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Work-based learning tools to inform the implementation of degree apprenticeships for the public sector in England

Jonathan Garnett (Garnett Professional Development, Letchworth Garden City, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 10 September 2020

Issue publication date: 27 November 2020




The article identifies and examines key elements of a work-based learning framework to consider their use as part of the higher education response to the apprenticeship agenda for the public sector in England.


This article draws upon work-based learning academic literature and the authors 28 years’ experience of the development and implementation of work-based learning at higher education level in the UK and internationally.


The article suggests that while the experience of work-based learning at higher education level appears to offer many ready-made tools and approaches for the development and delivery of higher and degree apprenticeships, these should not be adopted uncritically and in some cases may require significant repurposing.

Research limitations/implications

This article is intended to inform practitioners developing degree apprenticeships. Given the degree apprenticeship is still at a relatively early stage in its implementation, this has limited the extent to which it has been possible to review entire degree implementation to the point of participant graduation.

Practical implications

The article draws upon real-life implementation of innovative curriculum design and is of direct practical relevance to the design and operation of work-based learning for degree apprenticeships.

Social implications

Degree apprenticeships have the potential to increase productivity and enhance social mobility. Effective design and implementation of degree apprenticeships in the public sector has the potential to make a significant impact on the quality of public services.


The article provides an informed and sustained examination of how degree apprenticeships, especially those designed for public sector employees, might build upon previous higher education experience in work-based learning.



Garnett, J. (2020), "Work-based learning tools to inform the implementation of degree apprenticeships for the public sector in England", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 715-725.



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