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QAA launches apprenticeship paper and resources

Date: March 26 - 2024

QAA has published a new paper in its Policy Series: The Future of Quality in England, exploring the challenges and opportunities of degree and higher apprenticeships in England, alongside a new apprenticeships toolkit, as well as the final report of a Collaborative Enhancement Project on apprenticeships, due to launch at a webinar today.

Universities Minister, Robert Halfon has famously described 'degree' and 'apprenticeships' as his two favourite words in the English language, and our new paper examines how sectoral policies might develop to support this increasingly valued area of provision, with a focus on simplifying the quality and standards arrangements and oversight, maintaining and strengthening links with employers, and considering the unique student experience for apprentices.

The policy paper's author, Rob Stroud, QAA's Director of Assessment Services and Access to Higher Education, says: 'Degree apprenticeships represent a vital area of higher education provision, one whose impact continues to grow and whose value is clearly evident to policymakers. Its quality is, of course, essential to its continuing success. This is an area of policy and practice to which QAA is very proud to continue to contribute.'

Today also sees the launch of our Higher Education Apprenticeships Toolkit (accessible to QAA Members), aimed at supporting providers who are developing or delivering such provision in the UK.

Running at more than 100 pages of materials, this key resource offers guidance on developing apprenticeship programmes, assuring and enhancing the quality of such courses, and supporting the apprentice's journey - from recruitment and admissions and approaches to learning and teaching, assessment and the learner experience, all the way through to processes for complaints and appeals.

'Higher education apprenticeships offer a fantastic opportunity to combine workplace experience and learning with higher level study and, in turn, make a valuable contribution to meeting the needs of employers and the UK economy', says QAA Quality and Standards Specialist, Jo Green, who worked with sector specialists to compile the toolkit. 'We look forward to continuing to support work in this area.'

Meanwhile, the final report from the Collaborative Enhancement Project on Teaching Degree Apprenticeships has also been published today. The QAA-funded initiative has been led by colleagues at Staffordshire University, in partnership with experts from Kingston University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Middlesex University, the University of Bolton and the University of Wolverhampton.

The project has gathered data from teaching staff and apprentices in considering approaches to the development, delivery and evaluation of degree apprenticeship programmes, pedagogical processes and key factors that enable apprentice success.

Other relevant materials from QAA include the Higher Education in Apprenticeships Characteristics Statement, our Review of Degree Apprenticeships in Wales, as well as a number of Collaborative Enhancement Projects focused on apprenticeships.

Previous policy series papers include work on the relationship between quality and fundingthe Lifelong Learning Entitlementrealigning the UK higher education system and international trust in English higher education.