Purpose: In degree apprenticeships, the tripartite collaboration between the apprentice, the employer, and the university is key to success. As the apprentices are at the centre of the degree, their lived experience and reflections are essential to understanding this collaboration, so that all parties can be supported to effectively play their roles. Methodology: A qualitative, longitudinal study, spanning four years, in which apprentices (n=11) studying towards computing degrees in Scotland (BSc / BEng) were interviewed in both their first and final years. The protocols covered their experiences of the apprenticeship, including work, study, and its impact on their lives. Data was analysed via a framework matrix, which focused on the collaborations between the three parties and also surfaced any changes to the apprentices' perceptions between first and final year. Findings: The tripartite collaboration is logistical but also, like learning, social. Apprentices benefit from interest and support from their employers and colleagues as well as integration between their work and studies. The collaboration between apprentices feeds into their work, as well as their studies, and extends from peer support into meaningful friendships. The university plays a key role in facilitating these essential connections and needs to be aware of where and how that happens. Originality: While the tripartite collaboration has been discussed theoretically in the literature, this is the first longitudinal investigation based on the lived experience of a cohort of apprentices from the start of their degree to in sight of finish line.
Taylor-Smith, E., Smith, S., & Fabian, K. (2022, September). Apprentices' longitudinal perspectives of the tripartite collaboration at the heart of degree apprenticeships. Paper presented at Organisational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities, OLKC 2022, Trollhättan, Sweden