Over 30 apprentices will start their training with Ofsted today in the organisation’s largest ever apprenticeship scheme.
The new recruits on the two-year programme will start a level 2 qualification in business administration in one of five Ofsted offices across England, before moving on to a level 3 next year.
According to Ofsted, the recruitment of the 31 apprentices, designed to support the government's drive to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, is the inspection body’s first apprenticeship scheme on such a large scale.
There were over 200 applicants for the apprenticeship programme, which was advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service and Ofsted websites. Ofsted also contacted schools, children’s services departments and youth centres directly to reach young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The new apprentices, aged 16 and above, are taking up a variety of roles, from contact centre advisers and administrators to social care policy and management information support workers.
Matthew Coffey, Ofsted’s chief operating officer, welcomed the new apprentices, and said: “The programme proved to be more popular than we had hoped and the recruitment process was very competitive, so their success in getting to this point shows just how bright and talented they are.”
Last year, a report by Ofsted found that at a third of the providers visited, apprenticeships did not provide sufficient, high-quality training that stretched the apprentices and improved their capabilities.
Mr Coffey said: “We want to provide individuals with a genuine opportunity to improve their lives, by offering them an alternative career path from the traditional university route. Following our critical report on apprenticeships last year, this scheme is also an opportunity for Ofsted to demonstrate how valuable, enjoyable and genuinely life-changing a well-planned and robust apprenticeship programme can be.”