Ciara Pryce with NSARE award

The National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering (NSARE) assessed VGC’s rail training using an ‘OFSTED’-based approach to training, and graded VGC ‘outstanding’ in all four key performance areas.

The inspection report said:

VGC Training is outstandingly effective because it delivers high quality training that is thorough, consistently well organised, closely monitored and rigorously reviewed. The company has built up a continuously sound record of improvements in its training provision. Staff show a commitment to the company because they feel valued and supported. They feel that they are playing their part in maintaining high standards in the delivery of programmes and to support the company’s vision for the future.

Outcomes for learners are outstanding, despite the potential barriers to learning presented by the enrolment of many learners from increasingly diverse ethnic origins. Learners are achieving their learning goals, enjoying their learning and record consistently high levels of satisfaction with their programmes. Many of the management team have been promoted from within reflecting positive outcomes from employment opportunities. Learners report that the learning environment is safe and welcoming and that individuals are respected equally. They are made aware of their own duties and responsibilities in creating a safe environment for all rail workers. Safety is embedded in the training programmes, and wide ranging discussion on safety is encouraged to ensure a safety conscious culture throughout learning. In all training delivered there is a strong commitment shown to safe practices being used at all times.

The quality of the training provision is outstanding. Trainers and assessors are knowledgeable and well experienced in the rail industry. Interesting and relevant learning methods and good use of resources challenge the learners and enable them to extend their knowledge, skills and understanding of working on the railway.

Leadership and management of the training and assessment programme are outstanding. Leadership from the top is strategic with clear structures consistently developed across the whole organisation.

The capacity for the VGC group to improve is outstanding. There is a continuity and consistency of approach across both management and staff, which ensures that changes and improvements are well planned and successfully implemented.

“We’re delighted with this result,” said Ciara Pryce, Group Service Director. “We are proud of our rail industry work for clients including Network Rail, BAM Nuttall, Kier, Ferrovial, and Balfour Beatty. Good training makes people safer and more productive, and increases job satisfaction and staff retention; this assessment shows that we are doing well in training people in the rail and construction industry to work safely, competently and confidently.”

Photograph: Ciara Pryce with the award given by NSARE to VGC for the outstanding result.


The NSARE inspection was carried out as part of a national programme of inspection within the railway industry. The judgements for inspections are made against a set of common criteria which are available on the NSARE website. The four key performance indicators (in all of which VGC was rated ‘outstanding’) are:

  • Learning outcomes
  • Quality of provision
  • Leadership and management
  • Capacity to improve


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