Cambridge Professional Academy – Ofsted Monitoring Visit Findings

As a longstanding and well-respected professional training provider, Cambridge Professional Academy have a history of successful results and positive external audits from awarding bodies, and they can now add a successful Ofsted inspection to their record.

After adding apprenticeship programmes to their professional learning portfolio in 2017 and fully launching in-company apprenticeship programmes in late 2018, followed by the first public cohorts in Manchester & London in early 2019, Cambridge Professional Academy received their first monitoring visit in early December 2019 and were been deemed to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in all areas.

The report is broken down into 3 key areas:

  • How much progress have leaders made in ensuring that the provider is meeting all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision?
  • What progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring that apprentices benefit from high-quality training that leads to positive outcomes for apprentices?
  • How much progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place?

All of these areas have been a primary focus of Cambridge Professional Academy since obtaining apprenticeship provider status. We are pleased to share with you some of the key findings of the report:

  • Leaders have a clear rationale for the delivery of the apprenticeship programmes. They use feedback from employers to design a well-planned curriculum.
  • Leaders provide expert specialist staff and resources and deliver high-quality training.
  • Apprentices benefit from a tailored programme with mentors who have suitable expert industry skills and knowledge relevant to their employers’ business.
  • They {apprentices} confidently describe the different elements of their end-point assessment and are on target to complete their programme in the time planned.
  • Apprentices receive high-quality off-the-job training.
  • Experienced tutors use real world examples very successfully to link new learning to the workplace.
  • Apprentices develop a broad range of useful and relevant skills closely matched to the individual businesses in which they work.
  • Apprentices benefit from good support while in learning. They value this highly and this motivates them to do well.
  • Apprentices are more confident and resilient as a result of the programme.
  • Leaders have developed a good culture of safeguarding within the organisation.

This is obviously just a few quotes from the full report but it is evident that Cambridge Professional Academy have focused heavily on the development of their programmes, quality of the training and, most importantly the development of apprentices, not only teaching to the Standard but delivering practical insights with the real-life, relevant experience from industry experts.

Cambridge Professional Academy Founder and Managing Director shares his thoughts on the progress of the apprenticeship programmes:

“Sometimes it is hard to see how far we have progressed when immersed in the implementation of a new strategy. Ofsted’s inspection and the positive assessment is a welcome insight into just how far we have come and that all the hard work is paying off. It was pleasing to see all the positive feedback and in particular that Ofsted feel our Apprentices receive high-quality training.  A sincere thank you to all of the team who have worked tirelessly over the past year to build a great apprenticeship delivery proposition.”

Neil Donoghue, Cambridge Professional Academy’s Head of Apprenticeships, who is responsible for the quality of the programme, and continued improvement and development of the apprenticeship had this to say on the report’s findings:

“The Ofsted monitoring visit not only highlighted some excellent plus points but also provided invaluable constructive criticism which Professional Academy and I will be implementing to the benefit of the business and all of our apprenticeship partners. I am sure these improvements, coupled with the high praise for our trainers and content, will lead to us being able to provide an even better programme going into 2020 and beyond.”

In terms of the progress Cambridge Professional Academy have made since becoming an apprenticeship provider in 2017, Neil had this to say:

“We are all pleased how the team have successfully adapted our methods which make us a successful and well-respected commercial training company to also become a successful Apprenticeship provider in such a short timeframe”

The final word falls to Cambridge Professional Academy’s Head of Operations, Sarah Jones, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of all of training programmes:

“What makes our apprenticeship programmes different, and so successful is the people delivering and supporting each apprenticeship. For Ofsted to highlight the high-quality of the off-the-job training we offer and the excellence of both our trainers and mentors is a testament to the importance of Professional Academy’s training philosophy – we believe in helping people gain access to the expertise they need to succeed, and this report is a glowing endorsement for that philosophy and it’s continued success.”

Cambridge Professional Academy are continuing to grow their apprenticeship offering in 2020 with public cohorts enrolling 3 times a year in Manchester & London for Marketing Assistant, Marketing Executive, and Marketing Manager as well as the development of multiple in-house programmes for corporate clients.

There are also plans to expand the current in-company programmes in Sales, and Management and Leadership to public cohorts in the coming months and opening the apprenticeship Standards to non-levy payers now the programmes have become available to them.

Originally published on Professional Academy's Website on 22/01/2020

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