From education to employment

Quality assurance and improvement in apprenticeships: Four reflective questions to ask yourself

man using a laptop

Quality assurance and improvement (QA/I) is a vital part of any apprenticeship provider’s work. It makes sure that the training and assessment delivered to apprentices meets the required standards and outcomes. But quality is not a one-size-fits-all process. It requires habitual practice, reflection and improvement to achieve excellence. In this blog post, we highlight four reflective questions to help you understand if your QA/I practices are underpinning excellence for your apprentices…

Is your QA/I process individual to your organisation?

Every apprenticeship provider has its own vision, staffing structure, resources and culture. Therefore, the QA/I processes and practices that work for one provider cannot be picked up and dropped neatly into another organisation.

By developing your own QA/I framework you can guarantee that quality is aligned with your strategic goals, operational needs and stakeholder feedback.  Reviewing and updating your QA/I framework regularly will also make sure that it remains relevant and effective.

Are you focused solely on Ofsted?

Whilst Ofsted’s findings and recommendations from previous inspections or monitoring visits are important, they should not be the sole driver of your QA/I activities.

You should take a more holistic approach, deciding how to focus on improving your offer for the benefit of your learners, employers and staff, not just for Ofsted’s recommendations.

Is QA/I everyone’s job in your organisation?

QA/I cannot be the responsibility of a few individuals or teams. It is a collective effort that involves everyone in the organisation, from senior leaders to front-line staff. Sure, the Quality Team drives the standards, but your organisation should foster a culture of QA/I that encourages collaboration, communication and continuous improvement across all levels and functions.

You should also provide adequate training and support to your staff to help them to be continuously curious about the standard of their work and to confidently identify where improvements can be made… See below for IQA and practitioner training.

Do your QA/I processes tell you if things are just happening or if they are happening well?

QA/I is not just about checking if things are happening according to plan. It is about evaluating if things are happening well enough to achieve the desired outcomes and impact, and to continuously improve.

You should ask yourself critical questions about your QA/I processes and practices all the time, such as:

  1. Are they fit for purpose?
  2. Are they helping us improve?
  3. Are they consistent and reliable?
  4. Are they transparent and fair?
  5. Are they responsive and adaptable?

In summary, QA/I is essential to the success of your apprenticeship provision. It requires habitual practice, reflection and continuous improvement to make sure you deliver better outcomes for your apprentices, employers and organisation.

Further support

Whether you’re an IQA or a practitioner, if you want to take your apprenticeship quality assurance to the next level, we have a fantastic CPD series for you.

The Enhancing Quality: IQAs & Practitioners Programme helps you better manage and conduct internal quality assurance and share ideas and best practice with other practitioners from across the sector.

This series is comprised of three webinars. Part 1 – Quality assurance & the role of the IQA for apprenticeship standards – is also run as a standalone webinar. If you have recently attended this webinar, you can book parts 2 & 3 separately to complete the programme and save on costs.

Visit the webpage for more information and to book.

Related Articles