Through our innovative Degree Apprenticeships we aim to 'grow our own' talent to enhance our students' social mobility and employability.

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About us

Formed in 2017, the Centre for Apprenticeship Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Winchester Business School aims to help accelerate the process by which employers and individuals with high aspirations can benefit mutually from high-quality apprenticeships.

Much-desired improvements in productivity and social mobility will only be achieved if there is much greater knowledge sharing about successful Apprenticeships policy and practice. This is a key conclusion from A race to the top. Achieving three million more apprenticeships by 2020 (Way 2016), which contains articles and case studies from top employers, advisors and analysts.

The establishment of a Centre for Apprenticeship Research and Knowledge Exchange will lead work to develop and share intelligence, focussing on higher skills and Degree Apprenticeships. Part of the University’s proposal to create a ‘social mobility pipeline’ to Degree Apprenticeships, it will also examine progression pathways and ways to enable greater social mobility.

The Centre will support the University’s Business Engagement Strategy. It will coordinate the exchange of information, research and case studies with participating HEIs, LEPs and others with an interest in Higher and Degree Apprenticeships and in achieving social mobility through vocational training.

The Centre will add to the University’s international reputation for vocational skills and learning established by its Centre for Real-World Learning, led by Professor Bill Lucas.


A race to the top. Achieving three million more apprenticeships by 2020. Edited by David Way, Winchester University Press, 2016.

Meet the team

Launch of Social Mobility to Degree Apprenticeships Pipeline Project

The University of Winchester was successful in leading a bid to link two major Government priorities in the interests of the region’s employers and those with the potential to take advantage of the Apprenticeship route, including to Degree Apprenticeships.

The Social Mobility to Degree Apprenticeships Pipeline project was launched with many of the University’s partners on 8 November by Professor Neil Marriott and Professor Pru Marriott at the University’s Business School.

This project is very important for the University, sitting well with our mission and our desire to strengthen our links both with employers and with local communities.

The University was especially keen to thank those individuals and organisations who offered letters of support to the project in what was a very competitive process. These letters made a big difference and make the prospects of delivering the vital project outcomes so much greater.

The outcomes that we are looking to achieve were discussed with partners. The principal points made were as follows:

  • The creation of a pipeline is vital in order to secure the untapped potential in the region benefiting both employees and employers 

  • There is a need to raise the aspirations and ambitions of many individuals and communities as well as educating employers about Degree Apprenticeships 

  • Focused community action may be an important part of supporting social mobility, making individuals feel less exposed and vulnerable if they stretch themselves through their learning
  • We should target parents who are highly influential on young people and remember that digital media approaches may work less well for them 

  • We need to promote progression routes from sixth form colleges and FE colleges so that the journey into HE and work through Degree Apprenticeships is made as seamless as possible 

  • We should draw changing talent recruitment practices to the attention of employers, including the adoption of more ‘strengths-based’ or ‘person-centred’ approaches
  • More employers should be made aware of the opportunities to use their Levy on Degree Apprenticeships, though this will be an opportunity to reconsider and restructure training rather than a simple ‘re-badging’ exercise 

  • Degree Apprenticeships provide more opportunities for second-time learners who could now see a clear progression route open to them while they worked 

  • Degree Apprenticeships are an important contribution to Industrial Strategies and to the national productivity agenda as well as encouraging home grown talent 

  • Potential Degree Apprentices would be attracted by the simple message of ‘earn while you learn’. This would help replace the possible fear of undertaking a degree that can be daunting for many 

  • Degree Apprenticeships are aimed at all talent and not solely young people. This would be vital if the Government ambition of three million more Apprenticeships by 2020 is to be achieved.

In considering the way forward, we agreed that it will be vital to increase the number and range of Degree Apprenticeships that are available and to promote them more effectively to employers. 

It will also be important to ensure this project leaves a lasting legacy and that the work that it initiates continues. That will be one of the main themes of the next event in April when partners will have the opportunity to hear about progress and agree how we can learn lessons and sustain action.

For further information please contact David Way or Stella McKnight .

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