Degree apprenticeships “are the solution to deliver work-ready skills for businesses”

The Open University is partnering with KPMG to deliver degree apprenticeships that have been developed to help businesses identify their training needs.

On 20 September, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is hosting an event to examine how UK businesses and education providers can deliver the skills for business success. Concern surrounding the lack of access to high-level skills is now affecting an all-time high of 69 per cent of businesses.According to the Open University (OU), the upcoming apprenticeship levy provides an unparalleled opportunity to create this alignment. The organisation is partnering with KPMG to provide an apprenticeship service that enables employers to identify and fulfil their future training need.Apprenticeships are perfectly designed to bring together business and education because they bridge the gap between learning and doing, according to Steve Hill, Director of External Engagement at the OU.Steve explains: “The so-called ‘learning–doing gap’ can arise where classroom learning is not aligned with the demands of day-to-day employment. Without the immediacy of practical application, efforts to train staff will often result in ‘inert’ knowledge. Really fruitful collaborations between businesses and education providers happen where practice-based learning is embedded into the workplace.“This is where the new Degree apprenticeship provides something really exciting for businesses. Employers will be able to benefit from employees whose education is relevant to their workplace, with academic learning taking place beside practical application. In addition, when training is delivered online, anyone undertaking a Degree apprenticeship can study alongside their work commitments, accessing material when and where it suits them.“With the government’s new apprenticeship levy due in April next year, this BCC Summit is rightly drawing attention to the collaborations between business and education now. New apprenticeship opportunities have the potential to provide high-quality, scalable and accessible education that is in line with corporate goals, and this must not go unrecognised in the run up to the levy.”The partnership between the OU and KPMG will combine KPMG’s expertise in workforce analysis with the OU’s experience in delivering training for businesses. This is built through their provision of training for 2,400 UK organisations to date, including 80 of the FTSE 100. Initially, three higher-level apprenticeships will be provided, focusing on three areas in which the UK is suffering a particularly acute skills gap: healthcare, management and digital solutions.

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