The University of Wolverhampton is celebrating four years of providing Degree Apprenticeships, helping to plug skills gaps in key industry sectors across the region and further afield. The University opened its Apprenticeship Hub four years ago and has welcomed over 900 Degree Apprentices onto programmes, growing its work based learning of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships with growth at more than 250% since opening.
The £500,000 Apprenticeship Hub was officially opened in November 2016 in the former Feathers Pub on Molineux Street in Wolverhampton with funding of over £200,000 from the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The University now offers 17 Higher and Degree Apprenticeships and works with over 350 employers and local authorities including Telford & Wrekin, Dudley, Walsall, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Sandwell Councils, public and private health care providers such as the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Walsall NHS Trust and Priory Group as well as a number of small and medium sized employers.
Michele Roberts, Head of the Apprenticeship Hub, said: “Hitting over 900 apprentices is a really important milestone for the University’s ambition to provide a range of Degree Apprenticeships covering a variety of sectors.
Our Degree Apprentices are studying a wide range of programmes from health care and engineering through to construction and legal, helping employers in the area and further afield to use Apprenticeship funds to invest in the skills needed to lead and grow a competitive workforce.
“The first cohort of Degree Apprentices will be celebrating at their graduation ceremonies in July 2021 – some of whom are people who never thought they would be able to further their education but now have had the opportunity to study at the same time as working full time while being supported with time for study and financially by their employer.”
Neil Anderson, Director of External Affairs at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, is studying for a Senior Leader Master’s Degree in the University’s Wolverhampton Business School.
He said: “The University remains a significant contributor to the region, acts as an enabler for so many individuals and has influenced so many areas of our lives whether professionally, economically or our very health and wellbeing. As a Chamber Patron, the University is a key is key partner which supports our work and helps our members. Personally, I am thrilled to be working with such a dynamic University from a work perspective but am now doubly excited to be undertaking this programme as it is where I began my Black Country journey as an undergraduate student in the late 1990s.
“Learning on the job provides an ideal way to road test and apply theory and class room-based learning with real life development opportunities for individuals on priorities and objectives which matter to their business right now. Businesses need to stay ahead of the game. Degree Apprenticeships enable businesses to bring in new thinking and ways of working whilst ensuring that it is immediate and suitable to the needs of the business.
“Right now, all businesses in the UK – no matter what their sector or size – are facing a radically different trading environment from the one they were in a few years ago. BREXIT and the Covid-19 emergency has meant that as leaders we need to ensure that our businesses adapt and change across all aspects of operation. A programme such as this means that I have access to the latest current thinking, research and analysis and am readily able to apply it to the needs of my business.
“The University has been great in terms of understanding how this programme is relevant to me as an individual and to my business. The on-boarding process and support given by all aspects of the University’s team and faculty has been amazing.”