Robert Gordon University (RGU) continues to lead the way in innovative work-based learning, after being awarded a new suite of Graduate Apprenticeships by Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

180 fully-funded Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) places will be available across a range of disciplines, including business management, construction, engineering and data science.

RGU, in collaboration with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), will also be the only university in Scotland to offer a GA in accountancy, with 40 places available. On successfully completing the programme, apprentices will be fully qualified members of either ACCA or ICAS.

Graduate Apprenticeships have been developed by SDS in partnership with employers, universities and colleges and professional bodies to create stronger links between education and industry.

The growth of Graduate Apprenticeships supports the Scottish Government’s ambition to create 30,000 apprenticeship jobs a year by 2020.

Professor John Harper, Principal of RGU, said: “RGU has a history of close partnership with employers and was proud, in 2017, to have been one of the first universities in Scotland to deliver Graduate Apprenticeships – a trend which continues with these latest offerings.

“There is now, more than ever, a significant emphasis on repositioning the workplace as a learning environment and Graduate Apprenticeships allow the university to extend access to degree-level studying, while minimising time out of the workplace.

“As well as the benefits to the apprentices themselves, employers also benefit in a number of ways – from ensuring they have the right skills within the company to meet their business needs, currently and in the future to improving existing employee retention by investing in their development.”

Development of Graduate Apprenticeships has focused on a range of sectors that have a need for highly skilled jobs. Apprenticeships are proven to deliver tangible business benefits, including increased productivity, talent development and retention, improved service delivery and staff engagement in their own professional development.

In order to allow apprentices to spend most of their time in the workplace, RGU provides the majority of the course online. Apprentices can then immediately put their improved skills into practice with the support of their employer and the university.

This is additionally complemented by a number of sessions at the University, where they can exchange ideas and experiences with other apprentices and their tutors.

Professor Harper added: “We are very proud to be one of Scotland’s leading institutions offering these innovative learning opportunities and are fully committed to making sure our graduates are prepared for the future.”

Skills Development Scotland, Director of Service Design and Innovation, Jonathan Clark, said: “The success and growth of Graduate Apprenticeships demonstrates that they are supporting employers to upskill their workforce and giving individuals more opportunities to learn and develop their career whilst in employment.

“Universities and colleges across the country are widening their choice of Graduate Apprenticeships and Skills Development Scotland will continue to develop subjects that focus on a range of sectors where there is a need for highly skilled jobs.”

RGU can provide support to both employers and individuals considering Graduate Apprenticeships.

Professor John Harper