The four all work for Applegate Marketplace in Barnstaple and are studying for a management and business degree through Petroc College of Further and Higher Education, Plymouth University and the Chartered Management Institute. Degree apprenticeships allow you to ‘earn while you learn’, getting paid for the time you spend in lectures as well as time working. Course fees are paid by employers, often with government support, so there’s no student debt for those studying by this route.

Whilst in parliament the group got to meet with local representatives Peter Heaton-Jones MP and Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox QC MP, the Attorney General. With the Brexit vote that day, it was busy inside and outside parliament, with different crowds of protesters each campaigning for their desired outcome.

“It was an amazing day to be there, with a real buzz to the place,” commented one of the apprentices, Jack Richards. “It was great to have the chance to speak in parliament, to share our experiences with the MPs and others present.”

Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute was impressed with the group, “Each of them spoke with such poise and sincerity – they are great ambassadors for what can be achieved with a degree apprenticeship, and illustrate why the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship is such an important part of our work.”


Jon Loates, Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox QC MP, Claire Knight

Also speaking at the event, Applegate CEO Stuart Brocklehurst emphasised that degree apprenticeships deliver for employers, for apprentices and for society. “Three years in a lecture theatre followed by £57,000 of debt isn’t for everyone. It’s important to provide different avenues to getting a degree, so we don’t exclude brilliant young people for whom due to personal circumstances, learning style or other reasons a residential course just wouldn’t fit.”

Apprentice Claire Knight agreed: “Without this scheme it wouldn’t be practical for me to study for a degree. This enables me to balance working, studying and other commitments.”

Jack Richards, Peter Heaton-Jones MP, Phoebe Ward

Education leaders in the South West agree on the importance of these schemes. Diane Dimond, Principal and CEO of Petroc College of Further and Higher Education commented, “The combination of work and study via degree apprenticeships provides a rich and varied learning experience for students and should be considered seriously as an alternative to residential study. Today’s trip to parliament is a great example of the many incredible opportunities open to apprentices, who are invariably highly valued and well supported by their employers.”

Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth observed, “Degree apprenticeships offer an additional route into Higher Education for individuals and build on our connections with the business community across the South West and beyond so that they also benefit from the increased competitive advantage and enriched experience exposure to Higher Education brings.”

Applegate CEO Stuart Brocklehurst speaking at the event

The event at the Churchill Room in the House of Commons


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