APPRENTICES at an academy training them to repair windscreens often did not wear protective equipment, an education watchdog has said.

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

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

The Independent Windscreen Academy started to provide automotive glazing technician standard-based apprenticeship for directly funded apprentices in November 2019.

According to an Ofsted report, 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.

“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 apprentices were not ensured to receive offthe-job training and they and employers did not have a clear understanding of training expectations.

However, Maria Charlton, director at the Automotive Glazing Academy, said in a statement: “We advised the employer 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 practise.

“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 actioned it.”