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Businesses make the most of new Graduate Level Apprenticeship opportunities

26 April 2017

An event aimed at helping businesses make the most of Graduate Level Apprenticeships and the new Apprenticeship Levy was held at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) this week (April 25).

The GCU event was held in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to help employers understand more about the Levy and how GCU can help with development opportunities for working people.

Eureka Solutions is currently offering opportunities for Graduate Level Apprenticeships in Software Development for Business.

Alistair Livingstone, Chairman of Eureka Solutions, said: “Graduate Level Apprenticeships allow us to bring in people at an earlier stage. From 2004, the company has grown from three to 53 and that’s on the basis of graduate employment. Over 30 of our staff have come in as graduates and stayed with us. When they come in you still need to start training them regardless of what their degree is. What Graduate Level Apprenticeships do is allow us to start that much earlier and in conjunction with their learning.”  

Chris Getty, Coordinator for Fire Safety Enforcement at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, also said it was important to his organisation to incorporate new skills by working with academia. “For some time, we’ve had a good affiliation with GCU through sending people on work-based learning programmes in fire engineering and safety.”

All UK employers with annual salary bills of more than £3 million are now paying the levy. It is aimed at funding apprenticeships across the UK and the rate will be 0.5% of the employer’s pay bill.  The UK Government estimates that 2% of employers will be eligible.

The Scottish Government is committed to the expansion of the Apprenticeship programmes and to increase the number of Graduate Level and Foundation Apprenticeships during 2017-18. During this time, Scotland will receive £221million of levy funding through the block grant.

GCU is the first university in Scotland to roll out two of three Graduate Level Apprenticeship (GLA) programmes from May, namely BSc Hons Software Development for Business; and BSc Hons IT Management for Business. The third programme, BSc Hons Engineering Design and Manufacturing, will start in September. These programmes will be delivered in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and leading sector-related companies.

Students will be recruited and employed by participating companies and will study part time over four years to complete with honours. These GLAs will be delivered flexibly and a large element of learning will be accomplished through work-based activities. Although the initial three programmes are to Honours-degree level, the concept is ultimately to provide work-based learning opportunities up to Masters-degree level for employees across a variety of sectors.