The Open University and KPMG launch joint apprenticeship service

Open University and KPMG launch apprenticeship service

Partnership will deliver apprenticeship programmes as employers prepare for introduction of Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017.

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KPMG and The Open University (OU) are joining forces to launch an apprenticeship service that enables employers to identify and fulfil their future training needs, following the Government’s plan to introduce the Apprenticeship Levy.


The partnership has been designed to offer employers a high quality, scalable and accessible service and includes three initial higher level apprenticeships programmes. It will bring together KPMG’s expertise in workforce analysis and the OU’s track record in delivering apprenticeships and high quality online learning supported by expert tutors. 


The full-service scheme will help organisations to understand their future workforce needs, identify skills gaps and provide and manage training programmes through apprenticeships.  A central feature of the service is the extensive use of online learning, which will encourage greater access and opportunity to expand the scheme across businesses.


KPMG is the first of the ‘Big Four’ to make this move, following demand from organisations for advice on how to deliver large scale apprenticeship training to employees.


The announcement follows the Government’s plan to introduce the Apprenticeship Levy in its efforts to boost UK productivity with a target of encouraging three million people to take up apprenticeships by 2020. From April 2017, large employers – with a pay bill over £3million each year – will be required to contribute to the new levy to help fund apprenticeship training for UK businesses. 


The Open University and KPMG intend to expand the model, to work with other universities and registered training providers, which will enable the delivery of a wide range of apprenticeship programmes across the UK.


Ian Howell, Director, Business Development Unit at The Open University said:

“More than ever, it is vital that UK businesses develop their staff to ensure our country has the skills it needs to compete on the world stage. The OU has a strong track record of working with employers to train and develop their workforce – including through higher level apprenticeships. By working together with KPMG, we can not only help organisations tap into unlocked potential of their people, but help increase the confidence and skills of individuals in key sectors for the benefit of our national economy.”


Mark Williamson, Partner, KPMG, said:

“The new levy has the potential to help organisations unlock productivity in their workforce by upskilling employees in areas which align to their overall commercial objectives.  This will enable them not only to plug current skills gaps, but reshape their workforce to meet the future demands of their business.


“Under the new rules, apprenticeships can be applied to almost any job role. Employers can use the levy to deliver training to every layer of their organisation, from school leavers to executives, and truly embed the skills needed to meet their commercial ambitions.” 


Initially, three higher level apprenticeships will be provided:

Healthcare Practitioner Assistant Higher Apprenticeship

Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship

Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship


The first of these programmes will be delivered in October 2016, with the partnership expanding into new areas in the future, with other universities and training providers.


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Media contacts


The Open University

Rachel James, Head of News, The Open University


T: 01908 653343 / 07500 606 103KPMG


Peter Lappin, Citypress (on behalf of KPMG)


T: 0161 235 0328


David Bertram, Citypress (on behalf of KPMG)


T: 0161 235 0316


KPMG press office: +44 (0)207 694 8773

About The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has worked with over 2,400 organisations, taught more than 1.8 million students and has almost 180,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas. 

In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework, 2014), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent.  The Open University is unique among UK universities having both an access mission and demonstrating research excellence. 

The OU has a 42 year partnership with the BBC and has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to co-producing prime-time series such as The Hunt, Life Story, The Bottom Line, Britain’s Great War, I Bought a Rainforest and Business Boomers. In 2013/14 OU co-productions were viewed by 220m people in the UK which prompted more than 600k visits the OU’s free learning website, OpenLearn: 

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which received 5.2million unique visitors in 2012/13, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 66 million downloads.  For further information please visit: 

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £1.96 billion in the year ended September 2015. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 174,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. 

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