Multiverse has become the first solely apprenticeship provider in England to be granted degree awarding powers.
The company – the brainchild of its chief executive Euan Blair, son of the former UK prime minister Tony Blair – announced the feat today following sign-off from the government’s higher education regulator the Office for Students.
It means that Multiverse can now run and award its own degree level apprenticeships. Other independent training providers can deliver degree apprenticeships but only in partnership with an established university or college that has degree awarding powers.
Multiverse was previously delivering degree apprenticeships in partnership with NCH London but can now award its own certificates up to, and including, level 6 bachelors’ degrees.
The edtech company said it will award degrees in areas such as data science and technology, and all programmes will be taught through apprenticeships with high-profile employers such as Rolls-Royce and Mastercard.
Elisabeth Barrett, Multiverse’s vice president for learning, said: “We have a vision for applied degrees that allow people to obtain a quality education – but where a salary replaces debt. A high-quality job from the start replaces the risk of being unprepared for the modern workplace by the time they graduate. And applied learning and personalised coaching replaces theoretical lectures and outdated exams.”
Jean Arnold, director of quality at the Office for Students, said applicants for degree awarding powers are tested against criteria which consider a range of factors such as academic governance, quality of the academic experience, and academic standards.
Providers who are awarded these powers can then operate them on a “probationary basis and are monitored on their progress towards meeting the degree awarding powers criteria in full by the end of their probationary award”.
The first apprentices will enrol onto Multiverse degrees in September, with applications for all 16- to 24-year-olds opening later this year.
An initial cohort of 170 apprentices will be enrolled this autumn.
The company currently works with over 8,000 apprentices, including more than 450 in degree-level qualifications.
Arnold added: “We support innovation in the sector to enhance the options and quality of courses for students. We’re pleased to grant degree awarding powers to Multiverse as a provider that delivers opportunities and choice to students.”