Aston University leads the way in degree apprenticeships

  • Aston University identified as a leader in degree apprenticeships
  • Aston University first in country to offer degree apprenticeship programmes
  • First degree apprentices will graduate from Aston University in July 2017
Aston University has been identified as a leader in degree apprenticeships by the head of skills of the Higher Education Funding Council for England at a recent Universities UK conference to inform universities of the opportunities related to degree apprenticeships.

Nicola Turner identified Aston University, along with Manchester Metropolitan University, as leaders from which other institutions could learn.

Aston University was the first university in the country to offer degree apprenticeships. Its first cohort of degree apprentices will graduate in July this year.

Sasha Morgan-Manley, degree apprenticeship lead at Aston University, said:

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for businesses of all sizes to grow their talent from the inside. Whether they are looking to upskill existing staff or bring a new emerging talent into the organisation, apprenticeships ensure the learning delivered is directly applicable to the apprentices’ day-to-day role and so allows the apprentice to add direct value to the business straight away.

Degree apprenticeships are primarily focused in chartered management, digital technology and engineering. The next wave will cover public services, including healthcare, education and training and social work.

At the conference, Stephen North, policy lead for apprenticeships in the Department for Education, noted that once the higher education and research bill has passed through parliament, apprenticeships will become a political priority. Many employers are currently considering what to do with the new levy funding system, he said. More needs to be done to understand supply and demand and the type of applicant that apprenticeships attract, he added.

The apprenticeship levy, which comes into effect on 6 April, requires all employers operating in the UK with a pay bill of over £3 million a year to invest in apprenticeships.