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Theo Paphitis champions higher and degree apprenticeships

Theo Paphitis champions higher and degree apprenticeships

This National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February), Solent University, Southampton celebrates bringing learning into the workplace through higher and degree apprenticeships. 

Solent offers 15 higher and degree apprenticeships, across fields including data analysis, business management, nursing and construction. Delivering excellent quality courses that align with the needs of industry often leads to increased productivity for the organisation and career development for the individual. Apprenticeships also benefit the region, developing local talent and supporting organisations in their growth and development.

583 apprentices are currently thriving at Solent, while 183 have completed their courses in the last year. From college-leavers to mature students, apprenticeships offer an accessible route to higher education and meaningful employment for anyone wanting to blend practical and classroom learning. 

As the Office for Students announces an additional £12m for degree apprenticeships, well-known ‘Dragon’ and successful businessman, Theo Paphitis, Solent’s Chancellor, urges businesses to consider welcoming apprentices to their workforce, saying:

“Degree apprenticeships are proving to be a growing area within the apprenticeship arena and is clearly an area that employers should engage with, where possible. Flexible study models allow a member of staff to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours, whilst still having input into the daily working environment and importantly being able to earn whilst they learn. 

“Organisations who engage with apprenticeships and HEI’s who are offering these courses have a real opportunity to ensure their staff are upskilled effectively, have an input into the way courses are developed, and can ensure that their skills needs/gaps are addressed.”

Ellie Peplinski, a Registered Mental Health Nursing Apprentice who recently won the Solent Engage Award for Apprentice of the Year, would encourage anyone considering an apprenticeship to go for it. She says:

“During my apprenticeship I have had lots of opportunities to work within various teams, learning and becoming part of different services and getting first-hand experience. I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people that I might work with in the future; it has helped to increase my confidence in my own abilities.”

Apprenticeships offer students of any age an opportunity to learn in a traditional environment while making connections and securing important experience during work placements. Ellie says this has been fundamental for her:

“I have had lots of support from both the University and my workplace during the apprenticeship that has helped me reflect on my progress. The academic side of my apprenticeship has taught me a lot of useful theory that I have been able to bring into and use within the workplace. My work has also been extremely accommodating and supportive with my studies, which has helped me to balance my workload and made it feel manageable.” 

Associate Provost (Academic Strategy), Jonathan Ridley, says:

“At Solent we’re committed to accelerating career opportunities and offering a wide choice of apprenticeships to give our learners a different route to further their education. Through our own provision and that of our partners in the South Coast Institute of Technology, we have a series of progression routes for business to skill, upskill and reskill their workforce. Local businesses have an important role to play in this and we invite organisations to get involved by taking on apprentices to support a growing workforce and to benefit from new talent.”

To hear more from apprentices at Solent visit here

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