Higher Education Minister visits University of Exeter for National Apprenticeship Week celebration

The University of Exeter is “revolutionary” in its commitment to providing degree apprenticeships, according to the UK’s Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, who visited the University this week.

An alumnus of the University, The Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP returned to Exeter during National Apprenticeship Week to hear more about the University’s apprenticeship provision as well as meet with apprentices and the University’s employer partners.

The University of Exeter is the leading provider of Degree Apprenticeships nationally and the largest provider in the prestigious Russell Group of universities.

It works with over 450 employers, and has 3,300 apprentices enrolled across 18 programmes spanning health, engineering, digital, leadership and management.

The Minister was welcomed to Exeter’s Streatham campus by Professor Lisa Roberts, the President and Vice-Chancellor, and Stuart Brocklehurst, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Business and Engagement.

During the visit the Minister joined Professor Roberts and the University’s degree apprenticeship team for a roundtable event with some of the University’s employer partners, including the NHS, Amazon, South West Water, Rowe IT and the SW Apprentice Ambassador Network, during which they discussed the opportunities and challenges apprenticeships can bring for employers, as well as the collaborative relationship they have with the University of Exeter.

The Minister went on to open the University’s annual National Apprenticeship Week Celebration Lunch, where he addressed around 40 Exeter staff members, all of whom are either current apprentices or have completed an apprenticeship programme.

“It was wonderful to return to the University of Exeter to meet apprentices and employers,” said Minster Halfon.

“It was encouraging to see how many apprentices also work at the university, showing just how great a place it is both to learn and work.

“As a Russell Group university, Exeter is helping to cascade the prestige of degree apprenticeships across the higher education sector – with over 3,000 degree apprentices currently enrolled across a range of standards including research scientist, radiographer and civil engineer and with well-known employers such as JP Morgan, NHS and IBM on board, Exeter really is revolutionary.”

Through widening participation in Higher Education and ensuring graduates are equipped with the skills they need to lead successful and fulfilling careers, degree apprenticeships are an important component of the University of Exeter’s Strategy 2030, in which it pledges to use the power of its education, research and partnerships to create a greener, healthier and fairer world.

The University of Exeter launched the Centre for Degree Partnerships in September 2023 to drive growth of degree apprenticeships and is on course to have 5,000 apprentices on its programmes by 2030 – almost double the current number.

“National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity for the skills sector to celebrate the achievements of apprentices from across the country and the positive impact they make to communities, businesses and the economy,” said Professor Roberts.

“Here at Exeter we are absolutely committed to developing the best talent and investing in skills development, so it was a real privilege to welcome the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon MP and to hear him speak with such passion about the power of apprenticeships and the crucial role they can play in building a diverse, skilled and committed workforce.”

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