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New degree level apprenticeships launched at Hallam

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Innovative new degree level apprenticeships have been launched at Sheffield Hallam University this week to help tackle skills shortages in the health and digital sectors.

A group of 25 apprentices have started new Digital Degree Apprenticeships with recruits coming from companies including Network Rail and Satisnet, a cybersecurity business, as well as regional small businesses.

The apprentices will be employed in roles across the digital industry, which is expected to double in size across Yorkshire and Humberside by 2022.

Research, carried out by Emsi on behalf of Sheffield Hallam, found the digital industry currently employs two per cent of the local workforce – around 40,000 people – with the top ten occupations expected to create more than 46,000 vacancies in the region in the next five years.

Previous research carried out by the University's Business School found the top 25 tech companies in the Sheffield City Region now had a turnover of almost £2billion a year and employed more than 12,000 people.

The health sector is another area where there are significant skills shortages, particularly in the Sheffield City Region.

A group of 20 apprentices have this week started an innovative new Healthcare Sciences Degree Apprenticeship at Hallam.

The apprentices range from young people who have completed A-levels to experienced NHS staff looking to further their careers. 

One of the new apprentices is 51-year-old Alison Heblich who is a cardiographer at Scarborough Hospital.

Alison said: "The thing that attracted me to doing a degree apprenticeship is I work full time, I'm a mum, and I couldn’t afford to do a degree and stop working because I need that income.

"I now have an opportunity to improve on my skills, to improve the service offered by the department and the trust and do it in a working environment.

So I get to have that progression, I get to have that benefit of doing something I want to do, staying with the hospital where I want to work, but having the privilege of getting it paid for, which wouldn’t have been possible without this opportunity. 

"I'm so grateful to the University and to the Trust for giving me this opportunity."  

Healthcare sciences degree apprentices
Digital degree apprentices
Alison Heblich

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Degree apprenticeships are designed to offer young people and existing staff opportunities to pursue study at university alongside real-life work experience, which is paid for by the employer and the government.

Conor Moss, Director of Education and Employer Partnerships at Sheffield Hallam University, said: "Universities have a key role to play in driving innovation, economic growth and creating jobs.

"Sheffield Hallam has been a trailblazer in offering higher and degree apprenticeships in collaboration with key industry partners.

"These new degree apprenticeships highlight our role in the city region in helping businesses and public sector organisations to tackle current and future skills shortages in key industries."

For press information: Jo Beattie in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2811 or email