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Section 4: Quality Assurance of Degree Apprenticeships

Published for 2021-22


4.1 Overview4.3 Annual Monitoring
4.2 Approval and amendment4.4 Periodic Review

4.1 Overview

1.UCL’s normal quality assurance processes described elsewhere in the Academic Manual, and specifically in Chapters 7 and 9, apply to degree apprenticeships alongside the specific provisions set out here.
2.In addition to the regulatory requirements and external reference points that govern our approach to assuring the academic standards and quality of our higher education qualifications, apprenticeships and UCL as an Apprenticeships Training Provider are subject to additional regulatory requirements as set out by the Department for Education, Education and Skills Funding Agency, and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Furthermore, Ofsted inspect the quality of apprenticeship training at all levels against the criteria set out in their Education Inspection Framework. UCL’s internal quality assurance procedures for degree apprenticeships, as set out below, are designed to fulfil these various requirements and ensure that apprentices benefit from a high-quality learning experience and successful outcomes. 

4.2 Approval and amendment

1.In the first instance, anyone wishing to propose a new degree apprenticeship programme should liaise with their Head of Department, Faculty Tutor and Dean of Faculty to secure initial endorsement and support for the proposal. The proposer must have commitment from the employer(s) they wish to work with and have identified the Apprenticeship Standard they are proposing to deliver.
2.Once the initial proposal has Department and Faculty management endorsement, the proposer must complete a Feasibility Assessment (Annex 11.1) to be reviewed and approved by the DASG.
3.Following approval from the DASG for the Feasibility Assessment, the proposer can begin the programme approval process in line with Chapter 7 of the Academic Manual, overseen by PMAP.
4.Degree apprenticeship programmes should be designed in collaboration with the employers committed to enrolling apprentices on the programme.
5.

The programme approval process, documentation and timelines for degree apprenticeships is the same as for any other degree programmes at UCL with the addition of the following steps:

  • The proposer must submit a completed Degree Apprenticeship Annex for Programme Approval with the other programme proposal paperwork. The Annex will include a mapping of the programme to the applicable Apprenticeship Standard.
  • In line with the guidance provided in the Degree Apprenticeship Annex for Programme Approval, the proposer must identify an Apprenticeship External Scrutineer for the proposal. The Apprenticeship External Scrutineer should provide a brief statement assessing how robustly the proposed programme aligns to the applicable Apprenticeship Standard and any other applicable external competency frameworks. 
  • The Apprenticeship External Scrutineer should also comment on the other responses in the Degree Apprenticeship Annex to confirm that the proposed processes for managing the degree apprenticeship are in line with sector best practice and the standard expectations of the relevant government bodies.
6.Amendments proposed to degree apprenticeship programmes are also subject to the applicable provisions in Chapter 7 of the Academic Manual
7.Following the approval of a degree apprenticeship programme and before any applicant is permitted to begin their application to the programme, there must be a signed contract in place with their employer.
 a.UCL has a set, institutionally agreed template for Employer Contracts that is held by Academic Services and must be used as a starting point with all employers. 
 b.Draft contracts must be submitted for review by Academic Services before they are signed by either party. 
 c.A finalised contract will be recommended by Academic Services to the appropriate authorised signatories for Employer Contracts for degree apprenticeships, as set out below within the Council-approved delegated authorisation limits:
Value of the agreementSignatory
  • Estimated value of the Employer Contract over its full term over £2m and up to £10m
  • Provost
  • Estimated value of the Employer Contract over its full term over £250k and up to £2m
  • Vice-President (Operations); or 
  • Director of Finance and Business Affairs
  • Estimated value of the Employer Contract over its full term up to £250k
  • Registrar

4.3 Annual Monitoring 

1.All academic departments undertake quality monitoring through the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) as described in Chapter 9: Quality Review Framework, whereby matters relating to degree apprenticeships are fed into the Department’s overall Evaluative Report and Development and Enhancement Plan.
2.A programme-level evaluation must be produced each year for each degree apprenticeship programme capturing feedback from employers and apprentices, using the template provided in Annex 11.3, in order to inform the continuous improvement of the programme and to enable explicit consideration of degree apprenticeships in ASERs.
3.Departments must include programme-level evaluations in the evidence base for their ASER, in addition to the standard evidence set out in Chapter 9.
4.Completed programme-level evaluations must be reviewed and refined at the relevant Student Staff Consultative Committee and Department Teaching Committee before being shared with the Faculty Tutor and the DASG, normally during Term 1 for the previous Academic Year.
5.The DASG, in collaboration with QRSC and with support from Academic Services, will appoint a review group from the DASG and QRSC memberships to review the submitted programme-level evaluations, produce an institutional analysis and identify cross-cutting priorities for the continuous improvements of quality.

4.4 Periodic Review

1.Degree apprenticeship programmes are subject to the standard UCL Internal Quality Review (IQR) process described in Chapter 9 the Quality Review Framework.
2.In addition to the standard IQR requirements, the appended Degree Apprenticeship Guidance for Internal Quality Review (Annex 11.2) applies to IQRs carried out in Departments delivering degree apprenticeships. The Guidance includes provisions for appointing an External Degree Apprenticeship Adviser for the Review Team and for including apprentices and employers in the IQR process as well as templates and questionnaires relating to degree apprenticeships for the Department to complete and submit to the Review Team as part of the IQR evidence pack.