Degree apprentices praised by local businesses.

Posted on 28th June 2017

The University of Chester’s new degree apprentices are already being praised by local businesses for their skills and innovative projects.

Lucy Brown, apprentice at William Bliss Textiles; Jo Hiles, apprentice at the University of Chester and Emilia Hoyle, apprentice at Heat Trace Limited, pictured with their employers and the Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship team.
Lucy Brown, apprentice at William Bliss Textiles; Jo Hiles, apprentice at the University of Chester and Emilia Hoyle, apprentice at Heat Trace Limited, pictured with their employers and the Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship team.

The first cohort, employed by a range of companies, including Airbus and William Bliss Textiles, only began their degree studies in September. They are undertaking a specially tailored programme for their workplace, which will lead to a BA (Hons) in Business Management and Leadership. They attend the University for 12 days alongside their job. 

As part of an assignment, the degree apprentices recently developed a marketing communications project in their workplace under the supervision of their employers, then presented it to a panel of academics and industry directors. Project topics included recruitment campaigns, employee communications and webpage building. 

Degree apprentices at Airbus in Broughton, Flintshire, focused their project on reducing the unnecessary waste of consumable materials in the factory. They employed techniques such as guerrilla marketing (an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost, unconventional marketing tactics), app and video production as a co-ordinated internal campaign. 

Donna Lloyd, Head of Communications at Airbus, said: “The work that the apprentices have completed here is of such a high standard that I am now in a position to move this forward and put the plans into practice. I really did not expect work of this standard so early into their programme.” 

Jessica Day, a degree apprentice employed by Airbus, said: “I worked alongside five other Airbus apprentices on an integrated marketing communications campaign. I was involved in designing an app, as well as developing helpful theoretical and practical knowledge. We worked effectively as a team and I have enhanced my project planning skills. We are all looking forward to seeing how our ideas are developed and implemented across the plant.” 

Lucy Brown, a degree apprentice employed by William Bliss Textiles, in Chester, developed a webpage and blog for an innovative new process to produce extra fine luxury wool cloth.  The ‘Sheep to Shoulder’ webpage incorporates key aspects of taught communications theory to produce an engaging and informative tool for the firm to use in this new product launch. Lucy said: “I have found the apprenticeship really interesting and the support from my tutors has been great; they are always available to answer any questions I might have.” 

Lisa Conway, Module Leader for Practical Marketing Communications at the University of Chester, said: “We are committed to working closely with employers; we share with them an interest and responsibility for developing the knowledge and skills that will encourage our apprentices to become effective future managers. Their employers are delighted with the exceptional quality of the projects undertaken and the impact that they are fully expected to have once launched.” 

Bob Meakin, Programme Leader for the Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeships at the University, added: "Following on from this project, apprentices will be developing detailed project plans as part of their next assessment. Each year, projects are negotiated between the employer, apprentice, and ourselves, to ensure that, as well as having the appropriate academic rigour, we are facilitating a bespoke approach, where apprentices are developing the skills that employers need and value.” 

The programme is already achieving acclaim within the sector, and recently won the Educate North Employer Engagement Award 2017. The University is now planning to launch Postgraduate Degree Apprenticeships later in the year.  

For further information about the Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeships, contact Lisa Rowe, Director of Employer Engagement and Partnerships: lisa.rowe@chester.ac.uk.