The first recruits of the university’s BA Management Degree Apprenticeship are putting a new spin on ‘learning on the job’.
Six new recruits have begun the three-year programme, enrolling from local companies including Church’s Shoes, Horiba and Collingwood Lighting.
Fully funded through the apprenticeship levy; Degree Apprenticeships are a relatively new development in higher education. It is a combined package of work and study, with the apprentice being both employee and student.
The University of Northampton is one of just six institutions in the UK to offer the programme, which enables full-time employed workers to study part time – with their employer paying for them to ‘earn and learn’.
The programme is also a unique opportunity for companies to put their promising up-and-comers through CMI-accredited management training.
Lydia Selby, Programme Leader, said: “Through this programme the acquisition of core knowledge is achieved via a mixture of seminars, workshops and work based learning. As students’ progress through the programme they will work increasingly independently always relating their studies to the work environment.
“Students will be able to apply this acquired knowledge and experience, applying the theoretical concepts and independent research in an organisational context to the benefit of their organisation.
“This Degree Apprenticeship provides both an intellectually demanding and satisfying course of study that equips graduates to work independently. This programme produces graduates who are proactive in relation to management issues in organisations and who are able to understand how business needs to shape management strategies.”
Gov.uk (2016) states that employers in England rate qualified higher apprentices as 25 per cent more employable that those who took an alternative route into work.
Rebecca Lyon, a Management Degree Apprentice and sales manager for Collingwood Lighting in Kettering, said: “I’m very aware that there is a big jump from becoming Sales Manager, to my next step as Sales Director at the company. On the job experience isn’t always enough, you need to have a firm understanding of an organisation as a whole.
“So for example you need to work quite closely with Finance and Marketing, and this course will give me a better understanding of an organisation. How all the departments collaborate and work together – as opposed to just working towards a sales team’s goals or objectives.”
Stephen Wright, a fellow Apprentice and quality control manager at Church’s Shoes, said: “This is a chance to learn the academic side of management, learning management from an organisational view, and a chance to progress through the ranks at my company.
“This provides me with key management skills that I can then adapt to my working environment. This could be managing a team more effectively and applying the theories or structuring a team, or identifying qualities in team leaders and helping to hone leadership skills in others.”