From education to employment

Ofsted round-up – This week: Mixed fortunes for TLZ and WMCL

Skills Team 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 Satisfactory: Grade 3

Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Information and communication technology Satisfactory: Grade 3

Business, administration and law Satisfactory: Grade 3


Formed in February 2006, Skills Team Limited (STL) is a privately owned training company, specialising in the delivery of Train to Gain funded programmes. Originally, in 2007, STL held a direct contract from the South East LSC in order to complete programmes for learners coming from a former lead partner which had ceased trading, but has held its own larger contract since June 2008. At the time of the inspection there were 483 learners on Train to Gain programmes, of whom 188 were under the provider’s own direct contract.

Ofsted found that the overall effectiveness of the provision is satisfactory and the grades that have been awarded in the inspection relate to directly contracted Train to Gain provision. Ofsted has found that the provider has demonstrated a satisfactory capacity to improve. Although STL has no inspection history, it has learned through its relationship with those colleges that subcontract to it and some aspects of the provision have improved as a result of staff suggestions.

The self-assessment report was considered to be too generous in its grades. The report was found to correctly identify a number of strengths and areas for improvement identified at inspection, but also identified some areas, as strengths, which are either normal practice or insufficient to be considered a key strength. Key strengths within the company are, good development of occupational skills, very effective use of Information Learning Technology (ILT) to support teaching, learning and assessment, good assessment, good links with employers and good staff development.

Achievements and standards are satisfactory overall. In the only complete year to date, 2007/08, the overall success rate was 76%. At the six month point in 2008/09 the overall success rate is 79%, however the timely success rate in 2007/08 was 57%. The timely success rate for 2008/09 appears low at 18%, however, STL has had a large increase in the number of learners. Of these, 191 are still in learning and most learners are making satisfactory progress.


Warwick Manufacturing Consultants Limited, Warwick


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Inadequate: Grade 4

Capacity to improve Inadequate: Grade4

Achievement and standards Inadequate: Grade 4

Quality of provision Satisfactory: Grade 3

Leadership and management Inadequate: Grade 4

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Inadequate: Grade 4

Sector subject area:

Business management Inadequate: Grade 4


Formed in 1999, Warwick Manufacturing Consultants Limited (WMCL) provides training, recruitment and consultancy services to small and medium-sized manufacturing organisations predominantly in the Midlands. WMCL became an approved centre for assessment of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) training in 2008. WMCL has a Train to Gain contract with the West Midlands LSC for the provision of NVQs in business improvement techniques at Level 2 and Level 3.

Ofsted found that the overall effectiveness of the provision is inadequate. WMCL’s capacity to improve is inadequate and no learners have achieved a qualification yet. The WMCL’s response to lack of achievement and slow progress was found to be slow. Although WMCL was found to have good expertise and experience in providing business improvement techniques training, Ofsted found that it lacks experience in managing NVQ assessment and has underestimated the impact of this on learners’ achievements and that its quality improvement strategy is incomplete.

The self-assessment process was found to be inadequate although the current report is the first the provider has produced. Although it accurately recognises some areas for improvement that inspectors identified, the grades it contains are higher than those awarded by inspectors. Ofsted identified no key strengths within WMCL.

Achievements and standards are inadequate, as is NVQ achievement. The self-assessment report recognises this area for improvement but underestimates its impact. Of the 27 who started the programme since the contract began in January 2008, all have received training, but none have completed any NVQ units or achieved a qualification.


The Learning Zone, Worksop


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 areas:

Literacy and numeracy (learndirect) Good: Grade 2

Employability training (E2E) Satisfactory: Grade 3


The Learning Zone (TLZ) is the trading name of Enterprise and Innovation Zone Limited. TLZ is a private educational provider working in Nottinghamshire with training centres in Worksop and Mansfield. TLZ has a learndirect contract mainly in delivering programmes in literacy, numeracy, information and communication technology (ICT) and business studies. TLZ has a contract with Nottinghamshire LSC contract to provide Entry to Employment (E2E) courses. It is also a partner in the Nottinghamshire Training Network consortium delivering Train to Gain courses. At the time of the inspection, 191 Learndirect and 15 E2E learners were on the programme.

Ofsted has found that the overall effectiveness of the provision is good and that TLZ has a good capacity to improve. Ofsted has found that TLZ has taken clear and effective actions to improve its performance. In 2008, ot revised its senior management arrangement and its quality monitoring of tutors and learners, leading to positive improvement in the provision overall. Managers have effectively raised the company profile locally, and TLZ is now leading on imaginative new initiatives for joint working arrangements and new contracts.

The self-assessment report was found to be satisfactory as TLZ based its self-assessment report on a learndirect template and added suitable, additional information to reflect the other areas of its provision. TLZ carries out its self-assessment report annually, and produces a suitable development plan to maintain its strengths and address any areas identified for improvement. Key strengths include, high success rates, good arrangements for learning, good learner support, good development of employability skills for E2E, good initiatives to improve the E2E programme, comprehensive quality checks leading to improvements and very effective partnership links.

Achievements and standards are good overall with the vast majority of learners on literacy and numeracy courses, which hold good success rates. Some courses with a small number of learners are achieving 100%. The achievements rates in 2008 for literacy and numeracy qualifications are good at 86%. Success rates on learndirect courses overall in the last three years are good, and have risen progressively each year, from 63% in 2006 to 80% in 2008.

Natalie Hailes

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