14 March 2016
As National Apprenticeship Week celebrates the positive impact of apprentices and apprentice employers across the country, Aston University is spearheading the drive to tackle the UK’s acute computing skills gap by delivering an innovative work-based Degree Apprenticeship.
The Degree Apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions allows students to take up a full-time IT job and complete an Aston Honours degree while earning a professional wage throughout, with the Government and partner employers covering all tuition fees.
The research-led curriculum is designed by Aston, with considerable input from ICT employers, such as consultancy and outsourcing services group Capgemini, to be directly relevant to the requirements of industry. The curriculum is endorsed by the Tech Partnership.
Aston has been working with Capgemini since April 2014, when the first cohort of sponsored-degree students enrolled on the course. The programme has been a success, with about two thirds of the first group of students achieving a First Class mark in their exams last year.
Such is the level of momentum and belief behind the Degree Apprenticeship that Aston will roll out the model to other leading IT companies in the near future. The University is also developing a conversion Master’s course that will be delivered in a similar way.
National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 14 - 18 March and is co-ordinated by the Skills Funding Agency, highlights how both apprenticeships and traineeships benefit individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
The Government is committed to three million apprenticeship starts over the next five years. National Apprenticeship Week aims to demonstrate how achieving this ambitious target will up skill the nation and increase productivity.
A recently published University Alliance report found that STEM employers frequently complain that they struggle to find graduates with the right skills. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also warned of a shrinking pool of skilled workers in the UK, with British industry potentially facing a skills gap of 100,000 new graduates each year.