The Engineering College has retained its impressive ‘Grade 2’ OFSTED status making it one of the best
performing technical training providers in the region
Three years on since the previous OFSTED report in 2014, the college underwent a two-day inspection
by Government officials between June 14 and 15.
Engineering College chief executive Terry Weston said the report is now live following its most rigorous
inspection to date across all areas. The assessment considered progression and achievements of students,
quality of teaching, learning and assessments, safeguarding and promotion of equality and diversity.
The college was praised in particular for ‘good progress’ in maintaining high achievement rates with more
than three quarters of apprentices completing their programme within the planned timescale – significantly
higher than national rates for similar providers.
It received further positive feedback for a recent rebrand and ‘celebration’ of diversity and equality with a
higher proportion of applicants from under-represented groups, such as females, now applying to the college.
Inspectors reported that teachers use a ‘range of effective assessment strategies’ in lessons to ensure
apprentices make the right progress. English and maths skills are being integrated to a ‘good standard’
which is valued by employers. Meanwhile, teachers challenge apprentices ‘very affectively’ to develop
higher-level skills that will make them more employable in the engineering industry.
“This has been one of the most challenging OFSTED inspections that the college has ever experienced since
I have been here,” said Mr Weston. “They do however present an opportunity for our team to showcase what
we do, how we do it and hear genuine feedback on our areas for improvement. At the Engineering College,
we are always striving to reach higher standards and to lead the charge in the delivery of technical
apprenticeships across industry. In this respect, we embrace the challenge brought by these sort of inspections
and audits which can be a hugely positive experience for the team.
“Retaining the Grade 2 status brings pride and purpose to the entire operation. We can move forward
with confidence about what we do well with a firm strategy
on areas to improve. Our students and clients can also have
confidence that we will ensure their needs are met and will remain diligent in our efforts to unearth and nurture high-quality engineers
for the future. Importantly, we will continue to develop and invest
in our staff who are the bedrock of this organisation, while
supporting a broader national agenda for skilled engineers to
address the skills gap recognised in industry.”
The Birkenhead college now employs 38 staff and is witnessing strong growth with apprentice numbers
recently rising to 330. These are drawn from around 90 clients ranging from large private businesses to
SMEs operating across multiple sectors including construction, nuclear, petrochemical, renewables, oil and gas,
the NHS and maritime.
Mr Weston the report highlighted six of the seven areas identified in the previous inspection as ‘reasons why
the college was not yet outstanding’ had been rectified.
“We will continue to strive towards achieving an ‘Outstanding’ grade,” he said. “Since our last inspection we have focused efforts on the promotion of equality and diversity within the college, and to a wider engineering industry.
“More than one third of our students are from disadvantaged backgrounds and have developed the skills and knowledge for a long-term career in engineering. The report indicates that we have strengthened our work in diversity considerably by implementing a learner council, run by students. This tackles some of the biggest
topics for the UK at present, including British citizenship. It was also recorded that apprentices take part in
various charitable activities enthusiastically to support those in the community who are less fortunate.
“While the senior management and training staff at the college are greatly passionate about training engineers
for the future, we are also equally determined to develop key personal qualities in our young recruits. We are
looking to develop and instil qualities of compassion, diligence, responsibility and accountability. This is central
to our ethos.”
For the full inspection report, please visit https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/54873