What is the collaboration about?

Capgemini and Aston University have collaborated extensively over the past two years to create a progression route for apprentices to take their studies to the next academic level after completing a higher apprenticeship. In 2015, having already launched two bespoke degree programmes, Capgemini and Aston had a strong working relationship and a proven track record which meant they were well placed to collaborate with government to create the first Degree Apprenticeship for the UK.

The ‘Digital and Technology Solutions’ Degree Apprenticeship allows its students work towards their University studies right from the start of their apprenticeship, learning the academics behind being a software engineer but also putting these skills into practice daily through the roles that they are performing in the business. The four and a half year programme includes a range of bespoke modules designed specifically to help produce the software engineers and application consultants of the future, with special emphasis being places on the practical application of skills. Capgemini saw 12 Degree Apprentices start in September 2015, the very first in the UK since the Government launched the initiative, and has committed to hiring up to another 70 over the course of 2016.

What are the drivers and benefits of the collaboration?

Aston-University-LogoIt’s clear there are many benefits to the collaboration between Capgemini and Aston, not least the benefits to school leavers who are getting the opportunity to gain a fully fledged degree, of the same standard as on-campus students, for zero cost. By developing a relationship with Aston University, Capgemini is working hard to avoid the much expected skills shortages that are set to hit the IT sector in the next decade. “Capgemini sees this collaboration as a way to create and meet our ambitions in growing our talent base and skills for the future. We need to have a model which keeps us current and able to meet the ever changing business and technology requirements we face. The Degree Apprenticeship provides an exceptional career platform for the young people wanting to come into our business” Anouska Ramsay, Talent Director for Capgemini UK.

The Degree Apprenticeship also benefits Aston for a number of reasons: students are the perfect example of ‘employable graduates’ as they are already employed. Not only this, the Degree Apprenticeship framework has opened to door to enabling other businesses, small and large, to put their students on to this programme; this in turn leads to mixed-employer cohorts which brings a richer, more dynamic experience to those on the programme. Professor Ian Nabney who has been developing the Degree Apprenticeships and partnerships on behalf of Aston University, says, “Aston University is committed to innovative employer-led learning. The aim of these new apprenticeships is to combine academic learning with real-life technical and business skills to ensure that the UK has the talented and creative digital workforce that it needs in the future. We have been very impressed by the commitment shown by the apprentice students and their high level of academic performance.”

The success of the programme is reinforced through Aston’s commitment to widening participation and ethos of ‘learning-through-practice’. As such, students have a unique opportunity to gain employment and a higher level qualification on a debt-free programme.