Apprentices 'often not wearing gloves' at windscreen academy

Rain droplets on car windscreen

Apprentices at a windscreen academy were often not using gloves, according to Ofsted - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Apprentices at an academy training them to repair windscreens and vehicle glass often did not wear protective equipment like gloves or sleeves, an education watchdog has said.

Ofsted said the Independent Windscreen Academy Ltd in Colchester had made insufficient progress after a monitoring visit in December 2021.

The academy, which trades as the Automotive Glazing Academy, says inspectors did not visit any learners on site and Ofsted’s findings came from feedback from a trainer.

The Ofsted report continued to say staff and apprentices do not carry out work without the correct equipment.

The Independent Windscreen Academy is an independent learning provider, which started to provide the level 3 automotive glazing technician standard-based apprenticeship for directly funded apprentices in November 2019.

According to an Ofsted report published on February 2, leaders at the academy had not delivered an “effective” safeguarding culture, for example the designated safeguarding officer had not completed “suitable” training.

A section read: “Leaders have been slow to protect apprentices against the immediate health and safety work risks that place them at harm.

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“Apprentices often do not wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as cut-resistant gloves and sleeves.

“This puts apprentices at severe risk of injury at work.”

Additionally, the report said a coherent programme had not been implemented, apprentices were not ensured to receive off-the-job training and they and employers did not have a clear understanding of training expectations.

Consequently, apprentices were making slow progress.

Apprentices had a “very poor” learning experience throughout the programme and there is no clear plan on how this will be improved, the report continued.

Most apprentices need to receive English and Maths qualifications as part of their apprenticeship, but according to the report training for this had not been received.

However, academy leaders did have well-established links with employers and recruited apprentices into appropriate jobs.

But individualised programmes were still lacking, the report continues.

Maria Charlton, director at the Automotive Glazing Academy, said in a statement: “We advised the employer that we could not carry out assessments on the apprentices based on the fact the employee did not have the required PPE and this is what was reported to the Ofsted inspectors to demonstrate how we as a trainer provider support the industry in regards to safety and good practice.

“None of our learners or my staff would ever carry out any glazing work without the relevant PPE, the Ofsted inspectors did not visit any of our learners on site, the comment was made on feedback from one of our trainers who told them we as a trainer provider have challenges with employers who are not providing the correct PPE, but once advised they action it where we are able to proceed with our delivery.

“We are passionate about our delivery in Automotive Glazing and have many examples of companies practising safe and competent technicians trained in this skill.”