Degree Apprenticeships Resources and Guidance for Business Schools
These resources are intended to illuminate and illustrate best practice for schools seeking to enter or expand degree apprenticeship provision at all levels, as well as providing key information on the procedures and stakeholders that form a core part of the process. The resources and templates below have been kindly provided by a number of business schools that are represented on the Chartered ABS Degree Apprenticeships Working Group.
Degree Apprenticeships are different from traditional degrees and there are additional requirements to meet the Quality Code.
The Quality Assurance Agency has published Quality Assuring Higher Education in Apprenticeships: Current Approaches.
The Apprenticeship Standard is very similar to a Subject Benchmark and outlines what an apprentice must demonstrate in terms of knowledge, skills and behaviour. It is important to establish whether the standard is in development or approved for delivery. Details can be found on the Institute for Apprenticeships website here.
HEIs should consider how the course design takes account of the Apprenticeship Standard, the Assessment Plan and the End Point Assessment. See below two examples of mapping documents that show how the modules on a programme meet the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the Degree Apprenticeship standard.
CMDA Portfolio - University of Chester Business School
Skills Mapping for Level 7 Apprenticeships - UCLan School of Business and Management
The Quality Code emphasises the importance of published information to support the recruitment, selection and admission process of apprentices. It advises HEIs to publish information about its apprenticeship offer; how the provision is managed, organised and quality assured including the central role of employers in recruitment and selection and how this fits with the admission requirements of the provider (where appropriate, this would include details about Recorded Prior Learning). It should also state how apprenticeships fit within the HEI’s overall mission, values and strategy and the policies that underpin its work.
Recruitment, Selection and Admission need to be managed collaboratively. HEIs should note that apprentices are employees recruited by the employer, but will also have to meet the HEI’s minimum entry requirements to join a programme. Academic staff may want to take part in the interview process for applicants or ensure employers are aware of the entry requirements. See an overview provided by a HEI that involves a professional body:
Degree Apprenticeship Framework - Durham University Business School
The Apprenticeship Student Experience is a collaboration between a number of parties: apprentice, employer, the higher education provider and end-point assessor. There is an obligation on universities to manage this collaboration to deliver a high quality apprenticeship experience. The QAA state that the delivery and assessment of Degree Apprenticeships are underpinned by written agreements between the HEI and the employer. Written agreements establish clear expectations about the role(s) that employers will play in supporting apprentice learning. The University Vocational Awards Council has issued an ‘Employer Commitment Statement’ with essential notes incorporated. Chartered ABS members have permission to use the document.
Employer Commitment Statement Template - UVAC
Guidance on Employer Commitment Statement (annotated) - UVAC
HEIs need to consider other mechanisms to manage the collaboration to enable student achievement. This includes, for example, arrangements for the following:
- workplace mentoring
- access to employer resources
- involvement in End Point Assessment
Furthermore HEIs may want to document arrangements for involving employers in higher education programme evaluation, monitoring support for engaging in off-the-job learning and protocols for addressing issues and enhancing the programme.
HEIs are responsible for ensuring the apprentice receives 20% of off-the-job-training (OTJT) time required to achieve the apprenticeship standard. This involves more than study time on the degree and includes time, for example, to learn new skills in the workplace that are developmental and not part of the apprentice’s normal duties. Further information on this can be found in the Apprenticeship off-the-job training Policy background and examples.
HEIs may want to record the off-the-job training time to ensure that they are in accordance with the funding rules and policy intent. Many HEIs are using electronic systems or templates/diaries to outline OTJT events and record the time involved. An example can be downloaded below.
Level 7 Masters Degree Apprenticeship Off-the-Job Training Log - University of Chester Business SchoolDownload
Employers and academic tutors will have to work collaboratively to support the apprentice to meet the knowledge, skills and behaviours in the standard and support them both on and off the job. A popular method of managing this is asking apprentices to record information in a learning log or eportfolio that provides a tool for discussion, reflection and assessment with the tutor and the employer. The learning log/eportfolio can be used to assess skills gaps, monitor progress to ensure apprentices are advancing towards meeting the Apprenticeship Standard. See an example Learning Log below.
Standard Behaviour Portfolio Development learning log - Staffordshire Business School, University of StaffordshireDownload
The Quality Code states that all who teach, enable learning and are involved in assessment including staff at employers have appropriate training and are competent to undertake their various roles. HEIs need to consider how line managers/workplace mentors are trained and supported to undertake the responsibilities required of them. This might typically involve induction sessions, training events, mentor handbooks and regular, scheduled virtual or face-to-face meetings with tutors responsible for supporting the learning development of apprentices.
Mentor Handbook - University of Bedfordshire Business SchoolDownload
Degree apprenticeships feature work based learning and work projects. As a result, there is a need for tutors to visit the apprentice’s organisation to agree and monitor work projects as well as hold progress review meetings to discuss the performance and development of the apprentice. See an example Apprenticeship Progress Review below.
Visit Template - University of Chester Business SchoolDownload
HEIs need to be aware that all degree apprenticeships require an End-Point Assessment (EPA) to test both academic learning and workplace competence. A gateway system operates to confirm whether or not an apprentice has met the requirements set out in the standard and if they are ready to move on to the EPA. How the EPA is delivered depends on the Standard and also whether the degree apprenticeship is integrated or non-integrated. Refer to the Apprenticeship Standard which has an associated Assessment Plan and details of the EPA.
It is advisable that HEIs ensure apprentices are well prepared for the EPA and build-in formative feedback involving employers throughout the apprenticeship journey. It is good practice to use an eportfolio or learning log template (see above) to provide regular feedback throughout the apprenticeship journey.
External Examiners play an essential role to ensure that external moderation and quality is maintained. Where EPA is conducted by a separate independent Apprentice Assessment Organisation, the HEI appointed external examiners will not play a direct role in the EPA process. With Integrated Degree Apprenticeships, as the EPA is an integral aspect of the final assessment stage of the higher education, the External Examiner will have a role in overseeing this aspect of the assessment. HEIs should make specific arrangements for EPA in accordance with the requirements of the relevant Apprenticeship Assessment Plan.