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Dr. Amna Khan: Undergraduate apprenticeships are leading to better outcomes of inclusiveness and diversity in technology

Universities have a significant role to play in improving the livelihoods of young people and in helping to provide the skills the country needs to thrive.

We know that for some, the traditional path of an on-campus undergraduate degree is not an available or suitable avenue for their life.

So in 2015 we were one of the first universities to launch undergraduate internships and now Manchester Metropolitan University is a leading provider, with over 2,500 people starting programs over the past five years and around 544 collaborating employers with us, including some of the big names in technology.

In our Force for Change report (2021), launched to celebrate the five-year milestone for our program, the results confirmed that graduate apprenticeships also acted as an accelerated ladder for social mobility.

It confirmed that apprenticeships continue to provide options for those who would not have chosen a traditional degree, were adopted quickly, and were shown to increase earnings and career mobility opportunities.

The report’s findings revealed that overall, 40% of Manchester Metropolitan’s apprentices are the first generation of the family to go to college.

Those from disadvantaged backgrounds also benefit. According to data from the Multiple Deprivation Index (IMD), 36% of all Manchester Metropolitan apprentices come from the most disadvantaged areas, a trend that has improved over time, from 26% in 2015/16. This data is even more significant for “mature” students, with approximately 50% coming from the lower half of the IMD range.

Manchester Metropolitan cohorts are becoming more ethnically diverse, with black, Asian and ethnic minority apprentices rising from 10% in 2015-16 to 19% in 2020-21.

Undergraduate apprenticeships are also promoting alternative pathways in STEM for women. Approximately 34% of Manchester Metropolitan’s current STEM trainees are women, a substantial improvement over the national average of undergraduate students of 22%.

Approximately 34% of Manchester Metropolitan’s current STEM trainees are women, a substantial improvement over the national average of undergraduate students of 22%.

Zaman, an apprentice in digital and technology solutions, said: “Thanks to my apprenticeship, I went from a newcomer to the cybersecurity industry with no previous work experience, to a certified cybersecurity expert, managing a small cyber team. security specialists. That means I went up five grades of promotion while working at Lloyds, over the span of three years. Something that was only possible thanks to my apprenticeship. “

Employers welcomed it. Kashif, Head of Apprenticeships at IBM, said, “Undergraduate apprenticeships enable IBM to attract diverse talent, which is essential for innovation. Our graduate apprentices have proven to be highly successful in terms of career speed and added value for the company.

“Our apprentices work in a variety of different roles across multiple industries and have been involved in critical projects which have had a direct impact on the UK. This gives our apprentices a real sense of job satisfaction, as they can see how their hard work is contributing to society. “

In an eloquent postscript, he also said: “More and more IBM customers want apprentices to be included in the implementation of our solutions.”

Manchester Metropolitan University runs a Dragons’ Den initiative to inspire the sixth former of Abraham Moss Community School

The first in the family to go to university?

Our First Generation Scholarship Program continues to support young people who are the first in their family to go to college. It is co-funded by the University and the University’s donors, offers practical support and application guidance to students aged 12 and 13, whose parents or guardians have not had the same opportunities, to help them enter and move on to higher education .

First generation scholars studying with us are awarded a scholarship of £ 1,000 in their first year and the opportunity to participate in a fully funded employability event / program along with ongoing professional support throughout their studies.

Dragons’ Den initiative with the local school

Abraham Moss Community School is a thriving multicultural community proud of its harmony and success based in North Manchester. We have a long association with the school and run an annual Dragons’ Den project where students are invited to present innovative ideas to a team of staff and ambassadors from the university’s Business School.

The program never fails to deliver exceptional ideas from Year 9 students, leading truly interesting and ambitious discussions about the enterprise, its challenges and opportunities, and enabling students to think beyond their own circumstances.

A recent CIO magazine piece by Bob Violino presented companies that develop close links with local universities to address skills shortages. From setting up technology incubators to providing STEM education scholarships or supporting graduate apprenticeships like ours, we are seeing companies not only facilitate the development of key IT skills, but do so in a diverse and inclusive way with meaningful results. and life changing for all concerned.

This is called force for change.

Dr. Amna Khan recently discussed many of the issues raised in the above piece Manchester Technology Week 2022, discuss how current corporate cultures must change to put inclusion first, misconceptions about career advancement and how to support the next generation of tech talent.

Dr. Amna Khan: Undergraduate apprenticeships are leading to better outcomes of inclusiveness and diversity in technology

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