UK's first degree apprenticeship university holds national conference


18 May 2018

  • Aston University holds its first national conference dedicated to degree apprenticeships
  • Employers and higher education institutions encouraged to attend to learn the latest developments
  • To register, visit the website.

Aston University, the first UK university to offer degree apprenticeship programmes, is holding a national conference for employers and higher education institutions.

The event, called ‘Degree Apprenticeships: The National Symposium’, is an opportunity for attendees to learn about recent developments for the apprenticeship levy, discover the latest research on skills assessments, get insider information about trailblazer groups, as well as explore the opportunities that degree apprenticeships offer.

Taking place at Conference Aston Meeting Suites on Monday 21 May, it will feature talks high-profile organisations including Mondelez about their experience as an employer, the Chartered Management Institute on the benefits and challenges of trailblazing, and many other expert insights.

Mark Smith, Executive Director of Business Engagement at Aston University, said: “Despite continued good graduate employability rates, there has long been a perception that a mismatch exists between what educators are providing are what businesses are asking for.

“Although a myth, the process of co-development of degree apprenticeships starting to help put this to rest. By design, these programmes create high calibre graduates equipped with the skills businesses have specifically asked for, providing a valuable solution to the country’s low productivity.

“It is true that reactions to the apprenticeship levy are mixed, with one in five firms planning to write it off as a tax. There is a simple reason for this, many businesses do not understand the flexibilities inherent in the levy, and find the information available confusing.

“While we hope government does more to make it work for business, letting your levy allowance fall into the hands of the taxman is a wasted opportunity.

“Degree apprenticeships are the ideal choice for many students – allowing them to study for a degree without paying any tuition fees and receiving substantial work experience that goes far beyond what most traditional students receive.

“But many parents and young people still don’t consider these courses, largely because of a lack of awareness of what they are and why they’re different to the stereotypical of an apprenticeship.

“For more mature students, Degree Apprenticeships are an ideal way to back up valuable life experiences with transportable qualifications.

“At our national symposium, we will be tackling all these issues head on with talks by a variety of speakers with deep knowledge of degree apprenticeships.

“We hope it provides a springboard for both businesses and HEIs to rethink how they use degree apprenticeships in their recruitment strategies, and demonstrates the high potential they have for both education and industry.”

For full details and to register, visit the website.


Notes to the editor

Photos (click links to download)

Aston University campus pictures

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, which is why we are also ranked in the top 20 for graduate employability.

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