Universities combine efforts to provide higher level apprenticeships

West Midlands Combined Universities has pledged its commitment to providing higher level qualifications for apprentices.

Birmingham City University and the University of Wolverhampton have secured a total of £500,000 funding from the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) to provide Degree Apprenticeships and Coventry University is currently looking to expand its provision of Higher and Degree level Apprenticeships through its provider, CU Coventry.

The three universities – part of the recently announced growth company established by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to promote the region around the world – will be instrumental in supporting employers to ensure that they have skilled staff to grow their business.

Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “The government is committed to providing three million apprenticeships during this parliament – the majority of which will be higher level skills with a requirement that courses meet the skills needs identified within each region.

“Designed by employers, universities and professional bodies, Degree Apprenticeships deliver high-tech and high level skills and offer an alternative to a traditional degree course. This is a great opportunity for employers in the area to use Apprenticeship Levy funds to invest in the skills needed to lead and grow a competitive workforce.”

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “As we strive to continue growing our economy we have to make sure that people are equipped with the skills, education and experience they need to go out in the world and make successful careers for themselves.

“Higher Level Apprenticeships are one way in which we can do this, by allowing students to earn while they learn and gain real-world experience as well as picking up a degree at the end of their course.”

Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said: “Developing a skilled workforce is a key action point of the combined authority and is central to growing our regional economy.

“Universities are well placed to deliver on this goal and by partnering with businesses to develop a range of Degree Apprenticeships we will be helping to increase access to higher education, boosting the skills base of the current workforce already earning and – crucially – tailoring training to the specific skills needs of employers.”

All three universities are developing a range of new Degree Apprenticeships in a variety of subjects to support local and regional skills needs including Law, Auditing, Radiography, Financial Services, Engineering, Digital Technology, Leadership and Management, Policing, Nursing, Assistant Practitioner in Health, Broadcast Engineer, Chartered Management, Civil Engineering and Quantity Surveying.

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For further press information, please contact:


Senior Media Relations Officer

Birmingham City University

0121 331 7644 / 07740 753 778 / peter.cameron@bcu.ac.uk



Press Officer

Coventry University

024 7765 8245/ mark.farnan@coventry.ac.uk



Digital PR & Communications Manager

University of Wolverhampton

01902 518647 /mags.winthrop@wlv.ac.uk


Notes to editors

West Midlands Combined Universities (WMCU) website – www.wmcu.ac.uk



  • The West Midlands Combined Universities (WMCU) collectively span a region which encompasses three Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and seven metropolitan councils – bodies which themselves make up the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).


  • The devolved body WMCA covers:



  • The area covered is home to over 4 million people and has an economy worth £80 billion a year (GVA) through its 130,000 businesses and the 7 million jobs it supports.


  • The WMCU comprises three universities representing the three core cities of the West Midlands. Between these universities there is:


  • a total combined revenue of over £600 million;
  • to be around £1 billion of combined investment in the region by 2021;
  • circa 70,000 students and 8,500 staff in total.