‘Outstanding’ for Dyson’s axed degree apprenticeships

Dyson says it would prefer to pay £250,000 per student to avoid the "burden" of degree apprenticeship paperwork

Dyson says it would prefer to pay £250,000 per student to avoid the "burden" of degree apprenticeship paperwork

30 May 2024, 17:22

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Dyson’s degree apprenticeship programme has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, months after the company announced it will drop the programme and replace it with an employer-sponsored Masters degree due to the “onerous administrative burden”.

The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, located in the company’s Wiltshire headquarters, teaches about 120 apprentice employees who are studying product design and development engineering.

Following an inspection in April, the education watchdog heaped praise on the institute for its “highly effective” curriculum that is “exciting, ambitious, coherently planned and sequenced well”.

They rated the institute as ‘outstanding’ in all areas including quality of education, leadership and apprenticeships.

The rating comes as the employer provider celebrates being awarded full degree-awarding powers by the Office for Students and moves away from the “onerous” regulation of degree apprenticeships.

From September this year, the institute will drop the degree apprenticeship and instead offer an engineering master’s to its recruits.

In plans announced in November last year, Dyson said the “heavy (and costly) administrative burden” of the degree apprenticeship means it will “forego” all of its apprenticeship levy funding. It instead “plans to invest at least £250,000” in each of its successor employer-sponsored degree students over their four-year course.

‘Rapid and sustained progress’

However, the institute’s students will continue to live on the Dyson’s Wiltshire research and development campus and follow the same weekly routine as apprentices.

Apprentices – who start on a wage of £22,000 per year – “successfully develop” their skills through the four-year course and make “exceptional progress” in applying their knowledge in their work at the company.

They are taught in “high-quality and well-structured” sessions by knowledgeable lecturers in “excellent facilities and world-class workshops”.

Inspectors said: “Apprentices make rapid and sustained progress from their starting points.

“They develop the skills they need to be highly successful engineers and engineering leaders of the future.”

During their time as apprentices, they transition from “safe, known work to ambiguous problem solving”.

All the apprentices are Dyson employees and study the level 6 product design and development degree apprenticeship.

For two days a week they take part in lectures, laboratory work, tutorials and self-study. They spend the remaining three days on “live projects” in the workplace.

Around one-fifth of the 121 apprentices in the first three years of the programme were 18 years old and a third were female, according to the report.

Apprentices told inspectors they are “proud” to be part of the programme, which builds their confidence and resilience as they learn.

They also benefit from a summer programme that bridges the gap between each academic year and work with different teams during their eight-week work placement in year three.

The institute is also overseen by a council of non-executive directors who “recognise rightly the importance” of drawing a line between apprenticeship provision and the employer.

Director Beverly Gibbs said the institute is “thrilled” about the Ofsted grade and new degree awarding powers.

She added: “These achievements are testament to our dedicated and talented team, to a thriving and engaged student community, and to a vast network of committed executives, line managers, technical mentors and wide-ranging support teams at Dyson.”

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2 Comments

  1. Is it any wonder that apprenticeship numbers are falling. If a significant company like Dyson is not prepared to shoulder the ‘administrative burden’ of apprenticeships what hope is there for the small employers who currently provide approximately 90% of all apprenticeships.