Hema Tank, Associate Dean at The London Institute of Banking & Finance

As the Associate Dean of the University College at The London Institute of Banking & Finance, some might wonder why I’ve come out so strongly in defence of apprenticeships (FENews, 14 June).

We focus on providing degrees for those wanting to pursue a career in banking and the wider financial sector, and we’re very proud of what we do and what our students achieve. Our degrees provide rigorous academic study in context, with clear routes into the sector. Our lecturers are not only academics but have significant sector experience and their own industry networks. And because we’ve been firmly embedded in the finance sector for almost 140 years – we started life as the Institute of Bankers in 1879 – we have excellent  links with the industry.

I strongly believe that a degree that is  focused on carving out a good career gives students the best educational opportunity, providing real value for money. With us, not only do they get the university experience but they gain skills and knowledge to help them get going in a great career.

And why should that experience be denied to students who don’t want to take a university route?

That’s why we’re supporting the development of degree-level apprenticeships in the finance sector and are calling for the apprenticeship levy to be given a chance to bed in.

Apprenticeships offer excellent opportunities for young people who want to get into work straight from school or college. They also provide  opportunities for older people who want to change career or who missed out on opportunities in their younger days and want a fresh start, combining degree level study with professional qualifications.

Degree-level apprenticeships allow direct engagement with working life and, at the same time, help people grow intellectually. They fit very well with our mission as a university college and allow us to share our bespoke ‘university experience’ with a larger group. Apprenticeships also offer a route with fewer financial worries. Employers pay for the fees and provide apprentices with a salary. Compare that with three years spent in what can be an extended adolescence at the cost of perhaps £60,000 in debt. 

But, some might ask, isn't it better to take a degree route that is not helping to mould a student to fit an employer's expectations or narrows students’ options? Won’t they have their minds closed by a narrow focus on the world of work?

That argument overlooks the fact that universities have become businesses selling a product – something young people and their guardians may not  consider.

Before the changes in UK higher education that made universities reliant on fee income, and took away the cap on student numbers, a university education – in almost any subject – was generally a route to a good job. At least, in theory, it signalled an ability to apply oneself to learning as well as a desire to continue to develop more fully. Employers were glad to have such people clearly flagged up and they routinely offered them on-the-job training. The students were also happy with the system – the promise of a well-paid and interesting job almost regardless of discipline was why many people took a degree.

It was also fuelled by a certain amount of snobbery. Vocational courses were for the ‘less able’ and the working class. That same snobbery is perhaps what’s fuelling the current reluctance by teachers, according to a recent survey by The Sutton Trust, to recommend apprenticeships to their students, despite growing demand and the opportunities on offer.

But the world is changing. Degrees are no longer a ‘guaranteed’ route to a fulfilling career. Unless graduates have several strings to their bow – a particular talent, good work experience, contacts, or all three – they can find it hard to persuade the best employers to take them on. 

On average, graduates still out-earn those without a degree, but that average hides a wide range. Those who study arts tend to fare less well. The average gross annual income for them in July-September 2017 was £20,696. At the other end of the spectrum, engineering graduates averaged £44,980. In business and finance, the average is £34,996. (Source: ONS)

Of course, a university education has a value that cannot be measured in pounds and pence. It helps us to think for ourselves and to develop fully as human beings. However, a degree is only part of it. A fulfilling and challenging career is at least as important.

As a small university college, we can provide a bespoke experience that not only broadens our students’ minds and academic horizons, but also allows us to give one-to-one support to help students develop the broader skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Employability skills are included as a core module in all our degrees and the majority of our students go on to a successful career in the sector.

We believe our degrees offer the best of both worlds and our students agree. We’re rated as joint fifth overall in the UK for student satisfaction, and joint 2nd in London, with 92% of its students reporting that they were satisfied with the quality of their course (2017 National Student Survey).

And if we can offer other high-quality educational routes, such as degree level apprenticeships that open up more opportunities and real prospects to more people, why wouldn’t we? 

The success of our students – whether they study full time with us or through an apprenticeship – speaks for itself.

 

Hema Tank, Associate Dean at The London Institute of Banking & Finance

Copyright © 2018 FE News

About The London Institute of Banking & Finance: Founded in 1879 as the Institute of Bankers, The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) is a registered charity, incorporated by Royal Charter, and a regulated awarding body and university college, providing under-graduate and post-graduate degree courses for students aiming to pursue a career in banking and finance at our university campus in central London. Our Faculty is drawn from industry practitioners with an academic background and the university has very close links with the sector. We are rated as joint fifth overall in the UK for student satisfaction with 92% of its students reporting that they were satisfied with the quality of their course (2017 National Student Survey).

LIBF also provides an accredited professional qualifications framework for the finance sector, providing firms and individuals with the skills and capability needed in today’s industry. We provide qualifications covering a wide range of subjects, including banking, regulation, conduct, ethics, investment, mortgage advice and financial advice.

We are also the only specialist awarding body for dedicated personal finance qualifications for children and young people under the national curriculum, regulated by Ofqual. We work with over 750 schools and over 50,000 young people every year.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

Dyspraxia Lambeth had a status update on Twitter 3 hours 26 minutes ago

@ERSA_CEO @apprenticelsbu @Edu4sj_lsbu @milton_damian @QLMentoring @EdDavie @NancyDoylePsych @HWLambeth Fears ‘lost… https://t.co/HgFJWeC60R
View Original Tweet

SERC has published a new article: Conal Set for SPARKS Apprentice of the Year Competition 13 hours 28 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page