Employers and employees are increasingly experiencing the value of higher education specifically designed to meet their workplace needs. Foundation degrees are an example of how successful work-based higher education can be.
Foundation degrees are university-level qualifications designed to enhance staff performance through customising a work-based degree to meet your business objectives and aims.
What is a Foundation degree?
By combining work-based learning with academic study, Foundation degrees can help you to enhance your staff’s performance. Foundation degrees are designed in partnership with employers to be challenging and work-focused, and they can enable you to recruit the staff you need and retain the staff you already have. A Foundation degree that is adapted to your particular business can put you in a stronger and more competitive position for the future.
Foundation degrees are much more flexible than traditional higher education qualifications as they involve work-based learning as well as technical and practical skills. As delivery can be timed to fit in within existing work patterns, a Foundation degree can allow your staff to train with the minimum amount of time away from work. Flexibility is one great advantage of the Foundation degree. It can incorporate:
Who is suitable?
Many of your employees will qualify for entry to a Foundation degree, including:
employees with substantial relevant employment experience – including those without formal qualifications
employees who have completed level 3 qualifications – e.g. NVQ3 or an Advanced Apprenticeship – and want to achieve more
school and college leavers who have completed level 3 qualifications and wish to gain an employment-focused degree
Only universities or institutions with degree-awarding powers can validate Foundation degrees. The awarding institution is then accountable for the standards and quality of the learning provided. The Foundation degree must also meet the good practice requirements of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. It is therefore subject to the same quality assurance – including external examining – as any other higher education qualification.
Costs of the Foundation degree
As Foundation degrees are funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, it is unlikely that you or your employees will have to pay the full costs of the degree. You may also be eligible for financial support to cover tuition fees and other course costs.
How do I get started with Foundation degrees?
It may be useful for you to be assisted in identifying what it is that your organisation actually require, the extent to which Higher Education can assist you in acquiring your goals and identifying appropriate HEIs with whom to work with. If you are an employer, we can help you to develop new higher education training that specifically meets the needs of your business. We can assist you throughout the course development process by:
helping you to identify suitable university or college partners
advising whether your existing in-house training can be accredited
providing advice on funding
We can also help smaller businesses to identify existing higher education opportunities that specifically meet your requirements, or that can be adapted to meet your needs or the needs of your employees.
Business benefits of Foundation degrees
Foundation degrees allow you to enhance staff performance. They provide employers with the ability to develop an appropriately skilled workforce and can help your employees to enhance their career prospects.
Foundation degrees are used by businesses for a number of different purposes, including:
enhancing the knowledge and skills of existing employees – eg to increase productivity and competitiveness
changing the skill set of existing employees – eg to adapt to new technology
developing your employees within the business – eg to move employees to management level
training new employees – to allow them to learn their new job quicker
For existing employees, Foundation degrees offer relevant, valuable professional learning and development opportunities, using the latest technology.
For employees working towards a Foundation degree, it can be flexible enough to fit in with existing work patterns and workload through:
Foundation degrees benefit your business by:
addressing skills gaps caused by the changing nature of business and increasing global competition
adapting to your particular circumstances
helping to put your organisation in a stronger and more competitive position
helping to drive your business forward with a more skilled, more motivated workforce
involving work-based learning to develop higher level application as well as technical and practical skill, so it more flexible than traditional higher education qualifications
helping you retain your staff and their experience
helping to reduce staff turnover, minimising cost and disruption
helping to prepare your organisation for future challenges
Employing a Foundation degree graduate means choosing someone prepared for the world of work, with the ability to apply the right skills immediately.