Ofsted inspectors find Sheffield Hallam apprenticeships ‘require improvement'

Sheffield Hallam University will implement a ‘comprehensive’ action plan to address findings of an Ofsted report in which inspectors found part of their provision ‘requires improvement’.

Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 11:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 12:04 pm
Sheffield Hallam University

In the report inspectors said that ‘too many’ engineering apprentices do not value or complete the NVQ component of their programmes, with around two fifths of operations/ departmental manager apprentices leaving their programmes early without completing this component. 

They found that assessments and reviews on the NVQ component of apprenticeships do not routinely help apprentices fulfil their potential and that leaders and managers do not hold subcontractors sufficiently to account for apprentices’ progress on the NVQ.

Sheffield Hallam University

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Inspectors also said a ‘small proportion’ of operations/departmental manager apprentices do not receive their full entitlement to off-the-job training.

But, they praised governors, leaders and managers for ‘successfully’ promotion an open, welcoming culture and said ‘almost all’ apprentices who complete their apprenticeships remain in secure employment, often in promoted position with many progressing to further study at a higher level. 

The education watchdog Ofsted does not have the power to inspect level 6 or 7 apprenticeships, with these being regulated by The Office for Students.

However, Sheffield Hallam said these account for the ‘vast majority’ of apprenticeship for provision at the university, with the inspection last month focusing on the provision of level 5 and below, for around 97 learners.

A Sheffield Hallam University spokesman said: "Clearly this was not the grading we were hoping for, which was for our level 4 and 5 apprenticeship courses - around 10% of our overall apprenticeship provision.

"However, we are pleased that Ofsted recognised effective teaching, our level of ambition and capacity to improve.

"We are implementing a comprehensive action plan to address these findings and help us realise our ambition to achieve good or outstanding in future."

To improve, the university must increase the proportion of apprentices who complete their apprenticeship successfully, by ensuring both apprentices and employers are well informed and committed in whole. 

They must also ensure that management information in relation to apprenticeships is used well inform robust self-assessment and that all apprentices on operations/departmental manager apprenticeships receive their full entitlement to off-the-job training.