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A degree-level apprenticeship standard will be available to the supply chain sector from mid-2018, after Uniserve Group's Supply Chain Leadership framework was approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships.

The level 6 apprenticeship is designed to run over a four-year course, with just 20 off-site learning days per year during that time.

Students that complete the course, which can be funded through business's apprenticeship levy funds, will emerge with a full bachelor's degree.

The trailblazer group that put together the framework, led by Uniserve Group, Leeds Trinity University and the Supply Chain Academy, included representatives from Sainsbury's, Royal Mail and Pladis.

Paul Stone, HR director at Uniserve Group who chaired the trailblazer group, said: "We are absolutely delighted with this news and looking forward to seeing relevant business-led qualifications and standards recognised in our profession.

"The degree can largely be funded through the apprenticeship levy, meaning companies can benefit from minimal investment while developing their most prized assets - their people".

Stone added that "lots of companies are still not making proper use of the funds that are generated from the apprenticeship levy", so the new framework would allow employers to spend their levy money on "creating fully functional and efficient supply chains".