Steve Gray responds to low-quality Apprenticeship claims

As the largest Group Training Association in England, we were pleased when Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector from Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, commissioned a survey into the delivery of Apprenticeships.

The report covered many aspects, including the promotion, delivery and impact of Apprenticeships but mainly identified the “guilty parties” on whom Sir Michael placed the blame for the reduction of quality in Apprenticeships nationally.

Published last week, the report, named ‘Apprenticeships: Developing Skills for Future Prosperity’ was unfortunately met with a resoundingly negative media response, making headlines which focussed almost exclusively on apprentices that “do not receive sufficiently high-quality training”.

The coverage of the report concentrated on mainly poor provision rather than the many good training companies offering quality Apprenticeships. What is being missed is the fact that the report actually highlights that there are providers delivering exceptional practice. There is a model out there that works, with Group Training Associations lauded in the report as an example of outstanding practice.

The report states;

“Group Training Associations (GTAs) provide a very successful model for collaboration between employers and providers. They were set up 40 years ago as training providers funded partly by subscription and controlled by a board made up of the local employers they serve. This has become a model of industry/provider partnership that has responded very effectively to the training demands of industry.”

The reason that GTAs work so well is that they are governed by employers, cultivating a relationship and coordinating Apprenticeships which are highly responsive to the needs of local business. Of the 23 GTAs inspected by Ofsted between January 2010 and April 2015, 91% have been judged good or outstanding for overall effectiveness in comparison to 79% of all other independent learning providers inspected over that period, so we know it works.

The report further demonstrates what we already knew; that most high-quality Apprenticeships are found in industries that have long-established traditions of using them such as automotive, construction and engineering. But what of new industries and employers less experienced in taking on apprentices? The first priority is to not be put off by this report; Apprenticeships are enormously valuable when the provision meets local needs and the quality of delivery is good to outstanding.

Ensuring this is about having strong relationships between the parties involved in the Apprenticeship. Primarily the employer, apprentice, their parents and the training provider. Group Training Associations do this very effectively and the results are proof of this.

The commitment to delivering 3 million Apprenticeships over the next 5 years is commendable and shouldn’t be overshadowed by sensational headlines. The good practice identified in the survey now needs to form the basis of quality, high level Apprenticeships being offered by all in the future.

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It’s not too late to start an Apprenticeship or full-time course with Training 2000.

If you’re unsure what it is you want to do or you want to find out what we have to offer, then come along and see us anytime during the week from 8am to 4.45pm or at one of our weekly open nights, every Tuesday throughout November and December from 4.30-6.30pm at our Blackburn site.

We’ll put the kettle on, show you around our incredible training facility and more importantly guide you through the many programmes we have to offer.

So come along and bring your CV with you to kick-start your application and get you on board. It’s as simple as that!

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Training 2000 Apprentice Crowned Winner at GTA England Awards

The national body of Group Training Associations recently held its Annual members Conference aimed at meeting the Governments targets on training and skills, as well as celebrating the successes of Apprentices across the country.

The Conference took place at the prestigious headquarters of the IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers) in Westminster, London. Dinner took place in the Elizabethan style Library, which has views over St. James Park.

The event was opened by GTA England Vice Chairman Steve Gray, who is also CEO of Training 2000. Speakers were drawn from educational institutions such as EAL, Ofsted, BIS and the Engineering Skills Service.

The evening culminated in an awards ceremony which shined a spotlight on exceptional apprentices drawn from every region.

Eight learners were invited to attend the finals; four in the Engineering/Construction Category and four in the Business Services category.

Two of our learners made it through to the finals and Henry Clarke, who works at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council was named as the overall winner of the Business Services Award.

Liam Woinson of Paradigm Precision was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Engineering/Construction Category. He was most definitely a worthy contender but unfortunately didn’t manage to scoop a win, though he has won many awards in the past!

The Minister of State for Skills, Nick Boles, was also in attendance to announce the winner and present each apprentice with a Certificate of Commendation.

Mr Boles said of the awards;

“The GTA England awards ceremony highlights the talent, energy and skill apprentices bring to businesses both large and small across the country.”

It’s not too late to change your mind

Whether you are not enjoying your current course at college or sixth form, you’ve realised the classroom isn’t for you, or you have not yet enrolled anywhere, we still have places on our full-time courses and Apprenticeships.


We can set you on a new path with a wide range of careers available. Fancy being a dental nurse? An accountant? An engineer?


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