Degree apprenticeship student in a meeting

Like the idea of getting a degree, but not sure about traditional study? A degree apprenticeship might be for you

4 min read

Studying a degree apprenticeship allows you to combine real work experience with the knowledge and theory you'll get from studying a degree.

The courses have been developed by the Government, in partnership with employers and universities. This means you'll learn skills that employers are looking for in the workplace, and will be in high demand in the future.

What are the benefits of studying a Degree Apprenticeship?

No need for student loans


The thought of paying back student loans puts some people off studying for a degree. This isn't the case with degree apprenticeships. Your employer and the Government pay your tuition fees, so you don't need a tuition fee loan to cover your study costs. You don't need a student maintenance loan either, because you'll be earning a salary from your employer.
 

Gain practical experience


Because you'll be in work, you can apply the skills you learn on your degree apprenticeship in the workplace. You'll also get hands-on work experience in your day-to-day role, which are highly valued by future employers. 

Depending on your placement, you'll gain skills like project management, building client relationships and leadership. You'll get involved in real projects where you collaborate with others, and develop creative problem-solving skills. All of which will make you highly employable in the workplace.
 

Get ahead in the job market


Because you'll be learning on-the-job with your employer, you'll gain lots of experience to enhance your CV whilst studying for your degree apprenticeship. This gives you an advantage over graduates from full-time courses, who may not have had as many opportunities to apply what they’ve been learning, in the workplace.
 

How would I spend my time?

Degree apprenticeships are suitable for anyone over 18 and take 1–5 years to complete, depending on the course.

Like any apprenticeship qualification, you will spend most of your time developing your skills and knowledge in the workplace, by taking on practical tasks and applying your knowledge.

20% of your time will be dedicated to learning or training. This means you'll typically go to university 1 day a week for around 30 weeks every year. You may also be given training, or additional learning opportunities, away from your normal place of work on the weeks you’re not at university to make sure you get the 20% training you are entitled to.

Will I miss out on the university experience though?

Studying a degree apprenticeship is different to full-time undergraduate study, so there will be some differences. But mostly those differences are in the ways you will learn and how you’ll apply your knowledge. 

You’ll be able to access all the same facilities and benefits as full-time students. Including access to the library, sports and recreation facilities, and the Students’ Union. You can also get an NUS card entitling you to discounts at over 200 brands in the UK and many more internationally.

If you want to have the same experience of moving away to university and living with other students, you also have the option to live in University halls if you would like to. At Portsmouth, we guarantee you a room in halls for the first year of your apprenticeship – useful if you want to live with full-time students to experience life on campus. You'll need to pay for your accommodation out of your salary.

What support can I expect on a Degree Apprenticeship course?

You'll get a personal tutor from the University and a workplace mentor. Both will support and advise you throughout your apprenticeship.

Just like a full-time undergraduate student, you’ll have access to all the same University support services. At Portsmouth, this includes academic support, counselling, wellbeing and chaplaincy services. As well as access to the Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC).

What's the application process like?

Applying for a degree apprenticeship is very similar to applying for a job. Rather than applying to a university for a course, you will need to look for vacancies with the businesses themselves.

You can search individual employer websites and vacancy listings to see if they offer degree apprenticeships, this can be useful if you have a particular employer in mind that you’d like to work for. You can also use the Government’s Find an Apprenticeship service which lists all available apprenticeships, at all levels. There you can filter your search to degree level, and personalise your search based on location or subject if you wish to.

How to get started

The first thing you will need to do once you’ve found a vacancy is submit an online application. Just like other employment opportunities, you may then also be required to complete:

  • Telephone or online interview
  • Skill assessments
  • Face-to-face interview 

You’ll need to successfully secure a place with an employer before you will be able to start the university course to earn your degree.

Just like other university courses, there may be academic entry requirements you need to meet in order to start the course. These will be included in the vacancy information and on university course information pages. 

Find out more about entry requirements and eligibility for degree apprenticeships.

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