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Guide to UK Degree Apprenticeships

What are Degree Level Apprenticeships?

All your degree apprenticeship questions answered. For a quick overview, see our infographic.

Degree Apprenticeships are like being sponsored through your degree. You have a job with a company and your employer pays for your degree. You study for your degree while working. As a Degree Level Apprentice, you will be earning money while you learn and have no student debt hanging over you when you graduate.

If you have a career in mind and know what you want to do, it can be great way to get your degree and you will also graduate with 3 years work experience and no debt.

Degree apprenticeships will not be right for everyone, particularly if you have a burning desire to study something purely academic, like History or languages, but for some, it could provide a clear pathway to achieving your career ambitions.

Degree Apprenticeships

What could I learn?
Degree Apprenticeships are being created in many different industries and to cover a wide range of roles. To find out more about the area you are interested, explore the list down the right hand side of this page. As the Degree Apprenticeships have been designed by companies, in conjunction with partner universities, this ensures that apprentices will acquire the skills and knowledge required for their industry.

How are the Degree Apprenticeships structured?
During degree apprenticeships you will typically spend around 80% of your time in the workplace, doing on the job training and gaining practical experience. The remaining 20% of your time will be spent at university. You will finish with a full degree plus on the job work experience. In some cases it might take up to 5 years to get your degree as you are working part time while you study.

What are the benefits of degree apprenticeships instead of going to university?

Advantages of Degree Apprenticeships

The advantages of studying for your chosen career via a degree apprenticeship are

  • You will be paid by your employer while you train – the salary you will receive varies but it will be at least minimum wage and sometimes more.
  • Your employer will also pay your tuition fees, so you will graduate debt free
  • Your chances of being offered a permanent job on graduation by your employer are high – after all they’ve invested a lot of time and money in your training and moulded you to their requirements, so why wouldn’t they?
  • You will still get your degree or in some cases a postgraduate qualification

Disadvantages of Degree Apprenticeships

  • Your university experience will not by typical of other students – you will not be living on campus and will only attend part time.
  • You will be working up to 30 hours a week and will also have to study evenings and weekends. It is certainly not an easy option.

Do employers value degree apprenticeships as much as a degree?
In the past apprenticeships were aimed more at traditional vocational studies such as plumbing or building, but with the arrival of degree apprenticeships things are changing. You will end up with exactly the same degree qualification as your peers who go to university full time, but you will also have on the job training and experience. So the answer to that question, is yes, and in many cases the value of on the job experience will often put you ahead of your counterparts who studied full time at university.

What grades do I need to do a degree apprenticeship?
The grades required for each degree apprenticeship vary depending on the employer. Typically they are looking for school leavers with A-level grades similar to the requirements for a degree, but this is not always the case so check with the companies you are interested in for their individual requirements. You could also be eligible to apply for a degree apprenticeship if you have already completed a lower level apprenticeship.

Can anyone do a degree apprenticeship?
As you will be employed and not just a student, you will need to be eligible to work in the UK. There are no age restrictions but the arrangements for funding are different. Training costs for apprentices aged 18 – 24 will be funded by the government. If you are aged 24 or over you may be asked to contribute towards the costs.

Will I be paid during my degree apprenticeship?
Yes. You will be paid a wage and your university tuition fees will be paid for by your employer. You will be responsible for covering your accommodation and living costs.

Where will I live during my Degree Apprenticeship?
Depending on your circumstances you can either live at home or in some cases you could live in rented accommodation near to your place of employment. You may find that there are other apprentices also moving away from home for the first time and you could rent with a group of other degree apprentices. Employers will often help you with this as they are aware that you might be moving away from home for the first time without the community of on-campus living you would have if you were going to university.

How to I find out more information?
Learn more about what is involved in the individual Degree Apprenticeships and who offers them by clicking on the sectors that interest you on the right hand side of this page.

How do I apply?
Degree apprenticeships vacancies are advertised by the companies recruiting, in the same way a job would be. Companies could be recruiting for Degree Apprentices all year round but you may also find an increase in the number of vacancies advertised after A-level results. Each one has its own closing date and there is not an application cycle or process that is common to all. You just need to make sure that you will have finished school and be able to start on the specified start date.

Will I be guaranteed a job after my Degree Apprenticeship?
No, unfortunately not, but you will have three years on the job training and be a highly employable graduate. Many companies do take on their Degree Apprentices afterwards, but there is no guarantee. It is based on their requirements as well as your performance.

Can I choose which university I study at?
Unfortunately not. Each company has set up a programme for their own Degree Apprenticeships in conjunction with a partner university. Some companies may have more than one university, but generally you will be expected to study at the university your employer has partnered with to deliver the Degree apprenticeship.

Can I apply for university at the same time as applying for degree apprenticeships?
Yes, you can. Essentially a degree apprenticeship is the same as applying for a job and is not linked to the university application process. Therefore, if you are unsure which route you want to take as yet, why not apply for both and decide when the time is right. You may find you get offered a degree apprenticeship and a university place and then you can make the choice.

Where can I find vacancies?
To search for opportunities, visit our list of Degree Apprenticeships Vacancies.

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