What is a degree apprenticeship?
In a nutshell, a degree apprenticeship combines studying towards a degree with practical work experience so you get the best of both worlds. You’ll be employed, paid a salary and study part-time at university.
What are the benefits?
- No student debt - your tuition fees are covered by your employer and the government
- A headstart on your career - by combining work and study you’ll be ahead of most graduates when competing for jobs in the future
- Earn a salary - you’ll be paid an annual salary
- Achieve qualifications - you’ll complete a full bachelor's or master's degree and some degree apprenticeships also include professional qualifications
- Apply what you learn - your role and your degree will be linked so you can apply what you learn in the classroom directly to your work
- Full-time employment - you’ll be employed throughout a degree apprenticeship and employers are likely to offer you a full-time role at the end if you’ve impressed them
Are degree apprenticeships new?
Yes, they were introduced by the Government in 2015. It’s still a relatively new and growing area of vocational education. The Government has made a promise of 3 million new apprentices (across all levels) by 2020 and degree apprenticeships are one of the ways they’re encouraging employers to offer more.
What can I study?
Degree apprenticeships include either a bachelor's degree (Level 6) or a master's degree (Level 7). There are currently 24 defined degree apprenticeships across a wide range of industries, including management, construction, aerospace, law and healthcare. New standards are being developed and employers can work with universities to develop bespoke programmes.
Where will I work?
Degree apprenticeships are essentially jobs so every position is different. Employers will work in partnership with a university. If there is a particular company or university that you want to work/study at, keep a close eye on their website for new opportunities. Our advice is to keep your options open and explore as many roles as possible in your chosen field. Employers will either advertise an individual degree apprenticeship or they’ll recruit for a cohort of degree apprentices to all join at the same time. You might be hired for a set role or you could rotate around different departments. There are also unique opportunities such the Rotational Degree Apprenticeship where you can work for 2-3 different companies as part of one degree apprenticeship (including big names like Unilever, Tesco and and IBM).
Is it different to a sandwich degree?
Yes, on a ‘placement’ or ‘sandwich’ degree you only work for a portion of your degree, usually for a year in the middle of your course. On a degree apprenticeship you’ll be employed throughout, usually working four days per week and studying one day per week. On a sandwich degree you pay your tuition fees and will only be paid during your year placement. For degree apprenticeships you’ll be paid an annual salary throughout and you won’t have to contribute anything towards your tuition fees, so it’s more cost effective.
How long do they take to complete?
Degree apprenticeships are designed in partnership with employers so the duration varies. Typically it will take 3-4 years to complete a bachelor's degree apprenticeship and 1-2 years to complete a masters level apprenticeship.
How do I find degree apprenticeships?
The easiest way to find degree apprenticeships is to look on apprenticeship websites and sign-up to mailing lists so you’re alerted when new opportunities are launched. Popular sites include:
Who can apply?
Degree apprenticeships are open to everyone. Most roles will have an entry level salary (around £15,000 - £20,000) so they are popular with schools and college leavers. Employers should welcome candidates from a range of backgrounds and experiences so won’t worry if you don’t have traditional academic qualification such a A Levels - work experience can be just as valuable in your application.
Top tips for applying
- Understand the role - completing a degree apprenticeship takes hard work and dedication, try to display these traits in your application. Employers want to hire candidates that are able to juggle work and study.
- Don’t miss deadlines - when you apply for university there’s a set timeframe but degree apprenticeships recruit all-year-round. Make sure you note down the application deadline so you submit your entry on time. Employers won’t accept applications after the closing date.
- Be determined - degree apprenticeships are competitive so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get the first role you apply for. Keep on applying and adjust each application to suit the employer/job.
- Stand out - just like applying for a job, you need to stand out. Research the company and show your passion to work in the industry.
- Use social media - follow apprenticeship sites, universities and employers in your chosen field to be the first to hear about new degree apprenticeships.
- Be inspired - read case studies from existing apprentices to find out more about roles and what it takes to get hired. Meet our degree apprentices.