Last week, an ‘Age UK Training’ employee or former employee, spoke to one of our protesters about her work for Age UK, in Ashton-under-Lyne, while we were doing our weekly protest outside Ashton Jobcentre. It seems that she was particularly aggrieved by an email that staff had received from one of our team in respect of an Ofsted report branding Age UK 'inadequate'.
The Ofsted report that was published last month, criticised Age UK for being inadequate for effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning, assessment, outcome for learners, adult learning programmes, apprenticeships and traineeships. The report said:
"Trustees do not hold senior managers sufficiently to account for the deterioration of learners outcomes and the inadequate quality of provision" and "trainers failed to motivate and challenge learners."
The report was also damning about apprenticeship training: "Too many apprentices make slow progress and failed to achieve their qualifications. Learners' performance has significantly declined since the last inspection." It also points out that more than a quarter of all learners failed to attend classes and that "Staff do not develop learners' English and Mathematical skills effectively across all programs of study."
We understand that since publication of the report, all thirteen Age UK centres across the country are now scheduled to close with the loss of around 250 jobs. At the Ashton centre, located in the Stamford Place Building, around 20 people will lose their jobs.
Why successive governments have continued to spend billions of pounds of tax payers money on these fly-by-night, so-called private training providers, who seem to achieve very little in terms of getting people back to sustainable work, is nothing short of a national scandal. It is time that these outfits were put out of business and the work transferred to properly funded adult education colleges who employ suitably qualified and competent staff to provide value for taxpayers money, and suitable and adequate training to help people to get back into work.