The University of Exeter is the first Russell Group member to have received an Ofsted report for its degree apprenticeship provisions.

Degree Apprenticeships at Exeter praised in Ofsted report

The University of Exeter’s innovative suite of degree apprenticeship programmes have been praised for addressing the needs of key regional and national skills industries, in its first Ofsted report.

Apprenticeships at the University have received a “good” rating across all aspects of the inaugural Ofsted inspection, published on Friday, July 8th 2022.

Ofsted conducted the four-day inspection of Exeter’s full apprenticeship provisions in May of this year.

The University is the first Russell Group member to have received an Ofsted report for its degree apprenticeship provisions.

The inspection covered a wide range of criteria, including overall effectiveness, quality of education, leadership and management, behaviour and attitudes, and personal development.

Inspectors praised the “mutual respect” shown between apprentices and staff, and the positive impact the academic culture has on their apprenticeships.

They also highlighted the pivotal role the apprenticeships play in widening participation, and “addressing local and regional employment and skills priorities and fostering an increase in engagement with under-represented groups.

The inspectors also praised the University’s commitment to the apprenticeship programmes, placing them as ‘a core part of the academic offer’, while also commending the University’s commitment to ensuring apprentices follow ‘the wider, institution-led research into the skills needs of local, regional and national industry’.

Rachael Johnstone, Director of Degree Apprenticeships at the University of Exeter Business School said: “The inspection was rigorous, and we are delighted with the content of Ofsted’s report which highlights the quality of the University’s apprenticeship programmes, which we are hugely proud of.

“We are passionate about our apprenticeship programmes and the collaboration with our employer partners, and this report highlights the quality of this provision along with the importance of the apprenticeship provision within the University’s strategy.”

Professor Tim Quine, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Exeter, said: “The University of Exeter is committed to Degree Apprenticeships as a priority within our 2030 Strategy. These programmes increase the diversity of routes to a University of Exeter degree, opening new opportunities for learners of all backgrounds and contributing significantly to our focus upon Success for All Our Students.

"Through Degree Apprenticeships we also develop strong partnerships with our employer partners in a range of sectors, co-designing these programmes in key areas where our expertise aligns with their needs, to address national and regional skills and productivity challenges.

"We also see real benefits flowing through the breadth of our activities, through innovation in education provision driven by these programmes, as well as opportunities for research activity borne out of our relationships with industry.

"We are delighted with the outcome of this first Ofsted inspection, which is testament to the hard work of our excellent teams of educators, professional services teams, employer partners and - of course - our apprentices.”

The University of Exeter currently offers 14 degree apprenticeship programmes, with a further three launching in the next academic year. Following the most recent intake in degree apprenticeships. Exeter has around 1800 apprentices across several different sectors, including health, financial and digital.

Exeter enjoys successful relationships with more than 250 partner organisations, both regionally and nationally. These include JP Morgan, Amazon, BT and IBM.

Phill Paige, EMEA Head of Emerging Talent at J.P. Morgan said: “The University of Exeter’s forward-thinking approach to our apprenticeships programme complements our overall strategy to bring exciting junior talent into the firm, making this a strong partnership.”

Degree apprenticeships lead to a degree qualification by combining working with part-time study. Apprentices are employed throughout the programme and combine university work with the employment: they receive a salary from their employer and do not pay tuition fees.

Programmes are developed by employers, universities, and professional bodies working in partnership to address regional and national skills needs.

Sir Richard Atkins, Independent Council Lead for Education at the University of Exeter, said: "I would like to congratulate all involved in this excellent outcome, which recognises the quality of education and support for learners on Degree Apprenticeship programmes at the University of Exeter. The Ofsted inspection process is an intensive, rigorous, one, and we are immensely proud that Exeter has been the first Russell Group institution to go through it, and achieved such a strong result."

Date: 8 July 2022

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