The government has pledged £10 million over the next two years to increase the number of degree apprenticeships, allowing more people to gain a high-level qualification while working.
Of the fund, around £8 million will be used to support universities to design and deliver new degree apprenticeships, with the remaining £2 million focused on encouraging more learners to choose the route.
School leavers are ‘overlooked’, say Lords
Budget 2016: Key points on education, lifelong learning and apprenticeships
School libraries ‘face cuts or closure’
Business secretary Sajid Javid launched the fund last week during a visit to Manchester Metropolitan University. Manchester Met delivers degree apprenticeships in three areas, including the Tech Partnership’s Tech and Digital Solutions BSc, which has already attracted more than sixty students in its first year of operation.
Javid said: “We launched degree apprenticeships to unlock life changing opportunities for young people and give businesses the skills they need. This multi-million pound fund will go further in helping universities and employers design new top quality degree apprenticeships and open doors to our young people.”
Students are working with major companies including Barclays, Lloyds and Astra Zeneca, as well as with local employers, and gaining hands-on technical expertise alongside business insight, interpersonal skills and project management experience.
Degree apprenticeships help employers tailor the skills of highly capable recruits to their exact business needs, and offer apprentices the chance to gain a rigorous academic qualification without debt.
The apprentices are recruited by employers, and then spend approximately 24 days a year at the university working towards a degree. Government funds two thirds of the cost of the degree, up to a maximum of £18,000, and employers pay the apprentice a wage and contribute the other third of the cost of the degree.
Companies worked through the Tech Partnership to develop the curriculum alongside universities from the outset, making course content instantly applicable to industry. Among those involved were Accenture, BT, Capgemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HMRC, Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Lewis, and Network Rail.
Bob Clift, Head of HE at the Tech Partnership, added, “This is a real vote of confidence by the government in degree apprentices, and reflects the fact that they are highly attractive both to apprentices and employers.
With nine universities already offering the Tech Partnership’s Digital and Technology Solutions programme, and a further six in the pipeline, we can expect significantly more universities and young people to benefit from them, and to contribute to the UK’s healthy and growing tech sector.”