It is widely acknowledged that businesses in the South West struggle when it comes to attracting and retaining young people to fill IT, digital and tech-heavy roles. From web development and app support to data analysis and cyber security, this skills gap is a barrier to productivity and growth, as graduates are pulled out of the region towards London and other major centres.
Degree apprenticeships are a central part of current Government policy to address this challenge, with an avowed target of three million apprentices working in the UK by 2020. In support of this, the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy will cause any employer with a pay bill above £3m to pay 0.5% of this to fund apprenticeships. Smaller employers will of course not pay this Levy, but instead will be able to claim extremely generous government support, to the tune of 90% of tuition fees – up to 100% in certain circumstances – making this a very attractive recruitment and retention solution.
Apprentices are known to be extremely loyal and committed to their employers, and highly appreciative of the skills escalator that the programmes provide them with. They receive the best of all worlds – a degree combined with extensive professional experience, a good salary, and no student debt as they kick-start their career.
Launched in September 2016 with employers including IBM, Renishaw and Beran Instruments, the University of Exeter’s Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship offers employers innovative high-quality IT training while building loyalty and business understanding in their staff. The programme combines the technical aspects of a computer science degree with the professional skills required for business success.
Crucially, this is fundamentally a work-based programme, relating to real roles within a business. The University of Exeter offers specialisms as Software Engineer, Data Analyst, IT Consultant and Cyber Security Analyst. Apprentices are full-time employees, studying towards their degree over four years.
The programme is designed to minimise the impact upon their role through a blended learning programme based on short termly residentials in Exeter, flexible online learning and work-based projects that can be based on an apprentice’s day-to-day role.
The University of Exeter is proud to be a Russell Group University committed to degree apprenticeships as an innovative new approach to higher education, providing new opportunities to job seekers and businesses alike. As the highest-ranking institution in the country offering the Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship, the University offers superb value for money for the small investment required to recruit an apprentice on our programme.
Their dedicated partnerships team works closely with all employer partners, including crafting job adverts, supporting recruitment through campaigns, and seeking out opportunities with high-calibre organisations such as Gradsouthwest.
Employers who are interested in participating in the University of Exeter’s exciting programme can contact Jonnie Critchley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (01392) 724067.
For further information, see www.exeter.ac.uk/degreeapprenticeships/digitaltechnology.
For our student-facing programme page, see www.exeter.ac.uk/degreeapprentice.