Liverpool John Moores University will be opening its doors to an extra 200 new employer-supported Degree Apprentices in September 2017, after being only one of 18 universities to secure part of a multimillion pound Government fund.
LJMU will expand the range of professionally-accredited qualifications currently on offer to develop qualifications in policing, control engineering, construction, civil engineering, and electrical and electronic engineering, from September next year. LJMU’s bid was chosen from 70 applicant universities by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) on behalf of the Department of Education.
Designed by employers in partnership with universities and professional bodies, Degree Apprenticeships deliver higher level skills and offer an alternative to a traditional degree course. Bringing together university study with paid work, degree apprentices spend part of their time at university and part with their employer.
Professor Andy Ross, from the Faculty of Engineering and Technology said: “Degree Apprenticeships are valuable both for student and employer in offering a direct route to a highly-skilled job based on academic and vocational foundations. This funding will strengthen our partnerships with businesses in the Liverpool region and help develop capacity and capability in Liverpool’s digital, engineering and construction workforce.”
LJMU was part of a group of universities and colleges across England that have been awarded a total of £4.5 million to develop new degree apprenticeships for students starting next year. Working in partnership with leading employers, the universities and colleges will offer 5,200 new opportunities for apprentices and their employers in preparation for the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017.
LJMU already has a proven track-record in successfully developing high level apprenticeships to meet industry needs. In January this year, the University took a leading role in the Government’s Construction Employer Trailblazer initiative, developing and delivering 13 Quantity Surveying Degree Apprentices with eight companies, including three SMEs.
Degree apprentices can achieve a full bachelor’s degree or masters as a core component of the apprenticeship while also becoming a member of the appropriate professional body. They typically work for 30 hours a week and have a day to study at University.
Dr Edward Harcourt, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement said: “LJMU is the forefront of the new degree apprentice model and we are delighted that our work with employers has been recognised by government to allow us to continue to increase opportunities for prospective students. Employers rate apprentices as 25% more productive based on the range of work-based skills and knowledge they’ve obtained, so it is vital that as a modern civic university, that we offer these alternatives to support young people into an increasingly competitive jobs market.”
Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon said: “Apprenticeships work, that’s why we’ve launched degree apprenticeships that give people a real chance to earn while you learn putting you on the fast-track to a top career.
“This multi-million pound fund will allow universities and colleges to work with top employers to design high quality degree apprenticeships that give people a ladder of opportunity, more choice and help shape Britain to become an apprentice nation.”
Find out more about degree apprenticeships.
A breakfast meeting for employers and employees interested in finding out more about Degree Apprenticeships will be held on 12 December at LJMU from 8.30-10.00 Venue: World of Work Careers Centre, Kingsway House, Hatton Garden, L3 2AJ. Register today.
Case study: Scarlett Blinston
Scarlett Blinston, 18, from Upholland in Wigan is three months into her Quantity Surveying degree apprenticeship with Laing O’Rourke working on the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme, and studying for her degree one day a week at Liverpool John Moores University.
Growing up Scarlett had always wanted to be a secondary school teacher, but had a change of heart during her college years. Studying A-levels in Maths, Business Studies, Sociology and Geography, she looked further into careers where the former two might be of particular use. Visiting universities that specialise in the built environment, she decided that a Quantity Surveying degree was the right course for her. Seeing that LJMU supported degree apprenticeships, she decided this was a route she wanted to investigate further.
Choosing this non-traditional educational route to employment, Scarlett commented: “I chose this route because I have always been a practical hands-on learner, rather than all theory learning. Therefore I thought this route would be best for me as it means I have the benefits of both learning methods; I will understand the practical work provided with Laing O'Rourke because I have the theory and knowledge from LJMU and the hands-on work will help me to retain the knowledge from my university studies.”
Scarlett will be studying at LJMU for five years whereupon completing her degree she will remain at Laing O’Rourke as a full time quantity surveyor. Discussing these early stages of her apprenticeship she added: “So far I am full enjoying everything that I am doing at Laing O'Rourke and LJMU. I’m currently working on a project at Manchester Airport with Laing O'Rourke which is in the very early stages of the project and will start on site in the new year. This will hugely benefit my career and understanding of Quantity Surveying as by the end of my five years I’ll have seen every stage of construction.
“Studying at LJMU also is helping me understand the language used in construction, learning to understand drawings and the general theoretical approach to the multiple aspects of the construction sector, something I would have struggled with had I not been studying also. It is valuable to spend one day a week with students who are all working towards the same goal so that we can exchange ideas, knowledge and experience.”
While this is only the start of Scarlett’s apprenticeship journey, she already has overarching aspirations within the industry, hoping to gain experience in all sectors of construction and eventually become a senior surveyor responsible for high-level global projects.