An adult care apprenticeship provider has been hit with an ‘inadequate’ rating after Ofsted found unsupported off-the-job training and “uninspiring” teaching.
Geoseis Consultant Limited, which trades as Geotraining, was also criticised for focusing on the achievement of a diploma qualification that is only part of the apprenticeship while failing to make apprentices aware of their end-point assessment.
The provider started delivering apprenticeship training in April 2020 but today received Ofsted’s lowest possible judgment in its first full inspection. The firm now faces likely contract termination from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
Geotraining had 55 apprentices on adult care programmes from levels 2 to 5 based in the Midlands at the time of Ofsted’s visit in November.
Too few apprentices have achieved their apprenticeship and hardly any have completed it on time, according to the inspectorate’s report.
The watchdog found that too many apprentices do not receive their full entitlement to off-the-job training, which should be a minimum of six hours per week. Most Geotraining are also required to learn in their own time and are “not supported” by their employer.
Ofsted raised concern that level 2 apprentices “learn in noisy workplaces”, or through online meetings with no practical opportunities.
Inspectors took aim at Geotraining leaders for not ensuring that the basic requirements of an apprenticeship are promoted to and implemented by employers.
The report claimed that too many employers are “only interested in their apprentices achieving the diploma qualification, which is only part of the apprenticeship, rather than the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the apprenticeship standard prescribes”.
Apprentices are “often unaware of the requirements of the end-point assessment or the requirements of the broader apprenticeship”.
The government is currently implementing reforms to align qualifications within apprenticeships with end-point assessments after discovering this was a key reason why nearly half of apprentices drop out before completing their programme every year.
Ofsted had found Geotraining making ‘reasonable progress’ in an early monitoring visit report published in November 2022. But since then, the firm’s director has reduced the size of permanent staff, according to today’s full inspection report, and the remaining managers and team members “do not have the knowledge or skills to manage, monitor and improve the quality of training that apprentices receive”.
The few tutors that remain “do not have the time or skills to provide effective training to apprentices”, Ofsted added.
As a result, too many apprentices “do not receive timely and regular reviews of their progress, receive a poor standard of training and make slow progress on their apprenticeship”.
Apprentices also reported feeling “frustrated by constant changes in tutors which has slowed their progress”.
There is no external independent oversight of Geotraining’s leaders, who fail to systematically review and evaluate achievement, retention and attendance data, Ofsted said.
The watchdog concluded: “Leaders’ oversight of the quality of education is not fit for purpose. Their assessment of the quality of education that apprentices receive is too positive and does not identify the many weaknesses at the provider.”
Geotraining did not respond to requests for comment.