The University of Cumbria is an Ofsted Good rated Apprenticeship provider who has been delivering apprenticeships since 2018. Our provision continues to evolve, in 2021/22 we:
- offer 11 apprentice programmes
- teach over 1,200 apprentice learners
- support 200 employers up-skill their workforce
We would be delighted to support you as an organisation to grow your professional talent, to find out how to work with us, please see the information below.
Higher and Degree Apprenticeship Explained
Higher Level and Degree Apprenticeships offer learners the ability to earn a salary whilst training for a professional role, without paying tution fees.
Apprenticeship programmes with the University of Cumbria allow individuals to work as an employee whilst studying a degree-level programme. Our apprenticeship courses combine academic study with practical on-the-job experience, with learners building knowledge and applying this in the workplace developing professional skills and behaviours.
We offer degree apprenticeships from L5 to L7 each linked to either a foundation, bachelor or postgraduate award. They will take between 1 to 5 years to complete, with study being anything from one day a week through to blocks of learning. Our programmes are delivered in a range of ways, from online, on-campus or at the employer's premises and often a blend of methods. All courses expect a minimum of 20% away from an apprentice's normal working environment, actively engaged in learning. This will be a mixture of University-led sessions, and time in work shadowing, in placement, and developing skills with supervision and mentoring.
All apprenticeship applications are via a sponsoring employer, linked to a suitable job role, backed by a contract for the duration of the learning. For more information see our section under how to apply.
All our apprenticeships are delivered with a University of Cumbria validated award, under the regulation of the Office for Students. We are also inspected by Ofsted and many of our courses are subject to approval from professional regulators such as the NMC, HCPC.
Benefits for Employers
Higher level and degree apprenticeships can develop staff skills as they work, whether that is an existing member of staff supported to upskill or a new member of the team recruited into role directly linked to a professional career. We support employers who do both, some recruit periodically to roles needed to support their skills need in a planned way, others will sponsor existing individuals to grow their skills either to enhance existing roles or help them progress to the next level of their career.
Higher-level skills are vital to business performance and UK economic growth – through higher apprenticeships businesses can fill higher-level skills gaps.
Apprentices develop higher-level skills and in so doing keep up-to-date with the latest techniques and technology increasing productivity
Higher and degree apprenticeships enable businesses to attract and retain new talent and through learning at work apprentices are able to develop specific knowledge and competencies that meet the unique needs of the business. We have a track record of working with major regional and national employers who use degree apprenticeships as part of their talent development programme.
Employees can be funded to undertake an apprenticeship at the same or lower level than a qualification they already hold, if the apprenticeship will allow the individual to acquire substantive new skills and the content of the training is materially different from any prior training or a previous apprenticeship.
Benefits for Individuals
Higher level and degree apprenticeships allow individuals to study towards a higher level qualification while remaining in employment and earning a salary. Apprentices benefit from:
- Opportunity to achieve graduate and postgraduate-level qualifications whilst learning and earning in a business
- Recent reports estimate that completing a Level 4 higher apprenticeship could result in increased lifetime earnings.
- Chance to gain professional accreditation and/or membership of the professional body
- Opportunity to move their career forward and gain professional skills, in many cases achieve the standard needed for their chosen profession, such as Police Officer, Nurse, Paramedic, Midwife or Diagnostic Radiographer.
- Achieve a higher level qualification equivalent to a degree with no debt via student loans.
- Enter the programme with recognition of prior learning, accelerating the individual starting point and reducing the net learning needed where previous study, CPD or work-based experience might exempt the need for further training.
- Build on existing career and learning to progress to the next stage, for example moving from Nurse Associate to a Registered Nurse or Associate Project Manager to Chartered Project Manager.
How to work with us
If you don't already have a contract or established relationship with the University, here are four simple steps we would encourage you to follow:
STEP 1 - Register
All employer manage their apprenticeship through the Apprenticeship Service. Whether you are a levy paying organisation or a non-levy SME, you need to have an account with the Apprenticeship Service set-up to allowing you to access the funding needed to sponsor a learner. Find out how by visiting our Finance pages.
STEP 2 - Start Planning
Think about ways that you could use apprenticeships to bring new skills into your business either by recruiting someone new or developing existing employees. Use our course pages to review the apprenticeship courses that support your training needs and discuss your thinking your workforce. This might be a discussion with one individual or a competitive process within larger organisations for one or more apprenticeship traiing roles.
Consider your offer, the role, requirements, contract, associated salary etc. If you want help with sample job description and recruitment tools, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to provide some templates.
STEP 3 - Contact us
Many employers will work with established contacts at the university, however if you have not worked with use before please contact us at email@example.com to register your interest, discuss any questions you might have and agree the suitability of our programme for your training needs.
STEP 4 - Select and apply
Progress to selecting the prospective learners you would like to sponsor through a degree apprenticeship and inite them to apply internally where needed, and when you are ready provide us with a list of prospective applicants, we will then formally invite them to apply for the course with your endorsement.
Please note we are happy to provide advice on typical eligibility criteria, but we we consider all applicants as individual learners, and their prior learning or personal status may affect their agreed starting point, and occasionally can limit our ability to fund them through the apprenticeship route based on the current funding rules issued by the ESFA.
Who we work with
The University works with employers in two main ways via commercially tendered contracts and accepting learners on a walk-up basis. We deliver our apprenticeships through a mix of closed cohorts, often at the learners own training base or open cohort run from our campus locations or online.
Aside from Paramedics and Policing which are delivered as closed cohorts to individual Ambulance Trusts and Police Forces, most of our programmes have at least one intake a year where we can, through planning and discussion welcome learners onto programmes from a range of employers.
We are proud to work with SMEs regionally, major employers nationally to deliver specialist professional apprenticeships to meet sector skills needs. We are always open to discussions with employers about offering bespoke cohorts, delivered with specific contextualisation for their organisation, however, all learners on degree apprenticeship programmes will be expected to use their learning and apply this in their specific workplace, so our open cohorts with a mix of learners from different sectors will provide a rich experience and still ensure learning is relevant to your organisation.
We hope the above guide is informative and inspires you to consider working with us to train your staff through a degree apprenticeship programme. If you would like to discuss options further, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details.