University continues to develop apprenticeships to meet demand for higher-level skills

Cumbria’s university continues to develop its range of higher-level apprenticeship programmes as it helps mark National Apprenticeship Week.

‘Looking Beyond’, the theme for #NAW2020, supports University of Cumbria’s focus on people, place and partnerships, celebrating too the diversity and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, individuals and communities.

The university offers a wide range of higher-level apprenticeships across health, policing, business, and tourism and the visitor economy. Education and skills regulator Ofsted judged the quality of its apprenticeship provision as good following a 2019 inspection.

This week, University of Cumbria is supporting the Carlisle Skills Fair. Hosted by city MP John Stevenson, the event is taking place at the Sands Centre on Thursday.

The university is also preparing to welcome new trainees this spring, students who will combine on-the-job training and employment whilst studying for a qualification at the institution.

Apprenticeships are among the alternative routes to degree level qualifications developed in recent years by the university across Cumbria, north Lancashire and beyond as the higher education landscape continues to shift.

There has also been an increasing demand for higher-level skills for those entering the labour market as well as those in employment, which has seen the university engage with and support businesses in providing training and, where appropriate, nationally in niche areas of activity.

For instance, interest has been high among people in hospitality supervisory roles since a flexible chartered manager apprenticeship in the visitor economy, leading to a degree, was launched last year.

BAE Systems and University of Cumbria are also working together to provide employees of the Barrow-based shipyard the opportunity to complete an MBA or senior leaders degree apprenticeship which includes sessions at the university’s Ambleside campus.

A new degree apprenticeship in project management is also being launched at the institution’s London campus next month, around the same time that University of Cumbria welcomes its first recruits to a police constable degree apprenticeship.

Professor Julie Mennell, vice chancellor of University of Cumbria, said: “We are proud of our position at the heart of the region, and we continue to develop employer, education and sector partnerships that support our vision of a dynamic, creative and entrepreneurial university community, with impact on our economy and communities.

“Higher-level apprenticeships are a key part of this offer and we have seen steady growth in this area as well as across our international, off campus and employer-led provision.

“It is however, only one aspect of how we continue to grow and recruit students. In Cumbria and the broader region we have significant higher level skills needs and lower than national average productivity levels to address.”

Working closely with the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the university has a clear strategic focus to support its Skills Investment Plan.