Working and learning, including to university level

Employer sponsored degrees

Increasingly, companies are looking at how they can develop their own graduates by taking bright young students and sponsoring them through degree level courses. Employers know that by sponsoring students they end up with a graduate who is highly-trained and knows the company in-depth.

Typically, you would work with the company during holidays or work part-time and study at university for a degree level course for the rest of the time. It’s much the same way that Apprenticeships work, but you end up with a degree. Another new way to do this is through a Degree Apprenticeship.

Benefits

The enormous advantage of gaining employer sponsorship is that you get a salary and extremely valuable experience. You’re likely to finish your degree without any debt and be able to walk into a job, potentially with the company you were sponsored by (some companies guarantee there will be a job at the end).

Things to consider

On some sponsorship programmes you are contracted to work for the company after you graduate, so make sure you’re happy with the deal before you sign on the dotted line!

You need to feel comfortable about your career choice, not just your choice of a degree. Many sponsorship programmes are designed with a university so you may have very little choice about where you go or exactly what you study.

You also need to remember that life on a sponsored scheme might be very different to that of most undergraduates. While other students are going out to late-night parties and having long holidays, you might be working for the company and studying at the same time.

Some companies who will sponsor students by contributing towards their degree costs, and require little or no contribution from them. However, some companies might expect the student to work for them during the summer or after graduation. This article from All About School Leavers gives you further information.

Employers who offer sponsored degrees

There is a wide range of employers you might want to investigate. Take a look at:

If you have a career area in mind, check out the opportunities on relevant employer websites or seach on the Internet.

Some companies offer apprenticeships that include Foundation Degrees, look at the Higher Apprenticeship section for more information and the new Degree Apprenticeships offer work-based training and a university degree.

You could, of course, take a chance and get in touch with a company direct even if they are not advertising. If you impress them with your CV and covering letter, you might just get an offer!

Some of the more vocational degree courses such as engineering or business-related courses tend to attract employers more, so if you have identified the course you are interested in, you could contact the course at the university to see if they will let you know who their sponsoring employers are.

Here are a few examples of employers offering sponsored degrees:

  • Accountants and professional services firm KPMG has a training scheme for sixth form/college leavers.
  • Capgemini offers a BSc in Computing & IT through a Higher Apprenticeship
  • The Merchant Navy, the commercial shipping industry carrying goods and passengers worldwide, has a sponsored degree scheme
  • CGI offers a course combining working for the company and studying for a degree in Business Management or Business Management with IT

Some companies offer apprenticeships which include a Foundation degree, look at the Higher Apprenticeship section for more information.

Not Going to Uni shows some vacancies and opportunities through sponsored degrees.

Sponsoreddegree.com has more information about this route, how to get one and what's available.

The Student Ladder site has

  • Information on over 2500 Work Placements, Graduate Schemes & Internship opportunities for 16-24 year old students
  • Over 100 School Leaver Programmes for those not going to university

Expect high levels of competition — after all, the company will be investing a lot of money in your training and these are highly sought after positions!