Nicola Turner identified Aston University, along with Manchester Metropolitan University, as leaders from which other institutions could learn.
Aston University was the first university in the country to offer degree apprenticeships. Its first cohort of degree apprentices will graduate in July this year.
Sasha Morgan-Manley, degree apprenticeship lead at Aston University, said:
“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for businesses of all sizes to grow their talent from the inside. Whether they are looking to upskill existing staff or bring a new emerging talent into the organisation, apprenticeships ensure the learning delivered is directly applicable to the apprentices’ day-to-day role and so allows the apprentice to add direct value to the business straight away.
Degree apprenticeships are primarily focused in chartered management, digital technology and engineering. The next wave will cover public services, including healthcare, education and training and social work.
At the conference, Stephen North, policy lead for apprenticeships in the Department for Education, noted that once the higher education and research bill has passed through parliament, apprenticeships will become a political priority. Many employers are currently considering what to do with the new levy funding system, he said. More needs to be done to understand supply and demand and the type of applicant that apprenticeships attract, he added.
The apprenticeship levy, which comes into effect on 6 April, requires all employers operating in the UK with a pay bill of over £3 million a year to invest in apprenticeships.
Notes to the editor
Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has been always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry. True to Aston’s Coat of Arms which bears the word ‘Forward’, in 2016 Aston held a year-long anniversary celebration to recognise its heritage and achievements, but with a focus to drive forward the next stage in the University’s exciting journey. www.aston.ac.uk/50
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