A company which trains almost 3,000 apprentices is not good enough, according to Ofsted.
Woodspeen Training, which has a base in Cloth Hall Street, Huddersfield, has been rated as ‘requires improvement’ after being assessed as ‘good’ three years ago.
It delivers apprenticeships and adult learning programmes across Yorkshire, including Huddersfield, Bradford and Wakefield. It provides a range of apprenticeships for manufacturing businesses, many operating in the automotive and aerospace supply chain, and other programmes including health and social care, hairdressing, barbering, ICT and business administration.
In the first report since the training company changed ownership in 2015 and began being funded by the newly-formed Education and Skills Funding Agency, it was criticised regarding the effectiveness of its leadership and management.
The report says: “Directors of the parent company, Progility PLC, have been slow to improve the quality of provision and respond to the decline in learners’ achievements.”
It continues: “Managers at all levels of the organisation do not use data effectively to identify and evaluate trends in performance, including attainment gaps between groups of learners and the progress of current learners.
“Reports at senior management meetings focus too heavily on financial, staffing and resource issues and pay insufficient attention to the impact of teaching on the progress of learners.”
However, it did praise managing director Richard Grice’s strategic plan for developing the company.
And although it was criticised for learners’ progress and achievement, this included the south of England branch of the company, which was the worst performing side and is now closing down as a result.
The report states: “Since Woodspeen Training started to close down its provision in the south of England, the proportion of apprentices who achieve has declined and is now too low.
“Inappropriate recruitment that aims to meet business targets rather than apprentices’ needs and the delayed delivery of functional skills have resulted in many apprentices leaving their programmes after achieving only the vocational elements of their qualification.”
But it also states: “Achievement rates on apprenticeship programmes delivered in Yorkshire are high.”
The company, which is based in Huddersfield town centre, was also graded as ‘requires improvement’ in 2013.
Mr Grice said: “We were rated as ‘requires improvement’ because there was no differentiation between the two sides of the business.
“The success rate of our northern operation in terms of apprenticeships is above the national average at 74%, whereas the success rate of the southern operation was 53% and that brought down the average.
“Ofsted recognised what we do in terms of safeguarding and growing the northern business.”