Jun 17, 2021
On the 18th and 19th of March this year we were visited by Ofsted for the first time for our New Provider Monitoring Visit (NPMV). These visits generally happen within 2 years of delivering Government funded apprenticeship training to ensure that all apprenticeship providers are on track to receive either “Good” or “Outstanding” grades at full inspection. Being inspected is always nerve-wracking, but we had worked hard and prepared appropriately for the visit and were confident and excited to show the inspectors our journey so far. Over the two days, the OFSTED inspectors spoke to our apprentices, employers, and staff; acquiring a wider understanding of the business, our culture, the progress we are making and how we are growing.
Each New Provider Monitoring Visit is graded across three themes, in short, Leadership and Management, Quality of Education and Safeguarding. Inspectors judge training providers on their performance in these areas and what strategies they have in place to improve.
Meeting the requirements of a successful apprenticeship provider
In the first theme of our report, it states that “leaders have a clear rationale for the delivery of apprenticeship provision”, accepting our purpose and intent within the digital/marketing apprenticeship sector. It mentions our “new quality checks” that “monitor the progress of individual apprentices”, which is something we see as one of our key strengths. Our apprentices benefit from monthly coaching sessions and quarterly progress reviews with their development coach, who provides personalised feedback and guidance, alongside support from their workplace mentor.
“Ever since starting my apprenticeship, I have not stopped learning, be that through my lessons and eLearning activities and at work itself. It would be tough to list it all in honesty, but for each core learning objective, I've improved massively from where I began. My knowledge and awareness of the media industry as a whole has been blown wide open.” – Maisy Dinsdale – Purple Creative Studios
The progress leaders are making ensuring apprentices benefit from high-quality training
Moving onto the second theme, inspectors noted that all our apprentices have “individualised learning plans” to ensure everyone can “develop substantial new knowledge, skills and behaviours which they can use to make a positive contribution to their employers’ business”. Holly Hand (Digital Marketing Apprentice) said "I have recently just finished two out of three Google Analytics virtual classrooms led by Charles at Apprentify, in these, I have picked up a deep understanding of the platform which I can then apply to my work at Global Doors”. Another role of our hard-working Development Coaches is to give additional stretch and challenge tasks to those with prior knowledge and to tailor the training through our personalised Bud learning system; we also want to ensure that the employers play a part in developing the curriculum and provide training aligning to employers’ businesses and marketing strategies.
Alongside our BUD management system, we host virtual classrooms every week, remotely teaching our apprentices following our ambitious curriculum. Apprentices are given pre and post-learning activities to complete around these sessions. “I have made lots of progress and thoroughly understand the topic before moving on due to the learning style with the pre and post classroom learning making sure everything covered is reinforced” - Lily Downes – Global Doors.
Also discussed in this theme is the “effective support for apprentices with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).” As a training provider, we want to be able to provide equal opportunities for everyone which is why we identify apprentices needs early in the programme to provide support such as subtitles during lessons, and specialist spectacles for those with sight impairments. Lastly, for this section, it is noted that “Development Coaches provide helpful feedback to apprentices”; we want to ensure apprentices receive developmental feedback to enable them to improve their quality of work, whether that be creativity in marketing styles or simplistic aspects such as grammar and punctuation.
Ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place
Thirdly (and finally) the last area is how we are “ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place”. This is an aspect of Apprentify we hold dearly and “prioritise” significantly while ensuring our “designated safeguarding leads and deputy leads are appropriately qualified and trained” because our apprentices remain at the heart of Apprentify and therefore so does their safety. We also ensure that “all staff undergo the appropriate checks prior to contact with apprentices” to make sure the most suitable candidates are recruited, and our pupils can learn in a safe environment.
We would like to thank everyone involved – all apprentices, employers, and everyone at Apprentify – for their hard work and support during a positive and rewarding two days.
Mark Simpkins – Head of quality/OFSTED nominee ~ “We have been preparing for our New Provider Monitoring visit for some time now. We have worked extremely hard to get to where we are today, and this report reflects all the effort and commitment everyone has shown to work towards our ambitious goals. I would like to thank Ofsted and the HMI’s involved for what was a very developmental, fair, and professional visit. I’d also like to thank all my colleagues for the wonderful job they’re doing creating opportunities and educating our apprentices. And last but not least, our employers and apprentices for supporting and being the next generation of digital marketers and content producers.”