First Russell Group 'earn as you learn' degree launched by Exeter University

Posted on: 2018-09-17 20:00:00

Students who enrol on the “degree apprenticeship” course will study for one day a week, and the rest time they will be placed in one of J. P. Morgan’s teams earning a salary of £21,000 per year in London or £17,000 in Bournemouth.

After three and a half years, they will graduate with an undergraduate degree in Applied Finance at Exeter, as well as two professional qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments (CISI).

Barnaby Lenon, chair of the Independent Schools Council,  said it is “wonderful news” that a Russell Group university is now offering a degree apprenticeship, adding that this will be a “very attractive offer” for bright and ambitious 18-year-olds.  

“You won’t end up with £50,000 of debt and you are getting a job with a very good company,” he said.

Mr Lenon, a former headmaster of Harrow School has previously warned that private school pupils are wrongly forced into going to university because other options are seen as a “disgrace” and a “failure”. 

He told The Telegraph: “It’s not that independent schools have failed to notice the existence of apprenticeships – but until now there haven’t been may suitable ones for pupils with good A-level results.

“The question is whether there will now be an explosion in the number of degree apprenticeships, as universities start worrying they will be missing out on good students. It is partly a competitive mechanism by which companies and universities get some of the best students.”

School leavers with three Cs in their A-levels, or equivalent qualifications, will be able to apply for the J. P. Morgan degree apprenticeship next month, and the first cohort of up to 70 students will start the course in October 2019.

Professor Janice Kay, provost and senior deputy vice-Chancellor at Exeter, said: “People enrolled on these apprenticeships will gain a qualification from a Russell Group university while simultaneously working for a leading financial firm.”

Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, praised the initiative and urged other firms to follow in J.P. Morgan’s footsteps and set up their own degree apprenticeships.

“Degree and degree level apprenticeships mean leading businesses and universities can come together and design innovative programmes to give people the skills employers really need,” he said.

“It’s great to see a global business like J.P. Morgan getting involved like this and I would urge others to follow their lead.”

J.P. Morgan will pay for the new courses using funds it has paid via the Apprenticeship Levy, which came into effect last April.

The levy forces companies with a wage bill of more than £3 billion to pay 0.5 per cent of it to the Education and Skills Funding Agency, which is part of the Department for Education.  

The companies have until April 2019 to draw down the funding, which they must use to take on new apprentices, or train existing staff. J.P. Morgan is also using the Apprenticeship levy funds to pay for managers to take a senior leader MBA apprenticeship, also with Exeter University.

Phillip Paige, executive director at J.P. Morgan, said the new scheme is a “game-changer”.  He added: “Many of our apprentices have told us that they would like to receive a degree and this is an opportunity for us to give a diverse group of people the benefit of an Exeter University education.”

By Camilla Turner, Education Editor

Source: The Telegraph

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