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Apprenticeships at Coventry University: How it all began

This week is National Apprenticeship Week, so we thought it would be a good idea to see how  Coventry University first got involved with apprenticeships. Here is that story…

Coventry University’s Apprenticeship Scheme was set up back in 2015 under the banner of ‘Uni at Work’, by alumni, Claire Buckland. Claire was a mature student studying for her Master’s degree in Management and Leadership at the time. On graduating she worked for two years as Head of work-based Higher Education, setting up the provision for apprenticeships, building the programmes and enhancing existing work based learning to make it work with apprenticeships. She sourced and got employers in, built partnerships with awarding organisations like the Chartered Management Institute.

Claire Buckland
Claire Buckland

This was exciting, I hadn’t seen many universities get behind apprenticeships and it was just at the start of the degree apprenticeship era.

The key to making apprenticeships work, is for universities to collaborate as Coventry has done. It’s about being receptive to what businesses are looking for and co-creating.

When you’ve got innovators like Coventry University, collaborating and supporting business you get success. This has been seen with the first apprentices to go through with merits and distinctions.

From a regional perspective Coventry University are truly braving the trail, standing out, driving up the quality of learning and raising the profile of higher level apprenticeships, proving people don’t have to choose between going to university and doing an apprenticeship – they can do both.

I did a work-based degree and the benefits of practical application was really valuable to me because in the long-term my degree gave me the confidence to take the plunge and be self-employed.”

Claire is now a West Midlands Ambassador for Chartered Management Institute board and founded and directs several businesses, including the Apprenticeship Coach, a consultancy supporting businesses nationally to develop apprenticeship programmes.

Claire set up the Apprenticeship Coach in 2018, she tells us it has already grown into a national business:

We hold contracts with large companies including Capita, to build apprenticeships in customer management and sales, as well as other Universities.

Society needs higher level skills and that’s what the Apprenticeship Coach is all about – focusing on ensuring quality of apprenticeships.

It’s about looking at people solutions and development through the lenses of coaching and training and supporting organisations to think inventively and creatively at the same time.

I’ve had several jobs that I’ve loved as well as jobs that I haven’t, and my passion and ethos is helping people to be the best they can be and realise their potential.

For more information on how the first class of Coventry University’s apprenticeship graduates are getting on visit our dedicated page.

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