Posted : 9 days ago by Samuel Taylor

Honorary Doctorate Awarded to Adrian Anderson, former Chief Executive of UVAC, by UVAC Board Chair, Professor Graham Baldwin, VC of UCLan.

Honorary Doctorate Awarded to Adrian Anderson, former Chief Executive of UVAC, by UVAC Board Chair, Professor Graham Baldwin, VC of UCLan.

Today, 11 July 2024, UVAC’s former chief executive, Adrian Anderson, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Central Lancashire, one of the most prestigious awards the university can bestow. A truly great moment, this award is in recognition of Adrian’s work on higher and degree apprenticeships to the benefit of the higher education (HE) sector in the UK. 


Dr Adrian Anderson was chief executive of UVAC from 2007 until 2021 and led work on Westminster Government’s flagship higher and degree apprenticeship programme. Adrian has been, without doubt, one of the most authoritative voices on all aspects of the policy and operational requirements of higher and degree apprenticeships and under his stewardship built the capacity and expertise of UVAC as an influential and innovative mission and membership group. Adrian was instrumental in capturing and defending approaches to support social mobility and opening-up opportunities to all who are able to benefit from the development and delivery of level 6 and level 7 apprenticeships. He invested substantially in supporting the sector though research, sharing of good practice and advice in this area particularly with regards to those key degree apprenticeships that have the biggest impact on social mobility and diversity: degree apprenticeships for police constables, social workers and in nursing, for example.


Adrian’s effort and commitment to the reform to apprenticeships in England made a significant contribution to the shape of apprenticeship policy. It is now the case higher and degree apprenticeships (and the role of universities in their delivery) are recognised as an important contributor of apprenticeship provision. This has only been achieved because of Adrian’s early vision and mission for high quality, high level apprenticeships and their potential benefit to the UK economy and society and to individuals’ ambitions to gain access to professional careers. During his tenure, Adrian was the go-to-opinion sought by vice-chancellors and government policy advisers alike.


Adrian always maintained a high level of confidence that universities, colleges and training providers have the necessary vision and expertise to deliver on the demand for higher level skills and technical and professional occupations and took on the responsibility to force a necessary step change in HE to respond to the opportunities that higher and degree apprenticeships present. It was Adrian’s maintained confidence in the university sector to rise to the challenge to meet the needs of employers and to explore new methods of teaching and learning that has resulted in over 100 higher education providers (HEPs) enter the market to deliver apprenticeships in England. Indeed, the support that Adrian initiated for universities through his expert guidance has been instrumental in enabling HEPs of all sizes, types and from across all mission groups to respond to opportunities. Adrian’s ambition for an expansive apprenticeship offer with a strong, high quality, component at higher and degree level, has been achieved.


Through his work he has enhanced the brand of apprenticeships which now present a welcomed ladder of opportunity to support social mobility and increased access to learning in HE. Most importantly, he has defined the legacy of HE in apprenticeships. The description and articulation of the apprenticeship system as providing possibilities for a progression pathway from craft and trade through technician, associate professional, managerial, professional and higher-level skills learning up to and including master’s degrees belongs almost exclusively to him. Not former Minister Robert Halfon or former Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan; they simply saw a brilliant invention already championed and supported by Adrian and delivered by UVAC’s members.


Notwithstanding the enormity of Adrian’s influence in apprenticeships, he has also been a long-time champion of the role of HE in skills and work-based, work-integrated learning that supports progression for all learners from all backgrounds. 


Congratulations, Dr Anderson.






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