What are degree apprenticeships?

Combining the academic rigour of a degree with practical workplace experience, degree apprenticeships are revolutionising the way we think about education and employment. 

In this article, we will delve into the power of degree apprenticeships and how they can fast-track your career. Whether you are a recent secondary school graduate or a seasoned professional looking to upskill, degree apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity to learn while you earn. 

With the flexibility to study part-time, while gaining real-world experience and a full wage, degree apprenticeships provide a hands-on approach to learning that enables you to hit the ground running in your desired industry. Gone are the days of choosing between work and study; with degree apprenticeships, you can have the best of both worlds. 

So, stay tuned if you’re interested in this opportunity to accelerate your career growth. This article jumps into everything you need to know.

Oh, and remember, if you’d like help to secure your degree apprenticeship and/or smash the results you earn during it, we offer expert guidance!

Also, if you’d like some extra information on what degree apprenticeships are and what kind of options are out there, be sure to check out our previous article.

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What are degree apprenticeships?

Right now, degree apprenticeships are booming in England. They allow students to gain a full, paid-for undergraduate or Master’s degree whilst working, earning a salary and collecting industry experience. Accordingly, degree apprenticeships mirror sponsored degree programmes, where your employer covers the costs of your education. 

Depending on your course level, your degree apprenticeship will take 3-6 years to complete.

The majority of your schedule will be dedicated to your professional duties, supplemented by part-time university studies. This might involve attending university for one or two days each week, or concentrated periods such as week-long sessions. Generally, your time is divided into approximately 20% for studying and 80% for work-related activities.

Please note: Degree apprenticeships work differently in Scotland and Northern Ireland, hence this article mainly focuses on England and Wales.

Fancy some help deciding what path is best for you to take? Or maybe you’d like expert support navigating the degree apprenticeship application process and/or nailing the programme itself. Each of your steps will shape your future, so get it right with our tried and tested coaching.

The 4 types of apprenticeships

When it comes to apprenticeships, there are four levels: basic, advanced, higher, and degree. We’ve broken down each tier’s specifics in the table below.

NumberNameDurationExplanation
2Intermediate12-18 months.This is the first step on the apprentice ladder. You’ll get a wage, qualifications and experience. Usually, this type of apprenticeship is viewed as the equivalent of 5 GCSEs and will open the doors for you to move onto a level 3 apprenticeship, BTECs or employment.
3Advanced2 years, though this can depend on your employer and skills.You will combine academic study with work experience whilst earning a wage and gain qualifications equal to 2 A levels.
4-5HigherAnywhere between 3 and 4 years.You will learn practical skills specific to one industry and managerial skills. Academic modules will be taught in a higher or further education institution whilst the rest of the time is spent working for a company. Your work experience and qualifications are equivalent to a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC).
6-7Degree3 to 6 years.This is the most advanced type of apprenticeship where you can earn the equivalent of a degree for free whilst also earning a wage. Like the Level 5 apprenticeship, you will gain work experience and qualifications hence you spend time taking academic modules as well as working for a company.

Fancy some help deciding what path is best for you to take? Or maybe you’d like expert support navigating the degree apprenticeship application process and/or nailing the programme itself. Each of your steps will shape your future, so get it right with our tried and tested coaching.

What is a Level 6 degree apprenticeship equivalent to?

A Level 6 degree apprenticeship is equivalent to an undergraduate degree e.g. a BA or a BSc. 

What is a Level 7 degree apprenticeship equivalent to?

A Level 7 degree apprenticeship is on par with a Master’s degree, Level 7 NVQ, PGCE, or Postgraduate Certificate. 

Given the advanced level of this apprenticeship, anticipate facing academic challenges as you progress towards your qualification!

Understanding the eligibility criteria for degree apprenticeships 

Eligibility criteria depend on the type of apprenticeship. Even degree apprenticeships can have different requirements. See the table below:

NumberNameEntry requirements
2IntermediateGCSEs, a traineeship and/or recent work experience.
3AdvancedGCSEs from A* to C.
4-5Higher2 A levels or a Level 3 apprenticeship at 18+.
6-7DegreeA levels or equivalent for Level 6.

Honours degree for Level 7. 

Some of these programmes require you to have relevant work experience in the industry; work experience can sometimes be in lieu of academic qualifications. 

Here, at The Profs, we can help you curate the perfect application for your chosen apprenticeship. We can even help you to exceed the entry requirements as we have career coaches and excellent A level, IB and GCSE tutors. Speak to our team and we’ll put you in touch with the ideal expert for your needs.

Can I do a degree apprenticeship without A levels?

Many programmes typically expect candidates to possess Level 3 qualifications, which could include holding an advanced apprenticeship, A levels, BTEC, or NVQ credentials. 

However, if you have substantial industry experience, recent qualifications may not be necessary, or you may require fewer of them.

How do degree apprenticeships work?

Let’s run through the common queries about degree apprenticeships and everything else you need to know to make your decision.

Do you still go to university with a degree apprenticeship?

For a degree apprenticeship, you’ll also study part-time at a university whilst you complete the academic side of your programme. However, as you won’t be living there full-time, you might not get the “standard” university experience as you won’t have the same schedule as the majority of other students. 

You might go to university one or two days a week, or one week or term at a time, and for the rest, you’ll be expected to work working hours at your chosen company.

How can I get a degree without going to university?

A degree apprenticeship is certainly an alternative route to earning a degree, and it does avoid the usual university experience, however, it still involves attending, or at least graduating, from a university. 

It’s worth noting that you might not even have to live on your university campus full-time or at all, depending on your setup, and you might be able to complete the academic side of your programme online. Have a look at your options and see what routine would suit you best.

Can you leave a degree apprenticeship?

If you enter an apprenticeship arrangement, you have the flexibility to terminate the agreement at any time without legal ramifications, provided you adhere to the prescribed notice period outlined in your contract. So, should you decide to conclude your apprenticeship prematurely, you can do so by providing the required notice as specified in your employment agreement.

The future of degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular amongst students and employers, hence this will likely grow into a more common path among young people and a growing preference in job opportunities. 

The programmes create skilled individuals, ready to tackle current issues specific to their industry, who come ready with experience and are not faced with student debt. Accordingly, degree apprenticeships have the chance to revolutionise education! 

They are already especially popular within specific sectors, like banking and finance.

Want to secure a competitive degree apprenticeship? Applications are our forte. Speak to our team for dedicated support.

Is a degree apprenticeship better than a university degree?

When considering whether a degree apprenticeship outweighs a traditional university degree, it truly depends on your individual goals, learning preferences, and career aspirations. 

For instance, what sector do you want to work in and what do those employers tend to prefer? Also, what kind of learner are you; are you theoretical or practical? And finally, what kind of experience do you think you’d enjoy more, a classic university experience or jumping into the adult world?

Both paths offer unique advantages and cater to different learning styles. While a degree apprenticeship provides hands-on work experience alongside academic study, a university degree offers a more traditional approach with a focus on theoretical knowledge. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your personal circumstances and career objectives.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of a degree apprenticeship that you should consider to help you make your decision. 

What are the benefits of degree apprenticeships?

Degree apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular precisely because they offer many advantages. Check out the list below for reasons why you might opt for this route.

Degree apprenticeships offer:

  • An undergraduate degree qualification.
  • Real-life work experience.
  • A fully paid higher level qualification.
  • A normal employee salary.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Job security (many graduates from traditional degrees struggle to land their first job).
  • Practical and applied knowledge.
  • Specific relevance to your industry and the job market.

What are the disadvantages of degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships also pose some disadvantages, which is why a lot of students still opt for a traditional university path. Check out the list below for reasons why you might not opt for this route.

Cons of a degree apprenticeship:

  • You won’t qualify for any student loans.
  • You’ll need to balance working and studying at the same time. Hence, it will also not follow the typical structure of a normal job or a normal degree.
  • It’s unlikely that you’ll get the traditional university experience.
  • You might not be on campus.
  • If you are on campus, this will likely be part-time, and your eight-hour workday schedule will be very different to the majority of your peers/housemates who might want to go to bed late on a weekday. 

Need help to decide whether a traditional degree or degree apprenticeship is the best choice for you? Or maybe you could do with boosting your application and/or smashing the programme! We’re here to help and we’re who to talk to.

Researching degree apprenticeship opportunities

You should explore various degree apprenticeship programmes offered by employers and universities to find the right fit for your career goals. You can utilise online resources, attend information sessions, ask your teachers and reach out to alumni or professionals in your field for valuable insights.

Consider factors like programme structure, job placement opportunities, and academic support before making a decision. 

Where do I find a degree apprenticeship?

You can find degree apprenticeships to apply to via: 

  • Online job boards.
  • Company websites.
  • University portals.
  • Career fairs.
  • Networking events.
  • Industry-specific forums.

Also, keep an eye on government apprenticeship schemes and initiatives for additional options!

UCAS has lots of information on apprenticeships including a search tool for finding degree apprenticeships!

The government services and information site, gov.uk, also has a helpful search feature. Consider browsing apprenticeship listings, and filtering by level and location to discover inspiring opportunities tailored to your interests.

How to find a degree apprenticeship

Start by researching companies and industries that offer degree apprenticeship programmes aligned with your career interests. Utilise the platforms listed in the section above.

Remember to tailor your application materials to each apprenticeship, highlighting relevant skills and experiences, and be proactive in reaching out to employers or educational institutions for further information.

What degree apprenticeship should I do?

This question is wholly personal and relative to you!

Ultimately, your choice of degree apprenticeship should depend on your interests, skills and aspirations. What industry and roles are you intrigued by, what are you good at and what are your career goals?

Nobody can or should make the decision for you, as it can shape your future and it needs to be right for you as an individual. However, our expert consultants can certainly help shed light on your options and offer tailored advice. 

Let’s get started with an overview of the different types of degree apprenticeships out there!

Different types of degree apprenticeships

There are all sorts of degree apprenticeship options available in the UK.

The following sectors all offer viable options:

  • Engineering.
  • Science.
  • Law.
  • Marketing.
  • Digital sectors.
  • Medicine.

Here are some examples of varying-degree apprenticeships:

  • Banking Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Business and Finance Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Construction Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Digital Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Aerospace Engineering Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Nursing Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Biomedical Science Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Digital marketing Degree Apprenticeship.
  • LLB Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship e.g. Health Education England (HEE).

Is a degree apprenticeship right for you?

Considering a degree apprenticeship is a significant decision, and finding the right path requires careful consideration. 

If you’re unsure whether a degree apprenticeship aligns with your goals and aspirations, our team of expert professional and university admissions consultants at The Profs is here to help. We are pros at securing success.

With our guidance and personalised support, you can explore your options, navigate the application process, and make informed decisions about your future. Utilise our tried and tested methods to make your goals a reality.

Reach out to us today to get started on a rewarding career path.

FAQs

Are there medical doctor degree apprenticeships?

Yes, there are degree apprenticeships for medics. The apprenticeship usually spans five years, during which apprentices must fulfil all academic aspects of medical education, including obtaining a medical degree and passing the Medical Licensing Assessment. Additionally, they must satisfy the criteria established by the General Medical Council to gain admission to the Medical Register.

What degree apprenticeships are there for international students?

For international students considering applying for an apprenticeship, meeting residency requirements and possessing the necessary work eligibility and visas are essential. Should you have inquiries regarding applying as an international student, it is advisable to reach out to the prospective employer for further clarification.

What degree apprenticeship can I get with PWC? 

Yes. PwC’s Flying Start degree programmes provide individuals with the chance to commence their careers and pursue a degree concurrently. You can choose from areas such as accounting, business management, or technology. Regardless of the chosen programme, participants engage in various projects within a diverse and innovative culture. 

How do I find degree apprenticeships near me?

You can use the search tool on gov.uk, UCAS or LinkedIn and select a radius close to your address. You can also ask around in your local area. Read this article for further information.

Is there a midwifery degree apprenticeship near me?

There are midwifery apprenticeships throughout the UK, so it’s likely that you can find something easily commutable. Again, use the search tools on gov.uk, UCAS, LinkedIn, NHS or whatever platform you choose to search within your area.

Can I get a degree apprenticeship with HSBC?

Yes. HSBC offers degree apprenticeships in Wealth & Personal Banking, Commercial Banking, and Digital Business Services. Find out more here.

Can I complete a Biomedicine degree apprenticeship?

Yes, you can. Multiple universities offer Biomedicine degree apprenticeships. Search through your options here.

Does Morgan Stanley offer a degree apprenticeship?

Yes. Morgan Stanley’s Apprenticeship programmes cater to recent school graduates keen on pursuing a degree or qualification while acquiring practical experience within the banking sector.

Does the Bank of America offer a degree apprenticeship?

Yes. The Bank of America offers degree apprenticeships. Most recently, they advertised for 2 positions in London called ‘Global Markets (Equities) Product Technology Apprenticeship’ and ‘Global Markets Technology Career Transition Apprenticeship’. Find out more here.

Does NatWest offer apprenticeships?

Yes. NatWest offers two types of apprenticeships: on-the-job training and off-the-job training. Find out more here.

What is the JP Morgan apprenticeship?

JP Morgan’s apprenticeship programme, available at their Bournemouth & London offices, provides students with a thorough introduction to the financial services sector. It offers the opportunity to earn industry-recognised qualifications while gaining practical experience alongside seasoned professionals. 

Participants will expand their professional network, receive insights from senior leaders, and learn from industry experts. By applying classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios and making significant contributions to JP Morgan’s business, students will develop both technical expertise and practical skills to advance their careers in various directions.

Find out more here.

Does Goldman Sachs offer a degree apprenticeship?

Yes. Goldman Sachs Degree Apprenticeships span four years and are designed for students pursuing undergraduate degrees at Queen Mary University of London or the London Institute of Banking and Finance. Their programmes cover three key areas: FICC and Equities, Engineering, and Operations. These apprenticeships provide students with invaluable hands-on experience and the chance to develop their skills while earning a degree from renowned institutions.

Find out more here.

Does KPMG offer a degree apprenticeship?

Yes. KPMG’s apprenticeships provide individuals with the opportunity to acquire practical experience and cultivate essential skills for their future careers. 

Participants are guided to attain professional qualifications and certifications, including diplomas and degrees while earning a competitive salary ranging from £23,000 to £25,000. These apprenticeships offer a dynamic path to personal and professional growth, equipping individuals with the tools they need to thrive in the workforce.

Find out more here.

Can I do a degree for free?

A great way to complete a degree for free is to take a degree apprenticeship. Read this article for more information to help you decide if this is the right path for you.

If you’d like to study a traditional degree, you can apply for full-tuition scholarships or have your degree sponsored. However, you should bear in mind that these options are extremely competitive. 

Who pays for a degree apprenticeship?

Your employer and the government will pay for your degree apprenticeship.

Do I have to pay if I quit my degree apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship providers are prohibited from requesting apprentices to reimburse any expenses related to training, examinations, or additional activities.