Skip to content

Sector summary

Work-based learning apprenticeships


Teaching and learning

What's going well

  • Nearly all learners are motivated and enthusiastic about their programmes.
  • Most learners make sound progress. They develop their practical skills and theory knowledge and are valued members of their employer’s workforce.
  • Teachers, trainers and assessors use a wide range of on and off-the-job delivery and assessment methods.
  • Most assessors plan assessments and off-the-job sessions well.
  • Assessors flexibly use different strategies to engage learners and undertake workplace visits when required.

What needs to improve

  • Learner outcomes including timely achievement rates, especially in health and social care, are too low.
  • Very few learners undertake any written work in Welsh.
  • A few employers are reluctant to release learners to attend off-the job in-person or online sessions, especially Essential Skills Wales activities.
  • Overall, tutors and assessors do not successfully engage learners in activities to develop their understanding of radicalisation and extremism well enough.

Care, support and well-being

What's going well

  • All three providers inspected have a strong focus on supporting learners’ well-being and have developed a comprehensive network of specialist support.
  • Assessors and tutors know their learners well and many give strong levels of personal support.
  • All three providers have strengthened their arrangements for the recognition of, and support for, learners’ additional learning needs.
  • Arrangements for the identification of anxiety issues among learners are effective.

What needs to improve

  • A minority of level 3 learners do not take ownership of their programmes and rely too much on assessor support.

Leading and improving

What's going well

  • Across the three providers inspected, partnership working between lead providers, partners and sub-contractors is strong.
  • Senior managers consider local, regional and national priorities well.
  • Each of the three providers has a clear focus on professional learning.

What needs to improve

  • Providers rely too much on their established network of employers. They do not engage employers who have not previously taken part in apprenticeship training well enough.
  • The number of apprentices recruited, particularly within key sectors such as health and social care, is too low. The reduction in apprenticeship recruitment across Wales is a challenge facing the sector.

Overview of recommendations from inspections


Three providers of apprenticeships were inspected in 2022-2023.

  • Each of the three inspections resulted in a recommendation for the providers to improve the success and timely completion rates of learners in underperforming programmes and learning areas.
  • Across the three inspections, providers were given recommendations to make sure that all tutors and assessors effectively supported learners with the wider aspects of their development, including literacy and numeracy skills, Welsh language ability and their understanding of radicalisation and extremism.

Reflective questions

Questions to help guide providers’ improvement planning processes:

  • How clear are the aims and objectives of any plans relating to key improvement initiatives?
  • To what degree do project plans set specific objectives that have appropriate impact measures, with clear timescales and named leads? 
  • How effectively does the provider allocate resources, including staff members’ time, to ensure the success of its improvement work? 
  • How effectively do leaders monitor progress against their improvement plans and use this information to identify actions that need further attention?
  • How effectively do overall evaluations identify the key lessons learnt when projects are completed?
  • How are lessons learnt used to benefit the planning of future projects or initiatives?
  • How well does the provider draw on a wide range of evidence to inform its evaluation and improvement work?
  • How well does the provider take account of the views of learners and employers when evaluating the impact of key improvement initiatives?

Effective practice

To read about individual providers that are working effectively in specific aspects of their work, visit our effective practice summary page for 2022-2023