What are degree apprenticeships, and why should you do one?

Degree apprenticeships combine a university course with employment. They are an excellent option for students who are motivated to go to university for the degree qualification and know exactly which industry they want to pursue. Degree apprenticeships cover level 6 and level 7 apprenticeships. They enable students to study at university without paying tuition fees, alongside earning a full salary.

Many students apply to university for the academic experience, choosing to study a subject they enjoy or have previously excelled in, and then use this time to discover what career paths are available to them. However, here at Developing a Student, we understand that there is no single student experience. Many young people want to go to university because they already have a career in mind and know what they need to do to get there.

In many of these cases, a degree apprenticeship could be the perfect solution. They allow you to get ahead in your career through full-time employment whilst also being funded to get the degree level qualification. Students apply to degree apprenticeships through the employer, which means that with each different degree apprenticeship, you will know precisely what the role and course entail. Furthermore, by applying through employers, it allows young people to apply for a range of university, employment options, as well as degree apprenticeships.

Launched in 2015, degree apprenticeships are relatively new, which means they aren’t always promoted to those students who are encouraged towards university. Due to the many outdated stereotypes regarding apprenticeships, many people believe that apprenticeships will leave young people less academically qualified. While it is true that the lower level apprenticeships have a stronger vocational focus, degree apprenticeships award students with an accredited university degree. This ensures that students have all the knowledge as well as the skills needed for their industry.

Employers create links with universities to create courses which have a strong employability and academic focus; this means those graduating from a degree apprenticeship will be ready to go into their chosen industry. The UK suffers from a considerable skills gap when it comes to its graduates. This means that employers struggle to find university leavers that have the necessary practical skills to do a job, as well as academic ability. Degree apprentices are working to close the skills gap by co-designing programmes that equally prioritise knowledge and skill.

Due to the dual criteria of a vocational focus and rigorous academic training, there are fewer degree apprenticeships on offer than other lower-level apprenticeships. They are best suited to careers such as engineering, nursing, technology and business. As they have become a more popular choice for young people studying for a degree qualification, more large employers and universities are offering high-quality degree apprenticeships. Some popular courses include Aerospace engineering and Aerospace software development at the University of Central Lancashire and BSc Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship at Birkbeck, University of London.  Degree apprenticeships are an excellent alternative to the traditional university route. If you are interested in starting one, keep an eye on our opportunities board where you can find a whole range of career opportunities.