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Queen Mary launches the UK’s first degree course in social change

Queen Mary University of London has launched its Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, specifically designed for the social sector. The undergraduate programme is the first of its kind in the UK.

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Photograph of Queen Mary's Degree Apprentices and academics
Photograph of Queen Mary's Degree Apprentices and academics

More than 500 applications were received for the programme with 13 selected in total. The degree apprenticeships have been specifically designed for the social sector, and includes a range of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. 

Focus on social change

The apprenticeships were designed with the goal to encourage future leaders of thought and creativity, to explore career opportunities in the social sector and tackle the global challenges that lie ahead.

The course also reflects Queen Mary’s commitment to diversity and inclusion with the cohort made up of 80 per cent BAME students and a 50/50 gender split. It is the first and to date, only programme specifically focused on social change.

Vice-Principal Dr Phillipa Lloyd said: “You have generations growing up now, the Greta Thunbergs of this world who want to take action to make the world a better place. They want to make a social impact as well as an economic impact. That is what this is tapping into.”

Apprentice Shania Thomas, 19, from Chiswick said: “Coming from a disadvantaged background I think about how I can help other people and be a role model. This degree will help us find out how to do something about the problems we see. Being a role model in the BAME community has partly motivated me to do this.”

Dr Lloyd added: “You can appreciate it, but you can’t fully understand it unless you have lived with people or have had that experience yourself. I think that diversity is really important and getting that into the senior leadership, not just of charities.”

Simultaneously gaining work experience and a full degree

Degree apprentices split their time between university study and the workplace, and are employed throughout their studies by the charity organisation. Charity employers have co-designed the curriculum and will review programme content annually.

Throughout the apprenticeships the charities will also contribute case studies and CEO Masterclasses open to Queen Mary traditional students.

The first of its kind undergraduate programme helps to encourage talent to the social sector, and gives apprentices zero student debt, up to four year’s work experience, a competitive salary and a potentially guaranteed job at the end of their degree.

Jamie Hilder, Degree Apprenticeship Manager at Queen Mary said: “It’s fantastic to see so much excitement around the launch of our third Degree Apprenticeship at Queen Mary and demonstrates our commitment to this innovative type of provision.

"The opportunity to earn, learn and change the world has proved an attractive proposition for young learners and you only have to look at our first cohort of apprentices to see the calibre of the candidates we have attracted.”

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