From education to employment


New investment in online quality assurance software is paving the way to a culture of ongoing improvement at training provider, @TDR_Training  

TDR Training, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is an independent training provider, delivering STEM apprenticeships and training to hundreds of people across the North East. The firm currently supports a number of regional organisations such as British Engines, Express Engineering, and Newcastle University with workforce training and development.

The company introduced Mesma’s subscription-based insightQ software application in 2019 to help improve its model of quality assuranceacross frontline operations. The technology is increasingly used by training providers, colleges, universities and government agencies throughout the UK to simplify often complex processes, and ensure management information is used to target resources in the areas that have the most impact on the quality of the learner experience.

Currently used by 20 people at TDR, including the senior leadership team and key delivery partners, insightQ is helping to centralise the management of important actions alongside more effective quality monitoring and feedback on progress against improvement plans. The investment is also driving focus onto critical organisational areas, which is contributing to TDR’s drive to continuously improve all round business performance, according to TDR’s business support services director, Andy Proud. 

The application covers the full quality assurancecycle for training providers, with Andy Proud seeing the straightforward Evaluate, Improve, Observe and Enquire modules as ‘very valuable tools’. For example, he says insightQis contributing ‘enormously’ to bringing forward a new standardised approach to self-assessment, facilitating a move towards a more open working environment, in which there’s more transparency and a cycle of staff support and continuous improvement. 

The capacity to capture learner and employer voices through the application of the software is also allowing staff to identify trends, and focus attention where it is most needed to develop learning programmes.

He recalls a recent Ofsted inspection, adding:“We were able to demonstrate to Ofsted that our own internal self-assessment approach had utilised Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) criteria embedded within insightQ, this was subsequently reinforced by the inspection team declaring that we remained a ‘Good’ provider.

insightQ is also being adopted by TDR’s quality manager, who uses the Enquire module to develop an annual cycle of deep dive investigations, enabling any problems to be rapidly identified and solutions implemented. This has already led to improvements in the quality of learner programme delivery.

Andy adds that the application contributes to embedding a culture of continuous improvement at TDR: “The technology has only been in place for a few months, but it’s rapidly evolving to become an integral part of our operation. It’s an easy to use tool that saves us time and resources, allowing us to more effectively prioritise, track and see the tangible benefits of investing in quality assurance activities’. 

Looking to the future, he sees the use of insightQat TDR increasing as more and more functions adopt it to undertake their own quality assurance activities: “Technology will continue to play a strong, increasing role in helping organisations like us to deliver apprenticeships and raise standards. 

“So, as a training provider, it’s important that we adapt to changes, and tools like insightQ will help us stay ahead and be better prepared as the new operating landscape unfolds. We will see, for example, more requirement for rapid and effective reporting and feedback, helping us to quickly identify trends and direct resources to where they are most required, as the module goes live.”

insightQ is proving to be a shrewd investment concludes Andy, driving through improvements in quality while transforming the measurement of progress into a more manageable, visible daily process. 

Louise Doyle, co-founder of Mesma, adds:

“We are continuously evolving our platform to ensure our clients hold us to account for supporting continuous improvement in the quality of their provision. It’s fantastic to see TDR adapting to use the software so quickly, and most importantly seeing results.”

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