Teesside University has received a quarter of a million pounds funding boost to help support a range of Degree Apprenticeships in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The funding will be used to help develop a series of new Degree Apprenticeships and subsequently grow the number of employees in the region with higher level skills.

Degree Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular and are co-designed by employers to bring together educational and vocational on-the-job training.

Teesside University has been awarded a grant close to £250,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund. The University’s application was supported by partners Tees Valley Combined Authority and the North East England Chamber of Commerce, as well as a wide range of employers.

The University has put in place an ambitious plan to develop an additional nine STEM Degree Apprenticeships to start in September 2018. They will be delivered in subject areas including engineering, laboratory science, digital technologies and logistics.

Laura Woods, Director of The Forge, Teesside University’s business hub, said: “Teesside is committed to delivering Degree Apprenticeships as part of its core activity, addressing both the current and future skills needs of employers, graduate employability, widening access, and education and employment opportunities in the region.

“The need for higher-level skills and qualifications in STEM-related subjects across the North East is projected to increase significantly by 2024 and Teesside is committed to working with employers and partners including the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the North East England Chamber of Commerce to address current and anticipated skills gaps and provide opportunities for further training and development.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This funding for STEM degree apprenticeships is a welcome investment in our region’s economic future.

“By upskilling the people doing fantastic work in our existing and emerging industries we can move closer towards a high-tech, high-productivity economy, which builds on our proud industrial heritage and provides good opportunities for the next generation.

“This is a vote of confidence in Teesside University and the wider Tees Valley, and I am proud the Combined Authority has helped to secure it.”

James Ramsbotham, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce, added: “The Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund awarded to Teesside University will provide a fantastic boost for the expansion of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships in the North East.

“We know that employers value Degree Apprenticeships as they can be used for upskilling existing staff or training new staff to fill skills gaps, and they offer an opportunity to shape the course content to meet their specific needs.

“For the apprentices themselves, Degree Apprenticeships provide a high-level, work-focused qualification without accruing student debt. We will continue working with Teesside University to promote Degree Apprenticeships so that more businesses and learners can benefit.”

Between now and 2024, more than half of the 133,000 new jobs projected for the Tees Valley alone are anticipated to need a Level 4 qualification, with further high level skills demand across the rest of the region.

Teesside University recently launched its new Centre for Professional and Executive Development (CPED) at its Darlington campus to help meet this demand for thousands of skilled jobs.  A clinical skills suite has already been created to cater for the continuing development needs of the health sector and allow NHS workers to train in a perfect simulation of a clinical environment.

New programmes for entrepreneurial leaders and managers, as well as courses in the digital and creative sector are also being developed, in addition to the planned STEM Degree Apprenticeships.

For more information on Degree Apprenticeships at Teesside University visit www.tees.ac.uk/apprenticeships