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Learn, earn and change the world: Social Change Degree Apprenticeship opens for second round of employer partners

By Jamie Hilder, Degree Apprenticeship Manager at Queen Mary University of London

Today marks the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week, an annual fixture in the apprenticeship calendar where employers, apprentices, parents and teachers come together to celebrate and fire-up conversation around apprenticeships.

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In September last year, Queen Mary University of London alongside Matt Hyde, Chief Executive of Scouts launched the UK’s first Apprenticeship designed by and for the Third Sector. Colleagues from Mind, Samaritans, WaterAid, Prince’s Trust and Alzheimer’s Society among sector bodies like the Chartered Management Institute, Institute of Fundraising and NCVO, worked together to build a curriculum that addressed common cross-sector skills gaps. Using our network of feeder schools and colleges, Queen Mary promoted the programme around the country with a particular focus on 18-21 year olds from BAME backgrounds.

It’s fair to say that we have been quite frankly blown away by the calibre, maturity and social conscience of the apprentices we recruited. Whether being interviewed in the Guardian, BBC Asian Network, or in Third Sector Publications (paywall), advocating to their local MPs, or speaking on panels at academic conferences, our Social Change Apprentices have made measurable impact in their respective organisations from day one.

The Apprenticeship Levy itself is now three years old, and is proving to be one of the most reformatory education and skills policies in the history of efforts to tackle the UK’s persistent productivity challenge.

In a recent Department for Education survey of employers who have taken on an apprentice, 74% reported an improvement in product/service quality, 78% an increase in productivity, and 83% would recommend apprentices to other businesses. Whilst uptake was initially slow, this is finally beginning to tick upwards as the reforms bed-in and some of the initial barriers which prevented smaller organisations accessing apprenticeship funding are now beginning to give way.

This is important for charity finance directors because from April last year, unused employer Levy contributions began to expire (revert to HMRC) on a rolling monthly basis. There is now a pressing financial imperative to utilise Levy funds, never mind the broader arguments around using apprenticeships to widen access to the charity sector as an employment destination.

This week, we’re excited to launch our second round of recruitment on the Charity Degree Apprenticeship, and will welcome over 230 parents, guardians and prospective applicants to speak with charity partners about the programme, their organisations and how they can apply for positions. If your organisation is interested in learning more about the Apprenticeship Levy, the Charity Degree Apprenticeship in particular or speaking to other charity employers/ apprentices on-programme, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

For more information about the Social Change Degree Apprenticeship programme, please contact: j.hilder@qmul.ac.uk

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