First London university to get top Ofsted marks

Brunel Uni's apprenticeships lauded as 'outstanding' in all areas

Brunel Uni's apprenticeships lauded as 'outstanding' in all areas

12 Mar 2024, 12:27

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A university in London has secured the highest possible Ofsted rating across the board in its first full inspection.

Brunel University received a glowing report from the watchdog today which found apprentices are taught “highly sought after” skills in healthcare and digital technologies sectors.

There are 78 apprentices studying level 5 to 7 degree apprenticeships who feel “privileged and proud to study at the university” which employs “exceptional lecturers who are experts in their field”.

The university began delivering apprenticeships in 2020. Ofsted recognised how leaders faced “significant challenges” in their first year of offering the skills programmes due to Covid-19-related disruptions mainly in the healthcare sector.

In their first cohort of a small number of nursing associate apprentices, only a few remained on their course and achieved. But leaders took “prompt action and rapidly improved their employer engagement and student support interventions to make sure that apprentices received effective and timely support both on their course and in the workplace”.

Retention of apprentices and their achievement rates then improved “significantly” from the previous year and the “vast majority of apprentices stay on their programmes and are making excellent progress”.

Brunel becomes the only university in London and the south of England to achieve ‘outstanding’, and one of only four across the country to receive the highest Ofsted inspection grade.

Professor Andrew Jones, Brunel’s vice-chancellor and president, said Ofsted’s report was an “impressive independent assessment of the excellent work by our teaching and support teams, and of the amazing achievements of our apprentices”.

“It demonstrates our commitment to the needs of business, industry and the professions by delivering the highest quality of education and training to meet their skills needs,” he added.

Inspectors found that “staff provide effective support to apprentices with additional learning needs throughout their training” while apprentices display “exemplary” professional behaviours throughout their training and in the workplace.

The inspectors added that employers make sure that apprentices have access to high-quality on-the-job training and support in the workplace, and that staff work efficiently with employers to ensure that apprentices make exceptional progress.

The vast majority of apprentices sustain their employment and gain additional responsibilities or promotion at the end of their apprenticeships.

Raj Kakaiya, head of apprenticeships at Brunel, said: “Our apprenticeships aim to address some of the biggest skills gaps in the UK, such as those outlined in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. We know that our apprentices are having precisely the impact we’ve readied them for, developing clinical services, improving patient outcomes, enriching the NHS’s data analytics capability and even making airport operations more efficient.

“We deliver purpose-driven apprenticeships, and our apprentices benefit from transformational career development.”

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