Background and Rationale

As part of UVACs ongoing support for HEI's delivering apprenticeships we are planning to set up a number of collaborative peer to peer networks - Degree Apprenticeship Knowledge Networks (DAKNs) in the 2019/20 academic session.  To help guide this work we are seeking input from UVAC members.

With a membership of nearly 100 HEI's UVAC's small core team cannot always directly address the growing volume and breadth of support and guidance required by members.  It can though, act as a convener/facilitator of special interest groups - Degree Apprenticeship Knowledge Networks - in which HEI’s share knowledge, experience and expertise on a peer to peer basis in a manner that reflects traditional academic values and practice.

Through Degree Apprenticeship Knowledge Networks UVAC members will be invited to work together as a sector and provide mutual support by sharing experience, expertise and  best-practice through peer-to-peer networking, workshops, briefings and best-practice events.

Characteristics of a UVAC Degree Apprenticeship Knowledge Network

1)      Will meet between 2/3 times per academic year – based on availability / capacity of members.

2)      Led by a convener employed by a member HEI and will be hosted by one of the DAKN members. Costs for hosting – room/hospitality are covered by HEI hosting. Convener/host would be asked to commit to a one year/academic cycle term leading a network. Location/timing of meetings will be set by members of each network.

3)      Each DAKN will collate reports, presentations, discussion papers, notes of DAKN meetings. It is not expected that exhaustive notes/proceedings are produced but it is important to capture/record items as this will assist those unable to attend specific meetings and enable the establishment of a “UVAC Degree Apprenticeship Knowledge Base” accessible to all UVAC members.

4)      UVAC will create web-space/storage so that materials produced for/by a DAKN can be archived and shared by UVAC membership.  Assumption is that all materials uploaded to UVAC server are available freely to UVAC members – but UVAC / provider takes no responsibility for quality assuring.

5)      Annual UVAC conference will incorporate DAKN “showcase” / update from DAKN conveners/hosts on activities in past year.

In proposing the DAKNs it is appropriate to acknowledge the compete / collaborate tension that collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing can create for some member HEIs. Early adopters may be hesitant or reluctant to share their hard-won knowledge/experience for the benefit of “competitors”.  Whilst this is a valid perspective, and there would never be any compulsion for any UVAC member HEI to join a DAKN, it is also evident that the degree apprenticeship landscape has a significant regional dimension. Employers are selecting local providers so that their employees/apprentices can easily combine work and study. Furthermore, as the SME/Non-levy sector grows this will inevitably be local to the provider.  These factors should enable a mutual approach to knowledge exchange as HEI’s are rarely competing directly and in fact could assist mutually beneficial collaborations and tenders where there are national opportunities.

To help guide our planning we are asking for a few minutes of your time to test some ideas and ask for your thoughts.

We are not seeking a single response per university / UVAC member - so please pass the survey link to other colleagues in your university as we want as many colleagues to feedback and give us their views and thoughts.

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* 1. Please provide a few contact details and institution so we can follow up as required.

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* 3. Are there any other aspects / topics not in the list that you think a focused / specific network would be useful ?

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* 4. Please indicate if you would be willing / able to host a network meeting – up to 3 times in an academic year.

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* 5. Is there anything else you would like to add on / share your thoughts about setting up DAKN's.

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