There are a number of programs emanating from the United Kingdom that champion the use of employment-based learning to improve education and training for new entrants.

BAE Systems has successfully used the degree apprenticeship model in the UK to fill gaps in their workforce and build a talent pipeline. Likewise, new online training platform,, is giving business the opportunity to access a wide talent pool of quality candidates interested in developing skills of the future.

As the prolonged embargo on international travel continues to impact the tight labour market, the competition for quality employees with commensurate on the job experience has intensified. As a result, it is worth exploring the new degree level models and approaches from abroad (and now in the early stages of application locally) to understand how businesses can leverage the existing local talent pool and develop pipelines of candidates that are productive ready from the moment they complete their education and training.

BAE Systems 

BAE has been a regular user of the degree apprenticeship model in the UK for some years. In 2020 they employed more than 200 degree apprentices across a range of different disciplines. 

BAE has been keen to implement similar arrangements in Australia, and since the start of 2021 has been working with Ai Group to develop a pilot group of degree apprentices in Victoria. A number of companies are partnering in the arrangement, which will offer apprentices a Bachelor of Systems Engineering. The apprentices will be employed full-time under a contract of training. Much of the formal training will be online, however there will be some face-to-face training time to allow networking opportunities for the apprentices. 

The model faces challenges while it is being established. State legislation and regulations for apprentices currently don’t cover higher education qualifications. Pay rates need to be agreed, funding and financial incentives need to be considered and accreditation with Engineers Australia needs to be secured. Currently the project is going through the process of selecting an inaugural partnering university. 

A new platform backed by Microsoft and Google has gained significant traction in the United Kingdom. provides an alternative pathway to post-secondary education that leverages the successes of employment based learning.

The platform links employment based learning via professional apprenticeships that address key skill needs of participating businesses. Typically, these apprenticeships have covered digital occupations in Data Analytics, Digital Marketing, Software Engineering Digital Business, Accounting and Project Management.  

Once enrolled students are guaranteed 1-to-1 coaching with industry experts, applied learning, an opportunity to work on a personal project, membership to the Multiverse community and an accredited qualification at the end of the program. 

Employers benefit from this arrangement as they are able to bridge their digital skills gaps by developing a pipeline of young and engaged talent that is actively acquiring digital skills to power the future economy. The program enables employers to draw upon a diverse range of candidates from many cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Finally, graduates of the program tends to stick around as 88% of apprentices stay with their employer after completion.  


The benefits of developing, influencing and participating in training qualifications for employers: 


  • These programs allow a direct and meaningful influence on the development of curriculum and enable businesses to specify the desired skill outcomes delivered by the courses
  • They provide clarity and an opportunity for HR managers to develop career pathways that can help retain quality talent

Onboarding and Retaining Skill 

  • Create a signal to the market that this degree/education and training has direct employment outcomes for participants thereby attracting job ready and motivated candidates to the course/industry/market
  • More readily identify talent that meets the needs of employers
  • Ensure new recruits have work-based learning that speeds up onboarding and reducing post-employment training lags
Brett Crossley

Brett is a Research & Policy Officer and contributes to the ongoing research and policy development projects in the Centre for Education and Training. Prior to joining the team, Brett had various roles in assisting clients with business processes, strategy research, market analysis and digital marketing. He is passionate about praxis and is motivated to ensure that research insights are operationalised in policy or business operations. Brett holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Environment and wrote his thesis about the influence of global private regulatory schemes on the Australian coffee market.