First winners of OfS degree apprenticeships cash revealed

Ten colleges among 51 winners of initial batch of £40 million fund to expand and diversify degree apprenticeships

Ten colleges among 51 winners of initial batch of £40 million fund to expand and diversify degree apprenticeships

Fifty-one colleges and universities have won a share of a £12 million funding pot designed to expand degree apprenticeships. 

The Office for Students (OfS) has today released the names of ten colleges and 41 universities that have been awarded funding from wave one of its £40 million degree apprenticeships fund launched in September.

Bidders for this wave had to be able to demonstrate they could deliver projects that could increase starts and improve the diversity of their degree apprentice recruits. Funding must be spent by the end of July 2024.

Of the £16 million that was made available for this round, just under £12 million was awarded in total and 51 of 69 bids submitted were successful. 

Liverpool John Moores University scored the most cash, winning £1 million to boost its intake across 10 apprenticeships including police constable, chartered manager, transport planner and registered nurse. 

Further education colleges that won the most funding were Weston College (£272,000), DN Colleges Group (£211,600) and Gloucestershire College (£203,000).

Click here to view the full list of successful providers

The University of the West of England was awarded £175,624 for role model and employer outreach projects aiming to enrol more women on its aerospace, civil engineering, building services design and manufacturing engineering degree apprenticeships.

Funding awarded to Bournemouth University has been committed to creating a new route for under-represented students to its nursing and operating department practitioner degree apprenticeships. 

Weston College will spend its funding on expanding four degree apprenticeships including digital user experience professional, project manager, registered nurse and digital and technology solutions professional. 

Exeter College has been awarded £68,227 for its data scientist degree apprenticeships while Abingdon and Witney College bagged £93,771 for its chartered manager apprenticeships.

John Blake, director for fair access and participation at the OfS, said: “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.”

The OfS launched the fund in September to increase the number of providers delivering degree apprenticeships as well as increasing overall numbers and improving diversity. 

It said at the time that the “relatively small proportion” of registered higher education providers offering degree apprenticeships, as well as “uneven and slow” concentrated in a small number of providers, were “market failures.”

Robert Halfon

The fund seeks to support projects that target students who are least likely to access higher education. 

This comes as evidence from organisations such as the Sutton Trust found that degree apprenticeships were more socially exclusive than traditional university university courses. 

Skills minister Robert Halfon said he is “delighted that the institutions awarded a portion of this £40 million will not only be expanding the number of degree apprenticeships offered but have also demonstrated their commitment to boosting access and participation and prioritising equality of opportunity.”

Future waves

The remaining OfS funding will be awarded across two further waves. 

Bids for wave two closed in December but the winners have not yet been announced. 

Providers funded under waves two and three will have more time to deliver results. Activities funded under these waves must conclude by the end of July 2025. 

Providers new to the degree apprenticeship market were ineligible to bid for wave one funding but were eligible for wave two and will be eligible for wave three.

Applications for wave three will open this spring and are expected to close in June. 

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