University Partnership awarded a healthy half million boost for Degree Apprenticeships 

Almost £500,000 has been secured by West Midlands Combined Universities to develop a Health and Care Degree Apprenticeship Accelerator Programme – helping to plug healthcare skills gaps across the region. 

The consortium, made up of Birmingham City University, Coventry University and the University of Wolverhampton working collaboratively with Black Country Partnerships for Care and Health Futures University Technical College, was awarded £484,000 funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), as part of the government’s Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund.

The funding will be used to develop and deliver a curriculum for a new integrated Care Navigator Degree Apprenticeship Programme with courses planned to start in January 2019, providing skilled staff in the social care, health and voluntary sectors.

The partnership will also scope the range of job roles that would benefit from developing new apprenticeships aligned to Care Navigation and the delivery of Integrated Care.

Care Navigators organise and co-ordinate care pathways across all health and care settings and all stages from childhood to old age. Their primary focus will be supporting service users, carers and their families through complex and interconnecting systems and settings of care.

Wayne Langford, Director of West Midlands Combined Universities, said: “The West Midlands region has a thriving economy but it is no secret that we have a skills shortage in some key areas.

“We believe this funding provides a timely opportunity to develop a suite of Care Navigator roles that will help stimulate a beneficial change in the way social care is delivered in the health and care system.

“Degree Apprenticeships provide us with an ideal method of making sure our workforce is equipped to meet the employment demands of the region, as well as giving students both on-the-job training and a degree level education.

“The Combined Universities working together in a joined up approach with other leading health and social care partners and employers, which takes in the needs of the entire region, give us a much better chance of addressing this skills gap whilst at the same time making a valuable contribution to the propagation of new trailblazer groups to further develop innovative standards.”

Courses will be specifically tailored to meet the needs of the region’s healthcare sector and students will gain hands-on experience in the industry to earn while they learn, and will be equipped with a full degree at the end of their courses.

A further £178,000 from HEFCE has been allocated to Birmingham City University to develop Degree Apprenticeships in Construction and Surveying and Coventry University has been awarded £240,000 for Degree Apprenticeships in Health, Engineering and Construction.

The University of Wolverhampton was awarded £250,000 last year to develop Degree Apprenticeships in Chartered Management, Construction Management, Chartered Surveying, Digital Technology Solutions, Engineering and Health.