185 new opportunities will be available across a range of disciplines

EDINBURGH Napier University has strengthened its Graduate Apprenticeship programme with the announcement of nearly 200 new opportunities for people to study for an honours degree while in employment.

The University currently has 273 Graduate Apprentices actively studying across three cohorts. The first cohort joined Edinburgh Napier in September 2017.

The current batch of Graduate Apprentices will soon be joined by a fourth cohort, with the University announcing it has 185 new positions across a range of subjects within its School of Computing, Business School and School of Engineering and the Built Environment.

The courses available are:

BA (Hons) Business Management, BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, BSc (Hons) Construction & the Built Environment, BEng (Hons) Engineering: Design and Manufacture, BEng (Hons) Cybersecurity, BSc (Hons) Data Science, BSc (Hons) IT Management for Business and BSc (Hons) Software Development.

Each programme has been assigned 20 new places, other than the BSc (Hons) Construction & the Built Environment programme, which offers 45 places across four different learning pathways: Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying, Real Estate Surveying and Architectural Technology.

Sally Smith, Dean of Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing, said: “We are delighted to have more Graduate Apprenticeship places for 2020. Our previous experience shows how effective they are for employers with a need for new skills and for individual apprentices. Our apprenticeships appeal to school and college leavers, Modern Apprentices and existing employees. With our apprentices putting their skills to use immediately, both they and their employers benefit from day one.”

Graduate Apprenticeships have been developed by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sectors.

Graduate Apprenticeships are a new way for individuals to get qualified up to Masters degree level while in paid employment. They are designed by employers and offered in key sectors that need highly skilled employees. Anyone over the age of 16 who lives in Scotland is eligible, and there are no course fees to pay for apprentices or employers.

Participants spend approximately 80 per cent of their time in work and 20 per cent in university, and can qualify for entry based on both academic and relevant work experience.  Employers can either hire new recruits or upskill existing staff.

The strong emphasis on work-based learning, especially in latter stages of the degree, enables flexible learning approaches to best meet the needs and challenges of the apprentices.

Jessica Auld, who is working at Aegon while attending university one day a week to study a Graduate Apprenticeship in BEng (Hons) Cyber Security, said: “Studying at university and learning on the job means that I’m constantly learning and developing my skill set and knowledge. It’s exciting to know that at the end of four years I’ll have an honours degree plus four years work experience. For me, the role has opened up so many different opportunities and most importantly; I have met some great people along the way – my team and the other apprentices have been such a great support network.”

The programmes delivered by Edinburgh Napier have already delivered demonstrable success both for the apprentices and their employers. Some apprentices have even been promoted within 18 months of starting their GA, demonstrating the strong link between academic progression and professional development. 

Jennifer Knights from NHS Education for Scotland, who is currently a workplace mentor for one of the apprentices, said: “I have been very impressed with Edinburgh Napier University and their Graduate Apprenticeship offer. I think it’s fantastic and we need a lot more of it. I think the reputation is growing as other managers see the impact and can recognise that this is making people excited about work.”

Diane Greenlees, Skills Development Scotland Director of Critical Skills and Occupations, said: “More and more Scottish employers are turning to Graduate Apprenticeships to meet their critical skills needs.

“Graduate Apprenticeships are industry-led and delivered with universities in Scotland, ensuring businesses have access to high-level skills and providing both new and existing employees with the opportunities to get a job and get a degree.”

For more information on Graduate Apprenticeship opportunities available at Edinburgh Napier, please visit www.napier.ac.uk/apprenticeships or email ga@napier.ac.uk