Driving Social Mobility? Competitive Collaboration in Degree Apprenticeship Development

Jessica Bradley, Claire Newhouse, Nadira Mirza

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    62 Downloads (Pure)


    Apprenticeship reforms have paved the way for higher education providers, including universities, to become Degree Apprenticeship (DA) training providers, creating new workbased Higher Education (HE) routes. The changes aim to generate a new cohort of skilled individuals to support national economic growth, as well as improve levels of social mobility. This paper focuses on a HE partnership project which resulted in a number of collaborative models for development that address these aims.The paper focuses on qualitative interviews undertaken during the process of creating DAs through a consortium of higher education providers. It considers the collaborative relationships which were built on and which developed across the course of the short-term project. It assesses the concept of competitive collaboration and its link to social mobility.

    The paper considers the various manifestations of collaboration which supported the DA developments in a competitive environment: collaboration as embedded; collaboration as negotiation and as a driver for social mobility or social equality. The uniqueness of this large collaboration of colleges and universities is that it has been a vehicle to raise the status of apprenticeships, provide opportunities for development of new DA curricula and enable practitioners to establish this as a new route into HE. The paper questions current but limited knowledge about the impact of DAs on social mobility and equality.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning
    Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2019


    • social mobility
    • degree apprenticeships
    • competitive collaboration


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