Apprenticeships

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.

 Cyber Security Analyst, Police Constable, Nurse Associate and Chartered Manager – are just some of the exciting different types of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships that have been developed recently. These have been developed by employers, colleges, universities, and professional bodies working in partnership. 

Higher Apprenticeships may be general such as in 'management' or in a very specific area. For example, instead of IT - there will be a specific apprenticeship in cyber security.

Degree apprenticeships were introduced in 2015, and are part of what is known as Higher Apprenticeships - which includes all apprenticeships between level 4 and level 7. These enable you to gain a higher qualification such as a foundation degree, Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree whilst you are working.

Higher and degree apprenticeships have increased in popularity. In one year, from 2017 to 2018, the number of higher and degree apprentices doubled to 6000, and this is expected to grow each year. 

Today apprenticeships are available in every industry sector and provide exciting, high quality opportunities in all kinds of careers.

You might be surprised at just how many Higher and Degree apprenticeship opportunities there are, and the exciting range of benefits they can offer.

As these apprenticeships are new , they are sometimes not available either where you live or in the sector you are looking for. They are also highly competitive so it is a good idea to get your university application in at the same time as you are looking for an apprenticeship, so you have a Plan A and a Plan B!

What are they like?

You are employed by the company and receive a salary, paid holidays, pension and sickness benefit. With Higher and Degree apprenticeships you work and study part-time, alongside your job. 

Degree apprentices are more likely to have some part-time study at a university, though this could be online. It could also be on day release or in a block placement. 

Higher apprentices are more likely to do their study programme at a college or private training provider, though some are also available at universities.

Who are they for?

In 2017 over half the number of people doing Degree Apprenticeships were young people (under 21) and the majority of people doing Higher Apprenticeships were over 21. This mix of ages is because many companies are now using apprenticeships to develop and up-skill existing staff within the company. These could be existing apprentices who have completed an Advanced Apprenticeship or they could be any staff within the organisation that have the aptitude and would benefit. 

However, there are  Higher and Degree Apprenticeship programmes that are aimed at young people starting out, who have completed Level 3 qualifications, such as A levels, BTECs or an Advanced Apprenticeships. Up until now over half of these opportunities have been in STEM subjects like engineering.

What qualification will you get?

Higher apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain Level 4 qualifications or above, with most apprentices gaining an NVQ level 4, HND or Foundation Degree. Many also offer the opportunity to progress to Level 7 [which is postgraduate degree level]

Degree Apprenticeships offer the opportunity for apprentices to gain a full Bachelors or Master's degree as part of their apprenticeship which is at Level 6 or Level 7.

You may also do professional qualifications too such as in law or accountancy alongside the apprenticeship.

How long do they take to complete?

Higher Apprenticeships  -  between one year and five years to complete.

Degree Apprenticeships -  between three to six years to complete.

What are the benefits of a higher/ degree apprenticeship?

  • No tuition fees as the costs are paid by the employer and the government - this could save you debts over £30 000
  • Earn while you learn
  • Get time to study for a nationally recognised degree qualification
  • Get paid holidays and other benefits of being an employee
  • If you’re new to the world of work, you can develop your transferable skills in team work and time management.

How much will you earn?

The salary of a higher/degree apprentice varies depending on the sector from approximately £16,000 - £25,000 a year. 

 As an example of a well paid scheme - 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 £35 000 on completion of the course.

What job sectors offer Higher and Degree Apprenticeships?

 The Institute for Apprenticeships list all of the sectors offering Higher and Degree Apprenticeships that are currently available, (see below).

Higher and Degree Apprenticeship vacancies on UCAS

To search for current vacancies go to the UCAS website and look at:

 You can apply for many of these apprenticeships and a place at university at the same time.

You can also go to Find an apprenticeship on the gov.uk site and look for vacancies by level

If you are interested in working for a particular employer, take a look on their website to see what they are offering.

Degree Apprenticeships offered at universities in the South of England

Many institutions in the local area are working with businesses to develop Degree Apprenticeships. Here are some examples of the courses available, please check with the provider as there are more being developed all the time and also check whether these are being offered to young people or people already in a job.

Buckinghamshire New University

University of Exeter

University of Gloucestershire

Oxford Brookes University

University of Plymouth 

University of Portsmouth 

Southampton Solent University

University of the West of England 

The Open University 

The University of Winchester

Cap Gemini Degree Apprentices

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