City life | By Simon Watts

The changing nature of apprenticeships

“The most common misconception about apprenticeships is that they are for young people only, starting out their careers.”


Those are the words of Matt Bungay, Head of Apprenticeships at City, University of London. “The eldest apprentice I worked with was 74 and it was the first qualification she had received in her life!”


Degree apprenticeships at City combine on-the-job training with study for a higher qualification, helping to progress an apprentice’s career and giving employers the highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce a successful business needs.


City offers five apprenticeship programmes, providing training at all levels. These range from nursing and solicitor training for apprentices straight out of school, to management training for senior executives and medical doctors looking to enter leadership roles, as well as data scientists working in the tech sector. Currently, there are over 500 students at City learning through the apprenticeship route.


Supporting local business


As well as being an apprenticeships provider, City is also supporting local businesses by giving them the resources they need to upskill their workforce. Using a system known as the apprenticeship levy transfer, City is able to transfer 25 per cent of its levy funds to cover the apprenticeship training costs for staff from local businesses.


Anne Payne, Head of Organisational Development at City said: “So far we’ve transferred £200,000 of our apprenticeship levy to fund 23 apprentices. Some are in more traditional apprenticeship roles such as carpenters, electricians and in hospitality, but we’re increasingly providing funding for roles in the digital and tech sectors.”


“Modern apprenticeships are responsive to the changing needs of business, and we’d love to support alumni-owned businesses to develop their workforce through this scheme.”


– Anne Payne, Head of Organisational Development


Apprenticeships can have a hugely positive impact on organisations. City works with each business to design a programme which specifically develops that workforce and is tailored to the organisation’s needs – such as improving productivity or delivering services more effectively.


No cost to the apprentice


Apprenticeships give employees the opportunity to earn, gain professional accreditation and acquire the right expertise for their organisation.


An additional benefit of the apprenticeship scheme is that there is no cost to the apprentice when employers pay into the levy funding scheme and they earn while studying.


For many students, the experience is transformative. Lucy Wombwell is studying for the solicitor apprenticeship programme and currently works as a Solicitor Apprentice at North Tyneside Council.

She said: “I started my journey as an 18 year-old with very limited legal knowledge and experience. Six years down the line I’ve been able to obtain a law degree without any student debt.”


“I’ve gained a great deal of valuable experience, built my legal knowledge and put it into practice, made connections with other legal professionals, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do all of this while earning a salary. It’s a brilliant opportunity and something I’m very grateful to have experienced.”


City’s apprenticeships are open to alumni as well as City staff. Learn more about how they could help you and your organisation.