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Degree Apprenticeships – How Do They Work?

degree apprenticeshipsYou go to school, you do your GCSEs, you move on to a vocational course like an NVQ or BTEC, an apprenticeship or A-levels and then what?

What choices do you have post Level 3 study? The answer is a lot – especially now those choices include degree apprenticeships.

What can you do a degree apprenticeship in?

These are some of the occupations that you can get into through degree apprenticeships.

  • Chartered manager
  • Chartered surveyor
  • Aerospace software developer engineer
  • Digital and technology solutions professional
  • Aerospace engineer
  • Control / technical support engineer
  • Electrical / electronic technical support engineer
  • Embedded electronic systems design and development engineer
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Nuclear scientist and nuclear engineer
  • Power engineer
  • Product design and development engineer
  • Chartered legal executive

There will be more occupations that you can get into through degree apprenticeships in the future, so you should keep a look out for these. There are also some apprenticeships, such as outside broadcasting or systems engineering, that include study towards a master’s degree, but we have only covered the undergraduate level degree apprenticeships.

Are Degree Apprenticeships Easy?

Don’t go thinking that a degree apprenticeship is the easy route. Entry requirements are set at the level that you would see if you were applying for any full time degree course, you’ll have to work hard and you will need to be self-disciplined and highly motivated.

How do you apply for a degree apprenticeship?

There are several ways of finding an apprenticeship. You could go straight to employers’ websites, you can look for an apprenticeship on the partnering university site or you could use the government website to search for an apprenticeship by location and / or level.

Apprenticeships are employment-based and as such, applications are much like any other job application. Successfully being employed in an apprentice role takes more than simply getting the necessary grades. You need to be able to demonstrate to the employer that you are the right person for the role; this means researching the company and identifying how your skills and ambitions match the job.

How does a degree apprenticeship work?

Like other apprenticeships, you would study part time, usually one day a week at a college or university offering degrees, and the rest of the week you will be working for your employer and learning on the job.

Some of the benefits and drawbacks of choosing a degree apprenticeship?

  • You will have no tuition fees to pay if you choose to take the apprenticeship route. Although you will still have living expenses, the government provides two-thirds of the money needed to run the apprenticeship and the employer pays the rest.
  • You will get paid at least the national minimum wage for an apprentice, which is £3.50 an hour if you are under 19 or if you are 19 but you are in the first year of your apprenticeship.
  • You will develop real-life work skills in the workplace rather than learning these through simulated classroom tasks or in theory only.
  • You will be exposed to people in the industry, providing opportunities for you to network.
  • As an apprentice you would not be eligible for a student loan. This can make it difficult if the apprenticeship that you want requires you to move to another part of the country or to travel a long distance.
  • You will not be immersed full time in university life and everything that involves.
  • You may feel isolated if you are the only one studying for a degree – you might have assignments to do in the evenings while your work colleagues are out enjoying themselves.
  • You may struggle to motivate yourself to study after a day at work when you’re tired.
degree apprenticeships

Holly Broadhurst – National Apprenticeship Awards winner

Holly gained a degree in mechanical engineering through her apprenticeship, and she told us that it was challenging but totally worth it.


About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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