An apprenticeships and vocational training centre in Leigh has been told to step up its performance by Ofsted.

Crown Vocational Training, an independent learning provider for level 2 to level 5 apprenticeships, has been rated ‘requires improvement’ following visit from inspectors in June and July.

While pupils’ behaviour and attitudes were rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, all other criteria at the centre fell below the mark and were rated ‘requires improvement’.

Apprentices working towards a level 2 property service programmes were said to be frustrated by the slow progress they are making – attributed by Ofsted to the expertise of tutors.

Inspectors wrote: “Because leaders have not ensured that these apprentices have been taught by a subject-specialist tutor, apprentices have not moved beyond the general knowledge elements of their training. As a result, these apprentices have a growing lack of confidence in their own ability to complete their training programme.”

Tutors at the centre – which currently serves more than 150 apprentices – were also said be failing to ‘rapidly identify’ individuals who required additional help with learning.

Inspectors added: “Additionally, leaders do not provide appropriate training for tutors to enable them to help apprentices with specific needs, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia.”

However, inspectors praised apprentices’ motivation to learn and added that tutors were friendly and welcoming.

Apprentices interviewed during the inspection process said they were glad for the frequent contact with their tutors, especially throughout the pandemic

Karen Sallows, director of Crown Vocational Training, said the centre felt at a bit of a disadvantage being inspected coming out of the pandemic but added she expects most of the issue to be ironed out before the next inspection.

“The Ofsted report was quite positive in a lot of ways. We have just come out of a pandemic, everyone has been struggling and we were very pleased that very few of our apprentices were made redundant.

“We had some very good feedback in the report: high levels of learner and employer satisfaction, really good links with local businesses, and our apprentices were said to have the skills to help people in the community.

“When we recruit apprentices, we put them in suitable real jobs and our tutors really do support our learners, and Ofsted reported this.

She added: “Yes there were a few issues. Some of our learners got held up when they were furloughed, so a lot did make slower progress. But we are positive about turning that around because we get 100 per cent pass rates with 70 per cent distinctions.”