Alliance universities joined by Minister for roundtable on apprenticeship and skills

Earlier this week, UA and our member Vice-Chancellors were delighted to be joined by the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan MP to discuss our shared ambitions and the role Alliance universities can play in upskilling, reskilling and supporting progression through technical routes.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

T-levels a vital progression route

During the meeting we heard from Minister Keegan on her priorities in office, which include the promotion and development of the T-levels agenda. As professional and technical universities, these qualifications play to the strengths of our mission and we were pleased to share our support for them with the Minister. We welcome the qualifications as a vital progression route and our members are committed to them within our institutions.

Degree Apprenticeships can be the future

The group also discussed how we can work together with the Minister to strengthen opportunities available through higher-level apprenticeships. As pioneers in higher technical education, Alliance universities use their partnerships with industry to develop and deliver degree apprenticeships, which are a valuable route to widening participation to professions, and diversifying the workforce.

Working with FE and reskilling the workforce

Both HE and FE institutions have a vital role to play in the up-skilling and re-skilling efforts needed to help the UK weather the challenging economic period ahead and create the highly skilled workforce we need for the long-term. And rather than emphasise a false divide between the two, the government should build a world-class ecosystem which incentivises greater joined-up working to meet local and regional needs.

With their long-established partnerships with local FE providers, Alliance universities are already drawing on this local collaboration to deliver pathways and opportunity, particularly at levels 4 and 5, and hope that future reforms prioritise this collaboration.

With the ongoing economic and social challenges posed by the pandemic, Alliance universities are have a vital role to play. Embedded in our communities, we have the expertise and partnerships with employers to find solutions to skills gaps.

We hope to continue to work closely with the Minister, and work together to raise the profile and understanding of the great technical education routes within higher education and the benefits they bring for students, businesses, communities, and the economy.

Further reading