Degree apprenticeships are similar to higher apprenticeships, but they differ in enabling you to obtain a full bachelor’s (Level 6) or master’s degree (Level 7).
What exactly are degree apprenticeships?
Degree apprenticeships are a unique type of programme that many universities offer. Students can complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship.
These programmes are being developed in collaboration with employers, universities, and educational institutions.
Degree apprenticeships combine work with part-time undergraduate education. Apprentices participate in the programme, spending half of their day at university and the other half at their employer. These can be completed on a regular or weekly basis, depending on the programme and the employer’s requirements.
They will take anything from three to six years to complete depending on the course level. The scheme is currently only available in England and Wales, but applications may be sent anywhere in the United Kingdom.
Degree apprenticeships are still new, although there are just a few vacancies. The number of open vacancies is projected to grow in the coming years.
What choices do you have?
The degree apprenticeships that are currently available are mentioned below. Click the sector name to see a chart of approved apprenticeship credentials. Each standard outlines the occupation/job description, what an apprentice will do, and the skills they will need to complete the apprenticeship.
- Business and administration
- Care services
- Childcare and education
- Creative and design
- Engineering and manufacturing
- Health and science
- Legal, finance, and accounting
- Protective services (e.g. police)
How do they work?
At the end of the programme, apprentices will complete an assessment that will assess both advanced learning and vocational competence acquired from on-the-job training.
There are two ways to the programme is designed:
- Employers, universities, and specialised organisations work together to develop a fully comprehensive degree programme for apprentices that provides and tracks both professional learning and on-the-job training. Since there is no requirement for a different test of vocational skill, this may be the perfect approach in many sectors.
- Sectors may want to use existing degree programmes to satisfy their speciality’s academic competence requirements. They would often combine this with further learning to meet the complete apprenticeship training requirements and a unique test of full technical competence at the end of the programme.
In either case, degrees earned by this route will be conferred by universities and would be of the same calibre as degrees earned by the full-time undergraduate process.
What are the benefits of doing a degree apprenticeship?
- Apprentices are employed and paid a salary during the course
- Apprentices may receive a complete degree — either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree — without paying student fees
- Apprentices will have a competitive edge in their chosen field
- It will allow apprentices to acquire graduate/postgraduate level skills
- Employers could attract new talent, especially high-achieving school-leavers willing to earn a degree in a work-based environment
- The government and the corporation share the cost of training
What sets them apart from sandwich degrees and work placements?
Degree apprenticeships are based on the existing models of sandwich degrees (a year of business) and work placements (doing industry placements during term time or holidays), but they differ in many fundamental ways:
- Degree apprentices are employed on the spot and starting earning a wage on the first day
- Employers can view apprenticeships as a way to recruit top-tier prospective graduates
- Degree apprentices are most likely to be committed to their employer, and the fact that they are already employed means that they can be with the company before graduation. The retention rate of apprentices exceed 80%
- Companies will be able to work with universities to develop the degree programme and all aspects of their apprentice’s training in the case of a new degree
How do degree apprentices land a job?
Apprenticeships are professions, but employers would eventually hire. Both companies and universities like to see whether the applicant meets their requirements. As a consequence, certain businesses and colleges will likely work together on recruitment.
Employers may choose to advertise opportunities on the ‘Find an apprenticeship’ platform in the same way they do with other apprenticeships.
Universities and schools advise about degree apprenticeships
We got advice and recommendations from universities and schools to assist you in determining if an apprenticeship is correct for you. Here is some sound advice and insight into what it’s like to study an apprenticeship.
What defining traits and skills do effective apprenticeship candidates possess?
Willingness to work while they are still studying and employed full-time. They must also be self-assured and mature to carry out their responsibilities at work. Academically, they can master a wide range of abilities, yet they must all be bright and worthy of self-learning.
What are the most daunting challenges for young people who choose to pursue a higher or degree apprenticeship?
Having enough time to do all in a day necessitates excellent time management skills.
If a student’s grades are lower than anticipated, some consider apprenticeships to be “second best” to full-time higher education. What do you think of apprenticeships as a career path?
A degree apprenticeship is just as challenging academically as a traditional degree, but with the extra burden of working at the same time! Apprentices must be as intelligent as undergraduates but still being more centred. People who have been along the degree apprenticeship path, in my view, outperform learners because they have comprehensive job experience as well as theoretical skills. Young people with good grades should consider this option; once people realise the advantages, competition for spots are fierce.
What advice would you give to students considering a degree apprenticeship but unsure if it’s correct for them?
Begin early in your preparation and try to obtain work experience in your area of interest. Attend university open days and meet with programme managers to discover more. There are several study opportunities available, so choose the one that better suits your learning style. If you’re not sure if you’re up for it, don’t do it. Traditional degrees are good since they enable people to explore different options while still finding out what they want to do.
What are the top three qualities you look for in an applicant?
Passion. A genuine interest in what you are doing, like any degree, it makes studying more fun and raises the chances of success. Second, we must see that the applicant has the academic ability to succeed such that disadvantaged candidates are not set up to fail. While this would have scores, we will also evaluate numerical and conceptual skills. A candidate’s character is essential – they must be mature enough to enter the office and dedicated enough to practise and study simultaneously.
What are the most common mistakes made my applicants?
We need academically strong candidates – several people apply after exhausting any other possibilities, and they may struggle. Maturity is necessary, so if you feel you need to grow, consider taking time off from school to focus on your path. Working for a living, whether paid or unpaid, teaches you responsibility and allows you to interact with people outside of the school.
What considerations do you set when deciding whether or not to take on applicants?
They must achieve the right grades and pass online tests for numerical awareness, aptitude, and attitude.
What tips would you give to an candidates to help them ace their interviews?
Keep in mind when you are being asked as both an employee and a student. You must present yourself as someone interested in pursuing a real-world profession. Then do as you’d always do in a job interview: read what you can about the company and the role so you can ask informative questions.
Where will students find help while they are doing an apprenticeship?
Both regular HR assistance and mentoring and line management may be used. Higher education agencies can provide technical support and the usual pastoral care, knowledge, and guidance that any single student receives. A degree apprentice is a student who has to use all of the same regular support services.
What is the best advice you can offer to young people thinking about applying for an apprenticeship?
Take a risk! It’s an incredible journey that will ready you for the rest of your life. Begin by exploring potential opportunities, studying as much as possible, and decide if a degree apprenticeship is a good match for you. You’re doing well if you’re reading this!