Wolverhampton care work training company ‘requires improvement’

A private training company in Wolverhampton that runs apprenticeships for people working in the care sector has been rated as ‘requiring improvement’ by Ofsted.

Fallings Park Industrial Estate in Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View
Fallings Park Industrial Estate in Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View

PLT Training Ltd, based at Fallings Park Industrial Estate in Park Lane, has been contracted to undertake the standards-based training since 2019.

When inspectors made their first visit to the provider last month, the firm had 137 apprentices on its books – 91 studying adult care at levels 2, 3 and 5, a further 39 studying team leader standard at level 3 and seven studying customer service at level 3 and department manager standard at level 5.

All apprentices work in domiciliary care, providing support in service users’ homes across the Midlands.

The five-strong inspection team gathered a broad range of information through visiting learning sessions, examining learners’ work, seeking the views of learners, staff and other stakeholders, and examining documentation and records.

Published this week, the report said: “Although apprentices develop some useful knowledge that supports them in their day-to-day job roles, the curriculum is too narrowly focused on the completion of a qualification as part of the apprenticeship.

“Too many apprentices complete work in their own time, on evenings and weekends, to catch up with their work.

“Apprentices do not receive impartial and useful careers advice and guidance, so they do not understand fully the wide range of careers and roles within the care sector. Their understanding of this is limited to the immediate environment in which they are employed.

“Senior leaders have a clear rationale for the curriculum they provide. They offer apprenticeship standards in care to support apprentices new to the care sector, and to support apprentices to move into management.

“Where apprentices already have experience working within the care sector, skills coaches do not support these apprentices to make more rapid progress."

The report added: "Senior leaders work well with employers at the beginning of the apprenticeship.

“However, senior leaders and skills coaches do not involve employers well enough in ongoing teaching. Employers are not routinely involved in apprentices’ reviews and do not know well enough the progress that they are making.

“Senior leaders and skills coaches do not place sufficient emphasis on the development of English and maths skills.

“Skills coaches do not provide precise and developmental feedback to apprentices on their work, instead focusing on whether the work has met assessment criteria.

“Apprentices now benefit from shorter, more frequent teaching sessions. Where this is the case, apprentices benefit from recapping learning more regularly. As a result, they learn and know more.”

The report also said: “Senior leaders have ensured skills coaches benefit from some useful generalised professional development and training. For example, skills coaches now use a range of interactive technologies more effectively within their teaching to assess apprentices’ progress.

“Senior leaders set out the actions they want to take to improve the quality of provision. However, too many actions are not precise enough. It is not always clear exactly what senior leaders need to do.

“The arrangements for safeguarding are effective and senior leaders have in place a clear recruitment process so that they recruit only those who are safe to work with apprentices,” it added.

In order to improve, Ofsted says the provider needs to ensure the following:

  • Skills coaches must support apprentices to develop the full range of knowledge, skills and behaviours. They should provide more frequent opportunities for apprentices to revisit and recap their learning.

  • Senior leaders must involve employers more closely in the ongoing teaching of the apprenticeship. Employers must be involved in the reviews that skills coaches undertake with apprentices.

  • Senior leaders and skills coaches must revisit how well on- and off-the-job training are planned. They need to make sure that they are closely linked, in order that apprentices develop long-term knowledge, skills and behaviours.

  • Leaders need to prioritise the development of apprentices’ English and mathematical skills, in order that apprentices start to develop these skills from the beginning of their programme.

  • Senior leaders need to take the steps to ensure that they benefit from external challenge and scrutiny in the form of governance.

  • Senior leaders and skills coaches must urgently revisit how they support apprentices to understand the risks associated with radicalisation and extremism in their everyday lives.

Several attempts were made to contact the company but it did not respond.

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