With 12 programmes due to start in September 2020, Higher and degree apprenticeships continue to go from strength to strength at the University of Gloucestershire, in spite of the Coronavirus crisis.
New degree apprenticeships in digital marketing and control engineering will begin in September- the development of these innovative new programmes reflects the fact that employers have expressed the need from greater digitisation in all aspects of their business, from promotion to manufacturing.
September will also see the return of a number of established courses welcoming new cohorts of learners, such as Cyber Security and the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA).
As Dr Polly Pick, Director of Business Engagement and Partnerships explains, work has been underway to prepare for a new normal when next academic year begins: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our learners, our staff and the wider community. As such, over the past few months our estates department has been working tirelessly to assess all our teaching accommodation and to plan how we will be able to resume some activities on campus, whilst maintaining social distancing.
All being well, from September, we are planning to deliver our apprenticeships through what we call a blended approach. This will include some online lectures, combined with other activities that will take place on campus and will be face to face – for example, small group tutorials and project work. Learners will also have access to specialist equipment that they may need as part of their programme.
Even before the Coronavirus crisis began, many of our apprenticeship programmes were already being delivered through a blended approach as we know that our learners value the convenience of being able to study from anywhere whilst also being able to benefit from peer interaction. As such, we feel that we are well placed to expand this approach across all of our programmes. However, we will of course continue to work closely with learners and their employers to ensure that the approach we develop is one that they are comfortable with and continues to meet their needs.”
When the lockdown began at the end of March, while some learners did pause their apprenticeships, the majority continued their studies, with teaching and assessment taking place online. Most apprentices who did take a break in learning are set to resume their studies in the autumn. These include nursing apprentices who paused their learning so they could focus solely on the delivery of frontline care. The university plans to continue its agile and flexible approach, to ensure that existing and returning learners are able to quickly adapt to the new normal.
The apprenticeships set to begin in September are:
- Working with children, young people and families (level 4 higher apprenticeship)
- Nursing associate (level 5 higher apprenticeship)
- Cyber security (level 6 degree apprenticeship)
- Digital marketer (level 6 degree apprenticeship)
- Registered nurse – adult nursing pathway (level 6 degree apprenticeship)
- Registered nurse – mental health nursing pathway (level 6 degree apprenticeship)
- Registered nurse – working with people with learning disabilities pathway (level 6 degree apprenticeship)
- Manufacturing engineer (level 6 degree apprenticeship)
- Control / technical support engineer (level 6 degree apprenticeship)
- Social work (level 6 degree apprenticeship)
- Senior leader master’s degree apprenticeship (Level 7 master’s degree apprenticeship)
- Academic professional (level 7 master’s degree apprenticeship)
In addition, in January 2021, a learning and skills teacher higher apprenticeship will also be added to the university’s portfolio, along with a data scientist degree apprenticeship.
Entry requirements for all apprenticeships are agreed with employers but apprentices must be working full-time (e.g. employed for at least 30 hours per week) in a relevant job role. Larger employers paying the Apprenticeship Levy are able to fund apprenticeships through their digital account. Non-levy paying organisations only pay 5% of the fees, with government funding available to pay the remaining 95%.