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David Cameron unveils nine new degree apprenticeships

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New research has highlighted the value of giving employers the power to design apprenticeships in order to address the skills needed by industry. The research, which was collected via interviews with employers involved in the trailblazer programme, shows that allowing employers to design new apprenticeships leads to a greater understanding of the skills that apprentices will gain and the relevance of these to their organisation.

The trailblazers programme, designed to ensure a higher level of apprenticeships, has demonstrated success. The initiative allows groups of employers to join together to design apprenticeships that develop the skills of their current and future workforce.
More than 200 new employers have joined the 1,000 plus organisations already designing apprenticeships. 

Skills minister Nick Boles said: “I am delighted to announce that these 200 new employers will be designing top quality apprenticeships. Giving leading firms from British Gas to video games manufacturer Ubisoft the power to design and deliver high quality apprenticeships, means we can ensure more young people have the skills our economy vitally needs.

“Apprenticeships play a key role in the success of our long term economic plan and, with more than two million apprenticeships started since 2010, I am proud to say our reforms are delivering for businesses and young people.”

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The announcement comes alongside the news that more than 50 employer-designed apprenticeships ranging from Boatbuilder to Chartered Surveyor have been approved by the government, with some aiming to have their first apprentice start as early as September 2015.

Employers and universities alike have backed this new model. Over 20 universities and several colleges across the country have been involved. And 70 universities have expressed an interest in offering degree apprenticeships in the future. 

The apprentice will be able to gain a full bachelor’s or master’s degree without paying any fees as the cost of course fees are shared between government and employers. Not only will the new qualifications be suitable for school leavers, they will also raise the status of vocational routes of study .

Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF said: “Fast-moving, evolving sectors such as manufacturing increasingly demand higher-level skills. These economically valuable industries can only grow and prosper if highly-skilled employees are there for the taking.”

The new degree apprenticeships are expected to be suitable for both small and large businesses, and SMEs involved in the programme so far have said that it will give them better access to graduate-level talent.

Cameron said: “Equipping people with the skills they need to get on in life and backing businesses to create jobs are key parts of our long-term economic plan. Degree apprenticeships will give people a great head start, combining a full degree with the real practical skills gained in work and the financial security of a regular pay packet. 

“They will bring the world of business and the world of education closer together, and let us build the high-level technical skills needed for the jobs of the future. I want to see many more businesses and universities begin to offer them.”

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