The register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) was undoubtedly set up with good intentions, not to mention bold ambitions.
“Top-quality training providers announced in new register”, declared the Department for Education back in March. But the register has been beset by problems from the off, with providers with no background in delivery included while established colleges were left off altogether.
The case Tes exposes this week, however, is the most troubling yet. It’s important to note that no charges have been brought against UKRS Training.
But the fact that a British Transport Police investigation had been ongoing for several months at the time the provider was added to the register is a cause for concern.
Did the Education and Skills Funding Agency know about this ongoing investigation when it gave UKRS the green light? At this stage, it’s impossible to know as the DfE has refused to answer Tes’ detailed questions about the case.
All we know for sure is that, four days after we approached the DfE, UKRS disappeared from the register.
If the government genuinely wants the RoATP to instil confidence in employers, a lot more transparency around the process by which providers are approved for the register is required – and soon.