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    Harper Adams Apprenticeship team commended by OFSTED inspectors

    Posted 17 June

    A young man in a classroom

    The work of the Apprenticeship team at Harper Adams has been commended as ‘good’ in its inspection by OFSTED – with its work on behaviour and attitudes rated ‘outstanding.’

    The team, who include a cross-section of Harper Adams departments and professional services employees, are helping provide apprenticeships to 205 students across land and property, veterinary and food sciences, and senior leadership.

    They were inspected during a visit by Osted in late April and early May this year.

    Inspectors said: “Apprentices enjoy their learning at the university and display consistently positive behaviours and attitudes towards their learning.

    “They look forward to their block release teaching time on campus, and as a result, their attendance and punctuality are consistently high, despite the work pressures of their job roles.

    “Apprentices consistently demonstrate high levels of respect towards their peers and university staff and in the workplace. They work in challenging environments such as senior leadership roles and consistently uphold the high standards of professionalism expected of them.

    “Leaders and tutors have developed curriculums that develop apprentices’ confidence and independence and prepare them for progressing in both their careers and personal lives.

    “For example, apprentices on the level 6 chartered surveyor degree apprenticeship develop the confidence to present at conferences and breakfast meetings. As a result, apprentices feel well prepared for the challenges they face.”

    Inspectors also noted how the team at Harper Adams had drawn upon the specialisms at the University – which was named the first ever Specialist University of the Year in the Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – to tailor apprenticeship programmes which answered national skills shortages.

    They added: “Leaders and managers demonstrate a clear rationale for the curriculums they have chosen to offer.

    “They have focused on areas of national skills shortages which are within the provider’s areas of expertise, such as food manufacturing and chartered surveying. They have worked closely with industry partners and stakeholders to develop curriculums which meet their needs.

    “For example, following industry demand, the university’s vet school participated in the development of the level 5 veterinary technician (livestock) apprenticeship standard and has been the first to offer it to apprentices and employers.”

    The inspection team also discussed how the team uses feedback and monitoring to improve and renew their courses to meet students’ needs.

    Speaking about leaders and managers in the Apprenticeship team, the inspectors said: “They have a variety of quality monitoring mechanisms such as peer observations, employer engagements and student voice. They use these effectively to review and make changes as necessary.

    “For example, in both the chartered surveyor and food industry technical professional apprenticeships, leaders have restructured the balance of modules across each academic year following feedback from apprentices and employers. This ensures apprentices can balance their increasing levels of responsibilities at work with their studies later in their apprenticeship.”

    The full report can be found here.

    Apprenticeships Manager Carol Rogers said: “This was the first full OFSTED inspection for the team, and we were very pleased to have the good work we have been doing recognised by the inspectors – this is not only a vote of confidence in Harper Adams and all our colleagues, but also the companies we work with – and, of course, the apprentices themselves.”

    And Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan added: “This was an excellent outcome for our first full inspection. I know the OFSTED team received a positive impression of the culture of the University through what its members have seen and how everyone engaged with them during their visit – and it is heartening to see that reflected in their official report. I am grateful to our apprentices, my colleagues and our employer partners, whose achievements are reflected so positively in this report.”

    A full list of Apprenticeships open for applications at Harper Adams – and details of how to apply – can be found here.

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