Investors in People

Degree Apprenticeships

January 19, 2022

Degree apprenticeships are a credible alternative to going to university. If you’re interested in gaining a degree but don’t like the sound of having to pay for tuition fees then this route could be right up your street! And you’ll be pleased to know that degree apprenticeships are on the rise.

The relatively new type of programme offers a different pathway to learning which can help you to kick-start your career. Degree and higher apprenticeships are rapidly expanding. Degree apprenticeships extend alongside higher apprenticeships and come after advanced apprenticeships.

If you want to graduate with your cap and gown then degree apprenticeships give you the opportunity to do this. You’ll also graduate with the equivalent of a BA(Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree. They enable you to gain a qualification level equal to your peers who follow the traditional full time university routes. If you’re looking for a challenging and unique learning experience then this could be the route for you.

Like the sound of debt-free degree apprenticeships?

University isn’t the right pathway for everyone and this shouldn’t limit your opportunities when it comes to securing your dream career. Some young people are keen to get out to the world of work now and a degree or higher apprenticeship could be a great way to make this step.

Degree level apprenticeships combine academic study with a part-time basis at university. The rest of the time will be spent with an employer in the workplace. You’ll usually spend 20% of your time working towards your qualification in a university environment and the other 80% of the time will involve learning on the job.

Your study will normally take place at the institution (university or college), a training provider or learning mentor may come to visit you at your work environment or you may have online study.

Degree apprenticeships typically take between three and six years to complete. This depends on the course level and the industry. A degree apprenticeship presents the opportunity to gain a full bachelor’s degree (Level 6) or a master’s degree (Level 7) while earning and learning.

Higher apprenticeships go from Level 4 to 7, the equivalent to a Foundation Degrees, Higher National Certificates (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND). There a many types of apprenticeships. Below is a chart to show what the educational level equivalent is:

How to be accepted onto a degree apprenticeship?

Degree apprenticeships can be challenging but highly rewarding too! You’ll be combining academic study with starting your professional career so you’ll need to be committed to the job and your study time.

To be accepted onto a degree apprenticeship you will need formal qualifications at a minimum of a Level 3. This could be A Levels, an apprenticeship, NVQ or BTEC and it generally depends on the employer as to whether you need a higher qualification. However, this isn’t always the case and if you possess little qualifications but heaps of experience you may also be accepted onto a degree apprenticeship programme. Again, this all depends on your employer and the university!

If you’re unsure whether you meet the criteria you could always commit to an advanced apprenticeship which could be the stepping stone between you and getting that degree!

What qualifications do you need for a degree apprenticeship

The qualifications you need to be accepted onto a degree apprenticeship often vary depending on the employer, university and type of apprenticeships. However, in most cases, you will need a minimum of five GCSEs grades A* – C (9 – 4 on the new grading system), typically including maths and English. You will also need a Level 3 qualifications, including A levels, NVQs, apprenticeship or a BTEC. Some employers will also expect you to have subjects which are relevant to the degree apprenticeship you are keen to start. Always check the entry requirements in the job description when applying to one.

What are degree apprenticeships like?

Degree apprenticeships give you the opportunity to earn a salary while learning and also gaining a professional qualification! Not only will you gain a degree but you’ll also develop your skills and gain real work experience. When you’re at work you’ll usually be assigned a designated mentor who will help and offer you support throughout your apprenticeship programme.

A degree apprenticeship also encourages you to put your theory learning into practice on the job and exposes you to plenty of learning and development opportunities. As a degree apprentice, you will typically be given real responsibilities and face challenges from the word go! However, if you ever feel overwhelmed by your workload or unable to handle a certain situation you will always be able to seek the help of your peers, learning mentor or manager who wants to see you succeed.

During your degree apprenticeship, your responsibilities may expand and you could be managing teams in just a short while! If you’re looking for progression opportunities then a degree apprenticeship really is filled with them!

What qualifications will I get?

As a degree apprentice, you’ll receive the same level of qualification as those who choose the traditional full time university route. If you’re looking to gain experience as well as a qualification then a degree apprenticeship provides a credible alternative.

The qualifications you’ll receive as a degree apprentice includes:

If you don’t already hold GCSEs in maths and English but have been accepted onto a degree apprenticeship then you’ll also be required to complete your Level 2 or Level 3 functional skills in English, maths and sometimes ICT. Passing these are necessary to completing your apprenticeship.

As part of your apprenticeship, you may also gain additional qualifications such as a Qualified Teacher Status if you do a teaching apprenticeship or a Chartered Status. You may also gain qualifications which are directly linked to your role such as if you’re required to operate machinery.

How will my training be structured?

Your training will include 20% academic study with your training provider, college or university and 80% in the working environment. However, the structure of your training may vary. Sometimes this will be done on a weekly basis or a block release away from work to spend time studying towards your qualification. Your training is usually made up of the following:

You may have to go to university, college or to your training providers during your dedicated academic study or alternatively they may come to visit you in the workplace. Another way could be to do your study online.

What degree apprenticeships can I do?

From business degree apprenticeships to architect, scientist, civil engineer to cyber security degree apprenticeships – there really is something for everyone! Degree apprenticeships are offered across a wide range of industries. There are currently 76 apprenticeships available at undergraduate degree level and 30 available at Level 7 with more being developed!

To name a few, these can cover the following industries:

Plus many more! There really are so many exciting options available.

Engineering degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships in engineering could be the route for you if you’re a curious thinker, love a challenge and enjoy problem solving! Want to gain a degree but without the debt? Engineering degree apprenticeships offer a credible alternative for you to advance your career while gaining vital experience and skills.

There are many interesting engineering degree apprenticeships available. These include the following:

Engineering is a career which affects all aspects of our lives, whether we realise it or not. From building and designing roads to creating new and innovative products. This is a career which guaranteed diversity and complexity and excitement.

Engineering degree apprenticeships equip you with a range of industry specific skills so you can become an expert! You’ll gain skills in the following areas: