A rounded education
Where a pre-existing degree has been adapted for an apprenticeship there may be elements, felt to be important from an academic perspective, that are not part of the standard. We talked to a university that has maintained a module with an international focus that contributes to the uniqueness of its management degree even though the topic is not required for the apprenticeship standard it is delivering. This is additional work for the provider and the apprentices but the university has feedback that both feel it is worthwhile.
Generic versus specific
Some employers prefer to send their apprentices on general management apprenticeships that do not dovetail exactly with their job role. A common issue is that the standard requires some knowledge of finance but many managers do not deal with finance in their day job.
A more particular issue concerns a group of prison officers on the general management apprenticeship which includes marketing. In terms of authentic workplace scenarios there are not many prison marketing plans!
Integrated or glued?
Jamie Harle at the University of Greenwich has researched current practice and believes that in the 2017/18 academic year, the vast majority of programme offerings involve a distinct split between the workplace activities of the student and their study at the academic provider.
He says, ‘In time, as arrangements for degree apprenticeship delivery matures and the status of the qualification rises to become a key priority for universities and employers, a more intertwined delivery model may develop where bespoke infrastructure such as HEI-hosted industrial skills labs or in-workplace teaching suites are developed to further foster co-operation between employers and academics.’