Since launching in 2015, Degree Apprenticeship have been a popular option for students wanting to gain both a degree and also hands-on experience working in their chosen field for a local employer. A recent report by Universities UK, suggested that applications for the higher education schemes will have increased by more than 650%, since 2015-2016 with an additional 7,611 apprentices due to start university courses over the next three years.

With 46% of working age CWS residents not holding a qualification at Level 3 (A Levels) or above and fewer than half (45%) of local businesses who recruit young people directly from education believing that they are well prepared for work, Degree Apprenticeships help to bridge the skills and experience gaps that our economy needs – and that’s why it’s important that more students know about about them and businesses offer them.

Higher skills levels are vital for the economy, as employers locally and nationally, require a higher skilled and technical workforce to help grow their business and improve productivity.

However, over recent years, a mix of low productivity and poor growth, particularly along the coast, have been acknowledged in part to the fact that people just don’t have the right skills.

This has led to increasing calls for schools, as well as further and higher education providers to get much better at working with industry to make sure that young people and training courses better understand and match what employers are looking for.

Degree Apprenticeships, which are developed by employers, universities, and professional bodies working in partnership, aligns with the skills needs and equips students with both method and practical knowledge for a skilled career.

Within the Coast to Capital region (of which Coastal West Sussex is included), 94 standards (linking to 122 unique occupations, accounting for 354,000 jobs in the region), are currently approved for delivery at level 4 and above.  This is forecast to add 9,500 jobs between now and 2022 and account for 103,300 job openings in the same period, to cover growth and the need to replace exiting workers. This equates to almost 41% of the forecast change in jobs in the Coast to Capital region over that time.

Within the Coast to Capital area, the highest projected job openings are believed to be: chartered managers (with degrees), operations / departmental managers, teachers, healthcare assistant practitioners, relationship managers (banking), accountants and tax professionals, financial services and registered nurses (with degree).

The University of Chichester- in partnership with local businesses – offer Degree Apprenticeships for this future need, including business and management, digital, teaching and engineering, which sees students working full time to gain hands-on experience and studying part time.

For businesses, these can be funded through the apprenticeship levy or a payment arrangement with the government, providing an affordable solution to staff development. As well as helping to develop the talent you need for your business, there are plenty of other benefits, from increasing productivity to helping to fill the higher level skills gap, developing existing staff to attracting high-calibre team members (and retaining them too).

For further information on how your business can get involved and offer Degree Apprenticeships, visit: University of Chichester or the University of Brighton