TOPRA rated ‘Good’ education provider by Ofsted

Posted on 2 February 2024

Ofsted has judged TOPRA as ‘Good’ in all areas in its recent full inspection of the training programme for the Level 7 Regulatory Affairs Specialist Apprenticeship. The apprenticeship is a work-based training programme with two dedicated pathways that enable apprentices to develop their skills and expertise in either medicines/advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) or medical devices. 

Ofsted commented in its report that: ‘apprentices value the wealth of knowledge and experience teachers have in their field’ and highlighted how ‘apprentices highly appreciate the opportunity to be part of the professional membership network they join as part of their course.’ 

This was TOPRA’s first full inspection since Ofsted began inspecting the provision of apprenticeship training. It follows on from the regulator’s visit in June 2022 to perform an Early Monitoring Visit in which it assesses the quality of new providers. At that time, inspectors were satisfied that TOPRA had made ‘reasonable progress’ in its programme development and, crucially, in support of its apprentices. 

“The learnings that apprentices bring into the workplace enables their businesses to grow, and their support often extends beyond the supervisor or mentor to the apprentices’ wider group of colleagues,” said Elizabeth Brookfield, TOPRA’s Director of Professional Development. “We should also recognise all the support and dedication that employers bring that is of clear benefit to our apprentices and helping to shape their careers,” she concluded. 

Within TOPRA, the apprenticeship programme receives governance through an oversight board drawn from its membership consisting of volunteers who bring extensive industry experience to the organisation’s education provision. 

“We are delighted that TOPRA is able to support these brilliant individuals, and that they have been welcomed into our community as they establish their careers,” said Paul Browning, Chair of TOPRA’s Apprentice Oversight Group. “We hope this continues and that they continue to evolve and grow through engagement within our community, moving into leadership roles within it.”  

Kevin Pay, TOPRA’s Chief Executive, added: “We remain grateful to our amazing community of volunteers who regularly give up their time and energy to support our training programme. I thank every one of them for their contribution to these apprentices and the others who have attended our courses, and we celebrate this achievement.” 

Comments from Ofsted’s report on the quality of teaching from our expert speakers include: 

  • “Apprentices value the wealth of knowledge and experience teachers have in their field.” 
  • “Teachers plan useful tasks to help apprentices remember new knowledge such as designing well-structured case studies that apprentices work through in small groups.” 
  • “Teachers change their practice effectively to include regular question and answer sessions and quizzes.” 

Comments from Ofsted’s report on the apprentices' learning experience include: 

  • “Apprentices gain valuable skills and knowledge that help them in their leadership roles.” 
  • “Apprentices highly appreciate the opportunity to be part of the professional membership network they join as part of their course. They voluntarily take part in useful activities outside of their training, such as special interest groups.” 
  • “Apprentices learn new skills and knowledge that they use in international settings.” 

Comments from Ofsted about apprentices in their workplace include: 

  • “[In the workplace] apprentices have the necessary opportunities to apply at work what they have learned in workshops.” 
  • “Apprentices take on roles such as assistant project lead where they learn from experienced colleagues. As a result, apprentices make substantial progress at work.”