Degree apprenticeships bring together the best of vocational training and higher education and enable apprentices to combine university study with their current or new role.
The pandemic has catapulted businesses and degree apprentices into new ways of working, developing innovative practices and learning.
Many degree apprentices have made an early and profound impact on their businesses, far exceeding what might normally be expected of someone at that level.
Henry Powell, CEO of manufacturing business Inpress Plastics, has seen this first hand and said: ‘The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship offered by the University of Chichester has enabled us to recruit excellent young managerial candidates and turn them into highly productive business managers.‘Our apprentices have flourished by being given early responsibility and support.
‘This has been particularly apparent during the recent Covid crisis when our management team was significantly diminished with illness.
‘Our apprentices stepped up and managed our business for a full week during colleague illness. This included all areas of responsibility in keeping our 24-hour day production running.
‘As we provide medical, health and infrastructure products, this continued production was of great value to our clients.’
What is a degree apprenticeship?
Apprentices are employed by an organisation and attend the University of Chichester part-time during working hours.
Training is funded through the Apprenticeship Levy or via a funding arrangement with the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Prospective students have no tuition fees to pay.
The University has partnered with an array of organisations across the south of England to deliver a variety of both undergraduate and postgraduate degree apprenticeships.
Stuart Brittle, Managing Director of Medisort, has found that working with the University of Chichester has brought benefits in three ways.
He commented: ‘Our apprentice has been given a brilliant opportunity to restart his learning, having not excelled at school. Medisort is accessing new ideas and thoughts and the broad idea of learning has been introduced to the whole team.’
These highly accessible programmes can be for anyone, at any stage of their career and students can choose from a variety of programmes in engineering, digital, social work, and business management.
Apprenticeships provide a variety of benefits as apprentices earn while they learn, have no tuition fees and have a greater earning potential upon completion of their apprenticeship, particularly within the technical industries.
Meanwhile employers receive mutual gains in terms of being able to upskill their existing workforce, being cost-effective by utilising the Apprenticeship Levy and relevant to the employment gaps in the market.
Katherine Bay, a recent degree apprentice in Digital and Technology Solutions Professional (Software Engineer), said: ‘My apprenticeship meant I was equal with my peers who are going off to university, as I would still get a degree but also be ahead of them because I would be getting four years’ work experience at the same time.’