From education to employment

Manchester Met tech apprentices earning £18,000 more than graduate averages for sector, analysis shows


New research from Working Life after Degree Apprenticeships study from Manchester Metropolitan University (@ManMetUni) 

Degree apprenticeship graduates from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Digital and Technology Solutions programme are earning higher annual salaries than graduates from equivalent courses in the UK and universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, new analysis shows.

A review of the current earnings of half of the University’s first cohort of Digital and Technology Solutions apprentices, who graduated in 2019, shows that degree apprenticeships can level-up the life chances of disadvantaged young people and provide access to some of the highest paid jobs.

The group of Manchester Metropolitan Degree Apprenticeship graduates are earning an average annual salary of £39,000 one year after graduating. This is 46% – £18,000 – higher than the average UK computing graduate and 5% – £2,000 –higher than graduates from the top five computing courses in the UK.

The levelling-up of life chances provided by degree apprenticeships is also evidenced by young people from deprived areas – defined in the English indices of deprivation – making up 25% of all Manchester Metropolitan’s current Degree Apprenticeship cohorts, which is significantly higher the national average of 6% reported by the Sutton Trust.

In addition, 34% of current STEM apprentices are women, a substantial improvement on the national average of 22% reported by the Office for Students.

Liz Gorb, Director of Apprenticeships at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Degree apprenticeship programmes offer a valuable route for young and disadvantaged people, which will be particularly vital as the UK recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Our first graduates are accessing some highly paid jobs and rivalling those from the top ranked universities, highlighting the exceptional quality of our employer partners, the teaching and the apprentices on our programmes.”

Degree apprenticeships are just one initiative that employers are using to increase the diversity of their workforce and to ensure fair access in the labour market.

The number of degree apprenticeships has grown rapidly in recent years, from 756 in 2015/16 to 13,587 in 2018/19. They offer a powerful combination of academic learning and on-the-job training, giving young people the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’. 

Dr Raheel Nawaz, Director of Digital and Technology Solutions at Manchester Metropolitan University, added: “All of our first group of Digital and Technology Solutions graduates are still in employment with each apprentice receiving a pay rise after graduating. Many of our degree apprentices would may not have had the opportunity to go to university at all, had they not discovered the option to study for a degree apprenticeship.”

The latest report from the Social Mobility Commission warns of slow progress on improving the life chances of disadvantaged people in England. Whilst many people polled felt that they had been better educated than their parents, this had not translated into improved outcomes in their careers, income and housing.

A recent report from the Sutton Trust paints a similar picture, with people in Britain’s top jobs being five times more likely to have attended a private school than the general population.

Amy Hawkyard, a Supply Chain Planning Senior Analyst at pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, graduated in 2019 from the Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship at Manchester Metropolitan.

She said: “I don’t think I would have ever done a degree without this opportunity as I didn’t have the confidence to apply. The Degree Apprenticeship has given me an appreciation for global business, understanding technology, website, coding and much more. It’s a great way of learning on the job.

“The apprenticeship has massively propelled me forward. I’ve not had to put my career on hold for years and earn no money or little money. I’ve been able to absolutely progress my career to nearly senior management. I can’t imagine where I would be if I hadn’t discovered the Degree Apprenticeship.”

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