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23 January 2017

First Degree Apprentices begin at University of Hertfordshire

The University of Hertfordshire is welcoming its first intake of Degree Apprenticeship students to its Digital and Technology Solutions (DTS) programme.

The DTS programme is the first of its kind in Hertfordshire and is in partnership with employers including Vauxhall Motors and Stevenage Borough Council. The first apprentices will begin their studies on Thursday 19th January.

University of Hertfordshire Pro-Vice Chancellor (Business and International Development), Julie Newlan, said: 'Degree Apprenticeships are a paradigm shift in the way higher education and vocational training is being delivered.

'They're also an important step forward for this University and, as the UK's leading business-facing institution, we must be at the forefront of their delivery. Therefore, we have worked extremely closely with employers and industry to make sure the courses we offer are what they want and need.'

As well as being designed with the employers' needs in mind, the DTS programme also maintains the high-levels of teaching and learning students need to attain a degree from the University. The course offers four specialisms to the employers: software engineering, cyber security, data analysis, and network engineering.

Programme Leader, Dr Ian Bradford, added: 'Degree apprenticeships offer the best of both worlds, combining the academic depth and discipline of a degree with the vocational relevance of an apprenticeship. Through a combination of classroom, online and work-based learning, this course will deliver staff members with essential practical skills and industry knowledge.'

Degree apprenticeships will certainly be of interest to 18 to 19-year-old school leavers as an alternative route to gaining a conventional degree but they are open to anyone, including mature learners. Their key benefit for students is they can 'earn and learn', by studying for a degree part-time whilst also receiving a wage as a full-time worker. The government and employer also pay for the study meaning no university fees or student loans for the apprentice.

Chris Thexton, HR Director for UK and Ireland at Vauxhall Motors, said: 'We are delighted our apprentices have chosen to study at the University of Hertfordshire. We look forward to helping them further their careers and continue their integral contribution to our workforce. Apprentices are a vital part of our business, it's key for us to have young tech-savvy people who are in tune with the future needs of the business.'

Councillor Joan Lloyd, Executive Member for Resources at Stevenage Borough Council, added: 'We are always looking for new ways to provide opportunities for young people so this new partnership with the University of Hertfordshire is a brilliant way to study for a degree while working in a professional environment.

'As a council we are introducing a new digital strategy that will better serve the needs of our customers and staff so our new apprentice joins us at exciting time as they will play their part in this transformation.'

For more information on Degree Apprenticeships at the University of Hertfordshire visit go.herts.ac.uk/degreeapprenticeships

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