Get a Degree While Working
Discover what qualifies for off-the-job training, how you'll be assessed and when you'll graduate
What is off-the-job training?
On your degree apprenticeship, you'll spend a minimum of 6 hours of your working week studying for your degree apprenticeship. This is called off-the-job training. Once you've achieved a portfolio of your off-the-job training, you'll do an end-point assessment and graduate alongside the rest of your class.
Off-the-job training mainly takes place at the University, where you'll attend lectures and practical sessions to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours to achieve your apprenticeship. You can also do off-the-job training at the workplace.
Off-the-job training is calculated throughout your apprenticeship, not over the academic year. It can only take place during your normal working hours (the time you're paid to work). If training takes place outside of working hours, your employer will owe you time off in lieu (TOIL). Both your employer and the University of Portsmouth are equally responsible for making sure that you take part in off-the-job training during your degree apprenticeship.
What counts as off-the-job training
For most of your off-the-job training, you'll attend theory and practical lectures at the University of Portsmouth. You'll also read, research and write your assignments. You'll need to keep a record or log of your training. You'll need to prepare a portfolio with 15–20 pieces of evidence of your time spent doing off-the-job training for your end-point assessment (EPA).
The National Apprenticeship Service explains how you can determine if an activity counts as off-the-job training.
- Your attendance at internal and/or external training programmes that contribute to your continuing professional development (CPD)
- Online or distance learning related to your apprenticeship
- Research using management reference books and/or online resources to improve your knowledge, skills and attributes
- Evidence of your attendance at internal or external meetings, and evidence to support knowledge and skills of relevant techniques learnt at these meetings
- Preparing for your end-point assessment panel interview
- Any time spent teaching theory through lectures, role-play, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training
- Practical training you've taken part in, such as shadowing, being mentored, industry visits and attendance at trade or industry competitions
- Time spent in learning support and/or writing for assessments and assignments
- Your attendance at team-building or 'away days' as an employee, as well as the skills and knowledge of management you learnt while there
- Any training that takes place outside of your paid working week
- Your progress reviews or on-programme assessment
- Additional English and Maths studies (up to level 2) – this is funded separately
How to evidence your off-the-job training
You'll have access to online forms where you can track your off-the-job training. These forms are embedded in your virtual learning environment (VLE). You should try to complete the log at least every fortnight. You'll receive a copy of your entry each time you submit the form. You'll also receive a regular report of the hours of off-the-job training you've completed.
When will your off-the-job training take place?
Typically, your off-the-job training will be divided into 1 day per week studying for your course, and the rest of the week at work.
Teaching can vary. You might take part in training 1 day every 2 weeks, in 1 intensive block, or from a combination of online and face-to-face learning. Your start date is flexible and can be confirmed with your employer once your application is processed. Contact our degree apprenticeship team for more information or to discuss your options.
We'll provide support to help you balance your work and studies, but you'll also need good time management skills. You'll sign a commitment statement at the beginning of your degree, along with your employer and the University of Portsmouth. The statement is evidence of your commitment to completing your degree apprenticeship, so your attendance and contribution to the degree are important.
The end-point assessment (EPA)
Your end-point assessment takes place at the end of your degree apprenticeship. It's designed to test whether you've gained the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standards. You can access your apprenticeship standards on your virtual learning environment. The EPA differs slightly, depending on the course you're on. But all follow the same basic rules:
- it must be carried out by an EPA provider independent of your employer or the University
- the EPA provider must be on the register of EPA organisations
- the EPA will be assessed by an industry expert nominated by your employer, and an assessor nominated by the University (but not an employee of the University of Portsmouth)
- You must pass the EPA to graduate from your apprenticeship
Integrated or non-integrated end-point assessment
There are two main structures of a degree apprenticeship that affect how the final assessment is given.
On an integrated degree apprenticeship, employers and the University of Portsmouth work together to co-design the course. The EPA is designed along with the course as an integral part of the degree. You can't pass the degree without passing the EPA.
A non-integrated degree apprenticeship occurs when you take an existing degree that already meets the knowledge requirements of an occupation. You can combine the degree with additional workplace training to meet the full degree apprenticeship standards. To successfully complete a non-integrated degree apprenticeship, you'll need to do an EPA as well as the standard degree assessment.
How your end-point assessment is assessed
You'll be assessed by taking part in a minimum of 2 different assessment methods. The methods chosen will be those most relevant to your job, and will be chosen by your employer and the University of Portsmouth. Assessment methods can include:
- a practical assessment
- an interview
- a project
- written and/or multiple-choice tests
- a presentation or sales pitch
Different assessment methods may be combined. For example, you could take part in a workplace observation followed by an interview.
On completion of the EPA, you'll be graded with a fail, pass, merit or distinction. Your grade will be based on all the assessment activities undertaken as part of the EPA.
Your attendance on the programme is very important. You'll be required to attend all lessons, as your success is closely related to your attendance. We strongly recommend you take all annual leave outside of your timetabled lessons at university.
On completion of your degree apprenticeship, you'll be invited to graduate alongside all other students in your department and to celebrate your completion of the degree element of your course. In some cases, the EPA will be completed after graduation.
Find a degree apprenticeship
Now you know how you'll be taught and assessed, find your ideal degree apprenticeship to complement and advance your chosen career.