University of Sheffield's apprenticeship training centre is ordered to improve by inspectors

Kerry Featherstone, director of the University of Sheffields AMRCTraining Centre
Kerry Featherstone, director of the University of Sheffields AMRCTraining Centre
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A training centre which teaches hundreds of apprentices has been ordered to improve by inspectors.

The University of Sheffield's AMRC Training Centre, in Rotherham, has been given a requires improvement judgement by Ofsted inspectors following a recent visit.

Centre bosses said an action plan has already been implemented to improve standards.

The centre, based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, in Catcliffe, opened in 2014 and provides predominately engineering apprenticeships to meet the skills shortage in the local workforce.

Inspectors judged the effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; outcomes for learners, and apprenticeships to all require improvement. Personal development, behaviour and welfare was rated as good.

An inspection report highlight several failings including too many apprentices leave their programmes early, evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of provision not resulting in rapid enough improvement and employers being insufficiently involved in the co-ordination of apprentices' learning in the workplace.

The report did highlight strengths at the centre. It said senior university leaders have a clear vision and strategy to deliver apprenticeships, apprentices benefit from a wide range of activities to help gain new skills and apprentices who remain in learning develop self-confidence, take pride in their work and acquire the skills and knowledge that will enable them to progress to the next steps in their career.

Kerry Featherstone, director of the University of Sheffield’s AMRC Training Centre said: “The recent Ofsted inspection was the first to be carried out at the AMRC Training Centre since it opened in 2014.

"It based much of its assessment on the centre’s early work and small first cohort. The Ofsted report outlined areas that the Training Centre should address to improve its rating in the future and the centre is already implementing an improvement action plan in-line with Ofsted’s recommendations.

“Responding to Ofsted, 100 per cent of employers and 91 per cent of apprentices said they would recommend the AMRC Training Centre to others, and our industry partners tell us that our work is developing the skills needed to drive forward manufacturing in the Sheffield City Region and beyond.

“Ofsted found that the apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre benefit from high quality resources and facilities.

"Inspectors said that the apprentices demonstrate self-confidence, take pride in their work and acquire skills and knowledge that enable them to develop academically and fulfil the needs of their employers.”