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Your guide to becoming a degree apprentice

Cyber Security Analyst, Software Engineer, Chartered Manager – who would have thought that one day apprenticeships would be designed around these roles and result in a full degree qualification?

Apprenticeships have come a long way. The times when apprentices were only hired by craftsmen to pass on manual skilled trades are no more. Today apprenticeships are available in every industry sector and provide exciting, high quality opportunities in all kinds of careers.

You might be surprised at just how many degree apprenticeship opportunities there are, and the exciting range of benefits they can offer you.

What is a degree apprenticeship?

It’s a real, paid job with a structured learning and development programme. A degree apprenticeship offers a mixture of on- and off-the-job training that gives you the skills needed to get ahead in your chosen career and results in a full degree.

What does a degree apprenticeship offer?

  • An exciting and realistic alternative to full-time study at university
  • Earn while you learn
  • Get time to study for a nationally recognised degree qualification
  • Get paid holidays and other benefits of being an employee
  • Be supported by a workplace mentor
  • If you’re new to the world of work, you can learn invaluable transferable skills like dealing with a wide range of people, time management and teamworking

Why do a higher or degree apprenticeship?

  • A chance to get ahead – you’ll be starting your career three or four years ahead of your peers who study full time at university
  • So much choice – there are a wide range of higher and degree level apprenticeships available
  • It’s an opportunity to gain exciting new skills and move up the ladder – your employer may be looking to develop leaders and managers, so the apprenticeship could help you move to the next stage in your career
  • No tuition fees for you to pay – people studying a full time degree course at university can pay around £9,000 a year in tuition fees alone, plus living and accommodation fees etc. With an apprenticeship, you’ll actually earn while you learn and tuition fees are paid for you by your employer

How do I apply for a degree apprenticeship?

Did you know that apprenticeships aren’t just for new staff? If you’re currently in work, now’s the time to talk to your employer to see what they offer. We recommend starting with your line manager and perhaps also talking to someone in your HR department. If someone in your organisation would like more information about how we can work with them to deliver degree apprenticeships, they can call speak to our business team on 0300 303 0122 or visit our apprenticeships website for employers.

If you’re not in work, or are interested in an apprenticeship within a different organisation, visit www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship to see what's currently available. There are up to 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies on the site at any one time.


[1] Information on the number of apprenticeship starts, achievements, and participation, GOV.UK, 27 March 2014

Apprenticeships myth busting

Myth 1: Apprenticeships are only for 16 year olds

43% of all new apprentices in 2015/16 were aged 25+. Of these, 11% were over 60.1

Myth 2: Apprentices are poorly paid

This is common concern is generally untrue. Employers are on the look-out for the best candidates and often willing to pay more to ensure they get top talent, particularly for degree apprenticeships.

Myth 3: They’re only for entry level jobs

Degree apprenticeships provide a real opportunity to upskill and gain what you need to progress into a more senior role.

Other study options

An apprenticeship not quite right for you? There are various ways to be funded for OU study and a wide range of courses.

Explore our courses