The St Martin’s Group welcomes Teesside University as its latest member

We are thrilled to welcome Teesside University as the newest member of The St Martin’s Group.

To celebrate this, we sat down with the Director of Professional Apprenticeships at Teesside University, Jo Burgess, to discuss its apprenticeship programme, her hopes for the apprenticeship system and why it was important for the university to join The St Martin’s Group.

Tell us about your role as the Director of Apprenticeships?

My current role as Director of Professional Apprenticeships at Teesside University focusses on strategic development and growth of the university’s apprenticeship portfolio aligned to regional and national skills and economic priorities. We provide leadership in the region and beyond to influence and shape the education-eco-system to ensure our offer delivers on the needs of employers and Industry.

What brought you to Teesside University?

It is one of the largest providers of Higher and Degree Level apprenticeships and one of the few Higher Education Institutions that has made growth in apprenticeships a key priority. In the Times Good University Guide 2021/22, Teesside was named the University of the Year for Social Inclusion. Apprenticeships are a proven economic and education enabler and vital to reducing inequalities and supporting social mobility across the UK. Growing our degree apprenticeship offer is fundamental in continuing this critical work.

Why was it important for you to join The St Martin’s group?

The combined voice of employers and apprenticeship providers is incredibly important to be able to influence policymakers in terms of their position on the future of apprenticeships, and the skills economy. The group is a positive and powerful collective to be a part of, bringing a range of perspectives and experiences to influence, shape and make a positive impact.

How do you think being a member of The St Martin’s Group will help Teesside University?

Being a part of The St Martin’s Group will significantly help us innovate and understand how we can contribute to the shaping of the education and skills ecosystem.

As a learning organisation, being able to share information, ideas and learn from others within the community is fundamental to our approach and values. We see the opportunity to work with St Martins group as a way of giving a voice to the hundreds of employers who work with us. At our core Teesside is a vocational university and an enabler of social mobility; our links to industry are critical as we develop and enhance our apprenticeship offer. With a growing focus on levelling up, net zero and strategic investments, delivery of high-quality skills provision through a joined-up approach, will be critical to the economic success of the region and beyond.

Tell us a little bit about Professional Apprenticeships at Teesside University?

To celebrate and acknowledge the significant high levels of education, training and dedication required to complete and achieve full occupational competency, Teesside University has taken the decision to use the term Professional Apprenticeships to describe Teesside University provision. We believe this is a fitting description which exemplifies the professional nature of each programme and the achievements of every apprentice who graduates. Professional apprenticeships recognise the higher level of these apprenticeships and that it is a big commitment of the people completing them.

We offer around 35 different pathways and we are increasing our offer for September 2023. The significant proportion of our apprenticeships deliver critical skills into the NHS and private health sector. However, our wider offer aims to be dynamic and responsive. This year TU launched the first ever apprenticeship in Curating, delivering critical skills for organisations such as Tate Modern and National Trust. In September we will launch new and exciting apprenticeships in artificial intelligence and data. Our diverse offer speaks to Teesside University’s expertise.

We have recently launched a new Professional Apprenticeship Strategy which puts employers and apprentices at the heart of everything we do. Our mission is to deliver and develop apprenticeships that are informed by research and powered by industry. Again, that is why joining The St Martin’s Group is so important for us as an organisation, working together to foresight future skills, driving innovation to inform standards and qualifications, particularly those associated with emerging technologies and important agendas such as Net Zero and Green economy.