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UWS is seeing the benefit of work-based learning first-hand, with four Graduate Apprentices (GAs) currently working across the University while studying towards a degree.

UWS currently employs apprentices who are working towards qualifications in three frameworks: Engineering, Design and Manufacture; IT Software Development; and Business Management.

Graduate Apprenticeships have been developed by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sectors.

They are a new way for individuals to get qualified up to Master’s degree level whilst in paid employment, designed by employers and offered in key sectors that need highly skilled employees.

Lauren Walsh first joined UWS as a Modern Apprentice straight from school in 2018 and progressed on to the Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management last year. She is now in the second year of her GA, working with the University’s School of Business and Creative Industries as a Division Coordinator.

She said: “Because I’d done the Modern Apprenticeship previously, the Graduate Apprenticeship was the next step. I wanted to go further with it. I was familiar with the layout – I was used to working and learning at the same time, and I’d seen the benefit of it."

“You get so much out of being at work. A lot of what you’re studying relates to what’s in your current role, so you get to see how it works in practice.”
Lauren Walsh - UWS graduate apprentice

The Business Management degree is delivered through a combination of online and work-based learning, supported by campus-based workshops. Students undertake projects which relate to their job alongside modules in topics such as entrepreneurship.

Kayleigh Chambers, a Project Coordinator in the University’s Finance department, is also in the second year of the Business Management GA. She said: “I was drawn to the Graduate Apprenticeship because it takes the same time to complete as full time study, and the fact that half was work based.

“I had heard of people being unable to find employment after uni due to having no working experience. With this degree you don’t only learn, you implement the work and develop not only with education but personally and professionally.”

As well as employing Graduate Apprentices, the University acts as the GA learning provider for employers across a range of sectors.

This year, the University will deliver 130 Graduate Apprenticeships across five subject areas: Business Management; IT Software Development; Engineering Design and Manufacture; Civil Engineering and Early Learning and Childcare.

Fiona Kennedy, Graduate Apprenticeship Project Manager at the University, said: “Graduate Apprenticeships are changing the way that employers attract, train and retain talent, including the University.

“With employees who are learning while working, we’re getting access to talented individuals with relevant skills and a willingness to learn – it’s incredibly positive for all involved.”

Find out more about GAs at UWS at uws.ac.uk/gas.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week (2-6 March) is the nationwide campaign encouraging more employers to take on apprentices, and celebrating the success of apprentices at all levels.

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