Salford secures major funding to support growth and diversification of degree apprenticeships

Categories: Schools

The University of Salford has been successful in a competition from the Office for Students (OfS) for funding to increase equality of opportunity for degree apprenticeships. The initiative aims to grow capacity and capability within the Higher Education sector to meet present and future skills needs.

The University went through a competitive bidding exercise to secure £223,053, a segment in the first wave of the OfS’s transformative £40 million degree apprenticeships fund.

Degree apprenticeships can offer an alternative route into higher education for students to learn skills that meet society’s current and future requirements. Students from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds who have historically found higher education harder to access might, in particular, find these courses well suited to their ambitions.

Successful bids were required to demonstrate how their course provision will enhance equality of opportunity, to ensure that students from every background are able to access and succeed in their chosen career path.

Apprenticeships are strongly aligned to the University’s strategic priority of industry collaboration with their importance to growth and diversification clearly reflected in our Corporate Strategy 2022-2027. The University has also taken the lead role in the recently established Greater Manchester Institute of Technology (GMIoT). The GMIoT is constantly evolving in response to industry demand for skills and as such, apprenticeships form a key component of the GMIoT’s portfolio.

Paul Ward, Director of International and Regional Development, said: “At Salford we are committed to breaking down perceived barriers to higher education, ensuring that our student cohort reflects the diversity in society. We work to inspire, engage, and enable those who may not consider higher education to fulfil their potential by raising their awareness, challenging barriers, and providing opportunities to further develop their education and employability skills.

“With 84% of our undergraduate students being from a widening participation background, it is evident that access is a strong area for Salford and one we are keen to further strengthen through the growth and expansion of our apprenticeship portfolio.”

The University currently offers a wide range of apprenticeship programmes across Science, Engineering, Construction, Health and Society. Along with improving equality, this funding will be used to support sectors’ priority high level skill requirements as identified in the Greater Manchester Local Skills Improvement Plan (GM LSIP).

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the OfS, said: “We set universities and colleges a challenge to deliver an extensive range of degree apprenticeships that students from all backgrounds could access. They responded with a wide range of innovative and ambitious bids. This is a major intervention by the OfS and I am excited to see how the successful bids from the first wave of applications expand and enhance courses on offer to students. 

“As these projects take root and grow, our funding will help universities and colleges to ensure that every student is supported to access these courses and harness the skills needed to boost local and regional economies.”

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Robert Halfon said: “Degree apprenticeships are a crucial rung on the ladder of opportunity and an important instrument of social justice. By offering people from all backgrounds the chance to gain valuable workplace experience while studying for a degree, they open doors that might otherwise have been closed.  

“I am delighted that the institutions awarded a portion of this £40 million will not only be expanding the number of degree apprenticeships offered but have also demonstrated their commitment to boosting access and participation and prioritising equality of opportunity. 

“Whether it is providing more nurses for our NHS or helping get more women in engineering and construction, I look forward to seeing how these projects help more people climb the ladder of opportunity, address skills gaps and help grow our economy.”

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.