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Office for Students awards MDX £600,000 to develop digital degree apprenticeships

Programmes co-designed with employers will help provide opportunities for under-represented groups to access professional careers

A laptop on a desk with what seems to be code on it, next to a pen-potDemand for digital skills is increasing, as MDX is awarded funding for digital degree apprenticeships

The Office for Students (OfS) has awarded MDX £600,000 funding over two academic years to develop six digital degree apprenticeship programmes.

The programmes are: Data Scientist, Digital User Experience Professional, Cyber Security Technical Professional, Digital Marketer, Digital & Technology Solutions Professional and Creative Digital Design Professional.

This funding will pump-prime MDX’s development of digital degree apprenticeships to both the public and private sector in London. It builds on our existing model of co-design, which has, for example, been the training route for more than 3,000 Police Constables since 2019.

The digital degree apprenticeship programmes seek to boost the number of starters in groups under-represented in the digital sector, and address increasing employer demand for digital skills - especially high in the capital, as identified by the London Local Skills Improvement Plan.

The Local Government Association found that from 2014-19, tech employment in London grew by almost double the rate in England as a whole. Across sectors, acquiring digital skills is employers’ main workforce development priority, according to a 2021 London Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey. Nationally, at least 40% of employers report that having such high volumes of vacancies in roles requiring digital skills causes them to lose business.

The Women in Tech campaign suggests just 26% of those working in tech are female. Black and Asian people are underrepresented across apprenticeships as a whole, and the 2021 Hamilton Commission found just 2% of the 60,000 apprenticeship starts in engineering were taken up by black and 3% by Asian students. MDX and the Government also share an objective of recruiting more people from poorer areas of London into public sector professions.

MDX aims to increase the number of digital degree apprenticeship starters from 5 in the current academic year to 100 in 2024/25, 156 in 2025/26 and 210 in 2026/27. Drawing on existing strong public sector links, MDX sets out to support each London NHS Trust and each London local authority to develop a digital degree apprenticeship programme with 2-3 starters annually. The programmes will also be available to MDX staff, with an aim of enabling at least 5 MDX employees to join one each year.

The announcement follows MDX’s contract in January as part of Wave 1 of OfS funding to expand degree apprenticeships for social workers and environmental health practitioners.

Darryll Bravenboer, Professor of Higher Education and Skills at MDX, says: “We want to work with employers so they can tell us how we can best meet their needs and ensure the programmes reflect workplace requirements. By demonstrating we have listened through showcasing the apprenticeships developed, we will seek sustainable partnerships with employers.

“We think this is the most effective way to provide opportunities for under-represented groups to access professional careers through digital degree apprenticeships, a key aspect of our civic duty as a University”.

Professor Julia Clarke, Interim Vice-Chancellor at MDX said: “I warmly welcome today’s announcement. This is a great opportunity for MDX to build on our sector-leading apprenticeship provision and to continue to work with partners to develop the workforce of the future”.

Find out more about apprenticeships at MDX

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