UWE Bristol Apprenticeship: Meet the academic – Karina Stewart

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In this Meet the Academic, we caught up with Karina Stewart, Associate Head of Department (Subject Lead for Healthcare Science) to talk about her experiences of apprenticeships.

Karina teaches on the following apprenticeships:

  • Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences) Practitioner Training Programme
  • Healthcare Science (Clinical Engineering) Practitioner Training Programme
  • Healthcare Science (Medical Physics Technology) Practitioner Training Programme

Thinking about your engagement with apprentices, what are the main benefits you can see for someone thinking about becoming a Higher or Degree apprentice?

This is an excellent way of gaining a recognised, vocational qualification whilst earning a salary. The programme of apprenticeships in Healthcare Science (from Level 2 to 7) provides a structured training and career progression pathway. The range of apprenticeships are accessible to anyone, at any age. At UWE we offer Level 6 (degree-level) apprenticeships in a range of Healthcare Science specialisms.

As with all apprenticeships, what you learn in your modules at UWE is directly applicable to the job you do in the workplace. As you progress with your academic and workplace training you become more proficient in your role and more able to contribute to your department and service in general. At the end you have a recognised, formal Batchelor of Science (BSc) qualification that offers great career prospects.

What role do you think Higher and Degree apprenticeships have towards widening access and participation within Higher Education, and the benefits for the local economy?

Higher and degree apprenticeships give people the opportunity to access and participate in education that might otherwise have been unavailable or inaccessible to them. So they really help to create a more ‘level playing field’ in this respect. These schemes can be used by anyone at any age to upskill or retrain at any point in their career, as well as being accessible to school/college leavers.

There is evidence that higher and degree apprenticeships promote local economic growth in a number of ways. For trainees, they offer greater employment and career prospects, and hence higher life-time salary levels. For employers, they enable growth and upskilling of the workforce, which leads to higher levels of productivity.

What do you see as the role of apprenticeships in UWE Bristol and beyond in the future?

Apprenticeships are relatively new at UWE, but I am sure are here to stay! We have increased our range of Healthcare Science programmes over the years, and the number of apprentices joining us each year continues to grow as more employers become aware of this training option.

UWE has always been at the forefront in terms of vocational education, and apprenticeships continue to align to the university’s strategy. Indeed, the focus of Strategy 2030 at UWE is ‘Transforming Futures’, through innovative and inclusive practice-led education that is accessible to all. With more employers accessing levy funding and more people becoming aware of apprenticeship training routes, demand for this form of education is ever increasing.

We are here to educate and train the workforce of the future. That has to be done in a sustainable way, in partnership with employers and other education providers. Exciting times!

Find out more about Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol.

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