Damar praised in mock Ofsted inspection

mock ofsted

As part of Damar’s drive to continuously improve our provision and the impact we have on our apprentices and partner-employers, we recently undertook a mock Ofsted inspection.

This inspection allowed us to identify the improvements we’ve made since our last official inspection in 2023 and we are delighted with the feedback we received.

Below are just some of the comments from our inspector.

Quality of provision

• Learning is very well structured and delivered to help apprentices learn and make rapid progress.
• High quality resources are developed and available.
• On- and off-the-job learning are well coordinated so apprentices can apply and develop their learning at work. All apprentices were very positive about the impact of the apprenticeship on their work.
• Very good use is made of partnership working to provide apprentices with high quality training from experts with a strong track record of delivery.

Our people

• Coaches provide outstanding support for apprentices. Apprentices interviewed felt very well supported by their coaches. Common quotes from apprentices about their coaches were that they “really care” and “really want me to do well”.
• All apprentices interviewed said communication with their coach was very good, that coaches responded very quickly and that coaches helped them. One apprentice said: “My coach is awesome and when I catch up with her, it’s empowering”.

Apprentice support

• Apprentices interviewed enjoy and value their apprenticeship. They like learning on-the-job and applying knowledge straight away at work.
• Leaders and managers give careful thought to making programmes accessible. Some apprentices described the apprenticeship as an opportunity to enter a field they would not normally be able to enter and to learn a new profession.
• Progress reviews are regular, meaningful and routinely involve employers in discussing the apprentice’s progress and opportunities for further development.

Employer support

• Employers are very positive about the benefits of the apprenticeship and can see the apprentices add value to their organisations. One supervisor said the apprentice is “doing very well… and adding a lot to the business. She is now quite confident and can carry out many aspects of legal accounting independently”.
• Employers were all very happy with the programme and said that communication with Damar was excellent. One apprenticeship manager in an NHS Trust working with multiple providers said “I am happy and I rarely am. The process was followed and they’ve kept in touch… Channels of communication are very, very good”.

Leadership and management

• Leaders and managers are committed to providing an outstanding experience for their apprentices. They are relentless in their drive for improvement and welcome challenge and external feedback.

Since our 2023 inspection, we have focused on three main areas and our mock inspection highlighted the significant progress made on these points.

Written feedback for apprentices

• Feedback is now a strength: Apprentices receive useful verbal and written developmental feedback which they act on to help them improve their work. As a result, their final submissions are high quality. They all commented on how quickly they receive feedback.

Careers information, advice and guidance

• CEIAG is now well-structured and embedded in programmes and should become a strength as more apprentices access the resources put together by the recently-appointed CEIAG coordinator.

Personal development of apprentices

• Leaders and managers have done much to develop, embed and evaluate the personal development element of the apprenticeships since inspection. The curriculum is well designed around six topics, which include mental health and wellbeing, and finance and cost of living.