A leading figure in the field of academic and industrial collaboration has been appointed to a newly created role to drive forward Teesside University’s acclaimed Higher and Degree Apprenticeship (HDA) offer.


Jo Burgess will join the University’s Senior Management team as Director of Apprenticeships, with a remit to develop apprenticeship opportunities across the University and with industry.


She joins the University from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency, where she was Head of Innovation Talent and Skills, responsible for directing public investment, shaping policy and leading cross Government talent and skills initiatives to enable the UK to deliver on its innovation capabilities


This newly created role signals a step-change in the University’s ambitions for apprenticeship provision. Building on the strong reputation secured as an Ofsted Outstanding Apprenticeship provider, Jo will grow the portfolio of programmes and consolidate the University’s position as a leading education training provider. 


Teesside University currently offers around 30 Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, which are developed in partnership with industry and offer an alternative route for learners to develop high-level skills and training for a specific career.

Apprenticeships enable people to earn a salary and embark on a structured programme of learning and professional development, receiving academic support from the University and vocational support from their employers.


Jo said: “It’s an incredible privilege to be joining the University at this exciting time.


“Tees Valley’s reputation as a powerhouse for growth, attracting inward investment and delivering prosperity grows by the day. Teesside University is central to this continued success, as it is only through delivering a highly skilled workforce that the region can achieve its economic potential.


“Building on our already outstanding reputation as an apprenticeship provider, we have ambitious plans to grow and develop our apprenticeship offer further which will aim to provide the strong foundations of a highly skilled innovative workforce, build leadership capability and develop partnerships to co-create a robust talent pipeline for the Tees Valley region and beyond.”


The benefits of studying an apprenticeship are widely recognised, with the Government offering funding for apprenticeship courses due to the important role they play in upskilling workforces, stimulating economic growth and levelling up.


Teesside University offers a range of high-quality Apprenticeships, with around 1,500 Teesside University learners undertaking a range of industry-leading programmes, from nursing and policing to computing and cyber security, with plans to develop this offer even further.


In 2019, Teesside University became the first University to secure an outstanding Ofsted rating for its Higher Apprenticeships, receiving recognition for its dedication to shaping professional courses which ‘meet the needs of employers’.


Malcolm Page, Chief Operating Officer at Teesside University, said: “Since the creation of Higher and Degree Apprenticeship qualifications, Teesside University has been at the forefront of this initiative, recognising the valuable role they play in helping businesses upskill their workforce while offering learners an alternative route to a university education.


“Teesside University is extremely proud of its Higher and Degree Apprenticeship provision and is committed to building this even further, which is why we have introduced the new Director of Apprenticeships role.


“We are delighted to welcome Jo to Team Teesside, and look forward to seeing her creativity and experience drive forward plans to further enhance the University’s apprenticeship offer.”


The introduction of the new Director of Apprenticeships role follows the appointment of Professor Craig Gaskell as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement), who will work to develop business engagement and the commercialisation agenda.


Apprenticeship courses at Teesside University