Two Million Apprenticeship Starts this Parliament – 9th December 2014

A Development of Note for the HE Sector

The rapid growth of Apprenticeship in England is demonstrated by today’s announcement of the two millionth Apprenticeship start this Parliament.

See the press release here.

In the past such an announcement may well have passed the HE sector by with Apprenticeships being seen as largely focused on lower and craft level occupations. Although the vast majority of Apprenticeships starts are currently at level 2 (GCSE level equivalent) and level 3 (A level equivalent) Apprenticeship is of increasing relevance to universities for a range of reasons:

  • Apprenticeships are available at university level, from Certificate of Higher Education to Masters degree level. Indeed, as at August 2014, approximately 40% of the new employer-developed Apprenticeship standards defining the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for an occupation were at HE level
  • When at university level, employers have the option to use a higher education qualification e.g. a degree to accredit the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to complete the Apprenticeship
  • Apprenticeships are being developed in ‘core’ HE territory – Apprenticeship standards have been developed for occupations including; professional accountant, automotive manufacturing engineer, software developer and solicitor. The Secretary of State’s announcement today also included a further list of Apprenticeship standards many of which are at HE level including: Construction Quantity Surveyor, Construction Design Manager, Construction Management, Building Service Engineer Site Manager and Lead Adult Care Worker
  • Employers are in the driving seat for Apprenticeship and are, through Apprenticeship standards, defining the knowledge, skills and behaviours an individual needs for a specific occupation
  • For an individual an Apprenticeship provides a job from day one and a way to get the skills and knowledge required for an occupation. With Government and employers paying the costs of learning and accreditation a learner avoids the debt often associated with higher education. Learners also earn while they learn
  • Government co-invests with employers on a £2 for £1 basis in the cost of Apprenticeship delivery and assessment. Government co-investment also applies when HE qualifications are used in Apprenticeship
  • Political parties of all colours like Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships help tackle youth unemployment, increase the skills and competence of the workforce and increasingly also provide a way to enhance social mobility and open up pathways to the professions. The National Audit Office estimates that Apprenticeships deliver £18 of economic benefits for each £1 of Government investment.

Increasing numbers of universities, colleges, independent providers and awarding organisations are exploring the potential of Apprenticeship at HE levels. For more information on how to get involved please contact UVAC’s Chief Executive Adrian Anderson [email protected]

The following event may also be of interest:

SFA/UUK event: Growing higher apprenticeships to meet higher level skills needs

Date:  Thursday, 29th January 2015
Time:   10.00 to 15.30
Venue:  Universities UK, Tavistock Square, London

This conference, organised by the Skills Funding Agency and University UK, will set out the new opportunities for Higher Education Institutions offered through the rapidly expanding Higher Apprenticeship programme. The event free to attend. For more information click here.