The University of Hertfordshire is championing the UK apprenticeship agenda by developing a partnership with local FE Colleges and private training providers, to deliver a streamlined county-wide offering to employers.

At a recent apprenticeship conference hosted by the University, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Hertfordshire Growth Hub, Bim Afolami MP voiced his support for the initiative.

Apprenticeships are a vital way to build strong, skilled workforces and grow Hertfordshire’s economy, the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden told employers.

Julie Newlan, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, said its degree apprenticeship programme was a vital component of its offer to businesses.

“The university is passionate about apprenticeships, both as an education provider and as one of Hertfordshire’s largest employers. This has strengthened our understanding and enabled us to act as a critical friend to other employers.”

“Our degree apprenticeship programme has undergone rapid expansion in the past year. We now run 13 different programmes and anticipate enrolling 200 apprentices this September. We do not work in isolation but work alongside other education providers to enable employees to progress and develop. It is this joined up approach in Hertfordshire that is paramount to its success.”

Hertfordshire LEP Deputy Chair Adrian Hawkins said: “Investing in people and skills is the foundation of our Strategic Economic Plan for Hertfordshire and is one of the main productivity drivers for the Local Industrial Strategy.

“The county can be justifiably proud of the apprenticeship programmes it has to offer. We are keen to encourage more employers to invest in new talent as well as helping its existing employees to progress and realise their full potential. This, in turn, will maximise the impact on their business.”

The University of Hertfordshire currently delivers apprenticeship programmes to a broad range of businesses, from developing the UK’s first degree-level apprenticeship in the travel sector with TUI, to working with MBDA, various SME’s, and small businesses like Hello Flexibles.

Malcolm Mackenzie who set up Hello Flexibles, a plastic packaging supplier, in 2014, was looking for a way to help invest in youth after he heard about a young couple who were struggling to start out with £70k of student debt. After approaching Hertfordshire Growth Hub, he was signposted to the University of Hertfordshire where he found out about degree apprenticeships, leading him to taking on his first apprentice Charlie Luff.

“A degree apprenticeship gives young people a start, four years’ work experience, a degree and no debt. And from an employer’s point of view, apprentices deliver business today.”

Apprentice Charlie Luff said: “This industry experience will put me ahead of other graduates, while earning a salary and getting my degree paid for, as well as seeing first-hand how a small business grows.”

The University of Hertfordshire encourages employers to consider degree apprenticeships as a highly affordable way to invest in your people, attract new talent, up skill staff, improve retention and boost innovation and productivity.

University of Hertfordshire