Degree Apprenticeships deliver high-level technical skills and business resilience


This year, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) celebrates the bicentenary of higher education in Wales and the role of its Lampeter campus in that story. This milestone is an opportunity to reflect and to celebrate the way in which our university sector has adapted and responded to social and economic imperatives over the past two hundred years.  

Studying theory on a university course can have enormous real-world value, as Sam Jackson, an apprentice on the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Digital Degree Apprenticeship scheme recently demonstrated in his job working for Velindre University NHS Trust.

As we look to the future, our universities will continue to adapt and transform in order to respond to the needs of our society, here in Wales and across the world. To respond to the challenges presented by the digital transformation of the workplace, radical action and targeted intervention are needed to upskill and reskill the workforce to enable individuals to gain employment in new and emerging sector priority areas. Wales’s universities and further education colleges are key to addressing these needs and already play a crucial role as economic anchors in all parts of Wales.

New innovative ways of delivery are transforming the educational landscape in which increased opportunities for work-based learning has led to a greater coalition between higher and further education and employers. With the increasing demands for higher-technical skills, we are working closely with employers to build capacity through such initiatives as degree apprenticeships, micro-credentials, and an enhanced work-based learning offer which aims to support the Welsh Government’s economic recovery plan and allow it to further its policy objective to create a more coherent post-compulsory education system in Wales.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Group, a confederation of FE and HE institutions, is well-placed to deliver on the Welsh Government’s priorities. The aim is to create a new University for Wales which enables a ‘made in Wales’ solution to applied technical learning and employer led training. Central to the Group’s offer is its strong partnership with employers which has led to the development of innovative programmes that facilitate progression, promote widening access, and ensure that the UWTSD Group delivers positive economic and social impact. 

This week is National Apprenticeship Week when education providers, employers and government celebrate the positive differences that apprenticeships make to individuals, their workplaces and to the wider economy.  It may be argued that Apprenticeships are the standard bearers for the transformational power of work-based and employer led training.   

The University’s highly successful Degree Apprenticeship Programme, built in partnership with Welsh businesses is an example of how a knowledge, skills-based economy enables employers and their employees to achieve their full potential and delivers positive impacts on the region.

As Wales’s biggest provider of HEFCW funded Degree Apprenticeships, working with around 300 businesses, the Apprenticeship Programme offers high quality training with a key focus on providing the right skills pathways, and the right level of support to help achieve economic resilience and to ensure individual progress and attainment.

By offering apprenticeships, businesses are not only able to strengthen their business with a pipeline of talent but are equipping future workforces with the right skills to ensure Wales remains competitive on a global scale.

The University’s Degree Apprenticeship programme is funded by the Welsh Government through the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and is open to employers throughout Wales.

Delivered flexibly around the needs of the organisation, the Degree Apprenticeship programme can be used to upskill employees or recruit new talent into a business through academic and work-based learning.

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

The University offers Degree Apprenticeship programmes in the following areas:

Advanced Manufacturing


Electrical and Electronics Engineering

Software Engineering

Data Science

Cyber Security and Networks

Cloud Computing and Cloud Software development

Ordnance, Munitions & Explosives

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

Studying high level skills on a university course can have enormous real-world value, as Sam Jackson, a Cloud Software Development Digital Degree Apprentice has demonstrated in his role at Velindre University NHS Trust.

Sam is a service desk officer and was part of a team which launched a new Digital Service Desk to help in the fight against Covid-19.

He said: “I’ve been able to put the theory I have been learning into practice in my work. I see this apprenticeship as the perfect opportunity to provide me with the foundations to take my career forward.”

Katie Rees, a Senior Support and Business Analyst at Digital Health and Care Wales, used her digital skills and expertise to help support the vaccination programme during the pandemic.

Katie Rees, a Senior Support and Business Analyst at Digital Health and Care Wales, used her digital skills and expertise to help support the vaccination programme during the pandemic.

She said: “Studying for a digital degree apprenticeship has given me more confidence, within the team, I deal with the developers now, and I can understand what they discuss, and I can build a website. Next year I’ll be graduating with a BSc in Data Science specialising in Data Analysis.”

Ben Atkins has recently been promoted to the role of senior IT specialist at Digital Health and Care Wales. He said: “Studying a Degree Apprenticeship has been a great benefit to me and my career. I’ve learned so many invaluable skills that I’ve been able to apply into my working role enabling me to progress within the organisation and have greater confidence day to day within my position.”

Bridget Moseley, head of UWTSD’s apprenticeship unit said: “The University’s Degree Apprenticeship programmes provide employers with high quality, sector specific-training to upskill their current workforce, to help 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.

“The way the Degree Apprenticeship is taught allows people to study wherever they live. This has led to partnerships with employers in every part of Wales including rural areas”.

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 our students and employers that can be achieved through Degree Apprenticeships. They are invaluable for preparing apprentices 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 skillset for life.”

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Mobile: 07384 467071