Degree apprenticeships are an opportunity for school and college leavers to get a debt-free, industry-designed degree and leap straight into a career.
Usually, young people have to make a choice when they leave school - do they go to university, or get a job straight away? It’s a difficult decision: both options have their benefits and drawbacks. The degree apprenticeship has been designed to give students the best of both worlds.
In a nutshell, candidates work for an employer and attend university at the same time. Employers partner up with a university, and the apprentice will split their time between working for them, and studying for a degree at the partner university.
- Degree apprenticeship candidates work towards a Bachelors or Masters Degree
- They get three to six years of professional work experience
- All apprentices earn a salary
- Apprentices do not pay university tuition fees - costs are covered by the government and their employer
This is our complete guide to degree apprenticeships. Read on to discover:
- How do degree apprenticeships work?
- What are the benefits?
- What degree apprenticeships are available?
- How do I apply?
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What is a degree apprenticeship?
Degree apprenticeships are aimed at 18 to 19-year-old school leavers as an alternative route into higher education. Apprentices will combine full-time work for an industry leading company with part-time university study. These courses last between three and six years, with a Bachelors or Masters degree awarded at the end.
Apprentices are also paid a salary for the duration of the scheme.
Compare this to a traditional university student: they attend university, paying a minimum of £9,000 per year in tuition fees, on top of maintenance loans for bread and water. A degree apprentice on the other hand doesn’t pay tuition fees, and they get paid while they work towards their degree.
How do degree apprenticeships work?
The funding for degree apprenticeships is divided between the government and your employer. The government pays two-thirds of your costs and fees, capped at £18,000, while your employer coughs up the rest. Who knew the government could be so generous?
Apprentices will work for a minimum of 30 hours a week for 30 weeks a year. It’s like a full-time job, but you get the academic benefits of getting a degree-level qualification as well as the on-the-job experience of working in a professional environment.
Degree apprentices will be expected to achieve academically while they are in full-time employment.
Below is a breakdown of a Software Engineering degree apprenticeship with Custodian Solutions and the University of Exeter.
Meet Tom. Tom is very excited about his degree apprenticeship.
Tom is working for Custodian Solutions, with structured intervals to attend lectures and complete online classes, in order to gain a BSc Digital and Technology Solutions from the University of Exeter. Tom is developing a technical and professional expertise in IT in a real-life working environment. His degree is tailored to the specific and relevant skills he needs for a career in software engineering.
Tom can barely contain his joy. He is earning a salary of £18,000 and is debt free as his employers are paying for his degree from a Russell Group university.
Watch ‘A Week in the Life of Siobhan Holden’, a degree apprentice at Barclays.
Visit the Tech Partnership to get a full list of the universities currently offering degree apprenticeships.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies has revealed that students in the UK accumulate an average debt of £50,000.
The 2012 hike in student fees has forced school leavers to be shrewder consumers of higher education. A degree apprenticeship has all the benefits of a conventional degree programme, without the financial anxieties. On top of this, degree apprentices are provided with the practical experience and wider employability skills which are crucial to career success.
Degree apprentices achieve a full Bachelors or Masters degree but avoid the colossal debts from tuition fees and maintenance loans.
EARN WHILE YOU LEARN
Degree apprentices are employed throughout their programme, completing paid work from day one.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Engineering Degree Apprenticeship scheme has a starting salary of £18,500 per year, increasing by 10% every 6 months. Apprentices are expected to earn over £35k per year on completion of the course!
Although degree apprenticeships do not guarantee a permanent job, apprentices are highly employable graduates.
Last year, 90% of apprentices went straight into work or further training after they had completed their scheme.
Employers and professional bodies design the overall programme, so apprentices obtain the specific practical skills which are necessary for a job. Apprentices can move seamlessly from their degree apprenticeship into a skilled profession.
Still interested? Only a madman would click away now. So keep reading to find out which companies and universities are offering degree apprenticeships in 2021 /2022.
What Degree Apprenticeships are Available?
There are currently a crazy range of degree apprenticeships available in different industries across the country. All the schemes that have been approved for delivery are listed below, along with some of the employers and universities that are offering them.
A Level 6 is equivalent to a bachelors degree, whilst a Level 7 is equivalent to a masters.
Business and Administration
- Career Development Professional (Level 6)
- Chartered Manager (Level 6)
- Improvement Leader (Level 6)
- Project Manager (Level 6)
- Senior Leader (Level 7)
Employers/Universities: Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Balfour Beatty, Co-op, HMRC, Santander.
Childcare and Education
- Academic Professional (Level 7)
- Teacher (Level 7)
Employers/Universities: Teach First, University of Nottingham, Aston University, BPP, The University of Exeter.
- Architectural Assistant (Level 6)
- Building Control Surveyor (Level 6)
- Building Services Design Engineer (Level 6)
- Building Services Engineering Site Manager (Level 6)
- Chartered Surveyor (Level 6)
- Civil Engineer (Level 6)
- Civil Engineering Site Management (Level 6)
- Construction Quantity Surveyor (Level 6)
- Construction Site Manager (Level 6)
- Design and Construction Manager (Level 6)
- Geospatial Mapping and Science (Level 6)
- Senior/Head of Facilities Management (Level 6)
- Architect (Level 7)
- Chartered Town Planner (Level 7)
Employers/Universities: BAM Nuttall, Institution of Civil Engineers, Mace, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Skanska Construction.
Creative and Design
- Broadcast and Media Systems Engineer (Level 6)
- Archaeological Specialist (Level 7)
- Cultural Heritage Conservator (Level 7)
- Outside broadcasting engineer (Level 7)
Employers/Universities: BBC, Sky, Arena TV, ITV.
- Cyber Security Technical Professional (Level 6)
- Data Scientist (Level 6)
- Digital and Technology Solutions Professional (Level 6)
- Data Scientist (Level 6)
- Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist (Level 7)
Employers/Universities: Accenture, BT, Ford, GSK, IBM.
Engineering and Manufacturing
- Aerospace Engineer (Level 6)
- Aerospace Software Development Engineer (Level 6)
- Airworthiness Maintenance Engineer (Level 6)
- Control/Technical Support Engineer (Level 6)
- Electrical Technical Support Engineer (Level 6)
- Embedded Electronic Systems Design and Development Engineer (Level 6)
- Food and Drink Advanced Engineer (Level 6)
- Infrastructure Asset Management Leader (Level 6)
- Manufacturing Engineer (Level 6)
- Manufacturing Manager (Level 6)
- Marine Surveyor (Level 6)
- Materials Science Technologist (Level 6)
- Non-destructive Testing Engineer (Level 6)
- Nuclear Scientist and Engineer (Level 6)
- Ordnance Munitions and Explosives Professional (Level 6)
- Packaging Professional (Level 6)
- Product Design and Development Engineer (Level 6)
- Project Controls Engineering Professional (Level 6)
- Rail and Rail Systems Senior Engineer (Level 6)
- Science Industry Process/Plant Engineer (Level 6)
- Electronic Systems Principal Engineer (Level 7)
- Marine Technical Superintendent (Level 7)
- Materials Process Engineer (Level 7)
- Postgraduate Engineer (Level 7)
- Power Engineer (Level 7)
- Process Automation Engineer (Level 7)
- Rail and Rail Systems Principal Engineer (Level 7)
- Risk and Safety Management Professional (Level 7)
- Science Industry Process/Plant Engineer (Level 6)
- Through Life Engineering Services Specialist (Level 7)
Employers/Universities: BAE Systems, Jaguar Land Rover, Kraft Heinz, Rolls Royce plc, Siemens.
Health and Science
- Clinical Trials Specialist (Level 6)
- Diagnostic Radiographer (Level 6)
- Dietitian (Level 6)
- Food Industry Technical Professional (Level 6)
- Healthcare Science Practitioner (Level 6)
- Laboratory Scientist (Level 6)
- Midwife (Level 6)
- Occupational Therapist (Level 6)
- Operating Department Practitioner (Level 6)
- Paramedic (Level 6)
- Physiotherapist (Level 6)
- Podiatrist (Level 6)
- Prosthetist / Orthotist (Level 6)
- Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (Level 6)
- Public Health Practitioner (Level 6)
- Nursing (Level 6)
- Sonographer (Level 6)
- Speech and Language Therapist (Level 6)
- Therapeutic Radiographer (Level 6)
- Advanced Clinical Practitioner (Level 7)
- Advanced Forensic Practitioner (Level 7)
- Arts Therapist (Level 7)
- Bioinformatics Scientist (Level 7)
- District Nurse (Level 7)
- Environmental Health Practitioner (Level 7)
- Pharmacist (Level 7)
- Physician Associate (Level 7)
- Regulatory Affairs Specialist (Level 7)
- Research Scientist (Level 7)
Employers/Universities: Astra Zeneca, Nestle UK Ltd, NHS Foundation Trust, Pfizer, 3M.
Legal, Finance, and Accounting
- Banking Relationship Manager (Level 6)
- Chartered Legal Executive (Level 6)
- Financial Services Professional (Level 6)
- Licensed Conveyancer (Level 6)
- Professional Economist(Level 6)
- Senior Compliance/Risk Specialist (Level 6)
- Senior Insurance Professional (Level 6)
- Accountancy/Taxation Professional (Level 7)
- Actuary (Level 7)
- Internal Audit Professional (Level 7)
- Senior Investment/Commercial Banking Professional (Level 7)
- Solicitor (Level 7)
Employers/Universities: BDO, Deloitte, EY, PwC, City Law School.
- Police Constable (Level 6)
- Probation Officer (Level 6)
These are the programmes that are available right now, but there are level 6 and 7 schemes currently in development. Visit the Institute for Apprenticeships to see the full list of degree apprenticeship coming soon.
The list includes courses in Animation, Archeology and Architecture - and that’s just the letter A. Crumbs.
Degree Apprenticeships in Engineering
For engineering enthusiasts, there are a wide range of opportunities to work with industry leaders in the field. EDF Energy, Airbus and BMW Group UK are just a handful of the blue-chip companies supporting degree apprenticeships.
No longer will school leavers have to hide in the shrubbery outside factories, with faint hopes of a lax security guard leaving a door unlocked, just to get a peek inside the engineering industry. No more climbing of barbed-wire fences. No more baskets of mini-muffins sent into HR departments, for one day’s work experience making tea at Toyota.
The incentive of a debt-free degree and a salary make degree apprenticeships an alluring prospect for all school leavers seeking higher education. But for students looking for a start in engineering, working with professionals inside the industry is a priceless opportunity.
There are currently degree apprenticeships established in Electronic Systems Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Nuclear Engineering and Automotive Engineering.
To find out what working for an engineering company is like, read reviews of engineering apprenticeships on RateMyApprenticeship.
Degree Apprenticeships in Business and Finance
Students are already completing courses in business and finance with various graduate employers and universities.
Anglia Ruskin University have partnered with Barclays, to offer a 3-year BA (Hons) Management & Leadership course.
Airbus are delivering a 3-year degree apprenticeship in Finance and Accounting, in partnership with either Bangor University, Swansea University or the University of the West of England
Degree apprenticeships of this kind can cover diverse areas of work and study. It may not be as glamorous as Lord Sugar’s The Apprentice, but full-time employment with an industry leading company will give you a serious grounding in a wide variety of roles, such as:
- Sales or business development
- Customer Service
- Human Resources
- Public Relations
London Degree Apprenticeships
There are a range of degree apprenticeship available in London; the capital has 40 higher education institutions, and most of the world’s biggest companies have a presence.
Below are just a handful of the degree apprenticeships on offer in London:
BPP Business School are providing two programmes, a BBA (Hons) Chartered Management and BSc (Hons) Design and Technology Solutions.
Queen Mary University of London are in partnership with Goldman Sachs, GSK, IBM, and have designed an IT Degree Apprenticeship with John Lewis.
The University of West London have introduced three new programmes; a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, a Digital and Technology Solutions Manager Degree Apprenticeship, and Healthcare Assistant (Practitioner) Higher Degree Apprenticeship.
Pearson College London provide three degree apprenticeship programmes: a Business Management degree in partnership with the BBC, a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, and a Rotational Degree Apprenticeship, which includes professional work experience with three industry leading companies.
The London Institute of Banking & Finance is offering the following degree apprenticeship programmes: Financial Services Professional (retail/commercial banking route or investment route) and Relationship Manager (Banking).
How do I Apply?
The application processes for degree apprenticeships differ from scheme to scheme. It’s best to check the information on the employer’s website, or that of the university before you apply.
A degree apprenticeship is essentially a job, so the recruitment is led by the employer.
Although in most cases the employer is responsible for the apprentice, the candidates must meet the requirements of the university. Some employers and universities will therefore work together on recruitment; it really does vary from scheme to scheme.
Where do I apply?
- RateMyApprenticeship advertises a range of degree apprenticeships. Apply for Degree Apprenticeships here
- Visit the government website for apprenticeships
- You can also apply via UCAS
- Or, you can go directly to the websites of employers and their university partners.
The entry requirements for each degree apprenticeship vary from programme to programme. Most employers set requirements that are similar to traditional university degrees - that’s typically three A levels (A* to C).
However, not all employers are requiring candidates to have A Levels to qualify for applications. Degree apprenticeships are suitable for school leavers who have completed lower level apprenticeships.
Some employers have also set a particular number of UCAS points as entry criteria. This means students who have BTEC qualifications are also eligible for these schemes.
For full entry requirements, it’s best to look at university websites and employer’s recruitment materials. You may be surprised about which degree apprenticeships you are eligible for!
RateMyApprenticeship has the largest collection of apprenticeship reviews, written by apprentices themselves. Here is the place to be. So limber up and find a degree apprenticeship: it’s time to land your first foot on the career ladder.
Search and apply for degree apprenticeship opportunities on RateMyApprenticeship
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