It’s an exciting time as you consider your future, but don’t forget to consider all your options. Higher and degree apprenticeships are a different pathway to following the traditional route of going to university as a full-time student. They offer all the benefits of higher education, as well as the competitive advantage of gaining valuable work experience while completing your degree. You will not only be learning, but earning a salary, from day one. Your tuition fees are paid for by your employer and the government, so you will not be expected to pay any tuition fees or apply for a student loan.
Universities work in partnership with employers to develop and deliver these apprenticeships, which combine university study and on-the-job training. This unique blend of work and university life gives apprentices not only the skills to succeed in their job, but also cultural and social experiences which will serve them well in their career.
Many prestigious and recognisable brands offer a range of vacancies across a broad cross-section of industries, in areas like engineering, aerospace, cyber security, nuclear science, business management, data analysis, HR, finance, and media. These opportunities are available across England, including areas such as Newcastle, Salford, Derby, Birmingham, Bristol, Plymouth, London, and Bournemouth.
Higher apprenticeships cover all levels, from Level 4 through to Level 7, including a variety of job roles in different sectors. Levels 4 to 7 are equivalent to a foundation degree and above. A degree apprenticeship is at Levels 6 and 7, and includes a full bachelor’s (Level 6) or master’s (Level 7) degree, or equivalent professional qualification.
Securing a higher or degree apprenticeship is a competitive process. Some jobs will have a lot of applicants, so it is important to stand out from the crowd. You may have to attend an assessment centre as part of the selection process. You will be working full-time, and fitting in the equivalent of a full-time degree alongside it, so you’ll need to be committed. It might take a bit longer than studying full-time – for example, four years instead of three – but you’ll achieve the same degree.
The number of available apprenticeship roles at higher and degree level continues to grow. Seeing the many opportunities now available is a very exciting prospect. More and more apprentices will be achieving the high level skills our economy needs to compete, while employers benefit from employees with both the practical skills and degree-level knowledge required for their chosen professions.
Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service
Visit UCAS’ career finder service, or GOV.UK, to view over 3,000 vacancies from more than 40 employers, starting in 2018. You can apply for many of these apprenticeships at the same time as applying for a place at university.