Provider that ‘rarely’ contacts apprentices judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted

Leadership changes have led to a ‘rapid decline’ in quality

Leadership changes have led to a ‘rapid decline’ in quality

31 Oct 2023, 15:30

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A Staffordshire-based apprenticeship provider has been slammed by Ofsted for “rarely” contacting apprentices and a rapid decline in the quality of education.

Yellow Tree Workforce Development Limited was hit with an ‘inadequate’ rating in its first full Ofsted report published today which said apprentices feel “unsupported in their learning” and that “most” learners leave their programme without completing it.

Some apprentices have received “very little support” over the past nine months while for others, leaders have “not ensured that the principles and requirements of an apprenticeship are being met”.

Apprentices work from home with “minimal contact” with the employer and are “not supported in developing their new knowledge and skills in the workplace”, Ofsted said.

Instead, apprentices work mostly independently and use their off-the-job training time to complete independent research to understand what they need to do to complete tasks.

Inspectors blamed “significant changes” across the provider’s senior leadership, management and teaching staff for its failure to reverse the “rapid decline in the quality of education apprentices receive” since positive early monitoring visit last summer.

Leaders have been “too slow to recruit replacement coaches to support them in completing their apprenticeship” which has forced apprentices to go “significantly beyond their planned end date, and continue to make no progress”.

At the time of this recent inspection, Yellow Tree Workforce Development Limited had 16 apprentices on its books, with nine of them on a level three team leader or supervisor course, five on a level three digital marketer apprenticeship, and two on a level three science manufacturing process operative course.

The lack of support on offer has caused some learners to “lose confidence in the ability of leaders and skills coaches to support them to achieve”, Ofsted said.

Overall, most apprentices are “disappointed with their apprenticeship experience”. They feel “unsupported in their learning and rarely receive contact from provider staff”.

The provider was also criticised for its lack of support of students studying their maths and English functional courses. Staff in charge of the functional skills course had “not received sufficient training” to assess those learners, leaving them unable to progress further with their apprenticeships.

Independent training providers are typically removed from the apprenticeships market by government following an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted judgment.

Yellow Tree Workforce Development did not respond to requests for comment.

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