Thales have designed a degree apprenticeship to enhance their digital talent pipeline

Thales is a multinational company working across markets in aerospace, defence, transportation, security and space. In 2015 they offered a degree apprenticeship programme for the first time, recruiting five entrants to add to the 46 joining through other routes. The lucky five are spread across two locations.

Thales had long wanted to run a degree apprenticeship programme, but had not been able to find a suitable degree framework. By collaborating with other employers through the Tech Partnership, they were able collectively to design a degree apprenticeship standard that aligned to their business needs.

Thales elected to partner with Greenwich University and Manchester Metropolitan University to deliver the degree apprenticeship programme in 2015 and have added BPP to their list of providers for 2016.  All of these Universities have had their Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship programmes gold-accredited by the Tech Partnership.

Nicola Todd, Professional Development Partner at Thales gave the following insights for selecting gold-accredited University partners:

‘Gold accredited apprenticeships are an assurance of quality, which is really important when working with new providers. The universities delivering accredited programmes are really committed to the Tech Partnership and are engaged in the network.  They are flexible and responsive, and understand business need which is essential when delivering an employer led trailblazer.

The five degree apprentices are following the Software Developer pathway and are working in either the transportation or defence arm of the business. They are well integrated into Thales UK and are working on real projects within the software teams. By the end of the programme, the apprentices will have gained an honours degree, and also will have gained four years of valuable business experience.

Thales is a very diverse company with a global reach, which will provide some fantastic opportunities for professional development on completion of their programme.  The aspiration is for the apprentices to stay in the company and build their career within Thales.

The degree apprentices are doing very well already and proving to be excellent ambassadors for the programme. They also have a high profile within the business, having met and had opportunity to network with several senior stakeholders.  The early success of the first candidates means that Thales is already looking to double the number of degree apprentices they take in September 2016.