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A training provider, an employer and an apprentice: a tripartite relationship

Earlier in December we held our second livestream discussion, which focussed on higher and degree apprenticeships at Solent and had the aim of exploring what they are, how they work, and what benefits they can bring.

We heard the perspective from Solent as the training provider, the employer, and the apprentice, and how all three partners come together in a tripartite relationship to make the scheme and the individual programmes a success.

They are certainly proving popular. To take one example, the Operations Departmental Manager course saw 813 new enrolments during the 2016-17 academic year, nationally. Last academic year, 2017-18, that had risen to a huge 7756 new starts. 

Clearly something about them is working. What are the benefits?

For Solent, by working closely with employers to develop the new apprenticeship standards, we are now able to deliver high quality courses that are aligned with employer needs. By being involved right from the start, we have strengthened our position in the city and the wider Hampshire region to become the preferred provider for a lot of public sector organisations along the south coast.

Employers get the opportunity to invest in their staff, giving time as well as money to show staff that they are valued, and see greater engagement – in their learning and in the organisation – as a result. Apprenticeships also help solve the problem of the  accidental manager and the ensuing loss of productivity; it’s a way for people’s skills and knowledge to catch up with their promotion into a management role. 

The learning that happens in the university is linked back to what the apprentice is doing in their workplace. Assessments are all work-based, so they can build up a portfolio of evidence of skills and knowledge against the apprenticeship standard that directly feeds into their job. Any projects have to be work-based too, giving a chance to get things done that needed to be done anyway, but thinking about them in a different way. 

On a personal level too, the apprentice can benefit hugely through the confidence and empowerment engendered by getting out of a rut and having the knowledge to think about what could be done differently, and how things could be done better. The wider knowledge base allows students to refine and enhance their skills and behaviours, which is one reason why these courses are proving so popular. 

Higher and degree apprenticeships are all about building skills in the city and in the region, so jobs can be created and all of our students have places to go onto once they graduate. While we might have relatively small numbers of students taking these courses, the benefits of them will be felt much further. 

Catch up on the whole livestream for all the detail.