Degree Apprenticeships

The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee agreed to undertake an inquiry into Degree Apprenticeships.



Welsh Government first funded degree apprenticeships from academic year 2018/19. It has committed £20 million to a three year pilot, meaning recruitment has continued in 2019/20 and should continue for 2020/21. In 2018/19 there were 155 degree apprentices from around 60 employers accessing the first year of degree apprenticeships in Wales, and for 2019/20 the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) has allocated 585 funded new places. HEFCW also conducts monitoring of the programme.

Degree apprentices are enrolled onto a degree apprenticeship “frameworks” and there are currently two frameworks – Digital, and Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing. There are no public plans for more frameworks, and these priorities are influenced by Regional Skills Partnership recommendations.

Terms of reference:

The Committee explored, discussed and seeked information on the following aspects of degree apprenticeships:

·         The rationale for degree apprenticeships

·         The process and criteria for approving proposals from providers to deliver degree apprenticeships

·         Demand from employers and learners, both for the current frameworks or any demand for additional frameworks, and how it is being managed

·         The recruitment of degree apprentices and the personal characteristics of the 2018/19 cohort and the 2019/20 cohort so far to evaluate how they reflect groups under-represented in higher education and wider Welsh Government equality ambitions, including gender balance

·         Employer engagement and the profile of employers accessing the degree apprenticeship programme including, if possible, the geographic spread

·         The degree apprenticeship funding model, the overall funding level and the funding commitment needed to ‘teach-out’ the three year pilot apprentices

·         Early views from employers, educational providers and learners on how well degree apprenticeships are working and lessons from their introduction

·         Views on Welsh Government’s overall approach to degree apprenticeships, their rolling out, and their impact on, and relationship with sub-degree apprentices

·         Views on the future direction and potential of degree apprenticeships.

Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

Status: Complete

First published: 28/11/2019