Degree Apprenticeships Are on Their Way

Degree Apprenticeships Are on Their Way

19th March 2015

We’ve already published blog posts both explaining construction industry apprenticeships and highlighting the benefits to companies taking on apprentices under the scheme.  Prime Minister, David Cameron recently announced plans for nine new industry-designed degree apprenticeships, including in engineering and chartered surveying.  Universities, colleges and businesses will collaborate to develop practical courses that will combine the type of academic knowledge gained by following a traditional degree course with practical experience. 

This innovative plan will mean that degree apprentices will divide their time between normal university study, including attending lectures and working to gain on the job experience.  This means that the students will gain experience of holding down a job (an important issue these days) and earning a wage while working towards a full honours university degree. 

The degree apprenticeships are designed to provide the skills for a wide range of digital jobs and are set to revolutionise the way young people develop their digital skills.  Backed by both government and industry, the qualifications should help to fill a million vacancies that are expected in the digital sector in the coming decade. 

Prospective apprentices will apply to the companies offering the programmes when the vacancies are advertised and the companies will then work with the relevant universities and educational establishments to select the students most likely to succeed in both achieving their degrees and in their chosen careers.

The UK government will fund two thirds of the costs of the training and course fees (up to a maximum cap) and the employers will pay the apprentices a wage and contribute to the other third of the costs of training and course fees.  This has come about as a result of £20 million of funding announced during the 2014 Budget.  The first Degree Apprenticeships are due to start in September 2015

So far it’s not known how long students on the scheme would be expected to study in order to obtain the degrees and the total number of apprenticeships offered will depend wholly on how many prospective employers engage with the scheme.  To date, the initial set of prospective employers have committed to providing 150 places in September with companies like BT, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HMRC and John Lewis jumping on the bandwagon right from the off.

The education institutions that will take part in developing and delivering the courses are Aston University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Loughborough University, University College London and the universities of Greenwich, Winchester, Exeter and the West of England.  The principal teaching fellow of University College London, Richard Hettinger revealed that the university is delighted to be collaborating with employers and the government in order to create new apprenticeships, claiming the courses will represent a new route for young people to build careers with the support of government.