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Nicola Turner MBE

Head of Skills,
Office for Students (OfS)

National lead for skills strategy and policy in the higher education sector, current priorities include degree apprenticeships, industrial strategy and graduate outcomes. She produced two independent reviews into employability led by Sir Bill Wakeham (STEM) and Sir Nigel Shadbolt (Computer Science), and established the Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund. Previously the Director of Employability Strategy at Aston University, Birmingham, for 12 years she worked as a senior manager in HE across employability, employer engagement, regional growth and social mobility. Notable contributions include increasing sandwich placement take up at Aston from 59 per cent to 75 per cent of students and enabling 4000 graduates to find their first job in local SMEs through Graduate Advantage, a sector-leading internship scheme. In 2016, Nicola received an MBE for services to graduate employability and Higher Education. She is also a Governor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

  • Understanding the development of the Office for Student’s regulatory role for quality assurance of higher and degree apprenticeships
  • Ensuring that higher and degree apprenticeship schemes effectively meet the approved standards as developed by trailblazers from Levels 4 and above
  • Evaluating what constitutes effective course delivery and a high quality apprenticeship scheme that meets the needs of students
  • Assessing how providers must develop schemes which ensure the delivery of value for money and progression for students into employment or further study
  • Outlining the progress of the Degree Apprenticeships Development Fund (DADF) and the implementation of Phase 2 from September 2018 to support the delivery of new apprenticeship schemes