Degree Apprenticeships

Degree Apprenticeships

by Ruth Sparkes

What is a degree apprenticeship? With more companies signing up to this new initiative, Ruth Sparkes explains what they are and how young people can combine a degree whilst receiving a salary in their chosen field.

National Apprenticeship Week is fast approaching, and there has been some interesting news about less young people taking up apprenticeships but that’s not the whole picture news across the board. Ruth Sparkes, Editor of Future Mag shared with us some top information about the all new Degree Apprenticeships.

Degree apprenticeships – what are they and how can you get one?

Degree apprenticeships are new; on paper they make perfect sense. Degree apprenticeships are just that – a university degree and apprenticeship rolled into one.

Uptake is still low and employers and universities are wary of red tape involved, but the good news is numbers are rising, and there are 27 new schemes launching in September 2018, which should – if all goes to plan – create thousands of new opportunities.

Degree apprentices are hired by a company, paid a salary and study part time at a university – all fees are covered by the government and employer. Companies have worked with universities to design the degrees, which combine chunks of study time at university and practical experience at work – this is a way of getting a degree with no debt and high chance of ongoing employment.

What’s the difference between degree and higher apprenticeships?

Degree apprenticeships lead to a bachelor’s degree (level 6) or occasionally master’s degree (level 7). Higher apprenticeships begin at level 4 and can lead to a range of qualifications including a foundation degree.

How long do they last?

They usually last three to four years though they can be as long as six, with the working week mostly split between four days at work and a day at a university or college, though this can vary.

Where can I find vacancies?

They’re very new, so vacancies are in the low thousands, though the number of schemes has risen 50 per cent in the last year. You can apply for alerts at, or you can sign up for regular vacancy updates from If you’re after a certain employer, look up their website. Check out London Southbank University – they have 21 degree apprenticeships on offer!

How many can I apply for?

There’s no limit to how many you apply for. You can also apply to university at the same time as a backup. Smaller companies might have an informal application procedure but larger businesses might have assessment and interview stages.

When to apply

Unlike university applications, there’s no fixed deadline, though many are advertised around and after the summer. Some schemes close when they’re full, so it’s best to apply early.

What do they pay?

Top schemes at larger companies can start at nearly £22,000 a year for business and professional services degree apprenticeships. Some employers advertise a competitive salary – which means pay will be in line with similar roles in other organisations.

What qualifications do I need?

These vary among employers, with some asking high grades at A level. Careers advisers warn that the top schemes are as competitive as elite universities – some 3,000 applicants applied recently for 80 degree apprenticeships with a multinational company.

What subjects can you do?

You won’t find degree apprenticeships in ‘pure’ academic areas such as physics or history – they’re mostly specialist and vocational – but more subjects are creeping in. New qualifications have been designed with existing skills shortages in mind, not least cyber skills and engineering.

Some prestigious companies are already on board, and more universities are signing up – from Newcastle to Brighton to Southampton Solent – some 63 in total plan to be involved by September 2018.