University or work? It’s a choice faced by thousands of young people every year. And for businesses, it makes for a difficult choice too.
Do you go for a graduate, potentially lacking in relevant experience, or someone with valuable experience but without the communicative, analytical and technical proficiencies a degree brings? What if you could have both?
Read on as we look at the advent of degree apprenticeships.
The best of both worlds?
The Degree Apprenticeship scheme was launched by the Government in 2015. In plain English, it’s a full-time job combined with university level education. Even better, the job is paid and the education is fully funded, so a perfect opportunity for you to earn while you learn. Here’s how it works:
- Employees spend the majority of their time on the job, with at least 20% of the week at university
- This part-time study can take between 3 to 6 years to complete
- Degree programmes can be tailored by universities, employers and professional bodies to specific degree apprenticeships
- Or, sectors can use existing degree courses combined with separate occupational tests
- Training costs are funded by the government and the employer
- Employees gain a full bachelor’s or master’s degree
Filling the skills gap
So, why have degree apprenticeships been introduced?
In 2006, the Leitch Review looked at what skills the UK would need by 2020. One of its targets was to boost apprenticeships to 500,000 a year by 2020. Since then, the Government have made numerous pushes to achieve this target – and made their own pledge to get 3 million people into apprenticeship level training by 2020.
The most recent development is the new Apprenticeship Levy. Introduced in April 2017, the scheme sees all employers with a payroll over £3M now pay a 0.5% tax which is converted to credits. The credits can only be used to fund Apprenticeship training; to either upskill an existing workforce or to hire new apprentices.
As part of their plans, 2018 sees more than 3,000 higher and degree apprenticeship training opportunities announced, which is at the level 6 apprenticeship training standard. And these aren’t just the typical apprenticeship vocations you usually hear about. Degree apprenticeships are available in all kinds of industries – from IT and finance to public relations and, of course, logistics. Individuals now have a wider choice for education with access to a number of professions and a wide range of high-level technical skills.
The general reception of these apprenticeships has been positive. A recent piece of CMI commissioned research examined the attitude towards degree apprenticeships, and of the individuals questioned they found that 61% of parents would prefer to see their child embark on a degree apprenticeship with a leading British employer than an Oxbridge degree.
Who can apply?
Unlike traditional degree courses, the application process in not managed by the individual applicants. There are no UCAS application forms, no awaiting offers from Universities, and no student debt. Instead, employers manage applications internally and coordinate with Higher Education Institutions on the candidate’s behalf. This delivers more control for employers, but also makes it easier to attract emerging young talent, or harness the skills of their current workforce by providing an alternative route to university study.
Degree apprenticeships are primarily targeted at 18 to 19-year-old school leavers, however, the qualification is suitable for anyone, including mature students and current members of staff. Traditional University degrees require all applicants to hold A Levels at varying grades, but the entry requirements for each degree apprenticeship varies from programme to programme. Not all employers ask that candidates have A Levels, as many are prepared to consider applicants who have completed lower level Apprenticeships and are wanted the opportunity to study their chosen subject at a higher level.
Degree apprenticeships for supply chain roles
Of course, one sector that is now confronted with a serious skills shortage is the logistics sector. With many employers seeking high level project management skills, alongside the increased use of automation, AI and modern planning tools throughout the supply chain, there is much that employers are now looking for in high calibre candidates. That’s why a number of employers are offering degree apprenticeships schemes, to develop employees with the advanced technical skills they require, and qualifications that are focused specifically on the logistics sector.
For example, Morrisons is offering employees the chance to study for a Bachelor’s in Management and Business while working within their logistics department.
Elsewhere, Leeds Trinity University has developed a tailored degree course in conjunction with supply chain organisations and firms. Over four years, the course covers supply chain management, procurement and risk management among other essential areas
One size does not fit all…
With the Apprenticeship Levy introduced in 2017, it makes more sense than ever for businesses to make the most of every opportunity to develop, upskill and inspire the next generation of supply chain leaders. For companies with an annual payroll of over £3 million, the 0.5% Levy aims to create engaged employees, support business specific goals and encourage flexibility in learning. It also reframes apprenticeships as the highly-skilled programmes that are key in business growth and essential in addressing the industry wide skills gap.
Degree apprenticeships are a perfect way for people to go to university and work at the same time – for some, it’s the best of both worlds. However, we recognise that not all individuals are eligible to study at degree level. This could be because they don’t have A-Level qualifications, or because they haven’t gained other qualifications through lower level Apprenticeship training. Others may not wish to take the time off work to attend University after spending years developing within their career, or may have family commitments that mean they are unable to commit to the demands of degree level education.
Supply chain training
This is why Bis Henderson Academy aims to upskill existing employees to a level where they are confident and competent in their roles, by focussing on the core, interpersonal and influencing skills whilst at work. As Registered Training Providers, we can provide tailored programmes within national Apprenticeship Standards which fit the commercial direction of a specific business, and meet the needs of the individual employees. Staff receive recognised and relevant qualifications, which can be built upon further in the future, potentially even progressing to the L6 qualification, within their current workplace. This is all paid for using your current Apprenticeship Levy funds.
Bis Henderson Academy are passionate about closing the gap in supply chain skills, and view the Levy as the perfect tool to allow this to happen. If you’re looking to upskill your logistics employees, we’d love to hear from you. Contact the team today to talk through your requirements.