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What is a Degree Apprenticeship?


An apprenticeship is a programme that allows an individual to become skilled in a particular trade by combining training on-the-job with academic learning. There are many options available to employers and would-be apprentices. Now, thanks to a pilot by the Welsh Government, you can be an apprentice and achieve a university degree at the same time.

A Degree Apprenticeship is designed with work-based learning at its core. Open to existing employees and as a talent recruitment tool, the programme produces an employee educated to graduate-level who also understands the discipline and requirements of the workplace.

With over 50 years’ experience of providing quality higher education opportunities to learners, many of whom are in employment, The Open University in Wales is perfectly placed to deliver its Degree Apprenticeship in Applied Software Engineering.

The current economy has a high demand for digitally and technologically qualified personnel. While the Covid-19 pandemic may have delivered the economy a shock, it is likely to have accelerated the growth in importance of technology-based roles. The Degree Apprenticeship in Software Engineering can be viewed as a tool to attract new talent, enable the transition to a new career, or grow talent from within the organisation.

The online teaching is delivered flexibly around the demands of the workplace, and requires minimum time away from work. As a course designed to be delivered online, learning can continue around any Government restriction on travel or classroom learning.

It can be delivered simultaneously to several locations, providing a consistent programme for multiple staff in different workplaces.

Throughout the programme apprentices and their employers are supported throughout by a team of team of dedicated Open University staff. An assigned Practice Tutor supports the delivery of work-based learning modules and helps apprentices to integrate their learning into the workplace. They meet with apprentices and their managers at least four times a year. Due to current restrictions, these are conducted virtually.

Each individual module has specialist Academic Tutor, who will provide the apprentice with the academic knowledge at various stages of their qualification. They provide personalised tuition, student support and feedback.

The OU’s Applied Software Engineering Degree Apprenticeship is designed to give apprentices all the knowledge, skills and behavioural characteristics they will need to become competent software engineering professionals.

It gives a broad foundation in the technologies and techniques of computing and the issues involved in their application, as well as giving apprentices the tools they need to stay ahead in the rapidly changing world of software engineering. Apprentices gain both theoretical knowledge and practical experience in designing, building and evaluating software components and systems.

The Degree Apprenticeship is fully funded by the Welsh Government through the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).