How do degree apprenticeships increase student and employer engagement?

Degree apprenticeships bring huge benefits to HEIs – including increased student and employer engagement.

How do degree apprenticeships increase student and employer engagement?

People across the UK are starting to sit up and pay attention to degree apprenticeships. Hundreds of employers have worked to develop the standards, and over 80 HEIs have already registered to deliver degree apprenticeships. Student population is on the rise too, with almost 6,000 UK apprentices at levels 6, 7 and 8.

Degree apprenticeships tick all the right boxes for students, employers and HEIs. Students get the opportunity to get a degree, gain valuable work experience and get paid while they train – all without accruing student debt. Employers can use degree apprenticeships to attract the best talent and develop the high-level skills they need in house. And HEIs gain from a huge list of benefits – including increased student and employer engagement.

Meet employer demands

Degree apprenticeship standards have been developed by groups of local and national employers, so they’re closely aligned to occupational skill requirements. HEIs partner with employers to co-design the curriculum and content, and then during the delivery of learning throughout the degree programme. The majority of learning takes place in the workplace, so employers are highly engaged and work closely with HEIs to deliver, monitor and track learning to make sure it meets their workforce plans and addresses their skills gaps.

Mirror recruitment strategies

Many levy-paying employers are investing their levy funds in degree apprenticeships to develop high-level skills in house – to complement early talent recruitment and upskill existing employees. This is a pioneering strategy that’s really taken off in the employer space. The chartered management degree apprenticeship (CMDA) is the UK’s most popular standard with 34% of starts. Employers are using the CMDA to upskill staff and develop the future of their workforce.

Meet social mobility targets

Degree apprenticeships are designed to increase student population from under-represented groups – including those from less advantaged backgrounds and women in STEM disciplines. This is increasing employer and student engagement for HEIs. Employers are more engaged in increasing the diversity and social mobility of their staff – and under-represented students get the opportunity to access higher education in a way that suits them.

Increased student engagement

Compared to traditional student intake, degree apprentices are highly engaged, have more experience and can apply their knowledge in the workplace – so knowledge retention is typically higher. Many degree apprentices already have experience in the field they're studying, so they’re more likely to actively critique the theory and apply it in their work life. This means degree apprentices engage with HEIs more too – they're proactive members of the student population.

With degree apprenticeships, the three-way relationship between HEIs, employers and students is an organic part of the programme, and everyone benefits from working closely together in a highly engaged way. Of course, there are still some barriers to overcome – like communication, programme visibility, scheduling, off-the-job training, physical distance and different priorities – but that’s where OneFile comes in.

OneFile’s apprenticeship software has tons of built-in features that make it easy for HEIs to collaborate with employers and students – like instant messaging, progress dashboards and off-the-job tools. That’s why it’s already used by over 30 universities to deliver degree apprenticeships.

Employers increasingly expect access to high-quality, up-to-date progress information for their apprentices – and OneFile enables us to meet this expectation.”

John Pratt, head of apprenticeship management | UCEM

To find out more about OneFile and how it increases student and employer engagement, download your apprenticeship engagement guide.

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.