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How small to medium-sized enterprises can benefit from apprenticeships

By Newcastle University

Discover how Higher and Degree Apprenticeships could be the secret to unlocking your staff’s potential

What are Degree Apprenticeships and how do they benefit businesses?

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships are structured learning programmes that combine workplace training with study.

Tailored to specific job roles, Higher and Degree Apprenticeships are an efficient and empowering way to upskill your employees. As they are designed with occupational roles in mind, all knowledge gained and skills developed are ideal for embedding in the workplace. This can be hugely valuable in filling skills gaps and developing specialist expertise, so your business stays at the forefront of technology and working practices in your sector.

“The colleagues selected for these apprenticeship programmes see it as an investment in them and for their future. It has also enhanced self-esteem and our company’s reputation for development of our staff.”
Nigel Heath, Managing Director, Easibathe
Has apprentices on our Level 5 Operations or Departmental Manager Higher Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships can future-proof your business – helping you drive innovation and growth.

Developing the skills in your workforce can also have wider benefits, particularly if an apprentice leads a team or working group and uses their knowledge to mentor others.

Apprenticeships empower employees, making them feel valued and increasing their business loyalty – helping you retain talented employees. Your staff member develops skills they can implement straight into the workplace, and apprentices gain a qualification with those on Level 7 programmes leading to a postgraduate diploma or masters degree from a Russell Group university.

SMEs who have taken advantage of our Higher and Degree Apprenticeships include:

  • Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship – SRS Recruitment and Employability Experts, Sunderland Software City (NEBIC), Advanced Electric Machines, FIRST, Moja Group Ltd., Northstar Ventures
  • Level 7 MSc Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist Degree Apprenticeship – Jumping Rivers, Group Horizon, Bulien LLP, Salecycle, Nebula Labs
  • Level 5 Operations or Departmental Manager Higher Apprenticeship – Easibathe, FareShare North East, Bulldog Sports, Maverex, My Healthcare Recruit, Re:heat, Moja Group Ltd., As One Telecom, Dunelm Geotechnical and Environmental, Nebula Labs

“Putting the leadership theory I have learnt into practice means I have already grown to become more inclusive and a better leader."

Rachael Cook, SRS Recruitment and Employability Experts
Apprentice on Level 7 Senior Leader programme

How do apprenticeships work?

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships allow you to invest in your staff, growing talent in your workforce that’s tailored to your business needs.

“As an SME, we do not have resource to enable us to send our staff on training courses that would mean extensive time out of work. The beauty of this Apprenticeship is that we can commit to a certain amount of time training, spread out over a long period.”

Nigel Heath, Managing Director, Easibathe

Apprentices need to incorporate their studies into their roles through dedicated off-the-job training. This provides the time to focus and develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to achieve the apprenticeship.

To support this, employers need to provide certain conditions, such as a minimum of six hours per week to complete apprenticeship activities, and additional resources such as organisational data or the opportunity to work on projects beyond the scope of their current role.

How are apprenticeships funded for business?

Non-levy paying employers – SMEs with a payroll under £3 million – can fund 95% of the cost of training through ‘co-investment’. This means they pay just 5% of apprenticeship course costs, which may be as little as £350, with the government contributing the remaining 95% (up to a maximum amount).

Other government incentives are also available for both levy and non-levying paying companies, depending on business and apprentice circumstances.

Of the organisations taking advantage of our apprenticeships in our most recent intake in 2022-2023, 35% were SMEs and non-levy paying organisations.  

Find out more about apprenticeship funding for SMEs and the Apprenticeship Service.

Where can I find out more?

If you are a small or medium-sized organisation looking to develop leadership or digital skills in your team, explore our Higher and Degree Apprenticeships today.

Download our Employers Guide to Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

Our Employer's Guide will tell you everything that you need to know about the Higher and Degree Apprenticeships that we offer at Newcastle University, and how to access them. Request your copy to discover more. 

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Tags: Working with Business, Higher and Degree Apprenticeships