Via, a company providing highways services in the East Midlands, operates its own training centre and delivers government-funded apprenticeship training under contract with the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
Ofsted inspectors recently conducted a visit to monitor the apprenticeship programs, which include courses for highways maintenance skilled operative and construction plant operative at level two. The inspection found that the courses meet the necessary requirements, with apprentices receiving well-planned on and off-the-job training and support. Trainers, with appropriate sector experience, utilise their expertise effectively. The apprentices benefit from dedicated classrooms and industry-standard equipment for practical work.
Ofsted’s overall verdict was that Via is making “reasonable progress” in two of the the categories of its inspection. However, “insufficient progress” was the ruling on the third category, which covered effective safeguarding arrangements.
The inspectors accepted that “suitable safeguarding policies are in place” and that staff “are suitable trained”. It also accepted that apprentices “receive appropriate guidance on online safety and the dangers of radicalisation”.
But “leaders and managers do not have suitable processes in place to ensure the safer recruitment of staff who work with apprentices”.
The report added: “The required pre-employment checks are not completed in a timely manner and are not adequately recorded.”
The apprenticeships facilitate the development of essential skills for the job, such as operating various machinery. While Via was deemed to be making reasonable progress in two categories, insufficient progress was noted in safeguarding arrangements. Although suitable policies and staff training were acknowledged, deficiencies were found in recruitment processes for staff working with apprentices, with delays and inadequate record-keeping of pre-employment checks highlighted in the report.