SLOUGH, England, October 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Apprenticeship provider responds to Ofsted's findings on apprenticeships in England
October 23, 2015 - Leading IT training provider, QA, has today welcomed Ofsted Chief Inspector's report on the state of apprenticeships in England. Sir Michael Wilshaw's report criticises some industry sectors where apprentices 'were simply completing their apprenticeship by having existing low-level skills, such as making coffee, serving sandwiches and cleaning floors, accredited'.
"We thoroughly agree with Ofsted's recommendations," says Ben Pike, Director QA Apprenticeships, "And are pleased to be able to say that within the technology sector, accrediting apprentices for making tea and coffee couldn't be further from the truth. After just a few months on programme, our apprentices are making impactful contributions to their employers and will have gained key skills such as object-oriented programming, data modelling and networking."
QA is a multi-award winning provider of IT and business services apprenticeships, and is 2015's Microsoft Worldwide Learning Partner of the Year. Following an inspection last year in which QA was rated as 'Outstanding Grade 1' in all areas, Ofsted reported:
"Staff work exceptionally well with apprentices and employers to match and place apprentices with the right employer." The watchdog was also impressed with the quality of QA's courses, saying "Advanced and higher level apprentices develop excellent knowledge and skills in programming, configuring networks, trouble-shooting hardware and software problems for the users. Software apprentices develop high-quality webpages for the customers in the very early stages of their programme. Apprentices on bespoke programmes with large multi-national employers make very strong progress from their starting points. Their work exceeds the requirements of the apprenticeship framework."
The company currently has over 1,800 16 to 18-year-olds on programme and last week it launched its IT degree apprenticeship. The BSc (Hons) Digital & Technology Solutions degree makes QA the first UK company to offer unrivalled progression routes from GCSE-level traineeships right through to degree, and on to Master's through their Executive Masters programme.
Sir Michael Wilshaw's report also slates schools and colleges for not providing sufficient information and guidance to young people and their parents.
"The fact that only 5% of our youngsters go into an apprenticeship at 16 is little short of a disaster." says Sir Michael, "Too many of our schools are failing to prepare young people for the world of work. Even where they do, the careers advice on offer isn't encouraging enough youngsters into vocational routes that would serve them best."
Ofsted's findings echo those of QA's independent research commissioned earlier this year, which revealed 74% of school children would consider IT or professional apprenticeship, yet less than 20% knew anything about them.
"Following our research, it was very clear that the majority of students interviewed were not well-informed about progression routes and largely felt IAG was skewed towards university." says Kavneet Sandhu, head of QA's schools outreach, "These findings are the very reason why we are investing heavily in a national schools outreach programme."
QA Apprenticeships are appointing a national team of schools liaison ambassadors who will be responsible for aiding careers advisors and teachers with relevant tools they need to convey IT apprenticeships as a rational viable alternative to university.
In the last five years QA Apprenticeships has kick started over 5,000 careers in the IT/technology sector, and the company plans to reach the milestone of 10,000 by summer 2016 with their #10KinTech initiative.
SOURCE QA Apprenticeships