Report predicts significant increase in the number of degree apprenticeships

A report today from Universities UK is predicting a significant increase in the number of people opting for degree apprenticeships in England.

Degree apprenticeships – first introduced in 2015 – enable apprentices to split their time between university study and the workplace and, as with other apprenticeships, the cost of course fees are shared between government and employers.

A range of employers – of varying sizes – are already working with universities to offer degree apprenticeships, including Mercedes-Benz, Nestlé, IBM, Airbus and Transport for London.

The report is based on a survey of 66 universities on degree apprenticeship provision in England. It also includes feedback from employers about why they find degree apprenticeships beneficial.

Key findings from the report include:

  • There will be a 658% increase in degree apprentice entrants – from 640 in 2015-16 to 4,850 in 2017-18 (totalling 7,611 across the three years)

  • 88% of universities said their apprentices are mostly based locally

  • 91% of universities surveyed are actively involved with degree apprenticeships

  • Degree apprenticeships are addressing key skills shortages, with chartered management, digital and technology solutions, and engineering representing the top three areas of provision

  • Degree apprenticeships provide opportunities for people who might not have considered university – including part-time and mature students whose numbers have dropped drastically in recent years.

 

The survey also asked universities to list the benefits and challenges of delivering degree apprenticeships. Benefits included the fact that students' fees are paid for and employers' skills needs are more closely met. There were concerns about the continuing lack of awareness among some employers and the public about degree apprenticeships.

Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said: "Universities are constantly striving to be flexible in the kind of qualifications they offer to meet the needs of students and employers. Degree apprenticeships go a long way to addressing this.

"Many people feel they have been left behind in the drive to increase higher level skills in recent years. Degree apprenticeships are an excellent way to get to these harder-to-reach groups while, at the same time, ensuring that what we deliver on campus meets the needs of students, the local area and its employers.

"The report shows that there is a still long way to go in communicating to students and employers how degree apprenticeships work and the mutual benefits. We would urge the government to work with us to do more here as part of its industrial strategy.

"The artificial dividing line between academic and vocational education is gradually disappearing. Degree apprenticeships build on the work that universities already do to deliver skills that employers need."

The report has been published to coincide with National Apprenticeships Week, which takes place from 6–10 March 2017.

 

Notes

  1. The new report Degree apprenticeships: realising opportunities is available to download. For more information, please contact the Universities UK press office on 020 7419 5407 or email pressoffice@universitiesuk.ac.uk 
  2. Some employers are now advertising their new degree apprenticeship vacancies via UCAS. See more at UCAS' career finder page.
  3. For more information about National Apprenticeships Week, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/national-apprenticeship-week-2017

Key Contacts

Steven Jefferies

Steven Jefferies

Head of Media
Universities UK

Eloise Phillips

Eloise Phillips

Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Media Officer
Universities UK

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