Degree apprentiships

Degree apprenticeships are a relatively new thing in the UK, but they're a fantastic combination of on-the-job experience and getting a degree at the same time.

These are apprenticeships where at the end you come out with a degree. You have the job, you're earning the money, you're getting the experience, and at the same time you are working towards your degree. The majority of apprenticeships are going to include some study, and it's going to vary by what level that study is to and how much time is actually devoted to that study. Like all apprenticeships, this is going to be a joint venture between the place where you're actually working who are actually paying you to do the apprenticeship, where you're actually getting the work experience, and the university where you're actually going to be studying. The university is going to be delivering courses that are very relevant to what you are doing in your day-to-day job. For example, Thames Valley Police and the University of Wales have developed a degree apprenticeship in Protective Services. This is how to be a Police Constable. They're not going to teach you things at the university that you don't need to know in your day-to-day job. Your employer is going to say to your university, "We need our people to know this, this, this, and this," and the university is going to develop a way to teach it to you, modules, lectures, tests, and then they're going to feed back to your employer as to who you're doing in university. It really is a two-way relationship. Everything is built upon the needs from the other side. There are loads of examples where you can do this, podiatry, civil engineering, aerospace engineering, tailoring, conveyancing, or actuaries. This is a very specific combination of a vocational degree and on-the-job experience. One of the massive advantages about degree apprenticeships is that your tuition fees are going to be paid by either the government or the employer so that you're not going to come out of university with massive debts. And because you're being paid for your apprenticeship, then you don't need to take out a loan for your living fees as well. So if you're not in a financial position to go to university, maybe if you have caring responsibility, if you have dependents or you don't have the support, then this could be a real viable chance for you to get a degree, be earning at the same time, and the chances are that your employer will keep you on after you've done your apprenticeship.

The way that your study and your work time is going to be divided up is going to vary between your employer, your university, and the type of course that you're doing. You may find you have specific days in university, maybe two days a week you're off studying. It may be blocked so this month you're at work, this month you're studying. Your employers may even give you time off to study for your exams. There are a wide range of firms that have signed up to this across a broad spectrum of different industries. For example, Rolls-Royce and loads of other car firms, HSBC and loads of other banking firms, GSK and loads of other science firms, EDF, and things like the RAF also offer something similar. So these are a very, very viable, very, very sensible alternative to vocational degrees and apprenticeships since they kind of combine them both.

The following sectors have degree apprenticeships in place or are currently developing them;



Animal care

Business and administration

Childcare and education



Digital technology


Engineering and manufacturing

Environmental services


Health and science




Protective services (e.g. police)


Social care