Rise in universities expanding into apprenticeships

3rd January 2018 at 18:34
The number of universities offering apprenticeships is set to reach 100, predicts University Vocational Awards Council chief executive Adrian Anderson

The number of universities offering apprenticeship training could raise to over 100 over the coming weeks, Adrian Anderson, chief executive of the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC) has said.

He told Tes there were currently 88 universities registered by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) on its Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP), which means they are able to offer apprenticeship training.

But he said the third round of applications to the register had just recently closed, with the announcement of new members due shortly.  “So I expect the number will go up to the high 90s or the early 100s,” said Mr Anderson.

He explained that particularly for the more “modern” universities, which focus on areas like nursing, teaching, or management, apprenticeships were seen as a core part of their business. “The apprenticeships system is changing,” said Mr Anderson, adding that historically, much of the apprenticeship provision had been at level 2 or 3, but now a large proportion was going to be at degree level.

“If you are an HEI in the more modern part of the sector, then this is going to be very significant,” he added.

Apprenticeship levy

The apprenticeship levy also played a role in fuelling the interest of universities in this area, Mr Anderson said. Other factors included the government’s public sector target for apprenticeship provision, and the social mobility agenda – with some universities using apprenticeships to widen participation.

“One of the things we have been pushing is work-based progression routes,” said Mr Anderson, adding that degree apprenticeships were attracting interest from those who would traditionally not have considered higher education, along with those keen on a higher education route. “Degree apprenticeships could potentially be a classless choice,” he said. 

In November, Tes revealed that university income from apprenticeships, traineeships and the adult education budget had more than doubled, from £12.6 million in 2014-15 to £31.9 million in 2016-17. In the same period, the number of universities in receipt of funding for FE provision has almost trebled, from 21 to 62.

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