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Investing in degree apprenticeships: Analysing experiences through Conservation of Resources Theory

Taylor-Smith, Ella; Smith, Sally; Bratton, Andrew


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Prof Sally Smith
Head of Graduate Apprenticeships and Skills Development and Professor


Degree apprentices have reported finding work-life-study balance challenging. This study uses the Theory of Conservation of Resources (COR) to investigate the resources invested and gained by apprentices in the achievement of their goal of a degree while working. Interviews with final year apprentices (n=27) reveal the potential for apprentices to gain from their investment, even before they complete their degrees. COR Theory guides a Framework Method analysis. The findings indicate where more efficient involvement and investment, for example by workplace mentors, is rewarded with resource gain. Employers also gain resources, such as project outputs with the potential to save time and money. This situated perspective provides a new context in which to consider recent policy developments around graduate apprenticeships in Scotland, such as embedding Fair Work First principals. Our findings raise concerns for degree apprenticeship policy developments in England, such as reducing the minimum level of required off-the-job training.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name 2023 SRHE International Research Conference
Start Date Dec 6, 2023
End Date Dec 8, 2023
Acceptance Date Sep 15, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Oct 25, 2023
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