What are degree apprenticeships?
Launched in 2015, degree apprenticeships allow you to gain a degree alongside working. A Level 6 apprenticeship qualifies you with a full Bachelors degree, and a Level 7 with a Masters degree. The apprenticeship combines working with part time university work, this can be studying one day a week, or a bloc of days each month. The apprenticeship takes between 3 and 6 years to complete. They’re especially helpful if you’re stuck choosing between an apprenticeship and going to university as they combine the best of both worlds.
How do they work?
The government pays two-thirds of the cost of your degree, and your employer pays the other third, meaning you can leave your apprenticeship debt free! Apprentices work fulltime throughout the year, with 21 days paid holiday plus bank holidays off. A degree level apprenticeship allows you to earn while you learn. Salary varies depending on age, company, sector, and location. The UK's Apprentice minimum wage is £3.90 an hour, with some companies paying more than double that amount, for example Jaguar Land Rover’s Engineering apprentices have a starting salary of £18,500 a year, which is the same as many GRADUATE'S starting salaries! Find more information regarding apprentice salary at Gov UK.
What areas can you do the degree in?
Degree apprenticeship fields are narrower than lower level apprenticeships and are only available in areas that require ‘high levels of academia’, including; Aerospace Engineering, Business & Administration, Construction, Digital, Health & Science.
Apprenticeships are available at a wide variety companies including international companies like Santander and EY, and smaller and local companies.
What university do you get the degree from?
The university depends on which sector you’re working in and which degree apprenticeship you’re completing. You can undertake your degree with Russell Group, red brick, and modern universities. Quite often you won’t be studying at the actual university due to distance, with classes being held online or at an institution close to where you work.
Benefits of a degree apprenticeship
- The main benefit of doing a degree apprenticeship is that the degree is paid for by your company, so you leave with a degree and zero student debt!
- You’re also employed full time throughout the degree and are earning a salary.
- Degree apprenticeships allow you to get a head start in your profession over students leaving university without the same level of work experience you have.
- Apprentices also develop ‘soft skills’ from working, which employers love such as communication skills, the ability work to deadlines and under pressure, teamwork, and problem-solving.
- Get mentoring and support from your employer
- Put what you learn at university straight into practice, helping develop your understanding of the material.
- By the time your apprenticeship ends you’ll have at least three years of networking experience and can make contacts that’ll help you later on in your career.
- Degree apprentices are technically students so get all the student discount perks!
- Most apprentice programs will have a guaranteed job at the end of it, with lots of opportunities for progression within the company.
Who can do them?
Degree apprenticeships are normally targeted at 18-19-year-old school leavers or lower level apprentices moving upwards. If you already have a degree you can enrol onto some degree apprenticeships, so long as your degree is in a different field to the one you’re applying to.
What are the Entry Requirements
Degree apprenticeships are extremely competitive and there aren’t many available in the country. Most employers will ask for formal qualifications including at least 5 GCSEs (A*-C or 9-4), and Level 3 apprenticeship qualifications including BTECs. Often employers will expect applicants to have qualifications relevant to the apprenticeship already.
Where can I find out more?
Find out more about degree level apprenticeships here
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By Clarissa Ducie