In an area with a low prevalence of higher-level skills it is important that the University can offer apprenticeships from Levels 4 to 7, some of which are delivered in partnership with further education and private partners.
We work with employers to develop apprenticeships that enhance the expertise of their new and existing staff, provide them with the skilled workforce they need to increase productivity and employee retention, and drive the business forward.
A dedicated team of development managers, with knowledge and experience of business and workforce development, work to gain an in-depth understanding of the business and help employers to get the most out of apprenticeships. Our apprenticeship programmes are designed to meet the demands of the business, and academic staff work closely with the employer to ensure that modules are aligned to focus on developing the specific skills that the company needs for future growth.
Staffordshire University is now one of the largest university providers of higher and degree apprenticeships. The early market entry and decision to deliver in a range of subjects including health, business, engineering and IT have enabled the university to face head-on the challenges of Skills Funding Agency registration, contract management, performance management and the integration of apprenticeships into business as usual.
The university is now delivering close to 200 higher and degree apprenticeships including Health (Assistant Practitioner), Mechanical Engineering, IT, and Management. We are currently in the process of recruiting to Digital Technology, Chartered Manager, Network Engineer, and Chartered Legal Executive apprenticeships, and have the following new apprenticeships going through validation:
- Academic Professional
- Cyber Security Technical Professional
- Electrical/Electronic Technical Support Engineer
- Financial Services Professional
- Healthcare Science Practitioner
- Manufacturing Engineer
- Registered Nurse
- Police Officer
- Social Worker
- Strategic Manager
- Healthcare Science Associate
- Network Engineer
- Nursing Associate
- Operations/Department Manager
- Software Engineer
As an all-encompassing business support mechanism, we also offer businesses expert advice and guidance on the impact that the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy will have on their business. Our ‘Don’t Be Left in the Dark’ levy campaign aimed directly at business leaders has provided us with a way of simplifying the complexities of the levy for non-levy-paying and levy-paying businesses alike.
And of course, the levy will also mean that most universities need to consider employing their own apprentices, to ensure they maximise opportunities to develop a skilled workforce. With the development of an apprenticeship standard for academic professionals well underway, the agenda will continue to grow and challenge the sector, and our experience so far means we are in a good position to respond.
The implementation of apprenticeships into the university’s core offering has been a learning curve for the institution, but we are well placed to address regional higher-level skills gaps and confident we can deliver on the apprenticeship agenda.
Sarah Tudor is Director of Business Engagement Services at Staffordshire University, works closely with the Department for Education and is an expert on apprenticeship development and policy.