Cranfield University’s apprenticeship offering has been praised by Ofsted inspectors following an initial monitoring visit. The report resulting from inspectors visiting in October 2022 highlighted the high-quality curriculum which is in tune with the needs of businesses, the support and expert staff that learners have access to, and the career progression that apprentices go on to achieve.

At the time of the monitoring visit, the university had 1,077 apprentices studying a range of higher apprenticeship standards in management, engineering and information technology. Both Level 6 degree apprenticeships delivered by MK:U, with Cranfield as the academic partner, and Cranfield’s postgraduate Level 7 apprenticeships were assessed.

The initial visit from Ofsted examined Cranfield’s quality as an apprenticeship provider, in advance of a full inspection in the future. Ofsted inspected three key areas: management and leadership, quality of apprenticeship provision, and safeguarding. The programme achieved the top assessment of “significant progress” in the first two of these three areas, and reasonable progress in the third.

Professor Sean Tyrrel, Pro-Vice-Chancellor – Education at Cranfield University said: “We’re delighted with our initial Ofsted report for Cranfield’s apprenticeship provision.  Working with individuals, small businesses and right up to multinational firms, Cranfield’s apprenticeship courses focus on building the skills and knowledge that industry needs. Seeing the progress of our apprentices as they develop is fantastic, and something I am glad that Ofsted has highlighted.”

Expertly designed curriculum delivers high-quality provision

The report noted that “senior leaders have successfully realised their vision to provide high-quality apprenticeships as part of the university’s curriculum…apprentices make significant progress against their starting points and most successfully complete their apprenticeships with high grades.”

The inspectors also mentioned Cranfield’s support for disabilities, health conditions and learning differences, with additional specialist support provided.

Building skills and confidence

The report noted that “apprentices receive well-planned and high-quality off-the-job training” at Cranfield with the carefully planned programmes helping them develop new skills, knowledge and behaviours.

It goes on to say “apprentices are well prepared for their end-point assessments and career progression. Apprentices studying senior leader level 7 learn how to manage their staff and other colleagues within their businesses.” Ofsted also recognised that apprentices gained promotions within their organisations “Their success in using these techniques gives them the confidence to apply for new jobs with additional responsibilities. As a result, apprentices promptly gain promotion.”

Read the Ofsted report in full on the Ofsted website.