Northumbria University now able to extend Apprenticeship Offer to SMEs

Northumbria University has recently received funding to support SMEs to access Degree Apprenticeships to upskill their employees for programmes starting this autumn.  The funding available covers 90% of the learner’s tuition fee.  Employers who qualify will typically pay £900 per learner per year contribution enabling the learner to gain a full honours level degree. Each learner must be employed on a minimum 30 hours per week basis and be authorised to attend University one day per week.

Northumbria University was one of the first UK Universities to offer Degree Apprenticeships, launching its first undergraduate degree apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions (Software Engineering) in 2015.  From this September, we are expanding our work-based offer to include degree apprenticeships in Chartered Surveying, Chartered Manager and creating new pathways in Digital and Technology Solutions to include Data Analyst and Business Analyst.

We have invested in developing high quality provision, working closely with our existing business partners to ensure we design programmes that offer the best possible learning experience for employees and the strongest outcome for the business.  The programmes we are now designing and developing are very much a partnership between the University, the employer and in some cases relevant professional bodies.  Combining employment status with part-time student status is regarded as hugely valuable by many of the apprentices and employers we are currently engaged with.

Our track record in delivering programmes to employers of all sizes has demonstrated very positive feedback.  One example of working with an SME, is STCS Limited, a software company based in Gateshead.  John Wiseman, Director of STCS Limited said,

‘The Degree Apprenticeship scheme at Northumbria University has changed the way we think about about finding and developing talent.   So far, we have three degree apprentices on the scheme at Northumbria and I have every intention of continuing to employ apprentices for this scheme alongside our more traditional graduate routes.’

Jennifer Gane, a junior software engineer employed through the apprenticeship scheme was delighted with the opportunity of a new career direction.  She commented,

‘For me, degree apprenticeships offer the best of both worlds – you can gain a degree level qualification while at the same time earning money and gaining real-life experience within the industry you are working at the same time.  Degree Apprenticeships are as academically challenging and rigorous as a traditional degree, perhaps even more so in some ways because you are working at the same time.  The big benefit is that when you graduate you already have a job in your chosen field.’

The degree apprenticeship model of study is demanding for students, as they are completing their studies in parallel with a full time job.  This presents a very different opportunity compared to the traditional undergraduate experience.  Students do not pay for tuition fees and will not incur student loans.  Employers can upskill their existing employees providing opportunities for many people to gain access to higher education who previously may not have considered it a viable option.

For further information about our programmes please visit the link below:

Places are limited so if you are interested in finding out more about this opportunity please contact Emma Barron on 0191 349 5095 or at


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