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Supporting higher education in apprenticeships: QAA publishes new guidance

Date: August 1 - 2019

Universities and colleges are now better supported in delivering higher education qualifications as part of an apprenticeship, thanks to expert advice published by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

Apprentices can gain a higher education qualification, such as a degree, as a key component of their apprenticeship. According to the Office for Students, 10,870 people started a level 6 or 7 apprenticeship in 2017-18 in England, 6,320 of which included a degree qualification.

Now, for the first time, an expert working group convened by QAA has developed a Characteristics Statement that explains the common features of higher education qualifications delivered through an apprenticeship. It accounts for practice and policy across the UK.

It has also been benchmarked to the UK Quality Code for Higher Education and higher education frameworks, meaning that universities and colleges can be confident that the guidance is in line with the expectations the sector has set for itself.

QAA's Dr Alison Felce said: 'How apprenticeships are regulated and quality assured, as well as the terminology used to describe them, differs considerably in each UK jurisdiction. That's why it's particularly important that we have reached this consensus across the UK.

'The new Characteristics Statement will help universities and other higher education providers that want to start offering apprenticeships or expand their existing programmes. This will mean improved choice and high-quality study options for the next generation of apprentices.'