11 September 2023

Higher & Degree Apprenticeships: What you need to know

Alt Text!

Did you know that you can get paid to develop new skills after finishing your A-Levels?

Higher and degree apprenticeships have become super popular in recent years and offer school leavers a chance to train on-the-job, earn a cracking salary and study towards nationally recognised qualifications equivalent to a university degree.

Traditionally associated with trade roles, apprenticeships have expanded to cover a host of careers – ranging from cyber security to nuclear science and finance.

Looking for an alternative path to university? One that boosts your employability and saves you thousands of pounds in debt (and we mean thousands)?

Higher apprenticeships are the thing for you. Read on to learn more about them…

Why should I do a higher apprenticeship?

Higher and degree apprenticeships are a valid alternative to university. If not better. With a degree apprenticeship, you’ll still graduate with a cap and gown, except now you’ll have three to four years of work experience under your belt too.

Meaning you won’t have to start your career from scratch.

Employers love students who’ve done an apprenticeship, as it shows they’re work ready. If you want to get your CV to the top of the pile, gain a head-start in your career and become financially independent at an early age, a higher apprenticeship is the way to go.

How do these apprenticeships work?

Apprentices combine work and study. While your schedule depends on your employer, typically it’s four days a week on-the-job developing new skills by shadowing colleagues across all levels of the business. And one day at university studying towards your degree.

Apprenticeship reviews

You’ll see that RateMyApprenticeship hosts more than 40,000 apprenticeship reviews alone. An apprenticeship can offer you the opportunity to work for business leaders like:

Not to mention thousands of smaller (but no less exciting) organisations.

What grades do I need for a higher apprenticeship?

Entry requirements for higher apprenticeships vary from programme to programme. Usually, you’ll need two A-Level (or BTEC) passes – or have completed an advanced apprenticeship. But this depends on the employer, so make sure you check the job description first before applying.

Engineering apprenticeships

Bear in mind that some sectors like engineering might require you to start with the lowest level apprenticeship – the intermediate apprenticeship – even if you have A-Levels. Why? To build up your technical and vocational skills. So you’re fully prepared for the role.

What sectors offer higher and degree apprenticeships?

Luckily, higher and degree apprenticeships are available in a broad range of sectors and industries – from marketing and sales, to science, finance, construction and more.

All programmes come with a dedicated team of academics, leaders and experts who are there to ensure you get the most out of your course, and come away with a fully developed skill set.

Apprenticeships are real jobs. With real responsibilities. You’ll be contributing to projects that have a real impact on the business. Apprentices do not make the tea and coffee…

How much will I earn?

If you’re aged 16-18 or 19 and over, and in the first year of your apprenticeship, you’ll earn the National Minimum Wage which currently stands at £5.28 an hour. Lots of companies pay more though, particularly for higher apprenticeships.

Here are examples of higher apprenticeship salaries…

  • An aerospace engineering apprentice can earn £27,000 a year
  • A software engineer apprentice can earn £25,000 a year
  • A higher accountancy apprentice can earn £21,000 a year.

Degree apprenticeships

If you’re on a degree apprenticeship, you won’t have any tuition fees to pay as the government and your employer will cover all your costs. So essentially, you’ll get yourself a free degree and won’t need to take out any student loans either. Time to wave goodbye to that £50,000 debt!

While degree apprenticeships have lots of benefits, they can be challenging and require lots of dedication. However, they do pay off as former apprentice of the year, Adam Sharp, told us:

“In the space of four-and-a-half years I’ve left home, studied for my foundation degree, gained valuable workplace experience, completed my apprenticeship, competed numerous national challenges, brought home a good wage and gained full-time employment. I’ve just bought my first home with my partner, who is also an ex-apprentice!”