Dr David Oloke
Head of Technical Education and Apprenticeships, University of Brighton
Young people in England can earn and learn by signing up for degree apprenticeships and higher technical qualifications in areas where there are known skills gaps.
Degree apprenticeships are available to starters and mid-career workers who seek development. They enable people to learn as they work, in a range of sectors and employers to upskill their existing workforce. Leading the way is the University of Brighton with its selection of degree apprenticeship programmes.
Higher technical qualifications can tackle skills gaps
Dr David Oloke, the university’s Head of Technical Education and Apprenticeships, explains that HTQs to levels 4 and 5 focus on areas such as software development and cybersecurity to help tackle a digital skills gap.
Meanwhile, 20 degree apprenticeship programmes offered by the university cover the four categories of business and management; construction, engineering and the built environment; health and science; and education to level 7.
Benefits for potential students and employers
Degree apprenticeships, which bring together apprentice schemes and degrees into one programme, are government-funded. “Individuals do not pay university fees for their learning and are offered a job, which means they are paid to work and learn at the same time,” says Oloke. “It is the best of both worlds.”
We are very keen to support regional skills development programmes.
Employers also benefit as they can use the schemes to grow talent within their existing workforce or attract A-level/equivalent students from schools and colleges. “They can use the apprenticeship programmes to upskill their staff,” he adds. “That is something a lot of employers have done, especially in the healthcare sector.”
Local government, education, construction and utilities also use apprenticeship programmes to upskill their existing workforce. Specialist programmes such as Environmental Practitioner, Building Surveyor and Teacher can run alongside the more widely applicable Senior Leader and Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist programmes, which are popular across sectors.
Tailoring programmes to skills needs
The University of Brighton works with Regional Skills Development programmes to create courses that complement areas of need in skills. “The wider Sussex area has needs in terms of health and social care, engineering and construction, manufacturing and digital, so those areas are industries we work with,” says Oloke. “We evaluate those needs and then position our programmes strategically at a higher education level.”
The university is also part of the Sussex and Surrey Institute of Technology with a range of other educational and industry partners. “We are very keen to support regional skills development programmes. We do not want to be a university working in isolation; we want to serve our region,” concludes Oloke.