From education to employment

Cloud Hosting Firm’s Approach to Digital Skills Praised by Ofsted

Cloud hosting firm UKFast has been praised by Ofsted for the quality of training, leadership and safeguarding within its apprenticeship scheme, receiving the highest possible judgement in two out of three themes during a recent monitoring visit.

The business is accountable to Ofsted after being approved to join the government’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) as a ‘Main Provider’ in 2018. With a unique approach to training and development, UKFast employs a team of four full-time teachers to deliver apprenticeships and internal training.

The ranking puts UKFast in the top 10% of hundreds of providers in the UK that have had the same Ofsted visit since 2017.

In its report, Ofsted praises UKFast for its “culture of high expectations” and “highly successful strategy” for apprenticeship provision, which “aligns fully with the local and regional priorities for high-level digital skills.”

It says that directors “established strong links with stakeholders” and have “planned skilfully a challenging curriculum.” As a result, UKFast’s apprentices make “very good progress,” with most achieving distinction grades and significantly developing their English, maths and digital knowledge and skills.

Ofsted also notes that the contributions of apprentices to the workplace are “valued greatly” by UKFast, with apprentices given real responsibility throughout their training.

UKFast Director of Training and Education Aaron Saxton said: “The educational journey we’ve been on to combat the digital skills shortage began back in 2013 when we started working with local schools to develop the IT curriculum and make it more aligned to the needs of industry.

“Just six years later we’re now an accredited educational institution, with the ability to deliver apprenticeship training to any other employer in the country.

“Supporting the next generation is part of our culture, and that ambition runs right the way through UKFast, from the very top.”

The UKFast education team deliver masterclasses, workshops and code clubs for local schools alongside apprenticeships in IT, technical sales, events, customer service, maintenance, networking and software development.

Working with more than 60 schools and colleges, reaching 60,000 young people in Greater Manchester, UKFast’s team run more than 400 educational events a year.

UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones MBE added: “Investing heavily in training and education makes perfect sense for any technical business. Our apprentices are incredibly important to us, they bring an amazing energy and have a huge impact.

“The best way to learn is to do, and we see that in the development of apprentices when they are given the right tools and a level of responsibility. They are so motivated and hungry to learn, it really is amazing to see.”

Current and former apprentices make up 20% of UKFast’s workforce.

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