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‘Outstanding’ apprentices impress Ofsted inspectors

8th May 2017

Abingdon & Witney College’s apprenticeship programme has been judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

The report recognises the College’s careful attention to an apprentice’s journey towards a career, stating that “most apprentices make excellent progress from their starting points [and] produce work to a very high standard,” whilst almost all apprentices “remain in full-time employment after completing their apprenticeship.”

“College staff listen carefully to employers and design apprenticeship programmes that meet their needs,” they continue, “…as a result, employers are able to highlight the benefits apprentices bring to their business.”

With recent triumphs at the 2017 Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards, where the College picked up Best Training Provider and several of its apprentices won their respective categories, and being shortlisted for Times Educational Supplement Apprenticeship Programme of the Year for 2017, the grading from Ofsted has further extended its standing in the local and national apprenticeship spotlight.

Between September 2015 and the time of inspection, only three college’s in England had been graded as Outstanding for their apprenticeship provision.

Part of the College’s success with its apprenticeship programme lies in its excellent performance rates and ‘quality over quantity’ approach – with a 93% employer approval rating and apprentice timely success rates more than 20% above the national average, the statistics speak for themselves.

A comprehensive support system set up by the College in partnership with employers is key to achieving such figures. Ofsted recognise this as much, stating that “staff work well with employers during the recruitment of apprentices and support employers to ensure apprentices make rapid progress towards their qualifications.”

“Progress reviews provide constructive feedback on apprentices’ performance and evaluate the development of relevant transferable skills, such as communication and creative thinking skills.”

Ofsted also reflected positively on the close ties and relationships the College has been building with local employers and businesses of all sizes, especially within industries that are in need of a workforce injection:

“In recent years, leaders have increased the number of apprenticeships available at the college and have carefully targeted growth in local skills shortage areas,” whilst apprentices “benefit from working for high-quality employers who help to advance their careers.

Staff at the College are delighted with the inspection result. Jacqui Canton, Deputy Principal, said: “It’s another fantastic achievement for the apprenticeship team and the entire College. To be judged as ‘outstanding’ in any category by Ofsted is one of the highest honours you can get in the education sector, and we’re very proud of all the staff, apprentices, and employers we work with who helped make it happen.”

Overall, the College was judged as ‘good’ by Ofsted. More information on the apprenticeship programme can be found at abingdon-witney.ac.uk/employer-services

You can find the full Ofsted report at reports.ofsted.gov.uk