Pearson Business School, part of Pearson College London, is the only Higher Education institution to offer a Rotational Degree Apprenticeship (RDA) programme in the UK.

Together with industry partners we are designing a new innovative degree apprenticeship scheme, creating an unparalleled learning experience and supporting businesses to expand their apprenticeship provision in the context of the Apprenticeship Levy.

Our partners to date have included: Unilever, IBM, Direct Line Group, Tesco, Kantar Added-Value, WPP’s Ogilvy and Pearson Plc.

We launched this programme to tackle a problem put to us by employers: graduates are lacking the skills needed to succeed in the world of work. Yet when surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), 89% of employers said that they value graduate hires with the right attitudes for work, as well as aptitude. Our priority is to fully integrate the industry voice, so our apprentices do not step out of the corporate environment when they step into the classroom; as such, they study a degree co-designed with industry partners to learn what makes the commercial world tick.

“At Ogilvy we are constantly looking for new ways to bring diverse talent into our business. We are delighted to be taking part in helping make this degree happen in such a modern, business relevant way.”

— Annette King, Former CEO of WPP’s Ogilvy and Mather UK

To meet this need, our innovative course strives to balance the offerings of traditional academia and the needs of 21st century employers whilst providing an unrivalled opportunity to earn and learn simultaneously. All our academics are well-versed in their professional disciplines and workshops with guest industry speakers are a regular feature, in which all students can participate.

Throughout the programme, apprentices enjoy the support of a company mentor and an academic personal tutor – both of whom offer support for apprentices navigating both the academic and corporate world.

Numerous studies show that students who gain professional experience such as internships or apprenticeships, achieve more academically; this is not just about employment, but intellectual development too.

Each apprentice graduates with contextualised academic and working knowledge of a relevant business environment, and no student debt!

They’ll also have built a CV packed with experience collected in three different companies; a BA (Hons) Business Management degree validated by the University of Kent; and Chartered Manager status.

In little over eighteen months following the programme launch, RDA apprentice Christopher Achiampong was awarded London Regional Higher/Degree Apprentice of the Year at the 2017 National Apprenticeship Awards, in recognition of his achievements to-date. Many other students have similarly blazed a trail through their work in our partner organisations, whilst satisfying the academic requirements of the programme. Building on this remarkable success, we’ve expanded our range of partner companies and are exploring ways in which we can create similar rotational schemes in the future: exciting times.


This article first appeared in the 2018 State of the Relationship report, commissioned by Research England and compiled and published by NCUB.