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Degree apprenticeships

What are degree apprenticeships?

An apprentice has full-time employment status rather than student status, and receives at least an apprentice's minimum wage.

A key feature of degree apprenticeships is that they are co-designed by employers. This is intended to ensure that apprentices are equipped with the skills employers need, and to boost their employment prospects. 

Degree apprentices do not pay for training costs or student fees, and are not eligible for student loans.

With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy from April 2017, levy-paying employers will pay for the costs of the degree apprenticeship from their digital account with a 10% top-up from government. Non-levy-paying employers will get 90% of the training costs covered by the government.

From September 2015, places on the first degree apprenticeships became available in four key industries: digital, automotive engineering, banking relationship manager, and construction. Degree apprenticeships in nine more industrial areas have since been announced.

For further information on the development of degree apprenticeships please visit the Skills Funding Agency website.

Why should universities develop degree apprenticeships? 

Apprenticeships are a central part of current government policy, and universities want to be at the forefront of this new agenda. Degree apprenticeships build on the experience universities have in providing flexible workplace-based learning in collaboration with employers. 

Reasons for the development of degree apprenticeships include:

  • They can help develop employer relationships.
  • They support widening participation goals.
  • They offer a way for universities to diversify their offer.
  • Degree apprentices are likely to be highly employable.
  • Degree apprenticeships provide an important income stream for universities and new business opportunities.

What is Universities UK's role in promoting degree apprenticeships?

Universities UK is actively engaged in supporting the development and promotion of degree apprenticeships. We want to raise the profile of degree apprenticeships and lobby on behalf of our members to ensure a supportive policy environment.

In March 2016 we published The future growth of degree apprenticeships, an analysis of development of degree apprenticeships to date. 

In March 2017 we published a follow up report, Degree apprenticeships: realising opportunities, setting out the results of a detailed survey of universities in England. The survey was made possible through support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund.

Our survey received over 65 responses from universities covering the diverse range of university types and all of the regions of England. The resulting report shows that there is significant interest in the development of degree apprenticeships and plans for swift growth in numbers to meet employer demand. You can read the full analysis and recommendations here.

 Our work on degree apprenticeships