Maddalaine Ansell, Chief Executive of University Alliance, British universities geared towards industry and the professions, today welcome the expansion of Degree Apprenticeships by BIS. She said:
“The UK’s great strength lies in the diverse opportunities for young people to gain skills and maximise their life chances. However, many attempts to reform 14-19 education over recent years have failed to bridge the academic-vocational divide.
“We believe a holistic approach is essential to deliver the highly-skilled and job-ready workforce the UK needs to drive forward growth and innovation in our economy, while also offering young people an additional accessible and attractive way to unlock their talent. That is why it is important that initiatives such as Degree Apprenticeships are additional to, not instead of, young people going to university.
“Employer engagement is crucial to the success of this programme. Every effort should be made to involve them early in the design of the programmes, particularly through existing representative bodies, to ensure the skills Degree Apprenticeship lead to are highly-transferable and high-value, not just for employers but for the young people who choose to apply for them.
“Alliance universities are well placed to help develop and implement this programme due to their strengths in subject areas closely linked to the needs of the economy such as engineering, design and digital industries. Working effectively with partners is ingrained within our universities’ approach, including building dynamic and strong relationships with both education providers and employers. We have considerable experience of working successfully with a broad range of employers to deliver highly employable graduates that are ready to hit the ground running.
“We will look forward to working with BIS on this initiative, in particular on helping to address some of the practical challenges of delivering this ambitious programme such as ensuring geographical spread and engaging employers.”