Facilitated by: Professor Colin McCaig who is the co-convenor of the Higher Education Policy. For more details about the network and its activities, please click here.

This event features five pieces of research into the impact of Degree Apprenticeships on the higher education sector. 

The first paper, Degree Apprenticeships in England: what can we learn from the experiences of apprentices, employers and HE providers, features researchers from the Edge Foundation, and the Universities of Bath, Oxford and Huddersfield. The qualitative research involved in-depth interviews with around 100 stakeholders, including employers, training providers, and apprentices. The project reflects on wider issues such as where DA provision sits within the wider apprenticeship system, and whether or not DAs are helping meet challenges in relation to skills shortages.

 The second, related, paper will be presented via a recorded presentation from colleagues at the University of Exeter.

The third paper, What makes an effective work place mentor; mentor perceptions and expectations, featuring researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and the Edge Foundation, is a cross Allied Health Professions project focussing on work-based mentors perceptions and expectations as well as exploring what makes a good mentor and the required attributes. This paper is based on an initial stage of a wider longitudinal study and included qualitative data collection through semi structured interviews with two AHP groups’ work based mentors; physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

The fourth presentation, entitled How Do Degree Apprenticeships fit into the Widening Access Landscape? A Question of Social Justice, also by researchers based at SHU and Edge, uses a case study approach to test the notion that provision of of Degree Apprenticeships (DAs) is enhancing social mobility by widening access to underrepresented groups. It draws on analysis from interviews with staff at two English HEPs exploring how their DA provision forms part of their widening access offer. 

Finally, the last presentation will be from a German colleague, Prof. Dr. Dina Kuhlee, discussing the Concept and effectiveness of work-based HE provision in Germany, in the form of integrated degree programmes.


10.30 – 10.55

, coffee and networking

10.55 – 11.00

SRHE welcome and housekeeping

11.00 – 11.45

Andrea Laczik and Kat Emms: Degree Apprenticeships in England: what can we learn from the experiences of apprentices, employers and HE providers.

Including discussion and Q&A

11.45 – 12.10

Video presentation from the University of Exeter colleagues – introduced by Andrea Laczik

Including discussion and Q&A

12.10 – 12.55

Aimee France, Claire Staniland: What makes an effective work place mentor; mentor perceptions and expectations.

Including discussion and Q&A

12.55 – 14.00


14.00 – 14.45

Colin McCaig, Charlynne Pullen: How Do Degree Apprenticeships fit into the Widening Access landscape? A Question of Social Justice.

Including discussion and Q&A

14.45 – 15.30

Dina Kuhlee: Integrated degree programs: Concept and effectiveness of work-based HE provision in Germany.

Including discussion and Q&A

15.30 – 15.45

Closing comments


Speaker Bios

Andrea Laczik is Director of Research at the Edge Foundation and a Honorary Research fellow at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. She has over 25 years of experience with education research and policy evaluation work while working at Oxford and Warwick Universities and now at Edge. Her projects cover Vocational Education and Training (VET) and apprenticeships at all levels, 14-19 education, employer engagement in VET and general education, skills development, youth transition and trajectories and provisions for young people and adults from disadvantaged backgrounds. Her current projects include ‘Young Lives, Young Futures’ (funded by ESRC) that investigate the  education and employment opportunities available to young people in different areas of England who don’t take the university route and ‘Revisiting the Raising of the Participation Age (RPA) to 18 in England’ (funded by Nuffield Foundation). Andrea also has an active interest in comparative and international research.

Kat Emms is a Senior Education & Policy Researcher at the Edge Foundation. An independent education foundation working to give all young people across the UK the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to flourish in their future life and work. At Edge she undertakes primary and commissioned research around topics such as higher education, vocational education and training, skills shortages in the economy and employability skills. Kat leads Edge’s Innovative Higher Education (HE) Network and recently has completed research on degree apprenticeships and new higher education institutions in England. She has spent over 15 years working in the education sector, including research and analysis within the local authority and universities, and working in schools.

Aimee France is a Principal Lecturer and Allied Health Degree Apprenticeships Portfolio Lead at Sheffield Hallam University. Aimee started as a full time Physiotherapy lecturer at SHU in 2009 and after being course leader for the Physiotherapy BSc Degree apprenticeship, she developed a real passion for supporting apprenticeship delivery. Aimee started in her current role as apprenticeship portfolio lead in 2022, where she provides leadership and operational support to maintain strategic oversight in the development of a sustainable and high-quality apprenticeship portfolio with the AHP department. Email: Aimee.france@shu.ac.uk

Claire Staniland is a Principal Lecturer with the responsibility of employer led provision across the college of Health Wellbeing and Life Sciences. She is also Collaborative Course Leader for the FdSc Professional Practice in Health and Social Care with Higher Apprenticeship. Claire started as a full time Physiotherapy lecturer at SHU in 2007 after working in the NHS since 1998. She developed a keen interest in employer led provision including apprenticeships and higher technical qualifications through her collaborative course leader role where she works with numerous collaborative partner colleges. Email: c.staniland@shu.ac.uk

Colin McCaig is Professor of Higher Education Policy at Sheffield Hallam University and has 20 years' experience in education policy research. Colin's research interests are in the area of inequalities of access to higher education which he approaches through critical analyses of policies concerning the marketisation of higher education. A policy analyst by background, Colin's PhD thesis, Preparing for Government: Education policymaking in the Labour Party 1994-1999 (Department of Politics, University of Sheffield) was successfully defended in 2000. He has published widely in areas of education policy and has written over 30 research publications and forty commissioned research reports. Colin recently co-edited a book entitled 'The Business of Widening Participation: policy, practice and culture' with Jon Rainford and Ruth Squire. Email: c.mccaig@shu.ac.uk

Charlynne Pullen is a Principal Research Fellow in the Sheffield Institute of Education’s research centre at Sheffield Hallam University. Her main research interests like in post-16 vocational education, including higher technical education and apprenticeships. Recent projects include a review of skills forecasts with Frontier Economics for the Department for Education’s Unit for Future Skills, and a project for the Low Pay Commission on the experiences of those who have been paid the apprenticeship minimum wage. She was previously the Head of Research and Evaluation at the Education and Training Foundation, and has worked at a range of organisations including NFER and Universities UK in her nearly 20 years in educational research. She was a Governor at Milton Keynes College from 2016-2023 and at the University of Bedfordshire from 2020-2023, and is currently completing her PhD in Economics from the University of Sheffield. Email: c.pullen@shu.ac.uk 

Dina Kuhlee studied Business Education, Business Administration, and International and Comparative Education at the Humboldt University of Berlin and at the University of Oxford, UK. She completed her doctorate on issues of governance in German vocational education and training at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She has been researching and teaching in the field of vocational and business education at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Oldenburg, and was an associate professor and departmental director of vocational, business and technology education (BWT) at the University of Stuttgart. Since 2019 she is the Chair of Business Education at the University of Magdeburg, and is the Director of the Centre for Teacher Education and Training of the University of Magdeburg.



July 16th, 2024 from 11:00 AM to  3:45 PM
Society House, Regents Wharf
8 All Saints Street
London, N1 9RL
United Kingdom
Event Fee(s)
Event Fee(s)
Member Price £0.00
Guest Price £75.00
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