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Gas distribution company Cadent has received a glowing Ofsted report for the quality of its apprenticeships 

Ofsted found that senior leaders and managers at Cadent – Britain’s biggest gas distribution network – had developed ‘a high-quality and well-planned apprenticeship programme’ with ‘exceptional’ training facilities.

“Apprentices are highly motivated, enthusiastic and enjoy their training. They develop highly technical skills, knowledge and behaviours to meet the requirements of the gas networks qualifications. They become highly effective in their jobs,” inspectors concluded.

The comments were made following a monitoring visit by Ofsted – an assessment of businesses when they first apply to be a new education provider. This was Cadent’s first visit from Ofsted since it was sold by National Grid and became an independent business two years ago.

Chris Mead, HR Director said:

“We are absolutely delighted that our apprenticeships have been recognised by Ofsted. Apprentices are the lifeblood of our organisation. A skilled workforce is vital if we are to keep gas flowing and provide the best possible service to our customers so we have always taken pride in the high calibre of our apprenticeships.”

Claire Noble, Cadent New Talent Manager, said:

“We put a lot of work into ensuring we run a high-quality programme with all the right, supportive policies and processes in place. Our fantastic trainers and broader training team and operational colleagues do an incredible job in supporting our apprentices, and all our learners, through their schemes.”

Cadent was deemed to have made ‘significant progress*’ – the highest rating - both in ensuring that all the requirements had been met for successful apprenticeship provision and that apprentices benefited from high quality training. According to the latest statistics, of 136 providers inspected, only 12 achieved a ‘significant progress’ outcome.

Training activities were praised as being of a ‘very high standard’, while apprentices were found to benefit from ‘high quality training’. They produced work of a ‘very high standard’ and most made ‘rapid progress’.

Ofsted described trainers as ‘well qualified and experts in their field’. Inspectors noted that leaders at Cadent placed a high priority on ‘off-the-job’ training which was of a ‘very high standard’ and that apprentices safely honed their skills in simulated work environments before carrying out live jobs.

Those on Cadent’s emergency response apprenticeship were described as developing ‘positive attitudes to cost efficiency and customer care.’

Cadent was deemed to have made ‘reasonable progress’ in ensuring effective safeguarding arrangements were in place. Leaders and managers were found to promote a culture of safety to apprentices and as a result, ‘apprentices know how to keep themselves, colleagues and members of the public safe.’

At the time of the monitoring visit, there were 76 apprentices, of which 72 were aged 19 and over. Most apprentices were on the gas networks craftsperson level 3 apprenticeship. Of these, 10 were following strands in electrical instrumentation, 17 in pressure control and storage, and 30 in emergency response. Nineteen are on gas team leader apprenticeships at level 2. Cadent subcontracts the teaching of BTEC units to Solihull College.

*Significant progress is defined as ‘progress has been rapid and is already having considerable benefit impact on learners.’

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