Posted : 3 months ago by Samuel Taylor

DEGREE APPRENTICESHIP: VOICES FROM THE FRONTLINE

DEGREE APPRENTICESHIP: VOICES FROM THE FRONTLINE

Impact, Policy and Good Practice Guide 2024



Most employers believe degree apprenticeships are key to attracting talent and growing their business
. Yet, a majority would discontinue them without support from the government’s apprenticeship levy. 

This is according to the findings of a national study, funded by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), which draws on the responses of almost 150 employers ranging from SMEs to multi-national companies.

The study was led by Professor Raheel Nawaz, Pro Vice Chancellor at Staffordshire University, and involved academics from 12 other institutions including universities from diverse mission groups, further and higher education colleges, and policy organisations. The study also gathered views of more than 1000 degree apprentices from diverse backgrounds and almost 250 teachers and trainers delivering degree apprenticeships.

Notably, more than 80 per cent of apprentices expressed satisfaction with the teaching quality and 82 per cent said that degree apprenticeships were helping their career progression.

However, just 5 per cent said they were helped to apply for degree apprenticeships by their school and college and nearly half felt that apprenticeships were not held in the same esteem as traditional degree courses.

Professor Nawaz said: “The significant potential of degree apprenticeships to economic growth has been recognised in the government’s recent announcement about investing a further £60 million to enable 20,000 more apprenticeships. This is on top of the £40 million degree apprenticeships development fund launched in September 2023.”

“We also welcome the fact that the government wants to level up opportunities to SMEs by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21. UCAS have also launched a new apprenticeships service allowing students to explore degree apprenticeship opportunities. Nevertheless, our findings show there is still a long way to go for achieving parity of esteem and equity of opportunity.”

He added “Understanding the true impact of degree apprenticeships, identifying underlying challenges, and deciphering the motivations of key stakeholders is crucial for enabling and optimizing the skills revolution.

“This was the driving force behind our research team’s comprehensive national survey, a collaborative enhancement project funded by QAA and the first of its kind to delve into these critical aspects in a sector representative and statistically significant manner.”

 

The report Degree Apprenticeship: Voices from the Frontline – Impact, Policy and Good Practice Guide was launched as part of the QAA apprenticeships webinar. Key findings include:

  • 99% of employers consider the apprenticeship levy to be crucial for programme sustainability. Without it, most employers (68%) would discontinue degree apprenticeships.
  • 95% of employers believe that degree apprenticeships enable achievement of their strategic goals, with 93% stating that degree apprenticeships are pivotal in fostering future business growth. Moreover, 95% of employers consider degree apprenticeships to be an effective vehicle for attracting and retaining talent.
  • 77% of employers and 66% of apprentices report that their degree apprenticeship assessments are tailored for their work environments, and 44% of employers have someone in their organization contributing to the teaching sessions,
  • 82% of apprentices state that the programme is facilitating their career progression, with 80% expressing satisfaction with teaching quality. A majority (55%) of training providers offer dedicated additional academic support for apprentices.
  • Only 5% of apprentices received support for degree apprenticeship applications from their school or college, and nearly half (47%) feel that degree apprenticeships are not held in the same esteem as other university courses.

 

The report makes several recommendations which includes a call on government to sustain the apprenticeship levy to ensure continued growth and accessibility of degree apprenticeships.

It also recommends that training providers and employers introduce a more structured and tailored approach to delivery thereby improving the learning experience and support for degree apprentices and strengthening the relationship between partners.

The report findings have been welcomed by Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education who plans to build on the successes of degree apprentices. Writing in the report he said: ”Our reforms to apprenticeships – which have driven quality up and increased their relevance for employers – have been underpinned by the Apprenticeship Levy. This report identifies that most employers would discontinue degree apprenticeships without the levy, and that almost all consider it to be vital to their financial sustainability.

“This report also re-affirms the positive results of Degree Apprenticeship programmes and describes how we can make them even better. It complements the Department for

Education’s wider work showing that overall, satisfaction with apprenticeships remains high. This comes as no surprise, given the level of collaboration between universities, colleges and industry highlighted here.”

 

Read the report HERE

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