University of Cambridge to start offering apprenticeships

Juliette Bretan 8 February 2018

The University of Cambridge announced today that it has registered as an official apprenticeship trainer for the next academic year, beginning October 2018.

Apprenticeships are to be rolled out at postgraduate-level only, with no information yet as to which courses will offer an apprenticeship alternative. The proposal remains subject to the approval of the university’s governance processes.

The University has registered for apprenticeships to be held with Lloyds Bank, Greggs Bakery and British Airways, amongst others.

A spokesperson for the university said: “Working in partnership with employers and apprentices, Cambridge is intending to deliver excellent, research-informed apprenticeship training through its Institute of Continuing Education.”

A similar scheme, where applicants can choose between an apprenticeship and a traditional degree course, already exists at universities across the UK, such as Bath Spa and Anglia Ruskin. The proposal has been celebrated by people including Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow and former Minister for Education. In a tweet, he said: “Incredibly important & GREAT news in building up prestige of Apprenticeships and Technical Education. A good start from @Cambridge_Uni. Hope this is beginning &University will soon offer Degree Apprenticeships.”

The scheme also exists at the University of Oxford, where all full time apprentices start on £16,341 a year, beginning either at post-GCSE or A level. Oxford apprenticeships lasts from one to four years, depending on the skills and levels required, and are available for anyone living in England, over-16 and not in full-time education and existing university employees making a change in their roles or careers.

According to the website, “the overall strategic aim of University of Oxford Apprenticeships is to meet the university’s requirement for both mainstream and highly specialist roles.”

“The university is committed to achieving this by recruiting and retaining the best possible talent and developing the skills, experience and behaviours that departments need.”

The number of young people opting for apprenticeships instead of £27,000 degrees has seen a sharp increase in the last few years. The Civil Service is currently the largest employer, and apprenticeships are forecasted to eventually overtake graduate recruitment programmes due to graduates’ lack of sufficient work experience and need for extensive training. About 1,000 students will start higher and degree apprenticeship courses this September alone at the National College for Nuclear, officially established today across a variety of nuclear plants, in order to help create the 6,000 trained staff necessary for the sector.