engineering 2021

It’s said that curiosity is the engine of achievement and therein lies the success of TTE’s educational programmes.

The last time TTE was examined by Ofsted, in 2017, we were deemed outstanding, a wonderful accolade it’s true, but also one that is deserved.

What makes TTE stand out is the collaboration between our apprentices and learners and our staff.

Ofsted inspectors reported that: “Apprentices take great pride in their work; they achieve consistently high standards on their programme and in their workplace.”

While they also said that: “Leaders and managers have been highly successful in establishing an aspirational culture throughout TTE. They recognise and value the positive contribution that their apprentices make to employers in the region.”

This synergy has created an environment where achievement is not only strived for but expected. Our expectations of those who come in through our doors is high. It has to be, because it is what employers in the engineering and process manufacturing sectors that we serve demand.

Our learners and apprentices turn our expectations into reality. We’ve all worked hard to arrive at this position and none of us will take our feet off the gas.

Arguably the most important sentences in the entire Ofsted report are these: “…almost all apprentices achieve their apprenticeship by their planned end date and progress into sustainable employment.”

And: “Learners on 16 to 19 study programmes are prepared thoroughly for their next steps, and the majority progress to employment or apprenticeships in the engineering industry.”

How Do We Get Here?

Ofsted’s catchline is: ‘Raising standards, improving lives’. It’s something that we fully buy into. At every stage we challenge and we support and our young people respond.

Our tutors and training officers know that going through the educational motions is not enough. Greater understanding of tasks and the skills needed to complete them come from providing highly effective feedback ensuring that learners and apprentices know what progress they are making and how to improve.

And we challenge ourselves. How can we talk the talk, if we don’t also do the walking? As one might expect, tutors and training officers at TTE are well qualified and have extensive experience of the subjects they teach, but they don’t rest on their laurels. They return to industry regularly to update their knowledge and skills to ensure that they are providing learners and apprentices with up-to-date information.

And our learners and apprentices know this and are appreciative of these efforts and acknowledge that it has a direct bearing on their own career development.

Our apprentices take great pride in their work to meet the exacting standards of the employers for whom they work, knowing how failure to meet these standards could adversely affect their employers’ productivity and reputation.

We therefore encourage discussion and debate because it enriches learning and we build teamwork skills with our apprentices who work cooperatively with their peers and support each other in their learning.

Meanwhile our learners benefit considerably from visits to a range of different engineering employers, through work placements and site visits, to enable them to make informed choices about the type of engineering or process manufacturing that they want to enter.

And this is key. It’s all very well teaching but we ensure that the circle is squared by not only giving them advice and guidance about their programmes of study and how it can be applied to a work setting, but also by giving them regular advice from industrial specialists to help them make the correct career choices for their preferred disciplines.

And none of what they learn is useful if the curriculum is out of date and that is reviewed annually to ensure that it is meeting the exacting requirements of all the employers with whom we work.

So, it’s a collaborative approach that pays dividends: employers have highly trained apprentices with the appropriate knowledge, skills and understanding to make a very effective contribution to their business.

Clearly this is just scratching the surface of what we do and what we get back from those that walk through our doors expectantly as the next cohort will do in September. There’s so much more to ‘our family’s’ success and you can read the full Ofsted report here.

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