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HSBC Bank Plc, Sheffield 


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Good: Grade 2

Capacity to improve Good: Grade 2

Achievement and standards Good: Grade 2

Quality of provision Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Good: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject area:

Customer care and services Good: Grade 2


HSBC is one of the biggest banking and financial establishments in the world, and its largest subsidiary in the UK is HSBC Bank plc. Its LSC contract provides funding for customer service delivered in the customer telephone services division. This funding is gained through the National Employer Service, and is used to support two learning programmes within the bank's contact centres. Currently, the training programmes it offers are HSBC's Right Direction programme for school leavers and apprenticeships for established staff.

The bank gained 'good' grades across the board, with only its equality of opportunity contributory grade slipping to 'satisfactory'. Ofsted noted the organisation's quality improvement plan “clearly identifies the company's strengths and areas for improvement, and actions are well monitored.” The report highlighted the subcontractor's efforts to dedicate more time to learners at the start of their journey to improve interest and retention.

Ofsted commended HSBC's success rates for apprenticeships at being 80 per cent overall in 2007/08, with current learners said to be progressing well. Management of HSBC's subcontractor was also found to be good, and the relationship between the bank and Intec was described as excellent. The report pointed to successfully implemented monthly meetings between the two organisations, which helped HSBC gain a 'good' grade for its leadership and management.

Although HSBC collects data on learners' ethnicity, gender and disability, it does not then use this data to compare the performance of different groups to monitor equal opportunity. HSBC strategy for programme development was also found not to be sufficiently clear. It has provided a three-year development plan, but much of this was judged as insufficiently detailed without measurable goals.


Safe in Tees Valley, Ltd, Stockton-on-Tees


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Good: Grade 2

Capacity to improve Satisfactory: Grade 3

Achievement and standards Good: Grade 2

Quality of provision Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Good: Grade 2

Sector subject area:

Preparation for life and work: Good: Grade 2


Set up in 1996 to provide entry to employment programmes as a crime prevention and community safety partnership, Safe in Tees Valley (SITV) aims to promote collaborative approaches to crime. SITV currently has a total of 32 learners in enrolment, and training is provided at the Langridge centre in Middlesbrough. It has had an E2E contract with Tees Valley LSC since 2004, and this represents the entirety of its business.

The majority of SITV's inspection report contained 'good' grades, with just a few that were 'satisfactory'. Although no previous inspections had taken place at the provider, its capacity to improve 'satisfactory' grade came from data on progressions for the three previous years. It revealed a steadily improving trend, which also showed an improvement in the achievement of qualifications. However, the report found some significant quality improvement processes were incomplete. Its observation process was said to be insufficiently linked to the appraisal system, and individual staff target-setting.

Ofsted noted that its learners were able to quickly develop good personal skills, and SITV's achievement and standards were judged to be 'good'. A lot of them join with very low levels of self-confidence, self-esteem and motivation. Ofsted said: “SITV's programme of personal and social development allows learners to grow in confidence and helps them increase their levels of motivation.”

Leadership and management were given a 'satisfactory' grade, with its self-assessment report said to inaccurately identify some strengths and areas for improvement, although it matched Ofsted's grading. SITV was given a 'good' grade for its efforts at providing equality opportunity, and was found to have “a clear focus on the needs of individual learners.” The report noted the provider's effective actions to reach out to learners from deprived communities, and making use of their extended team of youth workers to target specific estates and streets.


ETEC, Sunderland


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Good: Grade 2

Capacity to improve Good: Grade 2

Achievement and standards Good: Grade 2

Quality of provision Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Good: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Good: Grade 2

Sector subject area:

Construction, planning and the built environment Good: Grade 2

Preparation for life and work Satisfactory: Grade 3


ETEC (Sunderland) Ltd was launched in 1998 to work with difficult to reach and often disengaged people, with training programmes for apprentices, E2E learners, adult and community learning and learndirect. It operates out of three different sites in the East End and Hendon area of Sunderland. Sunderland has a working population of 176,300, with the East End and Hendon having an unemployment rate of 14 per cent.

The provider gained a large majority of 'good' grades across Ofsted's sub-sections, and in the past three years its success rates across all areas have seen improvement. Ofsted revealed that apprenticeship success rates showed a significantly marked improvement, as well as the success rates of learners with previously low attainment. The report, however, also found some weak features of business planning. It also pointed out that there were an insufficient number of work-placements for E2E learners.

The inspection deemed ETEC's leadership and management to be good, and this was identified in the self-assessment report. Ofsted said: “ETEC has strong strategic leadership and management.” Its vision for supporting learners with low levels for attainment at school was deemed as highly successful to support them so that their aims were raised for success.

The report revealed that ETEC's E2E success rates improved from 30 per cent in 2005/06 to 47 per cent so far in 2007/08. Its progression rates have also improved, with more than 60 per cent of all construction apprentices progressing successfully from the E2E programme. However, Ofsted also found that learners' achievement of personal objectives was low at just 57 per cent.


Seleta Training & Personnel Services Ltd, London 


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 Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Engineering and manufacturing technologies Good: Grade 2

Information and manufacturing technologies Good: Grade 2

Business administration and law Satisfactory: Grade 3


Seleta Training and Personnel Services Ltd was established 40 years ago as the South East London Training Group. It holds a contract with London South LSC to provide programme-led apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships and Train to Gain programmes. The company is run by a managing director and a small management team, with its head office located at Blackheath. Seleta currently provides training for 118 learners in engineering, including 102 specialised plant and machinery operations.

Ofsted gave the Seleta a majority of 'satisfactory' grades, with leadership and management judged as 'satisfactory', along with the arrangements for equality of opportunity. Its provision was given a 'good' rating in engineering and manufacturing technologies and in ICT, and 'satisfactory' in business, administration and law.

Although the company was found to have sound strategic leadership, managers did not make sufficient use of accurate and plentiful data to manage and monitor performance. Measures taken to improve provision since its last inspection were also deemed as 'satisfactory', and managers were commended for addressing most weaknesses previously identified by Ofsted. The introduction of recent Train to Gain programmes at Levels 2 and 3 was said to be successfully managed.

Although success rates of engineering apprentices have been poor, Ofsted commented: “Recent data indicates that Seleta staff have stabilised the programme and that overall and timely success rates have improved significantly in 2007/08.” Assessors were also said to give work-based learners good personal training and support. The report also noted that on many occasions, assessors and tutors have provided support for learners outside official working hours.

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