Apprentices keep learning during the Covid-19 crisis
Apprentices on the Digital Technology Solutions (DTS) and Data Scientist (Professional) Degree Apprenticeships programmes have been able to keep working and studying throughout the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to programme directors and academic colleagues reacting swiftly to move to flexible online teaching, whilst the degree apprenticeship team dealt with changes that the employers had to implement such as furloughing apprentices or re-purposing apprentices in response to the crisis.
The University of Exeter response has been recognised by employers. Graeme Hindshaw, who manages early careers in software at Renishaw, shared his experiences of working with us.
“Most of our apprentices are furloughed and we have experienced no issues. Largely they have found the free time useful in completing their studies without as much pressure as when working full time. We have had to adapt to the remote nature of usual activities and the online open book exams raised no concerns. Working with the University of Exeter has been straightforward from the start. They are available, responsive and supportive which provides me with confidence that our apprentices are given the best possible chance of success on the course.”
In contrast, some apprentices have seen their workload significantly increase. Andy Mayne of South West Ambulance and a first year apprentice on DTS recently was commended with a certificate of merit from Tech Partnership Degree after being nominated by his academic mentor, Julian Vizor and Programme Director, Huw Evans.
“Andy Mayne has performed a critical role in forecast planning and demand modelling for South Western Ambulance Service during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, in support of provision of safe and efficient patient care. This has required a huge personal investment in time and effort on Andy’s part, whilst still finding time to maintain his DTS apprenticeship studies. His work during this unprecedented time, exemplifies the dedication and commitment demonstrated by some of our apprentices, in handling the parallel demands of both work and study.”
The resilience of degree apprenticeships programmes has been proven during the last few months and the recent government announcement of additional funding being awarded to employers who take on new apprentices and trainees demonstrates the government’s recognition of the significance of vocational training and academic learning being fundamental to economic recovery.
“Degree apprentices need to be amazingly resilient to handle the challenges of working and study. I’ve been impressed with how they have adapted during the COVID 19 situation to continue delivering outstanding work for our clients and complete their university studies.”
Charlotte Fisher-Morecroft, Foundation Manager- Early Professional Programmes
Degree Apprenticeship Lead at IBM.
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