The competition has been launched to boost the capacity and equality of opportunity within degree apprenticeship provision in higher education. It will see the OfS distribute a total of £40 million to universities in the next 18 months.
Sheffield Hallam will use the grant to provide additional capacity to support four existing apprenticeship courses, aiming to boost recruitment by enhancing engagement with local and national employers. It will also support one new discipline – an accounting finance management apprenticeship – specifically selected to respond to regional economic demands.
The investment will also be used to support local SME employers to improve equality and inclusion, and to recruit a diverse group of degree apprentices which is representative of South Yorkshire communities. More than 80.9% of Sheffield Hallam degree apprentices are from one or underrepresented student groups, something which it will help employers across the region to reflect.
Sam Moorwood, Head of Work Based Learning at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Sheffield Hallam is proudly a standard-bearer for degree apprenticeships in the UK, and this funding will help us to improve and expand our award-winning provision.
“This award will help us to expand recruitment, offer a new apprenticeship standard in accounting finance – a key sector for the regional economy – and to support local businesses to take on more people from a range of backgrounds. Degree apprentices provide a vibrant and skilled workforce for South Yorkshire – something that will be crucial to the region’s future and its growth.”
Robert Halfon MP, Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, said: “Degree apprenticeships are a crucial rung on the ladder of opportunity and an important instrument of social justice. By offering people from all backgrounds the chance to gain valuable workplace experience while studying for a degree, they open doors that might otherwise have been closed.
“Whether it is providing more nurses for our NHS or helping get more women in engineering and construction, I look forward to seeing how these projects help more people climb the ladder of opportunity, address skills gaps and help grow our economy.”
Degree apprentices are employed and learn on the job, completing study blocks at university alongside their work. Apprentices receive a degree and usually a guaranteed job. Sheffield Hallam University is already the largest provider of degree apprenticeships (DAs) in the UK, and a leading voice in the policy landscape around applied and practical learning. As the home of NCEDA, it offers more programmes than any other UK provider, and has recruited close to 3,000 degree apprentices since the qualification was launched in 2016.
In 2023, Hallam degree apprentices won awards at National Apprenticeship Awards, as well as the North East National Apprenticeship Awards, Food and Drink Federation Awards, and UK Packaging Awards.