Staffordshire University secures funding to grow degree apprenticeships
Staffordshire University says a successful bid for new government funding will enable it to grow its degree apprenticeships and meet skills gaps.
The Office for Students (OfS) launched a funding competition last Autumn to boost opportunities within degree apprenticeships. Funding is available for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years.
Staffordshire University has secured more than £974,000 from the total £12 million fund being made available to higher education providers in the first wave of funding – the second highest allocation!
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Martin Jones said: “We welcome the announcement of funding by the OfS which recognises our ambitions for growth.
“Last year we welcomed Minister Robert Halfon on to campus to meet with our apprentices and to hear first-hand what government could do to encourage more to follow in their footsteps.
“The funding will enable us to develop more apprenticeships to respond to the needs of our employers in the region and actively promote these progression opportunities to young people.”
The new funding will enable the next phase of apprenticeship development at Staffordshire University. This includes:
- Nursing and allied health roles contributing to the 15-year NHS workplace development plan.
- Refreshing engineering degree apprenticeships to meet the demands of industry.
- Accelerated degree apprenticeships, recognising prior learning and experience, to support career progression and improve engagement with SMEs.
- Extending the current digital apprenticeship portfolio to respond to current and emerging industry trends.
- Actively promoting participation by apprentices and employer partners from categories currently under-represented on degree apprenticeships.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Kevin Hetherington added: “We are one of the largest providers of degree apprenticeships in the country and work-integrated learning is central to the University’s aim to deliver a next generation education for our students and to help to grow the economy.”
John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the OfS, said: “We set universities and colleges a challenge to deliver an extensive range of degree apprenticeships that students from all backgrounds could access. They responded with a wide range of innovative and ambitious bids. This is a major intervention by the OfS and I am excited to see how the successful bids from the first wave of applications expand and enhance courses on offer to students.
Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Robert Halfon added: “Degree apprenticeships are a crucial rung on the ladder of opportunity and an important instrument of social justice. By offering people from all backgrounds the chance to gain valuable workplace experience while studying for a degree, they open doors that might otherwise have been closed.
“Whether it is providing more nurses for our NHS or helping get more women in engineering and construction, I look forward to seeing how these projects help more people climb the ladder of opportunity, address skills gaps and help grow our economy.”
Staffordshire University has also submitted a bid in the second competitive round of funding. Universities and colleges will be able to apply for a third and final round of funding this year.