University-run apprenticeship firm back in Ofsted’s ‘good’ books

The provider was judged 'inadequate' just 14 months ago

The provider was judged 'inadequate' just 14 months ago

25 Jun 2024, 12:28

More from this author

A university-run apprenticeship provider has jumped up to ‘good’, just over a year after it was dealt Ofsted’s lowest possible grade.

Alliance Learning was allowed to keep its apprenticeship contract by government after being hit with an ‘inadequate’ in April 2023, mostly down to safeguarding concerns.

Shortly after the damaging report the University of Bolton, which owns Alliance Learning, parachuted in one of its deans, Gill Waugh, to become its new chief executive.

Ofsted yesterday published a follow-up full inspection report that judged Alliance Learning as ‘good’ in all areas. Inspectors found previous issues, including “systemically weak” recording and monitoring of safeguarding referrals, as well as staffing disruption and poor off-the-job training, had been rectified.

Waugh said the turnaround is a “huge achievement for us”.

“The grade is testament to the relationship between Alliance Learning and employers and the contribution and commitment of our apprentices,” she added.

“I would like to thank all colleagues for their hard work and determination in ensuring this improvement in our grade.”

Alliance Learning opened as a training provider 40 years ago and joined the University of Bolton group in 2020. 

After the firm’s grade four last year, Bolton College principal Bill Webster and executive director for HR and estates, Jane Marsh, were also both drafted in to join Alliance’s board.

At the time of its most recent inspection, the provider had 304 apprentices mostly aged 16 to 18 studying apprenticeships in engineering, administration and business management between levels 2 to 7.

Inspectors found that apprentices “benefit from well-equipped workshops, tools and resources” that replicate those used in industry, and are “very well supported by tutors who are responsive to their needs and approachable”.

Apprentices also develop “professional, work-ready behaviours and demonstrate positive attitudes to their learning” and “most” now “benefit from a varied personal development programme relevant to their apprenticeship and life experiences”.

Ofsted also confirmed apprentices now feel safe and know how to report any concerns they may have.

Tutors were praised as “subject experts with significant industry experience” who use their expertise to help apprentices understand how theory relates to practice.

And leaders were lauded for a “clear vision” for the curriculums they offer, using their expertise in engineering and business management to provide apprentices with the training they need to be successful at work. “Leaders design ambitious curriculums that meet the needs of employers, apprentices and their industry sectors,” the report added.

Caroline Cowburn, chair of the Alliance Learning board, said: “I am incredibly proud of the team. This Ofsted grade recognises the work of the team following and the dedication of the staff to ensure that we have continuous quality improvement for our apprentices.”

Latest education roles from

Design and Technology Technician

Design and Technology Technician

Kingswood Academy

Learning Resource Centre Assistant

Learning Resource Centre Assistant

Hull College

Course Leader – Electrical Installation

Course Leader – Electrical Installation

Bridgwater & Taunton College

Learning Facilitator – Jewish Girls Academy

Learning Facilitator – Jewish Girls Academy

Gateshead College

Software Developer

Software Developer

Gateshead College

Head of Langdon College (London)

Head of Langdon College (London)

Kisharon Langdon

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

#GE2024: Listen now as Let’s Go Further outlines the FE and skills priorities facing our new government

The Skills and Education Group podcast, Let’s Go Further, aims to challenge the way we all think about skills...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, colleges and schools can be confident that learners...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial

More from this theme

Apprenticeships

UCAS scoring plan for apprenticeships draws criticism

Two university groups have criticised the admissions body's proposals to award points based on the length of the apprenticeship

Josh Mellor
Apprenticeships

Pay protected for NHS staff starting apprenticeships

Health workers were previously put off the programme because some employers expected them to take a wage cut

Josh Mellor
Apprenticeships, Skills reform

HTQs should be at front of Labour’s growth levy queue, say researchers

Public First models economic returns if level 4 and 5 technical quals are funded through a reformed apprenticeship levy

Billy Camden
Apprenticeships, Politics, Skills reform

IfATE loses 30 staff in DfE cash cuts

Second-in-command Rob Nitsch is among the departures

Billy Camden

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *