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Walsall NHS apprenticeship scheme rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted

By Jordan Reynolds | Walsall | Ofsted reports | Published:

An apprenticeship scheme run by Walsall Healthcare has been rated 'inadequate' by a Government watchdog.

Some of the apprentices are based at Walsall Manor Hospital

Ofsted inspectors visited Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust last month and has now revealed the scheme, which 128 apprentices are a part of, must improve.

It was rated 'inadequate' in all areas and inspectors listed ways the trust must improve.

The report says that managers are not held to account over the scheme, they have also not tackled areas for improvement identified in the last inspection, achievement rates for the majority of apprentices have declined, and apprentices' attendance in their off-the-job training is too low.

It adds: "The vast majority of current apprentices do not make expected progress on their programme. Achievement rates for healthcare apprentices have declined significantly.

"The achievement rates for business administration apprentices have been maintained. Too many apprentices do not achieve their programme in the required time.

"Apprentices do not understand the risks of radicalisation and extremism. They are unable to show how they would keep themselves safe, including when using the internet.

"Apprentices’ attendance is too low. Apprentices do not attend their off-the-job training and functional skills sessions often enough.

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"Managers do not effectively deal with safeguarding concerns raised by apprentices and staff, in particular for those apprentices under the age of 18."

But inspectors did note that the majority of apprentices demonstrate good practical skills in their daily job roles, and the majority of healthcare and business administration apprentices move into the next level of programme, or into substantive job roles at the hospital on completion of their programme.

The trust has said action to drive up the quality of the scheme is already being taken.

Catherine Griffiths, director of people and culture at the trust, said: “We want to acknowledge the invaluable contribution that apprentices make within our organisation – they have such a positive impact on staff, patients and visitors and it’s so important that they realise this.

“This Ofsted report makes uncomfortable reading for all of us and leaves us in no doubt that our apprentices have not been given the support and safeguarding they deserve. Improvements have already started to be put in place including the trust sourcing an external provider for off-the-job training.

“The trust is absolutely committed to restoring the scheme’s reputation and is ambitious for its future and we hope that current and potential apprentices will have confidence in us to get things right.”

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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