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Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship

Developing highly sought-after digital skills.

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Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship

The Open University’s Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship programme develops the higher-level skills and behaviours required to create confident and capable digital and technology professionals.

Graduates from the programme will be competent to operate in a range of related digital roles. They will be able to communicate effectively with colleagues across computing disciplines, supporting their organisation to develop new products and services and increase productivity using digital technologies.

The Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship is a work-based higher education programme that integrates academic and work-based learning in a way that can be delivered flexibly around the demands of your workplace.

As technologies converge and the pace of digital change accelerates, this programme supports apprentices to develop the necessary core knowledge, skills and behaviours to contribute to digital projects across your organisation, as well as the mindset to enable them to continuously upskill as technologies advance.

The core Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship provides the broad technical understanding to operate as part of a wider team working with specialists in the analysis, design, build, evaluation and security of software, data solutions, services and networks. This includes the ability to build business cases, work with end-users, and build the solution. In addition to the core programme, The Open University (OU) offers four specialisms where apprentices gain in-depth technical knowledge of: Software Engineering, Data Analysis, Network Engineering or Cyber Security Analysis.

Tech Industry Gold logo

This degree apprenticeship programme is accredited by TechSkills as meeting industry standards for quality and relevance to tech and digital careers. Courses carrying this Tech Industry Gold accreditation offer the blend of technical, business and professional skills that employers need. Learners on this programme benefit from access to national awards and employer delivered learning content designed to enhance personal development and career progression.


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Why choose The Open University’s Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship?

  • Delivered flexibly around the demands of your organisation. Tutor-supported, rich-media online training methods mean only minimal time away from the workspace is required.
  • There are no academic pre-requisites associated with our programme, which enables you to maximise participation.
  • Learning can be delivered simultaneously to various locations using our tried-and-trusted educational technology, providing a consistent programme at scale to multiple staff.
  • 70% of Open University students are in employment; we know how to make knowledge stick in the minds of busy adults.
  • We have over 50 years’ experience in providing supported distance learning programmes.

Watch the video to see what Robson, one of the apprentices at Milton Keynes Hospital is gaining from his Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship delivered in partnership with the OU. The chief executive Joe Harrison explains how apprentices such as Robson are already making active and positive contributions towards improving outcomes for patients.

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This programme is designed for individuals looking to progress in careers as a Cyber Security Analyst, Data Analyst, Software Engineer or Network Engineer.

The structure of the programme supports apprentices to grow and develop their own digital talent. The programme is available to existing employees for career progression and skills development, as well as for hiring new talent and growing your team. Ideal for employers looking to fill skills gaps.

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Below is a summary of the eligibility criteria as set by the government for apprentices. For further information, see the Government funding rules.

To be eligible for government funding, at the start of the apprenticeship, apprentices must:

  • Be over 16 years old
  • Not be in full-time education
  • Have the right to live and work in England
  • Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England

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Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Assessment

Completion

Introduction to computing technologies

Object-oriented Java programming

Web technologies

IT systems: planning for success

Learning outcomes assessment.

Knowledge, skills and behaviour assessment.

English and maths assessment*.

Gateway process.

End-point assessment (EPA).

BSc (Honours) Degree in Digital and Technology Solutions awarded.

EPA achieved.

Apprenticeship programme completed.

Introduction to computing and IT

Managing IT: the why, the what and the how

Specialism module (choose from table below)

Specialism module (choose from table below)

Career development and employability

Change, strategy and projects at work

Advanced work-based learning

Apprenticeship computing & IT project (in specialist area)

English and maths (functional skills) development*
   Theory modules
   Practice modules
   Assessment

 

* If required. The OU strongly recommends that these qualifications are achieved within the first 12 months of the apprenticeship in order to have maximum benefit on academic study and workplace development.

Specialism topics

The programme is based on a core set of outcomes that are supplemented by one of the following four specialisms, with 30 credits studied in each of years 3 and 4.

 

Stage 3

Stage 4

Cyber Security Analyst

Information security

Web, cloud and mobile technologies

Data Analyst

Algorithms, data structures & computability

Data management and analysis

Software Engineer

Software engineering

Web, cloud and mobile technologies

Network Engineer

Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1

Cisco networking (CCNA) part 2

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The apprenticeship is made up of six components:

1 - The initial assessment

Undertaken by an Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager.
Reviews apprentice’s current level of knowledge, work experience and job competencies as well as previous qualifications and English and maths skills.
Used to tailor Training Plans to help apprentices make the most of the apprenticeship.

2 - Tutor-supported study modules

Builds understanding of the knowledge, skills and behaviours in taking apprentices’ digital skills to a higher level.
Academic Tutors facilitate study, support learning and feedback, and mark module assessments.

3 - Work-based learning modules

Guides apprentices in applying digital knowledge and skills within an organisational setting.
Involves apprentices reflecting on their role and developing their learning within the workplace.
The Practice Tutor helps the student to synergise and integrate their work-based and academic learning.

4 - Portfolio

Records evidence, demonstrating apprentices’ application of the knowledge, skills and behaviours they have learnt.
Apprentices record how they have practically applied their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the workplace, as well as the feedback they receive from line managers, peers and direct reports.

5 - Integrated final synoptic assessment

Consisting of a work-based project report and panel presentation, this determines whether apprentices have successfully met the learning requirements of the Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship programme.

6 - BSc (Honours) Degree in Digital and Technology Solutions

Awarded by The Open University when the apprentice has successfully completed the programme.
Apprentices will also receive an Apprenticeship Certificate from the Institute for Apprenticeships.

Please note: for the Network Engineer specialism, attendance at two Cisco day schools is compulsory. These take place at various locations across the UK towards the end of both specialist modules.

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The Open University has the experience and support in place to help apprentices succeed and make a positive impact on practice.

In addition to designated account management support, the OU will deploy expert staff to support your organisation and your apprentices. They will work collaboratively with the relevant roles in your organisation:

Practice Tutor (PT)

The PT is a key role and provides individual support to apprentices to progress and complete all the requirements of the apprenticeship or professional programme they have enrolled in. The support is tailored to the context of each learner’s professional duties and their workplace environment. Regular engagement with each learner’s line manager or work-based supervisor is a critical component of this role. In addition, the PT coaches the apprentice to integrate their academic learning with their professional work, guide them in the development of their portfolio and prepares them for their end-point assessment.

There are further roles and teams that support both apprentices and employers, and that work very closely with the PTs.

Academic Tutors

The role of the Academic Tutor is to support success by using, interpreting and building on the teaching resources produced by the OU and provided to apprentices. They monitor progression, mark assignments, provide personalised feedback and work in partnership to support the apprentices’ academic, personal and professional development. In addition, Academic Tutors provide pastoral support to apprentices. They are sometimes also referred to as Associate Lecturers or Module Tutors.

Apprenticeship Enrolment and Support Team (AEST)

The AEST supports apprentices throughout their Apprenticeship journey. This team of friendly Senior Advisors can offer advice and support for a range of queries apprentices may have whilst studying their modules, whether that be for advice on an upcoming assignment or exam, navigation around the OU online learning platforms or when they are experiencing difficult circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. This support team is able to reach out to a wide range of relevant teams within the University to help apprentices get back on track again.

English and Maths Support Team

This team is made up of English and/or maths specialist tutors and support staff. They work with apprentices who are required to achieve English and/or maths qualifications during their apprenticeship. These specialist tutors are able to provide one-to-one support in areas of challenge and to help prepare the apprentice for the formal qualification tests.

Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Managers (APDM)

This role supports employers to recruit and onboard applicants on to the chosen apprenticeship programme. APDMs provide information, advice and guidance and carry out an initial assessment to ensure the apprenticeship is the right one at the right level for the individual. APDMs provide quarterly management information reports to employers detailing learners progress and put interventions in place where an apprentice is in need of support. Employers will have a named APDM to be the primary contact for apprenticeship delivery throughout the programme.

Line Manager

This is a person in the workplace who supports the choice of apprenticeship programme for their employee or applicant and is involved in the onboarding process with their applicant. Line managers facilitate the apprentice to take off-the-job planned training time and they fully engage in 12 weekly progress review meetings with the Practice Tutor and apprentice. Line managers have regular one to one meetings with their apprentices to integrate the apprenticeship into performance and development. They are key to enabling a successful work-based project and completion of the apprentice’s end-point assessment.

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Before an apprenticeship begins, the OU is required to conduct an initial assessment of each applicant who wishes to become an apprentice. They assess prior learning to establish if the individual has already covered parts of the knowledge and skills set out in the apprenticeship (recognition of prior learning) or what prior experience an individual has. Employers are also involved in this process, that is called initial assessment. During this assessment, the OU also establishes whether the apprenticeship is an appropriate training programme for them. This assessment considers the whole standard, not just English and maths, which however is an important part of it.

The initial assessment may identify, for example, that an apprenticeship may not be suitable for an individual because their level of prior learning and experience may be too high; therefore, a higher level apprenticeship or another type of training could be a suitable alternative and is more appropriate for the individual.

The OU also assesses whether the minimum eligibility requirements for off-the-job training are met and will set the duration of the apprentice contract dependent on prior learning.

Visit the Short Guide for Apprentices for more details.

English and maths (functional skills)

Achieving English and maths is a mandatory requirement of all apprenticeships.

  • If the apprentice has provided evidence of level 2 in English and maths or equivalent (i.e. grade A*- C / 4 – 9 GCSE in English and maths or equivalent) they will be exempt from this requirement.
  • If an apprentice doesn’t have any evidence of level 2 in English and maths, they can achieve these qualifications during their apprenticeship. The OU has a team of very experienced English and maths tutors to support the apprentices in developing these functional skills and preparing for the exam(s).

Replacement exam certificate: For qualifications gained in the UK you can go to the government website to get a replacement exam certificate.

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Are you an employee interested in applying for an apprenticeship?

To apply you first need to gain approval from your employer. Please contact your organisation with an expression of interest. If your employer is happy to support your application, they will then contact us.

The process for employers to follow is:

  • The employer contacts the OU.
  • An account manager will contact the employer to discuss the requirements of the programme.
  • The employer chooses the OU as the training provider, confirms how they wish to procure the apprenticeship and signs the written agreement if applicable.
  • The employer selects prospective apprentices and sends their details to the OU.
  • The OU contacts the prospective apprentices and invites them to formally apply via the OU’s secure applicant portal.
  • Prospective apprentices gather evidence to demonstrate their eligibility and submit their application.
  • Apprentices take part in the on-boarding process where they are introduced to the apprenticeship and supported by an Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager (APDM).
  • Following successful registration, apprentices are recommended to engage with the pre-study material.

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Team in a meeting

INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYERS

Develop the relevant skills for your organisation, improve productivity and achieve higher staff morale.

Manager speaking to employees

INFORMATION FOR APPRENTICES

Earn while you learn and develop the skills you need to gain access to sectors you want to work in.

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An apprenticeship requires a part of an apprentice’s working time to be protected for off-the-job training, to allow the apprentice to engage in the learning. The Open University’s tutor-supported online learning gives the employer and the apprentice the flexibility to pick the most suitable times around organisational and personal needs – minimising the impact on day-to-day productivity.

At present the face-to-face days on the programme are being delivered via online meeting rooms. It is a compulsory requirement for learners to attend these days. The Open University is currently reviewing the safe delivery of on-campus face-to-face days and the programme team will be guided by the university and the Statutory Health Profession Regulators in reviewing online and on-campus delivery. Employers and learners will be advised in advance of any changes to the delivery pattern.

Online delivery is both varied and interactive, using rich media formats that engage and enthuse apprentices on their journey. Learning can be accessed 24/7 on computers, tablets and mobile devices. Online forums and tutorials as well as email and telephone communication are used to support apprentices throughout the programme.

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Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship

Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship

Delivered in partnership with employers, this flexible and innovative Level 7 Apprenticeship will prepare experienced registered healthcare professionals to develop their professional careers as Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs).

Female apprentice talking to colleague

Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship

The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship provides apprentices with higher level leadership and management skills, core competencies and desired behaviours to become a more effective manager.

Apprentice using a computer

Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship

The Open University’s Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship programme develops the higher-level skills and behaviours required to create confident and capable digital and technology professionals.

Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship

Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship

The Nursing Associate is a highly trained generic support role within the field of Nursing which acts as a ‘bridge’ between unregulated Healthcare Assistants (HCA) and Registered Nurses.

Health Assistant helping elderly man

Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship

The Open University’s Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship supports employers to develop their healthcare support workers (HCSWs) towards registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, as either Adult, Children and Young People, Learning Disabilities or Mental Health Nurses.

Senior Leader Apprenticeship

Senior Leader Apprenticeship

Our Senior Leader Apprenticeship develops inclusive leaders who are responsible for developing ethical, innovative and supportive cultures with the ability to deliver results, manage complexity and instigate change.

Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship

Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship

Our Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship is a practice-based learning programme that combines on- and off-the-job learning and development, delivered flexibly around the demands of your workplace.

Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship

Graduates from the programme will be able to apply systems thinking in practice, creating leaders and managers capable of making strategy, managing change and co-designing systems interventions in your organisation.

Police Community Support Officer Apprenticeship

Police Community Support Officer Apprenticeship

Our Police Community Support Officer Apprenticeship programme mixes on-the-job training with off-the-job learning and provides the skills and knowledge needed for a policing career.

Police Constable

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship is delivered through the Police Educational Qualification Framework (PEQF) and led by The Open University Policing Organisation Practice (POP) Team, and provides a mixture of interdisciplinary academic and professional police experience and expertise.


PROGRAMMES AVAILABLE IN OTHER NATIONS


Education & Skills Funding Agency European Union - European Social Fund Apprenticeships

Programme Summary

Location: England


Duration

  • 4 - 4.5 years

Level and standards


Specific entry requirements

  • No

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)


End-point assessment (EPA)

  • Integrated

Qualifications achieved at the end of the programme

  • BSc (Honours) Degree in Digital and Technology Solutions
  • Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship, awarded by Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE)
  • English and maths Level 2

Additional information

Qualification descriptor - depending on the specialism:

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Disability support

For a more detailed look at our Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship, download our brochure.

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