Acacia Training and Development Ltd, Plymouth

Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Good: Grade 2

Capacity to improve Good: Grade 2

Achievement and standards Satisfactory: Grade 3

Quality of provision Contributory grade: Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Good: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Health and social care Satisfactory: Grade 3

Hairdressing and beauty therapy Good: Grade 2

Business, administration and law Good: Grade 2


Acacia Training and Development (ATD) holds contracts with Devon and Cornwall Learning Skills Council (LSC) to provide Train to Gain and work-based learning to young people and or adults. Most of the provider's learners are on health and social programmes. It was previously inspected as Commercial Education Training Services (CETS) in September 2004.

Ofsted deemed ATD as successful in improving success rates, and rated the overall effectiveness of its provision as good. Train to Gain success rates have been maintained and improved over three years and success rates are high. Apprenticeship success rates were also judged as satisfactory and improving overall. However, Ofsted said timely success rates for health and social care and early years and playwork were low and need improving.

The report highlighted the provider has demonstrated that it has a good capacity to improve, and notes it has effectively taken steps to make improvements since the previous inspection. Inspection grades have improved for hairdressing and leadership and management, and business administration, but remain the same for health and social care. ATD's effective strategic planning and management of change was highlighted as a key strength.

Leadership and management was seen as good overall. The report observed: “Senior managers are committed and supported well by the company's board who take keen interest in the company's training provision. A large number of implemented changes were also successful despite the complex acquisition and amalgamation of companies such as CETS and Horizon. Communications at all levels were also highlighted as being of a good standard.


CMT Absolute: Rooksbridge learndirect centre, Axbridge


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Satisfactory: Grade 3

Capacity to improve Satisfactory: Grade 3

Achievement and standards Satisfactory: Grade 3

Quality of provision Satisfactory: Grade 3

Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Health and social care Satisfactory: Grade 3

Literacy and numeracy Good: Grade 2


The Rooksbridge centre of CMT Absolute (CMT) was launched as a learndirect centre in 2004. CMT provides food handling, lift truck and skills for life literacy and numeracy courses and a site safety awareness qualification for construction workers. The centre is funded by Ufi to provide learndirect and national vocational qualification training in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset and north Somerset. Additionally, CMT holds centres in Plymouth, Bristol, Liskeard and St Austel.

CMT gained satisfactory grades across the board, including achievement and standards, quality of provision, leadership and management, its approach to equality of opportunity and overall effectiveness. The report also found the organisation's capacity to improve as satisfactory, and noted it had made some improvements following the inspection of another part of its provision.

This year, success and withdrawal rates on skills for life programmes made a marked improvement. Ofsted commended CMT as being “responsive to meeting changing local labour market requirements” it also highlighted the organisation's ability to introduce “timely improvements to provision.” CMT has planned appropriate improvements for where audits have identified issues of non-compliance or poor performance. It is mentioned that self-assessment is not well used for improvement, and it is carried out to comply with Ufi requirements, but not linked to CMT's other quality improvement activities.

Between 2006 and 2007, CMT were between four and seven percentage points below national rates. In 2007/09 they have improved at least three. Withdrawal rates are also now better than national rates after improving. It is too early in the programme to judge overall success, but out of the 32 learners who have started their programme this year, four have already achieved the whole qualification. Inspectors noted: “Learners are very motivated and enjoy their training programmes, a strength identified in the self-assessment report.”


Inner London Training Ltd, London


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Satisfactory: Grade 3

Capacity to improve Satisfactory: Grade 3

Achievement and standards Inadequate: Grade 4

Quality of provision Satisfactory: Grade 3

Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 4

Sector subject area:

Engineering, manufacturing and technology Inadequate: Grade 4


Registered charity Inner London Training Limited (ILT) has traditionally provided work-based training for engineering apprentices. Of the 148 current learners, 71 one are on Train to Gain programmes. 45 are apprentices, 20 are advanced apprentices and 12 learners are on programme led pathways. A further 17 have signed up on a recently launched Entry to Employment (e2) programme.

The effectiveness of the provision is satisfactory, but inspectors said its achievement standards are inadequate overall. Achievements in the Train to Gain programme are good, but Ofsted declared: “success rates for apprenticeship programmes are unsatisfactory, as is the engineering provision. Overall success rates for for engineering learners have remained below the national average since the previous inspection. The report stated, however, that learners acquire and apply good technical skills and additional qualifications with their employers.

ILT has demonstrated its ability to improve as satisfactory, and clear direction has been set for the development of the organisation and the decisions made have focussed on the needs of learners. Time constraints and staffing issues, however, mean that the actions have not yet fully impacted on low success rates for engineering apprenticeships. ILT is also introducing new pathways into learning to respond to the government's agenda for involving more hard-to-reach learners.

The standard of learners' work is at least satisfactory and often good, but Ofsted rated ILT's achievement and standards as inadequate overall. A lot of learners work for prestigious employers and produce work that meets their exacting quality assurance arrangement. Some work on bespoke projects that show individual creativity and good knowledge and skills. Key skills provision, which was an issue raised in the previous inspection, is only recently being addressed.


Lifetime Health and Fitness Ltd, Bristol


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Good: Grade 2

Capacity to improve Satisfactory: Grade 3

Achievement and standards Satisfactory: Grade 3

Quality of provision Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Good: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Leisure, travel and tourism Good: Grade 2

Business, administration and law Satisfactory: Grade 3


Established in 1995 as a consultancy business, Lifetime Health and Fitness Ltd (Lifetime) has been offering work-based learning to large national employers since 1996. Lifetime is a private training company, and provides Train to Gain programmes in the leisure, travel and tourism, business administration and retail sector areas. With its headquarters based in Bristol, the organisation operates across the UK and has a total of six training centres.

Overall, effectiveness and quality of the provision, leadership and management, and its subject sector areas were all deemed good by inspectors. Achievement and standards, and equality of opportunity were rated as satisfactory. Lifetime has also showed its capacity to make further improvements. The provision has grown in the last four years, and although success rates declined in 2005, they have improved considerably across all programmes since 2006.

Ofsted commended Lifetime's quality of provision. The report said: “Assessors provide good off-the-job training to learners through effective individual coaching and mentoring.” However, although assessment practice was judged as good overall, the quality of some written feedback is poor in customer service and sales. The report highlighted the use of additional supplementary learning resources is also insufficient.

Ofsted reported Lifetime has developed a very good training strategy to meet the needs of employers. The organisation undertakes an intense training needs analysis with each employer identifying the necessary training to further develop their workforce. The report says: “Lifetime has built very effective relationships with most of the large national employers in the leisure industry and hospitality industry to understand their business aims and values and build them onto the training programmes.”

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