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Saturday, 7 December

Getting the First Degree

A new multi-million pound fund to increase the number of degree apprenticeships available to young people has been introduced by the government.

The scheme was launched by Business Secretary Sajid Javid on a visit to Manchester Metropolitan University before he set off for Australia for an ill-timed visit when the steel industry crisis broke.

First introduced in September last year, degree apprenticeships allow for the study for a full Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree while working.

Universities and employers are said to be ‘getting on board’ with institutions including Sheffield Hallam University and Queen Mary’s University London working in partnership with top employers such as TFL, Nestlé and BAE Systems, although questions will be asked if £10 million will be sufficient.

Of the money provided, £8 million will be focused on supporting universities to design and deliver new degree apprenticeships while a further £2 million will be devoted to encouraging more learners to choose degree apprenticeships. The fund will run for the next two years and the process for universities bidding for the funds will be announced in April 2016.

Research from Universities UK published as part of National Apprenticeship Week found that although degree apprenticeships are relatively new, numbers are growing with an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 starts for 2016 across 40 universities.

 

Partnership with employers

“Degree Apprenticeships are a logical extension of our approach to education and we are keen to develop them further in partnership with employers both within Greater Manchester and nationally,” stated Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University. “We are proud of the contribution that Manchester Met makes in nurturing graduates with the necessary education and training to flourish in their careers and to help industry thrive. In particular as the UK's leading university for widening participation, we are determined to make a significant contribution towards the Prime Minister's 2020 targets.”

More than 60 people are already studying at Manchester Metropolitan University as part of their Digital and Technology Solutions Professional degree apprenticeship. The course sees students working in employers such as Barclays, Lloyds and Astra Zeneca and with local employers Reality Mine, and Mc2. The university is planning to deliver a chartered manager degree apprenticeship from September 2016 with major national employers.

Provisional figures released recently show a dramatic increase in the number of people starting higher apprenticeships. The official figures show that there were more than 30,000 people on higher apprenticeships between August 2015 to January 2016. The figures also show that there are more young people staring apprenticeships with over 84,000 starts by under 19-year-olds between August 2015 to January 2016.

Picture: Business Secretary Sajid Javid (far right) on a visit to Manchester Metropolitan University during the launch of the degree apprenticeship fund

 

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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