Is a Higher or Degree Apprenticeship Right for Me?

It can be scary deciding which path to choose for your future. We’re breaking down the differences between higher and degree apprenticeships and traditional university options. What exactly are higher and degree apprenticeships? How are they different to traditional apprenticeships and undergraduate or postgraduate degrees? You may have a lot of questions, but worry not, we’re here to answer them.

First thing’s first – what are higher and degree apprenticeships?

Higher and degree apprenticeships allow individuals to achieve a higher education qualification while working full-time and gaining experience in the workplace. Higher apprenticeships lead to higher education qualifications including HNDs and foundation degrees, while degree apprenticeships lead to a full Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

What can you gain from doing a higher or degree apprenticeship?

You will gain a higher-level qualification at the same time as earning a full-time wage without the need to take out a student loan. Your employer will contribute to the training cost with the remainder paid by the government. You will also continue to build up your work experience, with the possibility of gaining additional professional qualifications. Statistics show that 71 per cent of apprentices stayed with their employers after completing their training, while a quarter received a promotion within 12 months (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Apprentice Survey 2014).

What’s the difference between a higher or degree apprenticeship and a degree?

A degree apprenticeship means you get a mix of both full-time working and academic learning. The main difference is the added bonus of gaining thorough experience in a working environment alongside classroom learning. An undergraduate or postgraduate degree may give you the opportunity to complete a year-long or module-based placement, however the difference with a higher or degree apprenticeship is the inclusion of working for a salary alongside working towards a qualification.

Higher and degree apprenticeships typically take between three and five years, as opposed to a traditional undergraduate degree which takes three, or sometimes four. Studying towards a postgraduate degree apprenticeship can also take three years, whilst a traditional Master's degree takes one to two years. 

As a member of the University, you will also have access to the range of support services we offer, be taught by experienced, professionally qualified tutors, and have access to state-of-the-art university facilities. 

Another thing to note about higher and degree apprenticeships is that they are paid for by your employer, meaning you’ll be earning a salary and not racking up any student debt.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

Higher and degree apprenticeships are aimed at individuals aged 18 or over that hold GCSEs and a level 3 qualification (A levels, BTECs and equivalent). It may also be useful for you to hold a qualification in a relevant subject to the apprenticeship you are applying for.

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