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UKFast apprenticeship scheme ranked outstanding by OFSTED

Article date: Tue, 05 Oct 2021 12:00 GMT

Ofstead outstading
  • Training provision receives highest Ofsted grade in all areas
  • Manchester cloud, cybersecurity, and managed hosting firm is one of only two ‘Outstanding’ UK technology apprenticeship providers
  • Applications open again in early 2022

UKFast’s apprenticeship scheme has been graded ‘Outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted, making it the only technology business in the North to hold the highest rating from the education regulator.

The UK’s leading cloud, cybersecurity, and managed hosting firm’s tech academy received the top grade in all 4 inspection areas: Quality of Education, Professional Development, Behaviour and Attitudes, and Leadership and Management. UKFast is one of just two technology firms nationally with the highest ranking.

Launched in 2018, UKFast’s learning and development programme has supported close to 100 apprentices, with 79% achieving a distinction against a national average for higher grades (credit or distinction) of 29%.

This Ofsted grading places UKFast alongside Siemens as the only two technology businesses in the UK to deliver Outstanding Ofsted-graded training to apprentices.

The grading follows UKFast’s recent announcement of the expansion of its apprenticeship programmes and joining with sister tech firm, ANS, to create the largest and most comprehensive digital academy in the North.

In September, 30 new apprentices joined the scheme as the first class under the expanded academy programme. Delivered from UKFast’s on-site training centre, they will follow the Ofsted-graded curriculum that blends industry-recognised skills, academic rigour, vendor support, and practical learning, to ready them for careers in cloud, cybersecurity, data centres, public sector technologies, and networking.

Jointly, UKFast and ANS will open the scheme to the next class of apprentices in early 2022.

Praised by the education regulator as ‘exceptional’, the Outstanding grade was awarded after UKFast’s very first Ofsted inspection.

Commenting on UKFast’s scheme, Ofsted’s report said: “Senior leaders and staff are very ambitious for their apprentices. They are committed to providing a high-quality education and development, which means that most apprentices achieve their full potential. Apprentices who study here do exceptionally well.”

UKFast’s apprenticeship scheme allows apprentices to continue their learning in a work-ready way and includes practical support in areas such as managing money, health education, and professional standards such as punctuality and attendance. The rigorous technology training program works with exam boards and vendors such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Pearson Vue, CompTIA, the Linux Professional Institute, Cisco and Red Hat.

On apprentices’ professional development, the report said: “Apprentices strive to achieve to the best of their ability in the workplace. All apprentices go on to be successful and move into permanent or promoted posts within the company.”

Arlene Bulfin, UKFast’s Director of People Development, said: “UKFast’s focus on creating a genuinely world-class learning environment for apprentices goes right back to 2013. We have invested hugely over the years in developing apprenticeship opportunities that are more than just a viable alternative to university. We have created a scheme that is very attractive to young people and that bridges the gap between education and getting young people ready for the working world. I’m delighted that Ofsted’s grading recognises UKFast as a stand out training provider.”

Ian Brown, UKFast CEO, said: “We are all absolutely thrilled for our Learning and Development team and for our apprentices. Ofsted’s Outstanding grade is testament to their passion and dedication. Through our training Academy we are developing some of the UK’s best digital talent of the future while providing an amazing workplace for them to thrive in their careers.”

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