Teesside University is setting the quality benchmark for apprenticeships having been among the first higher education institutions in the country to have its provision subject to full inspection by Ofsted.

The education watchdog examined the University’s Higher Apprenticeship provision across five categories, rating every area as outstanding, from leadership and management, to learner outcomes.

Teesside is one of the first universities to receive a full Ofsted inspection for its level 5 apprenticeships under the revised inspection framework and is currently the only higher education apprenticeship provider to be rated as outstanding across the board.

Inspectors praised the University’s “senior leaders’ strategic vision for apprenticeships,” “a culture of high expectations” and a curriculum that “meets the needs of employers and regional economic priorities.”

Teesside offers a varied range of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships across its five Academic Schools.

Teesside offers a varied range of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships across its five Academic Schools.

They provide an “earn as you learn” opportunity, combining vocational work-based learning with study towards a professional qualification and are co-designed with industry to maximise the benefits for both students and employers.

At the time of the inspection, Teesside University had just under 300 students enrolled on Higher Apprenticeships. Just over half of those were studying the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, while others were on Laboratory Scientist or Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeships.

Ofsted categorised Teesside as outstanding in all five areas:

  • Effectiveness of leadership and management
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare
  • Outcomes for learners
  • Apprenticeships

Professor Paul Croney, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Teesside University, said: “We are delighted with this outcome and are pleased that, as one of the first higher education institutions to undergo a full Ofsted inspection of its apprenticeship provision, the University has received outstanding feedback in every area.

“Our vision is to position Teesside as an international university with a reputation for academic excellence. Higher and Degree Apprenticeships are designed and flourish because of our exceptional work with business and our commitment to providing the very best student and learning experience.”

The Ofsted report praised Teesside University’s resources and learning environments and referred to how apprentices grow in confidence throughout their course.

“Apprentices make excellent progress in improving their skills, knowledge and behaviours – they make improvements to the quality of their work so that it meets and often exceeds industrial requirements,” the report states.

“Leaders and managers have very successfully established a culture of high expectations for apprenticeship provision. They place a high priority on ensuring that high-quality apprenticeships provide life-changing opportunities.”

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement), leads the University’s apprenticeship provision.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive such fantastic feedback across all areas of our Higher Apprenticeship provision.

“The University is passionate about ensuring that what we deliver is relevant and of an extremely high quality. We are committed to helping businesses in the Tees Valley and beyond thrive and prosper and that can only happen with people learning the right skills to enable them to perform to the highest standard in their job roles. I would like to acknowledge the staff who have played such a fundamental role in this outstanding outcome.”

Natalie Harper was among the first students to graduate from the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship.

She said: “I would definitely recommend Teesside University to anybody. Doing this qualification has been an incredible experience. The staff have been really supportive.

“Having the academic support has made a real difference and will really help with the way we work with patients.”

Find out more about apprenticeships at Teesside University.