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UK: Higher Apprenticeships illustrate benefit of employer partnerships

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World Cement,

A new report from Universities UK and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has showcased the Higher Apprenticeship on offer at the University of Derby as an example of how universities and employers can work together to build pathways to the highly skilled jobs crucial to the UK’s economic future.

‘Forging Futures: Building higher level skills through university and employer collaboration’ highlights the Higher Apprenticeship (HA) in Mineral Products Technology for combining practical skills development with the acquisition of knowledge in a higher education qualification. The HA is offered through the University of Derby's Centre for Mineral Products Professional Development. Prospective students can choose from multiple pathways - Extractives, Asphalt, Cement, Concrete and Clay - depending on which part of the industry they are working in.

The HA has been designed in partnership with industry organisations and leading professional bodies, including The Institute of Quarrying, Hanson UK and the Mineral Products Qualification Council.

In October 2012, Hanson recruited six young adults who have followed this new route through a Level 4 QCF diploma towards a Foundation Degree. The next group, due to start in October 2014, will include up to 30 new apprentices employed by a range of employers including Lafarge Tarmac, Aggregate Industries, Sibelco and Hanson.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Client Partnerships, at the University said: “The success of the pilot cohort with Hanson UK has led to a number of other employers turning to this pathway to bring new young talent on board. This will help address the ageing profile of their workforce by developing supervisors and managers of the future.”

Professor John Coyne, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby and UKCES Commissioner, added: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution for people to gain the skills they need. Work-based courses are an alternative way for young people and experienced workers to gain high-level skills, and from the report it is clear there is a lot of great work taking place.

“A quiet revolution is happening in UK universities, but we need more of these university-employer partnerships – and more awareness of work-based routes – so it is a cultural norm to see them as alternatives to the traditional degree.”

For more information about the Higher Apprenticeships the University of Derby offers, please click here or for general information about the Centre for Mineral Products Professional Development, visit

Adapted from press release by

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