From education to employment

Building lasting relationships between colleges and businesses through degree apprenticeships

Adam Herbert Exclusive article

In recent years degree apprenticeships have emerged as a promising avenue for higher education institutions and businesses, to collaborate and provide the perfect blend of academia with work experience for individuals it’s suited to. Not only do they offer students the chance to gain valuable work experience while obtaining a degree, they also provide the benefits of integrated learning with real-world experience, which for many is the perfect combination.

For colleges, fostering lasting relationships with reputable businesses is essential to the success and sustainability of these programs. Here, Adam Herbert, CEO and co-founder of leading marketing and data company, Go Live Data, discusses the strategies colleges should employ to create and nurture such important partnerships:

Understanding business needs

Colleges first should prioritise their bid to understand the specific needs and objectives of the businesses within their target industries. A key way to achieve this is to conduct proper research and engage in dialogue with industry leaders, who will be able to provide valuable insights into the skills and expertise required by employers. Try to create opportunities via one-to-one meetings or attend industry events to speak to those leaders, to ensure you’re properly informed. Other avenues would be to keep abreast of specific white papers and educational journals to stay informed.  By aligning degree apprenticeship programs with these needs, colleges can demonstrate their commitment to producing graduates who are equipped to meet the demands of a particular workforce.

Customising apprenticeship programs

Flexibility is paramount when it comes to designing degree apprenticeships that cater to the needs of both students and the businesses. Colleges should offer customisable options that allow employers to tailor the curriculum to align with their business and the skills they seek in prospective employees. This could involve incorporating specific industry certifications, specialised training modules, or on-the-job learning experiences into the structure of each program.

Establishing clear communication channels

Essential for building and maintaining strong relationships in any situation, it’s vital for colleges to establish clear channels of communication with employers, to make sure a regular dialogue is maintained. This would allow for program updates to be discussed, as well as student progress and any needs or challenges that could arise. By doing this, colleges can demonstrate their commitment to collaboration and show how responsive they are to industry feedback.

Providing ongoing support

Supporting students and employers throughout the duration of the apprenticeship is crucial for ensuring a positive and productive experience on both sides. Colleges should offer comprehensive support services, such as academic advising, mentoring, and career counselling, to give students the best chances of succeeding as possible, academically and professionally. Dedicated resources and assisting employers, will help mitigate the challenges and maximise the benefits to their business.

Facilitating networking opportunities

Creating opportunities for networking and collaboration can really strengthen the relationship between colleges and business providers. It might be that colleges organise events such as industry panels, networking mixers, or career fairs, that bring together students, employers, and faculty members. These not only facilitate meaningful connections, but they are also an excellent way to showcase the talent and expertise of students to employers.

Emphasising long-term partnership

Long-term relationships require a long-term perspective and commitment from both parties involved. Colleges should emphasise the importance of these relationships and put collaboration at the top of the list. By demonstrating their dedication to this, colleges can foster trust and mutual respect, laying strong and healthy foundations for successful programmes, which grow and develop great quality graduates over time.

Evaluating and adapting

Evaluation and improvement are essential and I strongly advise colleges to regularly engage with and ask for feedback from students and employers to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the programs they are running. It’s the best way to identify areas that are going well, and to see where there is room for improvement. By being receptive to feedback and addressing concerns, colleges can demonstrate their commitment to quality and innovation in meeting the needs of the workforce now and going way into the future.

Showcasing the successes

By highlighting success stories and testimonials can share the impact and value of your degree apprenticeship programs and show everything there is to be gained by the individuals on the courses and the huge benefits to be had by the businesses involved. Colleges should actively promote and celebrate their students, as a sure-fire way to attract new business partnerships and to reaffirm the college’s reputation for excellence in developing workforce development.

By Adam Herbert, CEO and co-founder of Go Live Data

Having worked in the data and marketing industry spanning over two decades, Go Live Data’s CEO, Adam Herbert has helped many industry leaders and organisations with market sizing, supporting growth through data driven strategies and helping their businesses move from traditional marketing methods to digital, which continues to evolve at a rapid rate. 

Now at the helm of his own company, Adam’s mission is to drive change in what he believes is a stagnant industry. With a track record in business strategy, operations, product marketing and sales, Adam’s professional career has and continues to focus on helping customers drive revenue via strategic data lead strategies. He has guided some of the world’s largest companies through the process of GDPR, ensuring compliance and advising on the best outreach methods to new prospects.

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