FUNDING of nearly half a million pounds has been awarded to the University of Gloucestershire for degree apprenticeships, in an effort to reduce shortages of skilled professionals.

£466,754 was awarded by The Office of Students (OfS), the independent regulator of higher education in England, as part of a wider £40 million investment over the next two years. 

The investment hopes to increase the provision of degree apprenticeships, to meet the current and future skill needs of employers. 

Alex Cottrell, Head of External Relationships for University of Gloucestershire, said: “The latest round of funding from the OfS will support our work to promote further growth in our degree apprenticeship programmes and make them more accessible to high-quality candidates from under-represented groups, so it’s fabulous news.

“For learners, the benefits of degree apprenticeships include the opportunity to gain a degree while developing the specialist skills they need to succeed in their particular field of employment.

“More widely, degree apprenticeships contribute to local and regional prosperity and skills development, contribute to the diversity of provision in the education sector, and offer choice in how individuals develop higher level skills needed for economic and personal growth.”

The University will be investing the funds into three programmes; Healthcare Science Practitioner (Ophthalmic Imaging), Healthcare Science Practitioner (Vascular Science) and Facilities Management.

This is the second time in 2024 the University has been allocated funding by the OfS. In the last wave, announced in January, the University secured support for its Cyber Security Technical Professional degree apprenticeship. 

A spokesperson from the University said: “we are working proactively with key industry partners to attract younger learners and those from groups that that are currently under-represented on degree apprenticeship programmes nationally.”

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the OfS, said: “Degree apprenticeships can provide a beneficial alternative route for students in higher education, which bridges the spaces between traditional study and the workplace.

“Our initial £12 million investment will support universities and colleges to accelerate their efforts to grow and develop these courses.”

The final wave of OfS funding this year is set for May.