How Degree Apprenticeships benefit the Employer and the Employee: Chris and Oxford United Community Trust’s Story
School and mainstream academic learning can be a narrow pathway at a very specific time, early in your life. If pure academic learning is not for you or you’re not ready to learn in your formative years, then you often miss out on the chance of qualifications that could at some point affect your career progression. A degree apprenticeship is a new way for someone in work to improve their knowledge and qualifications, benefiting both the individual and the business they work for.
Chris Lowes, Head of Operations at Oxford United Community Trust, is one person in our network that is currently benefiting from a degree apprenticeship.
“I’m not really academic. I struggled to learn at school and ended up leaving with no GCSE’s. Having Dyslexia doesn’t help. I wouldn’t say it’s the root cause of everything but it meant I struggled with written work. After school I went straight into part time work with the football club as a coach on minimum wage. Over the years I’ve worked my way up through various positions at the Trust.”
Chris was recently appointed Head of Operations, atop job at Oxford Community Trust. Despite his success at Oxford, Chris has always been concerned about his lack of formal qualifications.
Chris continues, “I always regretted not having more qualifications and as my career developed I regretted it even more because I know that I have the knowledge and potential to succeed. I thought about doing night school, or day release many times, but the cost was too much and the time it takes out of your life put me off when trying to balance a full time job. However, a degree apprenticeship doesn’t have those constraints, so it’s an opportunity that I jumped at.”
Degree apprenticeships have less effect on a student’s life, as they combine working with studying part-time at a university. Apprentices are employed throughout the programme and spend part of their time at university and the rest with their employer. This can be on a day-to-day basis or in blocks of time, depending on the programme and requirements of the employer. More importantly a degree apprenticeship also removes the cost barrier, with only 5% contribution towards costs for non-levy paying organisations and no cost for levy paying organisations.
The course Chris is studying is the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship with the Open University. This degree provides apprentices with higher level management skills, core leadership competencies and behaviours. Thanks to his degree apprenticeship, Chris is now getting the opportunity to get the qualification he deserves and Oxford United Community Trust are benefiting from his wider skills, knowledge and expertise.
“I’ve always learned by doing. I’ve got basic understanding of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. However, the degree apprenticeship is broadening and deepening my knowledge and understanding. The degree allowed me to understand the theory and learning at the same time you are doing the job is a great way to learn.”