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Providing Inspection Services for

Department of Education
Department for Employment and Learning
Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure


290. Over the period 2004-2006, Jobskills remained DEL’s primary vocational training
programme for young people and continued to make a significant contribution
towards its strategic objectives. A number of factors have led to a fundamental
review, including the low rate of unemployment, the developing role of Sectoral Skills
Councils, the developments within 14-19 provision, and the opportunity to consider
elements of a pre-apprenticeship programme. In addition, there were criticisms of
Jobskills by the Northern Ireland Audit Office and the House of Commons Committee
of Public Accounts. Training for Success, the new professional and technical training
programmes designed to provide flexibility, individual choice and a wide range of
career pathways will replace Jobskills from September 2007.

291. The proportion of young people progressing from school to Jobskills programmes has
decreased from 10,600 in 2003-04 to 9,710 in 2005-06. Over this period, there were
on average almost 16,000 trainees engaged each year in a wide range of vocational 1

292. The number of providers has continued to decrease and there are now just over 70
compared to 92 in 2004. There has been an increase in recruitment to the Modern
Apprenticeship programmes in construction and mechanical engineering. However,
in two of the prioritised skills areas considered important to the Northern Ireland
economy - electrical/electronic engineering and catering - recruitment has decreased.

293. Since the previous report, participation in New Deal, which aims to get the long-term
unemployed into sustained employment, has decreased by 12% from 14,400 to
12,700. The majority have previously engaged in New Deal, and many are returning
for the second or more time.

294. An increasing proportion of these participants start New Deal with complex barriers to
employment, which place heavy demands on the skills and expertise of management
and staff. Only three of the consortia providing New Deal programmes have
occupancy levels greater than 100 participants and most of the remainder have only
between ten and 30 at any one time. There are currently major proposals from DEL

The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06


to provide a flexible menu approach to delivery in order to meet more effectively the
individual needs of participants.

Inspection information and overview

295. During 2004-06, there were 33 focused inspections of suppliers of Jobskills

programmes, five of New Deal programmes, and four extended inspections involving
both Jobskills and New Deal.

296. The quality of Jobskills provision has improved significantly over the period 2004-06.
The proportion of training providers with significant strengths, or strengths
outweighing areas for improvement, in their provision increased by 12% to 80%
compared to the previous period, 2002-04. In the final year of the period, 2005-06,
only 10% of training providers were assessed to have significant weaknesses
(Figure 56), or areas for improvement outweighing strengths, compared to just over
30% in 2004-05 (Figure 57). The outcomes from follow-up inspections (FUIs) of
Jobskills provision reflect similar levels of improvement.

Figure 56: The quality of Jobskills programmes 2002-04 and 2004-06


11% 55% 30% 4%


10% 70% 14% 5%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

Figure 57: The quality of Jobskills programmes 2002-04 and 2005-06


8% 61% 27% 4%

10% 80% 5% 5%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

297. In contrast, the quality of New Deal provision has fallen across the consortia of
training providers. The proportion of training providers with significant weaknesses or
weaknesses outweighing strengths in provision has increased from 0% over the
period 2002-04 to almost 33% over 2004-06 (Figure 58). FUIs in New Deal have not
demonstrated improvement in the quality of provision.

Figure 58: The quality of New Deal provision



66% 36%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

An evaluation of the provision for 14-19 year olds participating in VEP is contained in
Part 1 of this report, Additional Challenges: 14-19 Provision

298. What are the main strengths in training?

The main strengths are:

 the well-planned learning experiences provided for most trainees in off-the-job

training, which supports the workplace training;

 the work-placements which provide most trainees with good opportunities to

achieve competence in their occupational area;

 the mainly excellent relationships between staff, employers and trainees; and

 the confidence of most of the suppliers of work-based learning programmes to

implement effective quality improvement strategies.

299. What improvements have been brought about during the period 2004-06?

Improvements are evident in:

 the quality of self-evaluation procedures and improvement planning

implemented by suppliers of Jobskills programmes;

The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06


 the assessment of the progress of trainees in the workplace;

 the quality of work-based learning and training plans;

 the higher standards of leadership in suppliers of Jobskills programmes; and

 the coherent programmes of support provided by the LSDA (NI) to all supplier

300. What further improvements are needed?

The main actions needed to bring about further improvement are:

 the development of flexible training and employment programmes that better

meet the individual needs of all trainees;

 the implementation of strategies to ensure higher levels of retention,

achievement and progression to employment; and

 the provision of professional development programmes for trainers.

301. DEL is already taking significant action to improve the training and employment
programmes and to develop better strategies for a coherent careers education,
information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) strategy. National standards are being
developed to meet the continuing professional development needs of staff who work
in the training sector.

How effective are the arrangements for pastoral care and the
protection of children and vulnerable adults?

302. Over the last two years, training providers have placed an increasingly high priority
on evaluating the quality of policies and procedures for the protection of children and
vulnerable adults in line with new legislation.

303. Jobskills inspections have found the implementation of relevant protection policies
and procedures to be a significant strength in just over 20% of training providers. In
the best practice, organisations have comprehensive policies and procedures that
give clear guidance to staff and provide good protection for children and vulnerable
adults. Roles and responsibilities are clearly designated, comprehensive staff
development is provided and there are appropriate vetting arrangements prior to
appointment. In just over 60% of providers, while policies and procedures are in
place, these need to be reviewed and extended to include vulnerable adults and
implemented more effectively across the provider. In a further 20% of organisations,
there are significant weaknesses and urgent action is needed to improve the

304. Almost all of the consortia which provide New Deal programmes do not have
sufficiently comprehensive policies and procedures in place to safeguard vulnerable
adults. These organisations need to invest in staff development in relation to the
health, safety and well-being of the New Deal participants, and to develop codes of
conduct to guide the staff’s contact with participants.

Further evaluation of pastoral care and child protection is contained in Part 1 of this
report, Additional Challenges: Pastoral Care and Child Protection

How good are the learning and training?

305. There has been a significant improvement in the quality of learning and training
across the occupational areas inspected within Jobskills. There is a rise of 10% in
the proportion of the provision evaluated as good or better, and a similar decrease in
the proportion of the provision showing significant areas for improvement or areas for
improvement that outweigh the strengths (Figure 59).

Figure 59: The quality of learning and training in Jobskills


9% 60% 20% 11%


11% 71% 14% 4%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

306. Jobskills supplier organisations which demonstrate continuous improvement:

 make effective use of initial assessment to identify the individual training needs
of trainees;

 support and encourage tutors to develop their expertise and use an appropriate
range of training methods;

The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06


 provide flexible learning programmes to suit the needs of individual trainees;

 develop strong links with employers and involve them in setting suitable
training targets for the trainees in the workplace;

 provide trainees with good work-placements that allow them to achieve

occupational competence;

 carry out effective assessment of the trainees’ progress in the workplace;

 provide trainees with the personal skills needed to be able to cope with the
demands of the workplace; and

 manage off-the-job and workplace training programmes effectively to ensure

weaknesses are identified and improvement plans drawn up to address them.

307. There has been a decrease in the quality of learning and training across the New
Deal areas of learning from 90% of provision at a good or better standard to 78%.
Supplier organisations that demonstrate good quality learning and training plan
effectively for directed training, tailor the programmes to prepare participants for
employment, and provide a good quality of work-placements. Over 20% of the
grades indicate that areas for improvement outweigh the strengths in the quality of
learning and training. Areas which need to be addressed include the breadth of
training opportunities offered, and the use of initial assessment and individualised,
focused training targets in the learning development plans (Figure 61).

Figure 60: The quality of learning and training in New Deal


90% 10%

78% 22%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

What are the standards and outcomes achieved by supplier


308. The standards of trainees’ work on Jobskills programmes has improved significantly
with a decline of more than 10% in the proportion of vocational areas with significant
weaknesses or weakness outweighing strengths. The main improvement in
standards took place during 2005-06 with a rise from just under 70% to nearly 90% of
the vocational areas with good or better standards (Figure 62).

Figure 61: The standards and outcomes in Jobskills


15% 54% 31%


10% 70% 15% 5%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

309. In training providers, where standards have improved, the trainees:

 are clear about the standards required for the achievement of their training

 have good work-placements which contribute to the development of the

personal skills they need to work successfully with their employers; 7

 behave responsibly and show respect for their tutors and employers;

 are well-motivated and develop effectively their occupational competence to

industry standards;

 are provided with off-the-job training that is matched well to the needs of
employers, and that encourages the trainees to display initiative and problem-
solving skills;

 demonstrate a commitment to their training programmes, and have high

standards of time-keeping and attendance; and

 have a clear understanding of appropriate career paths relating to their

personal career goals.

310. Overall, retention rates have improved on the Modern Apprenticeship programme
being at least satisfactory in half of the training providers inspected, compared with
one-third in the period 2002-04. In most Access and Traineeship programmes,
supplier organisations need to develop more effective strategies to address the
retention rates which remain poor on these programmes (Figures 63, 64 and 65).

The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06


311. Success rates are satisfactory or better for just over 70% of the supplier
organisations offering Traineeships or Modern Apprenticeships, and for over 80% of
supplier organisations offering the Access programme (Figures 63, 64 and 65).

312. Progression rates to further training or employment are good or excellent in at least
85% of the training providers offering Access or Modern Apprenticeship programmes.
Progression rates on the Traineeship programme are satisfactory or better for just
over 70% of the training providers inspected (Figures 63, 64 and 65).

Figure 62: Outcomes for Jobskills Access programmes


15% 38% 46%


23% 31% 46%


2004-06 46% 15% 15% 15%

8 Progression

20% 30% 20% 30%


9% 18% 73%

45% 36% 9% 9%

Poor Modest Satisfactory Good Excellent

Figure 63: Outcomes for Jobskills Traineeship


20% 7% 13% 33% 27%


7% 7% 27% 60%

2004-06 33% 40% 7% 13% 7%


11% 11% 11% 22% 44%


6% 11% 11% 17% 56%


28% 56% 11% 6%

Poor Modest Satisfactory Good Excellent

Figure 64: Outcomes for Jobskills Modern Apprenticeships


14% 86%

29% 14% 7% 14% 36%


2004-06 36% 7% 43% 7% 7%


11% 6% 83%

22% 6% 6% 17% 50%


22% 28% 22% 28%

Poor Modest Satisfactory Good Excellent

The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06


313. The standards and outcomes achieved by participants on New Deal programmes
declined from at least satisfactory for 75% of the programmes inspected in 2004-05
to 60% in 2005-06. Where standards and outcomes are poor, the majority of
participants lack motivation and do not develop a suitable range of skills to enable
them to gain sustained employment. Progression rates to employment have
remained low at 23% for 18-24 year olds and 16% for those over 25. In contrast,
where standards are good, many of the participants improve their self-confidence and
social skills, and for those who take up the essential skills option, also develop their
literacy and numeracy skills (Figure 66).

Figure 65: Standards and Outcomes in New Deal


75% 25%

60% 40%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

How good is the provision for essential skills?

314. The majority of trainees continue to join the Jobskills and New Deal programmes with
fewer than four GCSEs at grade D or lower. A recurring theme from inspections of
approximately half of the providers is the poor standard of writing of a significant
minority of the trainees.

315. In approximately 15% of the providers inspected, there are significant strengths in the
provision for essential skills. In 60%, the strengths outweigh the areas for
improvement, and in the remainder, areas for improvement outweigh strengths or
there are significant weaknesses (Figure 67).

Figure 66: The quality of Essential Skills programmes

15% 61% 21% 3%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

316. The main feature of good provision is the effective co-operation between the work of
the essential skills and vocational tutors to ensure that essential skills are developed
in appropriate vocational contexts. As a result, trainees are well-motivated and are
able to use and consolidate their essential skills in the workplace.

317. In less effective provision, the use of initial and diagnostic assessment to inform the
planning of the learning and training is not well developed. The tutors do not exploit
fully the opportunities in directed training, and in the workplace, to develop the
trainees’ literacy and numeracy skills.

318. The number of participants taking up the essential skills training option in New Deal
has shown a slight improvement, but overall numbers remain low. A significant
number of trainees still leave the Gateway period with deficiencies in essential skills.

How good is the provision and use of ICT?

319. Over the last two years, the number of Jobskills trainees registered on ICT vocational
programmes, designed to meet the needs of the information technology industries,
has been consistently low. In 2004 and 2005, 3% of all Jobskills trainees were
registered on such programmes. The number has fallen this year to just 2% 11
(Figure 68).

Figure 67: Numbers of participants on ICT vocational programmes

97% 97%




3% 3% 2%
2004 2005 2006
Jobskills ICT Trainees

320. The number of training providers offering ICT vocational programmes has fallen by
30%, with trainees registered in only ten organisations and in small numbers. The

The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06


training providers are, for the most part, able to place trainees in more suitable
work-placements where they can achieve better occupational competence. As a
result, the quality of learning and training, and the standards and outcomes achieved,
have improved.

321. Where Jobskills trainees are not registered on an ICT vocational programme, their
opportunities to develop and apply skills are variable. Most trainees are required to
achieve the key skill of ICT but very often their learning experiences focus on
completion of assessment tasks at the expense of the development of their practical
skills. Trainees are often unable to apply their ICT skills effectively to extend their
vocational experience and their written communication skills. The pilot for the
essential skill qualification in ICT started in September 2006. The emphasis on the
purposeful application of the technology has the potential to improve the confidence
and competence of Jobskills trainees.

322. New Deal participants have good opportunities to develop their ICT skills and gain
recognised qualifications within the full-time education and training options, and the
education and training opportunities options. Most participants on the essential skills
training options make good use of ICT in developing their literacy and numeracy
12 skills. Participants on the voluntary options, preparation for employment, and
environmental task force very often have little opportunity to develop or apply their
ICT skills.

How good is the provision for special educational needs?

323. All Government-funded vocational training providers need to work within the relevant
legislation13 covering equality, special educational needs and disability. At present
DEL funds mainstream vocational training through providers which are both privately
owned and based in colleges of further education. One of the main challenges is the
inclusion of young people with disabilities in these mainstream training programmes.

324. Young people with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) are placed on the Jobskills
Access programme and receive a longer period of time to achieve a National
Vocational Qualification at Level 1 and appropriate essential skills. Those with more

In FE and training, The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1996 and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998
In FE, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Order (SENDO) 2005
significant needs are placed on the pre-vocational Access programme. Most of the
young people on these programmes face many barriers to learning and are
vulnerable to economic and social exclusion. Most training providers provide them
with high quality, well-planned learning and training support.

325. The main strengths identified within Jobskills Access programmes include:

 the mostly good relationships and links with the special schools, relevant
external agencies and the training providers;

 the motivation, attendance and behaviour of the trainees;

 the committed and hard-working staff; and

 the good quality of most of the learning and training.

326. Inspection evidence has also identified areas for improvement which include the need

 better resources to meet the more complex, multiple and specific learning
needs of some trainees;
 more intensive support and monitoring in the workplace;

 better quality assurance and self-evaluation arrangements, including tracking

systems; and

 continuing staff development focused on best practice in working with trainees

with special educational needs or disabilities.

327. In its review of Jobskills programmes, DEL is reconsidering the targets set for
trainees who experience difficulties in learning. Training providers need to continue
to offer a balanced programme of life skills, vocational qualifications and
work-placement in order to increase the trainees’ employability, confidence and

Careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG)

An evaluation of careers provision is contained in Part 1 of this report, Additional

Challenges: Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance

The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06


How effective are leadership and management in training?

328. During 2005-06, DEL established the Quality and Performance Branch to ensure a
coherent approach to quality improvement and the raising of standards across all
providers. Alongside this initiative, DEL has developed a Quality Improvement
Strategy emphasising the role of leadership and management and effective
self-evaluation in providing good quality learning and training. Inspection teams give
Jobskills and New Deal providers clear indicators of the quality of their self-evaluation
procedures. These indicators help the Quality and Performance Branch, working in
conjunction with LSDA (NI), to identify those providers who need additional support to
bring about necessary improvement.

329. There have been considerable improvements in the quality of leadership and
management within Jobskills programmes. Only 15% of training organisations
inspected in 2005-06 showed weaknesses, compared to nearly 40% in 2004-05, and
an average of just over 40% over the previous two years. These improvements are
reflected in more effective self-evaluation, which is helping the management teams to
identify weaknesses in provision and to devise suitable improvement plans to address
them (Figure 69).

Figure 68: The quality of leadership and management in Jobskills


11% 47% 36% 6%


12% 47% 35% 6%


25% 60% 10% 5%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

330. In contrast, the quality of leadership and management has declined in the New Deal
providers inspected. Areas for improvement outweigh strengths in 22% of the
consortia inspected during 2004-06, compared to none in the previous two years.
These consortia have low occupancy levels and find it increasingly difficult to manage
programmes for participants who have returned to New Deal on a number of
occasions and experience many difficulties in finding employment. Among the
consortia which have large occupancy levels, there is a small improvement in the
quality of leadership and management. These consortia have the capability to devise
a range of flexible programmes to suit the individual needs of participants (Figure 70).

Figure 69: The quality of leadership and management in New Deal providers



11% 67% 22%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

331. In the best practice, leaders provide clear direction through realistic strategic
objectives, targets and values that are fully understood by the staff. The responsible
management of resources supports key priorities. Management responsibilities and
lines of accountability are well defined and accepted by the staff. Staff development
focuses appropriately on the quality of learning and training, and includes the direct
observation of training sessions by managers. The staff show commitment to
continuous improvement, and use a broader range of learning and training strategies.

332. In the minority of providers where leadership has significant weaknesses, there is
little or no evidence of effective action to address poor standards of provision and
levels of achievement.

333. While there has been significant improvement in the quality of leadership and
management for Jobskills programmes, there is a need to develop further the quality
assurance arrangements and management information systems to ensure that they
provide more accurate information to inform decision-making and planning for
improvement. Better strategies are needed to strengthen the protection of children
and vulnerable adults.

How effective are self-evaluation and self-improvement in training?

334. There is an annual contractual requirement for training organisations to use the
quality indicators in the document, Improving Quality: Raising Standards (IQ:RS), to
evaluate the quality of their provision and devise suitable improvement plans. Within

The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06


Jobskills, there has been a significant improvement in the effectiveness of

self-evaluation leading to self-improvement: only 16% of training providers showed
important weaknesses in their self-evaluation procedures in 2005-06, a decrease of
over 20% from previous years (Figure 71).

Figure 70: The quality of self-evaluation and self-improvement - Jobskills


10% 50% 35% 5%


14% 50% 32% 4%


24% 60% 15% 1%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

335. On the whole, there has been little improvement over the past two years in the quality
of self-evaluation and self-improvement strategies across the New Deal consortia.
DEL has recently engaged LSDA (NI) to take forward a quality improvement strategy
for New Deal providers (Figure 72).

Figure 71: The quality of self-evaluation and self-improvement - New Deal


9% 51% 25% 15%


12% 38% 27% 23%


15% 58% 8% 19%

Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4

336. In the best practice, there are comprehensive and systematic procedures for
self-evaluation and planning for improvement that are based on first-hand evidence
and informed appropriately by the views of learners, staff and employers.
Weaknesses in procedures include limited strategies at senior management level for
monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the improvement plan, and insufficient
allocation of resources to the key priorities. Self-evaluation reports do not make good
enough use of key performance data, either qualitative or quantitative, to help
decision-making and to inform improvement planning.


The Chief Inspector’s Report 2004-06