Tue, 27 Nov 2018
RESULTS from the Learner Satisfaction Survey, known as FE Choices, were published in July.
These have now been followed by Employer Satisfaction results and the figures provide a clear indication of what local companies think of colleges and training providers. The survey questioned more than 50,000 employers across England about the training received from their chosen college or provider.
Responses were required from at least 70 per cent of the employers associated with each college or provider in order for the results to be classed as valid.
With the sample size being so large, these results provide a reliable analysis of the business community’s views on colleges and training providers.
“What a year 2018 has been for us,” said WBTC managing director Matt Garvey.
“WBTC was top in the Learner Satisfaction survey and we’ve done it again this time in the Employer Satisfaction survey.
“WBTC was given a score of 94 per cent in both categories, which is not only way above the national average but also the best in Berkshire.
“It points to a service in which our apprentices and their employers feel listened to, valued and receive top quality training."
A national average of 86.2 per cent of employers said that they would recommend their college or provider to others.
Private training providers’ national average was 87.8 per cent, while the national average for FE colleges was lower at 84.4 per cent.
Engineering sector employers generally had the highest levels of satisfaction while agriculture was among the lowest.
Overall satisfaction among all employers was down for 2017-18.
This paints a picture of highly variable levels of services and satisfaction, a sort of postcode lottery for apprenticeships.
Mr Garvey said: “Among other things employers were questioned about the quality of advice and guidance, the ability to influence training content and the communication between employer and provider.
“Given that more and more employers are investing their own money into apprenticeship training, these figures help companies determine where that investment is best placed.
“Clearly those with low satisfaction scores may need to up their game to attract local companies.”
Five benchmarks of quality
Employers considering investing in apprenticeships should use satisfaction survey results as just one measure of a quality college or provider.
The other measures that are helpful include:
National Apprentice Achievement Rates (average is 67 per cent)
Learner Satisfaction Survey Results (median is 86.2 per cent)
Employer Satisfaction Survey Results (median is 86.2 per cent)
Apprentice progression rates (not recorded nationally)
Ofsted Grade of Outstanding – Good – Requires Improvement – Inadequate
Used in combination, these five measures can paint a strong picture of a quality provider, or, indeed, a weak one.
The table below compares some colleges and providers in the 2017-18 Employer Satisfaction Survey.
Employer Satisfaction Survey Results 2017-18
Provider and score
WEST BERKSHIRE TRAINING CONSORTIUM 94.0
BASINGSTOKE ITEC LIMITED 91.5
BASINGSTOKE COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY 88.6
THE WINDSOR FOREST COLLEGES GROUP 87.9
QUBE QUALIFICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT LIMITED 86.7
QA LIMITED 85.6
KEY TRAINING LIMITED 81.1
ASPIRE ACHIEVE ADVANCE LIMITED 78.6
BRACKNELL AND WOKINGHAM COLLEGE 76.7
ACTIVATE LEARNING 67.5
NEWBURY COLLEGE 40.5
Mr Garvey said: “At WBTC we are delighted not just to be the best Berkshire provider when it comes to learner and employer satisfaction, we’re also thrilled to have bucked the national trend.
“While general satisfaction levels have gone down, WBTC’s Learner score was up over six per cent and our employer score remained well over 90 per cent.
“Part of the reason for our high ratings could be the added value services that we offer to our employers.
“As WBTC members, our companies can send any of their staff on our one- and one-and-a-half-day training courses for free.
“This helps build our members’ capacity across their whole business, adding to their confidence when investing in apprentices or work experience.”