Evidencing Social Mobility

Evidencing Social Mobility

Our member Middlesex University launched its latest report Move On Up? at the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2022, which revisits its earlier detailed study in 2021, looking at the impact of their higher and degree apprenticeship provision on social mobility and progression into graduate careers and the professions. This also follows the launch of the report Force For Change: the impact of degree apprenticeships at Manchester Metropolitan University in November last year at UVAC’s national conference.

Middlesex have published an outstanding report written by Dr Finbar Lillis and Prof Darryll Bravenboer. What is so important about this report is the way it looks to reposition the discourse on the use of ‘proxy’ data currently being used to measure social mobility in degree apprenticeships by recommending the use of valid and reliable government tested individual socio-economic measures instead.

The use of apprenticeships to open up new progression routes to the professions and higher skilled and paid roles for all ages is the real opportunity and challenge for social mobility.

Collectively we need to celebrate the fact that apprenticeships, driven in large part by the development of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, are becoming an aspirational choice for individuals of all backgrounds and not just the ‘good choice for other people’s children’. Ensuring individuals in work and those about to enter the workforce can benefit from the expansive opportunity offered by Apprenticeships, particularly at the higher levels, and to encourage higher education providers and stakeholders to evidence this achievement by using more appropriate metrics is the aim.

One of the report’s recommendations is for networks like UVAC and the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) to establish a MoveOnUp? Partnership to start to evidence, promote, and celebrate more consistently, the success in supporting young people and adults’ progression in and through work, using the apprenticeship as the vehicle for delivering the knowledge, skills and behaviours to be occupationally/professionally competent.

Without such an approach, our membership will always be subject to the accusations that degree apprenticeships are subject to a ‘middle class land grab’.

I aim to take forward the report’s recommendations. If you wish to express an interest in being part of this development then contact [email protected].