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Neville Trust - Apprenticeships, the career alternative route and solving the skills shortages

Images: James Trumper

James Trumper , is a sixth-generation member of the family-owned Neville Trust

group of businesses based in Luton that includes Neville Special Projects, Neville

Joinery and Neville Funerals. He made the decision that a degree apprenticeship,

that will lead to him being fully qualified as a Quantity Surveyor via the

programme offered by Westminster University, was the choice that best suited

his needs, and his future plans.

James, who is the third generation of the Neville family to have attended Westminster

University, following in the footsteps of his great grandfather, great uncle and grandfather,

explains why this more vocational route appealed. “It seemed to me to really offer the best

of both worlds. A lecture hall environment at Westminster University for the academic

learning for my degree alongside the practical classroom of my everyday workplace,

whether that be on or off-site. As well as being able to put my theoretical learning into

practice almost immediately, which gives me hands-on experience, I also earn a salary and

end up with a degree without the burden of a student loan.

Picture: James, Michael & Peter

“What I’m also realising is that employers are impressed that you can demonstrate direct experience of working in a business."

“When I talk friends and family through the benefits of following this path, reactions are

really very similar – it’s an absolute no brainer and why wouldn’t you.”

For employers, hiring an apprentice at all levels can be a productive, cost-effective way to

expand or upskill their workforce and provides a solution to short term and long term skills

shortages – with a cohort of home-grown talent and a new generation of young and aspiring

employees who are informed about the training and development options open to them and

willing to access them. And awareness of higher level degree apprenticeships are now being

more widely offered by some universities and appreciated by employers.

Apprentices attend university one day per week during term time, whilst also working in a

salary related role. Receiving both on and off-the-job specialist training Westminster

University apprentices also have the possibility of gaining additional professional

accreditations depending on the course. This differs from the usual undergraduate degree as

there are no tuition fees required from the student, and instead, fees are paid for by the

employer and government, meaning there is no need for a student loan.

Apprentices also receive additional support through regular tripartite reviews (taking place

between the apprentice, employer and Westminster University).

As explained by BDO Global, apprenticeships can still overlooked by young people. More

than half believe that the award of a university degree makes it easier to earn a higher

salary, than if they were to take the apprenticeship route. And more than a third of students

believe they are less likely to reach the most senior position within a company if they do an

apprenticeship. But it is argued that this misconception is on the turn. Rising student debt

and the cost of living crisis is prompting parents, students and schools to revisit the

apprenticeship option – with favourable results.

The University of Westminster offers a range of higher and degree apprenticeships at

undergraduate and postgraduate level (Level 4 to Level 7) supporting various sectors. Their

programmes combine academic study, practical experience, and the wider employment skills

for career success.

Zsuzsanna Matyak, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Officer from Westminster

University explains: “As a progressive university, we look forward and anticipate what’s

changing across industries and student perceptions. Embracing the new with energy and

imagination, allows us to develop apprenticeship programmes that provide our students with

the skills that they need."

“The University is known for the many ways in which we help our 19,000 students to realise

their full potential, regardless of background. Our teaching is practical, relevant and

contemporary, while our research is driven to make an impact in the world. We want people

to realise that apprenticeships are a viable option for many individuals and employers,

helping to plug the skills gap that many industries are facing.”


For more information, please contact Isabel Jones or Elle Bell and at Eden Public Relations or call 0115 958 8850.  

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