Degree Apprenticeships: A social mobility opportunity?


AccessHE presents - Degree Apprenticeships: A social mobility opportunity?

On Monday 23 April, 65 colleagues from member and non-member HEIs, NCOP consortia, local authorities, third sector organisations and employers gathered to explore emerging practice in promoting social mobility through Degree Apprenticeships.

On the day

The day began with an introduction from our Chair – Dr Darryll Bravenboer, Director of Apprenticeships and Skills at Middlesex University – who offered some insights into the current debates around the role of Degree Apprenticeships in widening participation within higher education and their potential to deliver pathways to employment for a range of different learners.

The first presentation, delivered by Stella McKnight, Director of Employment Partnerships, and Sarah-Louise Collins, Director of Widening Participation, looked at the University of Winchester’s Degree Apprenticeships Development Fund (DADF) project to widen the choice of degree apprenticeship programmes in line with growing employer demand and to attract applicants from more diverse backgrounds.

Our second session shared experiences of developing and using an innovative Recognition of Prior Learning (RoPL) process to unlock a variety of learning opportunities for mature learners from Stephen Fox, Director of Higher Education and Dave Griffiths, Lecturer in Leadership and Professional Development at University Campus St Albans, and Helen Pokorny, Director of Professional Development at the University of Westminster.

After a short break, attendees heard from Alison May, Apprenticeship Manager at London South Bank University, about how LSBU are working with local stakeholders to support Southwark residents’ pathways to Degree Apprenticeships in the Health sector.

Afterwards, Wendy Breakell, Director of Break Into Business, introduced two Digital Technology Degree Apprentices at Santander and Carlo Liu, Careers and HE Adviser at Westminster Kingsway College, to explore student motivations and experiences around apprenticeships as an alternative to ‘traditional’ models of HE delivery.

The final session took the form of a participatory discussion around some of the day’s key issues and debates, facilitated by Mandy Crawford-Lee at the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC).

We would like to thank all of our fantastic speakers who made the event a success, as well as all of those who attended. We were particularly delighted to welcome a wide range of colleagues from NCOP consortia, HEIs and other organisations from both within and outside of London.

What’s next?

At AccessHE, we’re very interested to understand from our members how we can use some of the learnings from this event to support additional sharing of good practice and insight around Degree Apprenticeships in London, and extend the work of AccessHE and our members to support progression to and through HE for learners from under-represented groups. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any ideas on how we can best support you.

The next event in our London Student Outcomes series will look at post-HE progression for learners from under-represented groups, and take place as part of the AccessHE Conference on Monday 9 July 2018. Save the date now!