Aston University reacts to Chancellor’s £80m to support small businesses with apprenticeships

Aston University, the UK’s most experienced provider of degree apprenticeships, has welcomed the Chancellor’s allocation of £80 million to help small businesses recruit apprentices in his spring statement yesterday (Tuesday).

Philip Hammond reasserted his commitment to delivering three million apprenticeship starts by 2020, and announced the release of £80 million to ‘support small businesses in engaging apprentices’.

Aston became the first University in the UK to offer degree apprenticeships in 2015 and is the first to have alumni who graduated the Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship in July 2017.

The university, founded in 1895 to provide businesses in the area with new skills, has over 100 years’ experience working with enterprise to nurture professionals with relevant skills and knowledge that can be directly applied to business and industry.

Professor Helen Higson, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, the first university to produce degree apprenticeship graduates, said:

“The £80 million announced yesterday by the Chancellor to help small businesses recruit apprentices is a positive step. Degree apprentices are useful to a business from day one, their study is tailored specifically to address skills shortages in the sector, and we believe they are part of the key to ensuring long term growth in UK productivity.

“Some owners have told us they feel the new system is designed for bigger businesses and are concerned about its complexity. Others are unsure about the amount of support they have to provide for learners. In many cases, we are able to address these fears by working closely with them to pinpoint how they can get the most out of it.”

“This funding should allow greater participation and be a welcome boost to the development aspirations of small business owners, helping them secure the talent, skills and enthusiasm they need to grow.”

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