OfS awards further £14m for degree apprenticeships expansion

Weston College wins £1.1 million in latest round of OfS degree apprenticeships funding

Weston College wins £1.1 million in latest round of OfS degree apprenticeships funding

Thirty-two colleges and universities have won a slice of a £14 million pot to grow and improve their degree apprenticeships. 

The Office for Students (OfS) has announced the results of the second wave of funding from its £40 million degree apprenticeships expansion fund. Announced in September, the funding is designed to address “market failures” in the provider base and equality of access.

Projects funded through the scheme have to increase the number of students on level 6 degree apprenticeships and “increase equality of opportunity for students into and during” the apprenticeships, the OfS said.

This comes on top of £12 million awarded in January from the first wave of bids.

Of the 66 bids received from colleges and universities for this round, 32 were successful. 

Unlike the previous round of funding, wave two applicants could be new to the degree apprenticeship market. Most (20) recipients also won funding in the previous round which was only open to existing providers.

This brings the total number of providers that have received a share of the £40 million to 63, including 13 colleges.

Projects funded under this round are due to start from April and run until July 2025.

Cash for colleges

Of the newly announced £14 million, just over £2 million has been awarded to seven further education colleges. 

Weston College has been awarded £1,185,375 to grow ten of its degree apprenticeships including manufacturing engineer, chartered manager, social worker, registered nurse and aerospace engineer. 

Combined with the £272,000 it received from wave one of the fund, Weston College has received the second-highest amount of all successful universities and colleges to date.

The college has said it will use the funding to recruit specialist staff to develop and deliver the courses alongside supporting students from under-represented groups. 

Bridgwater and Taunton College won £296,954 to grow its nuclear and nursing degree apprenticeships. This comes on top of £176,915 it received for those apprenticeships from wave one. 

New College Swindon, Reaseheath College, Blackpool and The Fylde College and City College Norwich have won funding for the first time.

Reaseheath College said it would spend its £132,854 on introducing environmental practitioner and food industry technical professional apprenticeships. 

Click here to view the full list of successful providers

John Blake, the OfS’ director for fair access and participation said: 

‘With this second round of bids, we were looking for universities and colleges to not only describe how OfS funding would expand their degree apprenticeships student numbers and course provision, but also to further demonstrate how they would prioritise recruiting and supporting students from all backgrounds to succeed. I’m pleased to say that all the successful bids have risen to this challenge.  

John Blake

“We have been inspired by the ambitious and forward-looking plans we have received, and I look forward to seeing how this funding can make a real difference to students and our future workforce over the next year and beyond.”

One more wave

The remaining £14 million will be allocated through a third-wave competition later this year with activity starting from October. Previous OfS guidance said a bidding template for wave three will be published in May 2024.

Like the wave two projects, those successful in wave three will have to be completed by the end of July 2025.

Providers hoping to bid for funding must be registered with the OfS in its ‘approved (fee cap)’ category and could be new to degree apprenticeship delivery.

Skills minister Robert Halfon said: “As minister, I have backed us to go further by committing an additional £40 million to developing degree apprenticeships so that more people can benefit from these life changing opportunities. In this second wave of funding, institutions will be able to expand their degree apprenticeship opportunities as well as prioritise access and participation for young people, individuals from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, and those least likely to access and succeed in higher education.

“From supporting our NHS with degree apprenticeships in health to developing partnerships with leading employers to upskill the local workforce and recruit new talent, these projects will facilitate upward mobility, bridge skills gaps, and fuel economic growth.”

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