Keele secures share of national funding to develop Social Worker degree apprenticeship
Keele is set to benefit from an Office for Students (OfS) funding scheme to increase access and choice for prospective students.
The OfS has announced a total of £12million for Wave 1 of a new project to increase the number of degree apprenticeship courses available in English higher education, with Keele securing a portion of funding following a competitive bidding process.
The money will be used to develop a new Social Worker degree apprenticeship at Keele, which has been designed to address skills shortages in the social care sector. Funding will also support work with SMEs to help understand barriers to participating in Degree Apprenticeships.
The first students will begin the course in January 2025, with the course designed for employers looking to upskill staff to become Social Workers, or individuals looking for a career change.
Lou Taylor-Murison, Head of Apprenticeships and Partnership-based Learning at Keele University, said: “This funding is important to growing the Keele apprenticeship portfolio and connecting with new prospective apprentices and employers. Funds will enable us to work regionally to support career changers to access the work-based routes to the Social Work profession and, to help candidates make good quality applications. Through close working with SMEs, we’ll also better understand the enablers to help them engage with a range of degree apprenticeship opportunities.”
John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the OfS, added: “Degree apprenticeships can provide a beneficial alternative route for students in higher education, which bridges the spaces between traditional study and the workplace. Our initial £12 million investment will support universities and colleges to accelerate their efforts to grow and develop these courses.
“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.”
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