Level two apprenticeship praised

Neil Peacock

All ‘good’ reported by Ofsted for MP Skills’ apprenticeship.

Ofsted inspectors have rated MP Skills, a division of the Mineral Products Qualifications Council (MPQC), as a ‘Good Provider’.

The three-day inspection covered several aspects of the provision of the Level 2 mineral processing mobile and static plant apprenticeship. The inspection included the apprentice learner experience, course content, mentoring and safeguarding. Throughout the inspection the quality of education was reviewed along with behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership, and management of the apprenticeship.

The inspection report noted:

  • Apprentices are enthusiastic about their courses.
  • Apprentices develop positive relationships with their learning mentors.
  • They benefit from a rich curriculum that is informed by the frequent conversations that MPQC staff have with a range of employers in the sector.
  • Leaders and managers use their extensive industry experience to select the course content that is most useful to apprentices.
  • Apprentices develop their knowledge and skills and become valued employees with several gaining promotion and additional responsibility.
  • Learning mentors provide opportunities for apprentices to visit a range of sites so that they can learn about environments, working practices and job roles across the whole sector.
  • Arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Commenting on the results, Neil Peacock, General Manager, MP Skills said, “This Ofsted result is testament to the hard work, specialist knowledge and commitment from our expert delivery learning mentors and assessors, plus our fantastic apprenticeship coordinator and management teams. We strive to provide excellent learner development and structured apprenticeship experience to support the needs of the wider industry over multiple employers, and I am incredibly proud of what we, as a business, have achieved.

“In the ever-changing arena of competence development, it is vitally important that we value the contribution of good quality education and qualifications such as this apprenticeship. Setting industry standards is one of the key pillars of Minerals Matter, the mineral products sector’s approach to future skills and succession, and we work reciprocally with them to ensure qualifications have a pivotal role in the journey to a safer, more effective workforce.”

“This apprenticeship and the success stories which have emerged from the candidates that have undergone the programme, is down to the blended learning approach that we created to ensure we support the sector and manage expectations and complexities of working with multiple employers both large and SME, who forward their employees to the programme. “

The Ofsted report also commented on the use of classroom and virtual formats, ongoing training, mentoring and pastoral care of candidates. Task setting, a suite of e-learning and the use of external learning opportunities enrich candidates’ CPD development.

Simon Smith, Operations Director, describes his experience of the apprenticeship, “As an SME, Longwater Gravel knows that investing in our employees, by providing them with high quality training and assessments for which they gain nationally recognised qualifications is vital to the success of the business. Apprenticeships are a much-enhanced investment, for example the Mineral Processing Mobile and Static Plant Operator Apprenticeship, developed and delivered by the team at MP Skills, includes a fantastic programme of training which not only ensures that apprentices become competent operators, but also enables them to gain a much wider understanding and appreciation of the industry and all the opportunities it has to offer”.

Sharan Ghattora, HR Project Manager for Day Group Limited added, “Working with MP Skills on apprenticeship programmes has supported Day Group to be able to provide structured training which helps apprentices to develop and to be able to get to see processes from start to finish on the job. This has helped our apprentices add to our organisation making it more effective, productive, and competent whilst also bringing new ideas and knowledge from their learnings.

“The experience working alongside MP Skills has been seamless as they are great at communicating, organised and supportive to not only the apprentices but also to the managers. It is a really rewarding experience seeing apprentices develop professionally and personally throughout the course”.

MP Skills is currently mentoring its eighth cohort since 2019, with 14 apprentices currently on the programme, working with five companies.

A new apprentice cohort begins in September. “We offer the opportunity to companies in the sector to place apprentices on our programme every March and September, but also will work flexibly with employers should there be enough to start further cohorts outside these enrolment times. This consistency is important in driving up knowledge and opportunity and knowing that our programme has this Ofsted endorsement further underpins its value”, added Neil.

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