Graduate Apprenticeship Degree Programmes

The CCSE led the development and launch of the University of Glasgow's first Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) programme, in Software Engineering. A Graduate Apprenticeship is a degree-level qualification which takes four years to achieve, with participants being enrolled as students in the university and employees of a company concurrently, and learning taking place in both contexts. Development of the programme began in 2018 and the first cohort of apprentices was enrolled in 2019.

The development of the programme was a multi-faceted research project exploring international best-practice, a review of research on work-based learning and extensive industry input. The latter consisted of a series of interviews with potential employers to establish what would work best for them, which were used to inform the structure and content of the programme. The results of this consultation were published at the UK and Ireland Computing Education Research conference.

From its inception, the programme was envisioned as being research shaped but industry led, ensuring it was relevant and of high value to participants. The research team sought to identify ways to marry the university and workplace contexts into a coherent learning pathway, adapted to suit differing learning environments and situations across companies. In particular, care was taken to identify ways in which apprentices could start contributing to real work in their organisations as soon as possible, which informed the design of the programme's early learning opportunities.

The resulting programme was developed with block-based learning in the first and second years with apprentices coming to campus for bespoke courses, followed by stints in the workplace to apply their learning. Assessment was split between work-based projects and on-campus examinations and lab-based assessments, leveraging each context to best assess competency gains. The third and fourth years of the programme switched to day-release during term-time where apprentices participated in the School of Computer Science's typical undergraduate offerings, utilising the expertise of the lecturers already delivering high-quality specialised modules. Throughout, opportunities were created to allow the tripartite relationship between the apprentice, the employer and the university flourish by way of frequent meetings and check-ins. 

The School of Computing Science continues to deliver the GA Software Engineering programme and staff involved in delivery publish context-specific research on the programme. More information can be found on the programme's information pages: Software Engineering (Graduate Apprenticeship).