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University selected to drive forward national scheme to grow degree apprenticeships

University of Gloucestershire has been selected to be part of a new £12 million funding initiative by the Office for Students (OfS) to expand the delivery of high-quality degree apprenticeships to meet the skill needs of employers now and in the future.

The University, which offers a range of degree apprenticeships, has been chosen to support a national drive to increase the availability of Level 6 degree apprenticeships and address the shortage of skilled candidates after the first round of a competitive bidding process by the OfS – the independent regulator of higher education in England.

The OfS, which will invest £40 million over the next two years to increase access and provision of degree apprenticeships, has allocated £12 million across selected higher education providers to grow and build capacity and increase equality of opportunity in Level 6 degree apprenticeships provision, which is one of the Department of Education’s key priority areas.

The University will use the support of the OfS to achieve a growth in three programmes related to industries where a particular shortage of skilled professionals has been identified: Healthcare Science Practitioner, Senior and Head of Facilities Management, and Cyber Security Technical Professional.

The University will work with partners in industry to expand capacity of these high-quality degree apprenticeship programmes while being proactive in attracting new learner groups and widening participation. There will be a particular focus on recruiting younger learners and those from groups that are currently under-represented on apprenticeship programmes nationally.

Excellent opportunities for learners

The UK government introduced the degree apprenticeship programme in 2015. A degree apprenticeship allows people to achieve a full undergraduate degree or a master’s degree as well as develop specialist skills associated with their field of employment.

The student fees are covered by the employer and sometimes the Government using the Apprenticeship Levy scheme.

Leonie Burton

Leonie Burton (pictured left), Head of Client Relations in the University’s Business Engagement team, said: “We’re really proud to have been selected by the Office for Students to help expand and build capacity and increase equality of opportunity in degree apprenticeships provision.

“Degree apprenticeships contribute to the diversity of provision in the education sector, enable students to have choice, and contribute to local and regional prosperity and skills development.

“We work with a range of employers to offer a range of degree apprenticeships that provide excellent opportunities for learners to gain the skills they need to succeed across a range of employment areas.

“We look forward to building on our existing partnerships, and developing new connections, to achieve a rapid growth in our degree apprenticeship programmes that have been specifically targeted under the OfS initiative.

“We will be engaging with our communities through a range of activities, including roadshows and maildrops, to ensure we provide opportunities for the recruitment of high-quality candidates from underrepresented groups to all three apprenticeships.”