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Working and learning

Using work to gain a higher education qualification

Many students are interested in knowing not only how they can combine work and a degree but also how to use a work environment to help them gain a degree. Studying in this way means you can gain a valuable higher level qualification and also develop the skills employers are looking for in that job sector. There are many higher education level courses which enable you to learn in the workplace as well as the classroom.

University level courses that are work-related

  • Vocational degrees are available in some sector areas such as veterinary science, dentistry, engineering, science, and areas linked to medicine such as nursing, midwifery, pathology and radiography.
  • Foundation Degrees are available related to specific job sectors. They have been designed with the help of employers from that sector. After completing a Foundation Degree you can then ‘top up’ to gain a full Honours Degree.
  • Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNC/Ds) have been designed to give you the skills to put your knowledge to effective use in a particular job sector. They are highly valued by employers and can also count towards membership of professional bodies.
  • If you are already employed and want to progress in your career or are studying at college and have a part-time job or access to a work placement, an NVQ might be most suitable to help you develop skills and knowledge for a specific job sector.
  • Some companies offer Higher Apprenticeships which include a Foundation Degree and the Degree Apprenticeships offer paid training in work as you also study towards a degree.


Assessment on work-related degree level courses does vary according to the course but can involve doing projects in the workplace, work-related assignments, written assessments, examinations and workplace assessment. Assessment will also look at how learning is applied in a work environment.

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