The 2021 National Digital Degree Apprenticeship Celebration Event took place today, bringing together degree apprentices, employers and universities from across the UK in a morning of inspiring and thought provoking conversation.
As always, the stars of the show were the Degree Apprentices themselves – representatives of the 4,000 studying industry accredited Tech Industry Gold programmes at 35 different Higher Education Institutions. A panel of four, working in sectors ranging from tech to health to nuclear, kicked off the event by sharing their personal stories of lives transformed by the opportunities these programmes offer.
Complementing this, 46 award winners, nominated by their employers and/or universities, epitomised the outstanding capabilities and attitudes which are making these programmes so popular with businesses. In roles as wide-ranging as software developer, data scientist, UX designer, network architect, nuclear engineer and business intelligence developer, this is the generation creating our future digital world.
Raheel Nawaz, Director of Digital Technology Solutions at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), shared the outstanding results from their Tech Industry Gold accredited programme, making the point that “When we work together, with industry and academia, we are capable of achieving the impossible”.
Having started delivery in 2015, MMU is now able to analyse the outcomes for their apprentices. They have found that one year after graduation, these degree apprentices are outperforming the best graduates in the world. Their average annual salary is just under £39k, compared to the average for all computing graduates of £21k, and better even than the average for those graduating from the top five UK universities of just under £37k. Demonstrating the benefits of this demanding programme on academic success as well as career outcomes, 80% had graduated with a 1st class degree. Raheel pointed out that these achievements are all the more noteworthy given that 80% reported that they would not have gone to university without this pathway.
Event participants were also treated to fascinating insights from the cutting edge of technological research with industry futurologists Lauren Kisser of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Trevor Whitely of BT Research, and IBM’s CTO and Master Inventor Andy Stanford-Clark. This covered AWS’s work on conversational AI to enable interaction with computers through speech; BT’s fundamental research which is leading to the next generation of reliable, secure communications technologies; and IBM’s innovation in the worlds of digital twins, 3D printing and virtual reality.
Jonathan Mitchell, Deputy Director at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE), shared the recommendations emerging from the Institute’s review into degree apprenticeships. It was reassuring to hear Jonathan confirm that IFATE is no longer questioning the value of retaining the degree within the degree apprenticeship and that the changes being considered should add value to our programmes.
We are grateful to these speakers, and all the others present who gave their time to celebrate digital degree apprentices and give them a taste of the limitless careers to which they now have access – including TechSkills Chair Phil Smith CBE, Rafik Ishani of Deloitte, Jonathan Mitchell of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and Tom Lovell, MD of TechSkills.
Those receiving Certificates of Merit are listed below – view here the citations and interviews with each degree apprentice.
Find out more about Tech Industry Gold programmes and accreditation.
|University / HEI
|Newcastle Building Society
|Bishop Road Primary School
|Carr Hill High School, Kirkham
|Blackpool & The Fylde College
|Leonardo MW LTD
|University of Sheffield
|Milton Keynes University Hospital
|Cambridge University Press
|St. James’ Place Wealth Management
|Blackpool & The Fylde College
|Ford Motor Company
|Lloyds Banking Group
|Lockheed Martin UK
|London Borough of Camden
|Sephora Poorna Varatharasan
TechSkills is the not-for-profit, employer-led organisation which brings together employers and educators to develop the digital talent industry needs. TechSkills is responsible for Tech Industry Gold, the industry accreditation for education and training relevant to digital and tech careers.
Our mission is to create and promote industry-valued pathways into digital careers. Promoting diversity, we aim for a world where people from all walks of life have the skills to achieve their full potential.
We are a techUK company, and recognised as a Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) for the accreditation of degrees.