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THE EFFECT OF THE APPRENTICESHIPS ON THE UK HIGHER EDUCATION

T. Coole1, F. Ioras1, I. Bandara1, M.P. Arraiza2, J.V. López2

1Buckinghamshire New University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
The UK Higher Education arena is changing; apprenticeships are currently experiencing a revival through the Apprenticeship levy Scheme launch. Behind the introduction of the levy lies the UK government’s belief that apprenticeships offer a solution to the skills gaps that are holding the economy back, and a new way for individuals to access higher level skills. The introduction of Higher Education Apprenticeships and work experience/real world interactions built into HE courses are establishing synergies between the two elements of the skills/education system and will allow the apprentices to plot their career through the skills levels up to the Masters level under the scheme. The knowledge economy is driving up the demand for higher level skills and concurrent with this is the notion that, in today's competitive labour market, experience is vital. The new Degree Apprentice will have an effect yet to be determined.

The Degree Apprenticeship will provide for the first a formal structured route for learners who are on the apprentice scheme and provide them with some control over their study programme. The new study programme will have the opportunity to tap into a plethora of new skills and assessment standards which have been developed by various industries and approved by the Apprenticeship Council which needs to be addressed by the learning and teaching fraternity, both public and private providers.

This paper will look at these points from the HE perspective and see what level of the student body will now be looking down the apprentice route and not looking at the traditional full time study to achieve their degree. The paper will also look at how ready the Universities are to provide this different form of learning and explore issues around the apprenticeships curriculum support.