The university, which announced a further 175 fully-funded GA places for entry in September 2020, is collaborating with Aberdeen, Rangers, Celtic and St Mirren Football Clubs, which have all adopted this new approach to work-based learning.
GAs have been developed by SDS in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sectors. They offer a new way for individuals to get qualified up to degree level while in full-time, paid employment. They are designed by employers and offered in key sectors that need highly skilled employees.
Aberdeen FC was the first club to sign on to the GA programme in 2018, with the other clubs following suit in 2019.
Lee Forsyth is currently in his second year of the IT: Management for Business GA, which will see him complete a four-year honours degree within the workplace, with the support of mentors at Aberdeen Football Club and academic and support staff at RGU.
“I am employed by Aberdeen Football Club as an IT Support Analyst. The role is extremely varied as we are a small team of three and have to support many systems. My main responsibilities include the support function of the department, project management on small to medium projects and match-day support.
“To be able to study towards a degree while learning on the job is invaluable, and the staff at the club and RGU have been incredibly supportive throughout my experience so far.”
His mentor, David Bowman, believes Aberdeen Football Club’s dedication to their staff perfectly complements the GA scheme and that it is not only the apprentices which benefit in the long run.
“I think there are definitely benefits for the employer,” he said. “It helps us with development opportunities for our staff to gain graduate-level qualifications, by applying their developed knowledge and skills directly into the workplace.
“This work-based learning definitely benefits the apprentice too, and it’s also not as time-demanding as other study methods, helping to manage the work-life balance.”
“Aberdeen Football Club has had a longstanding relationship with RGU on a number of fronts and this programme certainly adds to the successful ongoing relationship.”