5-9 March 2018 is National Apprenticeships Week – a week dedicated to celebrating the success of apprenticeships, whilst encouraging even more people to choose apprenticeships as a pathway to a rewarding career.
Here, Will Curtis, Academic Director (Partnerships) discusses the importance of Degree Apprenticeships and how our innovative approach will help us develop apprenticeship programmes at Warwick.
What are they?
In February 2018, Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, claimed that Degree Apprenticeships could become the ‘crown jewel’ of technical education, with the potential to address skills shortage, enhance social mobility and facilitate economic growth.
The UK Government is investing heavily to promote degree apprenticeships as a high quality alternative to the traditional University degree, and the number and breadth of new courses is increasing dramatically across the sector.
Apprentices are employees who ‘earn-while-they-learn’. They spend 20% of their time ‘off the job’ studying towards a level 6 (bachelor’s equivalent) or 7 (master’s equivalent) qualification that has been co-designed with employers to meet the professional or industrial standards of specific jobs. These programmes are becoming increasingly attractive to prospective students: there are no tuition fees, and the course participants are highly employable. Employers can also see the value of Degree Apprenticeships: enabling them to attract new talent, address skills gaps, increase productivity and utilise their government levy payments.
What are we doing at Warwick?
At Warwick, Degree Apprenticeships are a key component of our developing Education Strategy. Our apprenticeship programmes will complement our existing academic and professional courses and will enhance the richness and diversity of our education provision. Degree Apprenticeships will enable us to contribute to regional employment needs and to enhance our students’ employability and skills. Importantly, they will widen access and participation by introducing alternative entry criteria, new flexible modes of study and new models of delivery.
In partnership with employers, we will create sector-leading Degree Apprenticeships that are responsive to the fast-changing external landscape. Drawing on our existing expertise in work-based learning, innovative teaching and research-informed practice, the new programmes will be flexible, student-centred and innovative. Our apprentices will develop the professional skills and competences to be immediately successful in the workplace, alongside the academic, critical and reflective skills that come through study in a research intensive environment like Warwick.
We are using HEFCE development funding to progress two new Degree Apprenticeships in Social Work and in Civil Engineering due to launch later in 2018 (subject to approval). WMG is building on existing work-based learning expertise to develop a number of Degree Apprenticeships in partnership with companies. They, on behalf of the University, will also be creating a new Degree Apprenticeship Centre, funded by a £10m allocation from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire LEP (subject to due diligence). The new Centre will focus on multidisciplinary engineering-related degree apprenticeships, but also support other subjects such as digital, health and management. Students who are learning through work at companies will come to campus for academic study to complement their practical experience.
We are also investing in new central infrastructure, specialist staffing and facilities, and developing our systems and expertise to ensure that we can support academic departments to design and manage degree apprenticeship courses in a joined-up cross-University way.
Find out more
If you’d like to find out more about Degree Apprenticeships at Warwick, and how your department might benefit, visit the webpages at warwick.ac.uk/study/degreeapprenticeships
Academic Director (Partnerships)
Find out more
If you’d like to find out more about Degree Apprenticeships at Warwick, and how your department might benefit, visit the webpages at warwick.ac.uk/study/