University of Wales Trinity Saint David is hosting information events on Degree Apprenticeships in Swansea, Cardiff and Carmarthen on February 4, 26 and March 11 respectively.

The Degree Apprenticeships, which are fully-funded by the Welsh Government, normally run over 4 years with off the job training taking place on a day release basis at the University’s Swansea campus. Those with prior learning and / or experience may be able to complete the programme in less time.

Apprentices are supported throughout their programme by a Liaison Officer who visits their workplace regularly, providing the link between the academic studies and workplace learning.

The University offers Degree Apprenticeship programmes in the following areas:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  • Data Science
  • Cyber Security and Networks
  • Ordnance, Munitions & Explosives

These are Welsh Government fully-funded programmes to help employers to:

  • Plan for their future by upskilling their current workforce;
  • Recruit the right people;
  • Offer progression for recently qualified Apprentices.

They enable individuals to:

  • Earn while they learn;
  • Learn and develop high-level practical skills;
  • Gain confidence in the working environment.

Siobhan Stephens secured her Apprenticeship whilst attending a University Information Event in Swansea two years ago. Siobhan, is already leading a key project for her employer, Mobilise, in Swansea, applying techniques that she has studied as part of the digital degree programme. She said she wanted to secure employment after her A Levels, but also wanted to further her education by studying for a degree.

Photo: Adam Davies

“I have loved every minute of the programme,” she said. “I get to combine what I have learnt in University with what I’m learning in work. Being able to work, earn and have your degree fees covered by the Welsh Government is an amazing opportunity and coming out of your degree with four years’ work experience is invaluable.”

Justin Lewis, chief operating officer and founder of Mobilise, said: “Mobilise specialises in an area of technology where it is very difficult to get people with the right skills. So the ideal solution was to bring an apprentice in who would be taught the necessary skills through the degree programme, but we could also train them on the job in the specialist areas of cloud technology. Siobhan has done a fantastic job, quickly getting up to speed with the work we do and she’s also coping really well with the degree course. It’s proved an excellent way for us to bring new people into the business.”

Bridget Moseley, head of UWTSD’s apprenticeship unit said: “We want to encourage employers and students who are interested in our Degree Apprenticeships to attend the Information Events. These events provide an opportunity to find out how Degree Apprenticeships can help businesses plan for their future and fill skills shortages. The programmes provide high quality, sector specific-training to upskill their current workforce, recruit the right people and they offer progression opportunities for recently qualified apprentices. For individuals, they provide an alternative gateway into higher education which is fully-funded and enables them to earn whilst they are learning invaluable higher level practical skills. It really is brilliant programme!”.

Photo: Adam Davies

Barry Liles, pro vice-chancellor (skills and lifelong learning) at UWTSD, said: “As a provider of high level skills, we recognise the immense benefits to both our students and employers that can be achieved through Degree Apprenticeships. They are invaluable for preparing students with the skills and knowledge needed for their specific industry sector – using a combination of expertise to upskill the talent pipeline for employers in Wales and beyond. We want to ensure that every apprentice that walks through our doors, leaves with a skill set for life.”

Ben Atkins is a Software Development Officer at NHS Wales Informatics Service. He said: “Studying a Degree Apprenticeship has been a great benefit to me and my career. So far I’ve learned so many invaluable skills that I’ve been able to apply into my working role and has not only allowed me to progress within the organisation but also given me greater confidence day to day within my position. I would strongly advise anyone in a position to enrol in the Degree Apprenticeship scheme to do so not just to develop the specialist skills in the degree’s pathway but to also learn about some of the wider areas of IT and other specialist fields that can be considered, anyone who is looking at furthering their IT career or even just starting one, the digital Degree Apprenticeship would be an excellent opportunity.”

Emma Williams is an ICT Digital Support Engineer at Carmarthenshire Council. She said: “I have worked in IT for 17 years, predominantly within IT Procurement, then successfully moving into the position of Digital Support Engineer within the Service Delivery Team in 2017. I have been interested in IT Security for a few years, so when I was given the opportunity to apply for the Digital Degree Apprenticeship in Cyber Security Management, I jumped at the chance.

“Having not studied for more years than I care to admit, I did have concerns at first, but have found that I am increasing in confidence and am thoroughly enjoying my first year. It can be tough at times and took me a few weeks to get into a good routine. Learning to juggle work, family life and university has definitely put my organisational skills to good use.

“The lecturers are really friendly, approachable and available, if you have any questions or queries. My fellow DDA students all get on well and as we are all in the same situation, it can be good to know there are others to talk to who understand.

“Some aspects of the modules I have studied so far have already been put to use within my working life. The skills, knowledge and experiences I will be gaining over the next 3.5 years, will benefit both me and my employer now, and in the future. I am very grateful to them for supporting and encouraging me with my continual professional development.”

Katie Rees is a Support & Business Analyst at NHS Wales Informatics. She said: “Since starting my Digital Apprenticeship Degree, focusing on Data Science, I have been given the opportunity to develop a website, enhance my understanding of networks, and have made a start to my journey within the programming world. As a Business Analyst, the insight into relational databases, and the engineering that is undertaken in the initial stages of system design have been advantageous. Even though not all modules directly relate to my current role, the apprenticeship gives me an insight into where my strengths and weaknesses lie, which can contribute towards progressing in a suitable career path. As I started in NWIS without a technical background, the Digital Apprenticeship Degree has given me a huge confidence boost within my role, and allows me to have a better relationship with developers and other members of my team. UWTSD have fully supported me throughout the apprenticeship, with monthly group meetings and workshop days, which are provided to catch up with lecturers and fellow students.”

Faith Over, a Continuous Improvement Lead at Eaton said: “My educational background has traditionally been in what may be perceived as “softer” skills & subjects – mainly business management. When I started my role within a manufacturing facility, many engineering concepts were talked about and mentioned daily as if they were simple common sense and I found myself often struggling to follow certain conversations. This negatively impacted my confidence as even when someone tried to explain a concept to me, the explanation would be too brief for me to fully grasp. I felt inadequate and would avoid trying to give any input or suggestions from fear of looking like a fool. Since starting the Degree Apprenticeship Programme I have managed to prove myself wrong; achieving 87% in my first exam has helped me realise I am more capable than I once believed. I look forward to furthering my knowledge and taking the lead in conversations which I was once anxious about even participating in.”

To find out more about Degree Apprenticeships join us at one of our Information Events:

Tuesday, 4 February

  • 8am – 9.30am
  • Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea, SA1 1RR
  • Book Your Place

Wednesday, 26 February

  • 8am – 9.30am
  • Cardiff City Stadium, Leckwith Road, Cardiff CF11 8AZ
  • Book Your Place

Wednesday, 11 March

  • 8am – 9.30am
  • Halliwell Centre, UWTSD Carmarthen, SA31 3EP
  • Book Your Place

University of Wales Trinity Saint David