Graduate apprentice

RGU continues to lead the way in innovative work-based learning

By Jack Stott - 04 May 2021

Drawing on its expertise of working with employers, RGU was one of the first universities in Scotland to deliver Graduate Apprenticeships and continues to be at the forefront of work-based learning.

Since launching its inaugural GA courses, RGU has expanded its offering across a range of disciplines, including construction, engineering, business management, IT and accounting.

The university has delivered successful GAs in partnership with more than 150 businesses in a range of sectors, covering the length and breadth of Scotland and recently announced a new round of degree level GAs, with 175 fully-funded places being offered for 2020.

“GA’s are an exciting new route to degree qualification enabling learners to access higher education from within the context of a course-relevant job and to be supported by their employers, as well as a Workplace Mentor, who partner with RGU to co-deliver learning,” comments Julie Strachan, Head of Learning and Teaching Development at RGU.

“We’ve been really fortunate to partner with a wide range of employers of all sizes across a range of sectors and in this way are able to create a rich learning experience for students who share their learning journey in a cohort with diversity of age, career experience, geographic location and industry background.  We are particularly proud to offer a GA delivery model which emphasises the workplace as the main site of learning and makes extensive use of blended learning.  This enables us to support the talent pipelines of organisations and the career aspirations of learners in remote locations such as Orkney, Shetland and Lewis.

“We are also very proud of the support which we have embedded within our GA provision – this includes a GA Student Success Coach who works collaboratively with Course Teams and the Library to provide bespoke study and personal development support to GA students, and a GA Workplace Mentor Consultant who provides a training and development programme to help workplace mentors effectively design and deliver work-based learning activities for students.”


To develop its GA provision, RGU set forth a suite of institutional GA characteristics which would feature within all of its GA courses ensuring parity of experience for employers, workplace mentors and students on key aspects of their GA experience.  To achieve this there are a number of GA groups including a GA Academic Development group, a GA Contracting and Administration Group and a GA Business Development and Marketing Group.  There are also regular meetings which bring together GA Course Leaders, Business Development Managers, the GA Student Success Coach and the GA Workplace Mentor Consultant to enable collaborative working and practice sharing. 

Julie continues: “RGU will enter its fourth year of delivering GAs in 2020/21 and over that time we have drawn on our evidence and experience base to continually enhance this unique provision. The early years of GA delivery were very much focused on understanding requirements and designing the mechanisms to meet these.  With strong foundations in place, our emphasis can now shift to enhancement work, thus further enriching the GA student and employer experience.”

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