Apprenticeship courses where you “earn while you learn” at the University of East London have been praised by the government’s education watchdog Ofsted.

Inspectors have given the university its second highest 'good' ranking for 'quality of education, personal development and apprenticeship courses'.

Apprenticeships opened up careers that some students without A-levels had thought were unattainable, the inspectors found. But tutors and workplace managers provided apprentices with guidance and encouragement.

“This recognition reaffirms our commitment to our ‘careers first’ approach,” university vice-chancellor Prof Amanda Broderick said. “We nurture the potential of every individual and make apprenticeships accessible.”

Many apprentices do not have an academic background to go on to higher level courses, the inspectors noted. But they benefit from apprenticeships as a route to education.

An example they found is the civil engineering course open to those who don’t already have A-level maths. Another is NHS healthcare assistants who can go into be nursing associates and registered nurses because of the link with the university campus in Beckton.

These apprentices “embark on careers which they previously did not think possible”, the Ofsted report stressed.

Apprenticeships are integrated into the mainstream university, including people with special educational needs and disabilities who also make progress to apprenticeship standards.