The inspection, carried out in January, found the University to be “Good” in all areas including “quality of education” and “leadership and management” as well as “behaviour and attitudes” and “personal development”.
Staffordshire University has grown the provision of higher and degree apprenticeships considerably in recent years from 150 in 2015 to almost 2,000 at present. Apprentices combine working and training with visits to the University’s Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford campuses.
Many apprentices are studying on the Level 6 police constable degree apprenticeship delivered in partnership with four local police forces: Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands.
Other major areas of apprenticeships study are nursing, healthcare and business. The university currently delivers more than 20 different higher and degree apprenticeships to more than 200 employers including the NHS, BT, Merlin Entertainments and Bentley Motors.
The Ofsted report recognised the University for working closely with employers and other stakeholders to shape the curriculum and address skills gaps.
For example, the report states: “…in the psychological wellbeing practitioner apprenticeship, managers and teachers work effectively with mental health employers, such as National Health Service Trust, to design a curriculum which is tackling the significant shortage in psychological wellbeing practitioners nationally.”
It adds: “Apprenticeships enjoy a culture of excellence in subjects such as level 6 healthcare science practitioner and the level 6 nursing degree apprenticeship. Teachers set high expectations for standards of written work and clinical practice. As a result, apprentices demonstrate high levels of professional behaviour in the workplace.”
Reacting to the report, Associate Dean of Apprenticeships Maighread Hegarty said: “We take immense pride in the fact that we are trailblazers for a number of apprenticeships and the Ofsted inspectors found that most apprentices are very positive about their study experience and feel proud of their successes.”
“We also take on board the recommendations in their report which includes ensuring all apprentices get the additional support they need and making sure they are aware of career opportunities beyond their current employers.”
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Martin Jones added: “We are very pleased with the report findings which will help inform our future growth and continued improvement.
“2022 is a significant year for the University as we open our new Catalyst building, which will become a new hub for our employer partners and apprentices, and enable us to work even more closely with employers in pursuit of excellence and to address skills shortages in the region and nationally.
“We have set ourselves an ambitious target of developing 6,500 apprentices by 2026, and I’m pleased to say the current forecast suggests this target will be met. We are very much seeking to shape and steer the nature of apprenticeship standards.”