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06 March 2017

Hertfordshire’s Degree Apprentices celebrate success during National Apprenticeship Week

The University of Hertfordshire's Degree Apprenticeship students are celebrating their chosen career paths as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2017.

The University launched its first Degree Apprenticeship, Digital Technology Solutions (DTS), in January this year with employers Vauxhall and Stevenage Borough Council.

The DTS apprentices, Nasar Khan (Vauxhall), Jessica Snook (Vauxhall) and Denis Kalema (Stevenage Council) are the first cohort in the county and are already making a mark at their respective employers.

Councillor Joan Lloyd, Executive Member for Resources at Stevenage Borough Council, said: 'Our new apprentice, Dennis, has only been with us two months but is already playing his part in the new digital strategy we are introducing. We look forward to seeing him progress and hope his achievements will inspire other young school-leavers to consider apprenticeships.'

NAW is run by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and celebrates the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. One of the key selling points to Degree Apprenticeships is they allow the apprentice the chance to get a degree but without spending three years in full-time study. Instead they gain on the job experience, getting the best of worlds. It is this flexibility that appealed to Hertfordshire's new apprentices.

Nasar says he knew as soon as he left school that further education wasn't for him, but he still wanted to pursue a high-level career with learning opportunities: 'After leaving school at 16 I knew that starting Sixth Form College was not the best option for me which led to me making the decision of going down the apprenticeship route. I have always preferred learning hands on skills as you can learn from a book but, it's completely different to when you're faced with real life situations at work.'

His co-worker at Vauxhall, Jessica, did go on to Sixth Form College but didn't want to become a full-time student at university. Instead, she wanted to get some hands-on work experience whilst still continuing her studies.

Jessica explains: 'I completed my A Levels but knew that going straight to University wasn't what was best for me. A lot of employers now want you to have a degree but also have the work experience behind it. An Apprenticeship is the best possible solution for this. I have so many career opportunities now.'

This year, the overarching theme for NAW 2017 is the progression routes of apprenticeships, from traineeships through to higher and Degree apprenticeships. The benefits of being part of a higher level apprenticeship scheme is something that Nasar fully understands.

He added: 'A lot of employers seek individuals with a degree and relevant work experience, an apprenticeship is the best way to gain a degree part time and gain the hands on skills all employers are looking for. Learning hands on skills at Vauxhall has allowed me to develop my technical knowledge and practical skills. It has been an amazing opportunity for me and one which I greatly appreciate!'

The University is launching a further two Degree Apprenticeship prorgammes – Chartered Manager and Construction Management – later this year.

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Business and International Development), Julie Newlan, said: 'Degree Apprenticeships are an exciting and vital addition to the way higher education working with industry will deliver the high level skills so required by the UK.

As the UK's leading business-facing institution, we intend to be at the forefront of Degree Apprenticeship delivery. That is why we're launching these additional programmes.'

For more information on Degree Apprenticeships at the University of Hertfordshire visit http://www.herts.ac.uk/apply/degree-apprenticeships

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