3 February 2015

Skills Training UK awarded a Grade 2, Good, in very positive OFSTED inspection report

Skills Training UK is rated as ‘Good’ for Overall effectiveness by Ofsted in a Further Education and Skills inspection report (published 9th April 2014) which has assessed outcomes for learners, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and the effectiveness of leadership and management, all of which are graded Good. Skills Training UK was assessed at short notice by Ofsted inspectors between 4th and 7th March, with a focus on the apprenticeship programmes.

The attainment of Business Improvement Technique (BIT) apprentices, Ofsted reports, is ‘significantly above national rates’, with those aged over 25 ‘substantially exceeding national success rates’. Apprentices following the business improvement techniques programme are ‘highly motivated, demonstrate strong skills development and much-improved employability. The impact of their learning on business efficiency and profitability is high and frequently financially quantifiable.’

Skills Training UK’s Positive Directions programme for 16-18s, which provides access to apprenticeships for young people through building skills and confidence, ‘has improved dramatically and is now excellent.’

On the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, Ofsted reports ‘Learners are motivated well by enthusiastic trainer-assessors (trainers).’ It says ‘They use their industry experience and subject knowledge well to develop learners’ knowledge and enrich learning opportunities’. Trainers, Ofsted reports, ‘have the required experience and skills needed to carry out their roles, and learners value the depth of their expertise.’

Teaching in maths and English is commended: ‘Learners’ mathematics skills are developed well, for example through exercises in data retrieval, analysis and presentation. Written and spoken English skills are developed appropriately and learners recognise the importance of improving their communication skills when working with customers’.

In one apprentices’ session, which was observed by inspectors, learners on the business improvement techniques apprenticeship programme were challenged to look at the profitability and efficiency in their employer’s manufacturing process. The exercise is described as ‘very effective’ and Ofsted reports ‘Employers value this level and type of training’.

Leadership and management, Ofsted reports, ‘are strong and focused’ and ‘senior managers have prioritised the development and application of an effective quality improvement process’. Self- assessment by the management ‘is a very thorough, comprehensive and highly evaluative process, the outcomes of which are summarised clearly in a concise self-assessment report (SAR)’. Customer feedback, Ofsted reports, is incorporated well, with ‘views of learners and employers … used regularly and constructively’.

Martin Dunford OBE, Chief Executive of Skills Training UK, said: “This report is a testament to the expertise, hard work and commitment of all staff in our business and the effectiveness of the systems and processes we have developed and put in place to support the growth in scale and range of our provision. We shall always strive to improve in all that we do.”

Two of Her Majesty’s Inspectors and three additional inspectors carried out the short notice inspection from 4th – 7th March 2014. Learner and employer interviews, telephone calls and online questionnaires were used by the inspectors to observe and review all of Skills Training UK’s provision, with a focus on the apprenticeship programmes.  Data on learners’ achievements over the last three years as well as Skills Training UK’s self-assessment report and development plans were also considered during the inspection.

The full Ofsted report is available here.

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