Professor Craig Mahoney. Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS

THE UNIVERSITY of the West of Scotland (UWS) is set to provide 130 Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) opportunities in 2020 as part of its partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) – including a GA in Early Learning and Childcare.

This marks the University’s biggest GA offering since the SDS partnership began in 2017.

The Early Learning and Childcare apprenticeship has been developed in response to the Scottish Government’s commitment to increasing funded childcare places. The new programme follows a successful pilot year in 2019.

The four other GAs on offer at UWS are IT: Software Development, Engineering Design and Manufacture, Civil Engineering, and Business Management. All apprenticeships will start in September 2020.

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 Master’s degree level whilst in paid employment.

They are designed by employers and offered in key sectors that need highly skilled employees.

With three out of four employers in Scotland reporting critical skill shortages affecting productivity and growth, Graduate Apprenticeships have never been more important. Employers have the flexibility to customise the Graduate Apprentice’s learning to best fit their business needs, contributing to productivity at a much earlier stage.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said: “I am pleased that we are able to continue to work with Skills Development Scotland to deliver Graduate Apprenticeships, including Early Learning and Childcare.

“Working closely with industry, we understand the challenges that employers face when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. We work hard to ensure that our students graduate not only with a qualification but with the practical skills they need to thrive in the world of work.

“Our students have access to cutting-edge technology, high quality learning facilities, sector-leading student support and academic staff whose teaching is informed by research. This, combined with employment and hands-on experience, gives our Graduate Apprentices a fantastic start in their careers.”

Skills Development Scotland Director of Critical Skills and Occupations, Diane Greenlees 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 across 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.”

UWS works closely with a variety of employers to deliver GAs. Arnold Clark has been a key partner since August 2017.

David Peters, Head of Digital Solutions at Arnold Clark, said: “Our UWS Graduate Apprentices go straight into the workplace from day one and are embedded into the business early, interacting with teams and getting hands on experience of the agile software development process.

“Graduate Apprenticeships provide a number of benefits, the main one is the ability for us to develop our apprentices in a way that is unique to our business.

“The success of Graduate Apprenticeship programmes is dependent on the three-way relationship between the employer, the University and the Graduate Apprentice.”