Degree Apprenticeships

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships come after advanced apprenticeships and overlap with higher apprenticeships. Essentially, as you progress through the degree apprenticeship programme you climb the higher apprenticeship levels manager until level 6. These are equivalent to a BA(Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree and you will actually gradate with one of these – the same as your peers that go to university full time! They’re a great opportunity for you if you want to academically challenge yourself to get a degree but also want to start working in a professional environment.

As a degree apprentice, you’ll be spending 20% of your working week studying towards a qualification at university, college or with a training provider. You’ll either be going to study at the institution, studying online or an assessor might come to see you in the workplace.

At this level, the qualification part of the apprenticeship does become quite challenging due to the academic aspect of getting a degree. Because of this, you will need formal qualifications in order to get onto the course. These will be at least level 3 qualifications, this could be an advanced apprenticeship, A-Levels, BTEC or NVQ. If you have a lot of experience in the industry, you may not need recent qualifications or could get away with lower level qualifications.

You could be managing your own team or processes on a degree apprenticeship. They tend to last at least 2 and a half years, which means that the responsibility you get will continually increase. You shouldn’t be put off by this, you will have support from your manager and by your workplace mentor to make sure you are not overwhelmed.

Doing a degree apprenticeship will likely mean that you also get a chartered qualification – this might be part of the apprenticeship or it could be sponsored by the employer. At the end of your apprenticeship, you could go onto a level 7 higher-level apprenticeship or you’ll be ready to go onto a full-time position at an organisation.

If you do your degree apprenticeship with a university, you will also be entitled to everything that the more typical undergraduates get. You’ll have library access, academic support, you might be offered student accommodation and you’ll have access to all of the sports groups and societies.

What are degree apprenticeships like?

If you do a degree apprenticeship, you’ll spend a majority of your time working with your employer and 20% of your time studying towards your degree. You might be studying at university or with a training provider, learning online or your assessor might come into your workplace. When you’re at work, you’ll have the support of your manager, workplace mentor and colleagues to get your job done. You’ll have opportunities to put your academic knowledge to the test and work on internal projects based on what you learn!

As a degree apprentice, you will get a lot of responsibility. Before you know it you’ll be managing teams, projects or processes and due to the duration of your placements this will only continue to grow. This shouldn’t put you off, though! You’ll have lots of support from your workplace and your training provider or university.

What qualification do I get?

If you choose to do a degree apprenticeship, you will graduate with a full BA(Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree from the University that you study with. This is no different from the degrees your peers will get if they choose to go to University as a full-time undergraduate.

If you don’t have recent qualifications in English and maths, you will have to get your Level 2 or 3 Functional Skills qualification as well to pass the apprenticeship programme. Your training provider will check this on your behalf when you sign up for the apprenticeship.

Due to the level of degree apprenticeships, many programmes are also sponsored by chartered institutes which means when you graduate you will also get chartered status. Depending on your employer, you may also work on other qualifications which are more directly related to your job. That could be a qualification to use certain systems at your workplace or use certain pieces of machinery. It all depends on where you end up working!

How do they work?

The way an apprenticeship work depends on the apprenticeship you choose to do and the employer and training provider that you choose. You’ll definitely spend 20% of your time working towards a qualification, it is just how this is worked out could change. You might spend once a week training or spend block release away from work and studying.

Degree apprenticeships can also be a little bit of a hybrid when it comes to how they work. Many programmes will combine block training and studying once a week too. The way this training is conducted also varies. You might train online in the workplace, at home or go to an external training provider, college or university. Degree apprenticeships are similar to undergraduate degrees and you will be taught in a mixture of lectures, flipped learning, seminars, group study and much more.

Can I do a degree apprenticeship?

Due to the level of a degree qualification, it is quite likely that you will need formal qualifications as employers want to know that you’ll keep up with the academic work and not struggle.

Most degree apprenticeships will ask for five GCSEs at A* - C (9-4 on the new grading system), including English and Maths and you will need level 3 qualifications including A-Levels, NVQs, a BTEC or an Advanced Apprenticeship. If you have a lot of experience in your chosen industry, your employer might be more relaxed in terms of what qualifications you need to have.

If you don’t think you have enough experience or qualifications to get onto a degree apprenticeship, you could do an advanced apprenticeship to show you can manage the work-study-life balance and ae keen to work with the employer.

What kind of apprenticeships can you do at degree level?

There are more than 40 different apprenticeships you can do at degree level, including:

  • Building Services Design Engineer
  • B2B Sales Professional
  • Chartered Surveyor
  • Chartered Manager
  • Civil Engineer
  • Clinical Trials Specialist
  • Data scientist
  • Digital Marketer
  • Food industry technical professional
  • Laboratory Scientist
  • Nuclear Scientist and Nuclear Engineer
  • Paramedic
  • Police Constable
  • Professional Economist
  • Project Manager
  • Registered Nurse
  • Head of Facilities Management

What does an employer look for in my application?

At degree level, an employer will probably be after some employment history – this doesn’t have to be full-time, a part time job while you were at college or school would be good. This is because it shows them that you can hold down a job and shows good time management skills. If you don’t have this experience, showing your time management and prioritisation skills on your CV will make your application stand out.

We think the three key traits you’ll need to show are:

A genuine interest in the job and what you want to study is really important. It's 3 years of your life, and you'll want enthusiasm to get the work done, even when it gets tough.

Academic Ability
A degree apprenticeship is a very academically challenging option, so an employer won't set you up to fail. Although, grades aren't everything, reasoning is also very important.

You need to be mature enough to be in the workplace, dedicated to work and study and be a good fit for the company. Often, employers have psychometric tests in the application process to find out more about you, more than you even know!

What support will I get doing a degree apprenticeship?

As a degree Apprentice, you will have a lot more support than a typical undergraduate. This is because you'll have HR support as well as your manager, and you should get a workplace mentor as well. This is someone who may not work directly with you but can offer you extra support. What's more, as a student you'll also be entitled from the same support from your tutor and other student support services.

How much does a Degree Apprenticeship cost?

Doing a degree apprenticeship incurs no cost to the individual, just like other apprenticeships, there are no training costs or tuition fees to your higher and vocational training.

Where can I find degree apprenticeship vacancies?

You can find the details of all new degree apprenticeship vacancies across England on our website. You can search your postcode and preferred industry to find the apprenticeships provided in your area by a range of different employers and training providers. Once registered with you can apply for as many apprenticeship positions as you want with the click of a button. Large employers like BT, Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG and Tesco have their own apprenticeship programmes you can apply for directly with the employer.

How can I get a degree without paying?

In most cases, getting a degree is definitely worth it, particularly in some industries. However, if you do choose to go to University, you'll graduate leaving your friends, student flat and booze-filled days behind you, while getting (on average), £40,000 debt. We know some ways where you effectively get your degree for free – you could even get paid to get it!

By applying for an undergraduate degree through the UCAS system, you could apply for scholarships to go towards your tuition fees, although you would need to get a few in order to pay for all of your fees. Other options include choosing to do sponsored degree or a degree Apprenticeship. Both of these will also involve you working directly with an employer – so you get the experience you need too.

How does a sponsored degree programme work?

A sponsored degree programme is where an employer will pay for your tuition fees (and sometimes maintenance and accommodation), as long as you work for them either during your course or when you graduate. Some companies will sponsor you through part of your degree, but not all of it. The structure of sponsored degrees does depend on the employer you work with.

You may only work for the company once you have graduated, during your summer holidays or on a placement year. Other sponsored degrees involve you working a certain number of hours a week for the company. The way that you do your degree could also vary, although some sponsored degrees support you away at university, other companies will encourage you to do distance learning from the company offices.

By doing a sponsored degree, you'll be making great contacts in the industry you want to work in and getting the experience you need. As well as a zero-debt degree, you could even be paid when you're working. When you graduate, it's also very likely you could be offered a higher role at the company – and with that often comes a pay rise!

How does a degree Apprenticeship work?

Unlike a sponsored degree, you are guaranteed to have all of your tuition fees paid for as well as a salary as a degree Apprentice! A degree Apprenticeship is very similar to a sponsored degree, however the format of your learning with your employer will be much more structured. This is because as part of your degree Apprenticeship you'll be spending 20% of your time training. As a Degree Apprentice you'll be earning salary of at least £7,000 however as it is at a high level, most start at £18,000.

If you're thinking about becoming a degree apprentice, you should remember it's not going to be an easy alternative to a full-time undergraduate degree. In fact, it is just as academically challenging as a traditional degree, but you'll also have work pressures too! You'll be combining the theoretical knowledge from University to work every day. So everyday really is a school day. If you do a more diverse framework such as the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, many organisations also rotate you around the business you get to grips with different departments too.

When you graduate as a degree Apprentice, you'll also be far better equipped to continue your work with your organisation compared to a traditional graduate. This is because you'll know the ins and outs of the business, internal processes and when you're not studying for your degree, you could also be studying internal training programmes. All of these things will be unique to you, something that traditional graduates won't be able to access or know.

At the end of your Apprenticeship, you could even lead or mentor the 'regular' graduate programme with your experience!

How can I stand out in my Apprenticeship Application?

Degree Apprenticeships are a lot more competitive than opting for a lower level apprenticeship or a full-time undergraduate degree. This is because there aren't as many available in the country and the people applying for them are people like you; those who really know their stuff.

To be considered for an apprenticeship you are mostly expected to have a high academic level as well as a great working attitude. You need to show that you're mature and willing to work hard – you'll be working alongside experienced colleagues so understanding workplace etiquette is very important. You should be confident and mature in your responsibilities. Even if you don't have top-of-the-class academic qualifications, being able to learn independently is very important.

If you've done an apprenticeship before this will help you stand out because you can show that you know how to balance your workload. Working hard and going above and beyond is what most employers look for, because you'll be studying in your own time. If you have examples of how you've done this before or manage your time well, this will help you stand out.

Is a degree apprenticeship difficult?

A degree apprenticeship is a very challenging option, if this is what you choose to do. This is because you have to make enough time to get everything in the day done as well as all of your coursework. If you ask anyone that has been to University, they will say to you how much work they had and how dreadful deadlines can be. Equally, you'll know from parents, friends and family how working comes with its own pressures too.

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