The government has announced the introduction of nine new industry-designed Degree Apprenticeships, aiming to combine the best aspects of higher and vocational education.
Businesses, universities and colleges will work together to develop practical, vocational degree courses that will allow people to develop academic skills alongside hands-on experience. The qualifications will be offered in key areas including chartered surveying, aerospace engineering and nuclear.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Equipping people with the skills they need to get on in life and backing businesses to create jobs are key parts of our long-term economic plan. Degree Apprenticeships will give people a great head start, combining a full degree with the real practical skills gained in work and the financial security of a regular pay packet. They will bring the world of business and the world of education closer together, and let us build the high-level technical skills needed for the jobs of the future. I want to see many more businesses and universities begin to offer them.”
Employers and educators have already pledged their support for this new model, with more than 100 companies and 20 universities across the UK working to develop courses so far.
Apprentices will split their time between study in a university and work placements and will be employed throughout the duration of the course, earning a wage while they earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in their chosen profession.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“Degree Apprenticeships will bring together the very best of higher and vocational education, and allow apprentices to achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree, whilst training on the job.”
“With more than 2.1 million apprenticeships created since 2010, these innovative qualifications combine academic and practical training to provide new and attractive routes in to work. Backed by industry and our top education institutions, they will help ensure we meet the skills gap and give people across the country the chance of a great start to their working lives.”
Degree Apprenticeships are expected to be suitable for both small and large businesses, and SMEs involved in the programme so far have said how it could give them better access to graduate-level talent.