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Higher Education Employer Trailblazer

A Higher Education Employer Trailblazer consortium is being led by the University of Chichester and Staffordshire University and includes representatives from more than 100 universities, private providers, mission groups and sector bodies.

The consortium is hosted online by Universities UK and is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England through its Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund. It aims to provide information for all institutions/organisations within the higher education sector.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How can my institution get involved?

    The Steering Group itself is now closed to new members for practical reasons of operational efficiency. However, the wider consortium remains open to all HEIs, with other organisations offered observer status.
    Any HEIs interested in joining the consortium should contact Gilmar Queiros (Gilmar.Queiros@universitiesuk.ac.uk) in order to be added to the list of members and to receive regular updates on the progress of the HE Employer trailblazer. 

  2. My institution is listed as a member. How can I find out who’s the point of contact involved?

    In order to find out who’s your institution’s member of staff involved in the HE Trailblazer, please email Gilmar Queiros (Gilmar.Queiros@universitiesuk.ac.uk).

  3.  How are you consulting with the HE sector?

    The HE Trailblazer and its respective working groups cover a wide representation of HEIs across England to ensure the apprenticeship standards meet specific needs of the HE sector. In order to consult with the wider sector, the HE Employer Trailblazer organised an open-consultation on 9th December, 2016 at Regent’s University London. The Trailblazer aims to organise other consultations in order to ensure that the standards developed by the consortium reflect the demands of the sector.

HE Trailblazer origins

Early in 2016, the increasing interest in degree apprenticeships within a number of universities prompted thoughts about the development of apprenticeship standards for their own workforce. Two regional groups emerged led by Sarah Tudor (Director of Employer Partnerships) and Professor Jane Longmore (former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic at Southampton Solent University and now Vice-Chancellor at the University of Chichester). As major employers, higher education institutions were in line for significant contributions to the proposed Apprenticeship Levy. It soon became apparent that the two groups shared a common objective and, with the help of the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC), they merged to form a single consortium led by the co-convenors.

Developments of the HE Trailblazer

An expression of interest to develop three new standards for academic professionals, university administrators and funding managers was submitted by the initial consortium at the end of April.
The Academic Professional Standard has been cleared by the DfE for development to the next stage; a draft was shared with the wider sector at an open consultation at Regent’s University on 9th December, 2016. Following the consultation, the standard was amended and revised accordingly in order to meet recommendations set out by the DfE and the IfA. The standard was lastly submitted on the 29th June, 2017. The consortium now waits to hear the IfA's approval. The other two standards, which initially had been referred back to the consortium for further discussion were re-submitted to the DfE on the 23rd November, 2016 as an integrated standard (HE Professional), aimed at covering roles within Professional Services in HE, such as Administrators, Research and Funding Managers, and Knowledge Exchange Professionals. In order to meet the new approvals procedure by the IfA, the HE Professional expression of interest was referred back to the HE Trailblazer. The devolved working group aims to re-submit the HE Professional expression of interest on the 26th July, 2017.

Additionally, the HE Employer Trailblazer has recently started to look into developing a Level 3 Professional HE Assistant Technician apprenticeship standard by combining efforts with the University of Sheffield - who had been leading the discussions on the proposal. The Trailblazer aims to submit the expression of interest for this standard in August, 2017.

Open consultation 2016

On 9th December, 2016 the HE Trailblazer organised an open consultation at Regent's University London to review the draft Academic Professional apprenticeship standard as well as update the sector on other recent relevant developments. With over 80 delegates representing HEI's all across England attending, the consultation provided an opportunity to hear about the development process from members of the particular working group and to directly contribute to the development of the standard to ensure it meets the needs of the sector. A condensed version of the slides showcased on the day, as well as a list of the Q&As are available.


The philosophy of the consortium has been to emphasize flexibility in the design of the standards. From the outset the intention of the consortium has been to be as inclusive as possible in its membership. As most of the HE sector will be paying the apprenticeship levy it is important that the sector is responding with the development of standards to meet its specific needs. The number of employers involved illustrates the level of interest in the area and will hopefully ensure the approved standards are suitable for all types of employers in the sector.


Every type of institution is represented among the members of the consortium. There was recognition, however, that with separate arrangements applying in the devolved administrations, HEIs in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland might not wish to engage at this stage. 

Anglia Ruskin University

Birmingham City University

Brunel University London

Canterbury Christ Church University

Cranfield University

Edge Hill University

Imperial College London

Kingston University

Leeds Trinity University

London Business School

Loughborough University

Milton Keynes College

North Lindsey College

Open University

Plymouth University

Royal College of Art

SOAS, University of London

St Mary's University

The University of Derby

The University of Nottingham

The University of Winchester

University College London

University of Birmingham

University of Brighton

University of Central Lancashire

University of Cumbria

University of Essex

University of Greenwich

University of Hull

University of Leicester

University of Oxford

University of Salford

University of Strathclyde

University of the West of England

University of Wolverhampton

York St. John University

Aston University

Bishop Grosseteste University

Buckinghamshire New University

Cardiff Metropolitan University

De Montfort University

GSM London

Keele University

Lancaster University

Liverpool Hope University

London School of Economics

Manchester Metropolitan University

Newcastle University

Northumbria University

Oxford Brookes University

Queen Mary University of London

Royal Holloway, University of London

Southampton Solent University

Staffordshire University

The University of Manchester

The University of Sheffield

Ulster University

University of Bath

University of Bolton

University of Bristol

University of Chester

University of East Anglia

University of Exeter

University of Hertfordshire

University of Kent

University of Lincoln

University of Portsmouth

University of Southampton

University of Sunderland

University of West London

University of York


Birkbeck, University of London

BPP University

Calderdale College

Coventry University

Durham University

Harper Adams University

King's College London

Leeds Beckett University

Liverpool John Moores University

London South Bank University

Middlesex University

Newman University

Nottingham Trent University

Pearson College London

Regent's University London

Sheffield Hallam University

St George's, University of London

Teesside University

The University of Northampton

The University of Warwick

University College Birmingham

University of Bedfordshire

University of Bradford

University of Cambridge

University of Chichester

University of East London

University of Gloucestershire

University of Huddersfield

University of Leeds

University of Liverpool

University of Roehampton

University of St. Mark and St. John

University of the Arts London

University of Westminster

Writtle University College

Supporting organisations


​Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA)​Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA)​Association of Colleges
​Association of University Administrators (AUA)​British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG)​Committee of University Chairs
​GuildHE ​Higher Education Academy (HEA)​Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
​Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA)​Leadership Foundation for Higher Education​Staff Development Forum
​​The Russell Group
​Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA)​Universities UK
​University Alliance ​University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC)​Vitae
​Yorkshire Universities

 Related links

 The team

Gilmar Queiros

Gilmar Queiros

Policy Intern – HE Trailblazer
Universities UK

Greg Wade

Greg Wade

Programme Manager
Universities UK