’s apprenticeship programmes play a key role in addressing skills shortages, supporting local economies and transforming the lives of the students. The qualifications that our students go on to achieve are as important and valued as ever.
“We were encouraged to see Ofsted’s report highlight our good practices in many areas, and we will make sure that these are implemented across all of our apprenticeship courses.
“We have already put in place measures to address specific points raised in this report, and we look forward to demonstrating our progress.”