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How Does a Degree Apprenticeship Work?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “How does a degree apprenticeship work?”

Degree apprenticeships have gained significant popularity in recent years, offering a unique pathway for individuals to earn a university degree and gain practical work experience simultaneously. This article will delve into how degree apprenticeships work, providing a comprehensive guide to help you understand this exciting opportunity.

How Does a Degree Apprenticeship Work

What are Degree Apprenticeships?

Degree apprenticeships are a form of higher education that combines academic study with on-the-job training. They allow individuals to obtain a full bachelor’s or master’s degree while working and earning a salary. These apprenticeships are designed to meet the needs of employers, equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge required for specific industries and occupations.

The Structure of Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are typically structured as a partnership between a university, an employer, and the apprentice. This partnership ensures the apprenticeship offers a well-rounded educational experience, combining academic learning with practical application.

  1. Employer Involvement: The employer plays a crucial role in degree apprenticeships. They provide the apprenticeship opportunity, employing the apprentice full-time and delivering the necessary on-the-job training. The employer may pay the apprentice’s salary and cover the tuition fees.
  2. University Education: Simultaneously, the apprentice enrols in a university program related to their chosen field of study. The academic component of the degree apprenticeship is delivered through a combination of classroom-based learning, online modules, and practical workshops. The apprentice attends university part-time while working full-time with their employer.
  3. Integrated Learning: Throughout the degree apprenticeship, the apprentice directly applies the knowledge gained through their university studies to their work. Integrating theoretical learning with practical experience enables them to deeply understand their industry and apply their skills in a real-world setting.
  4. Professional Qualifications: Upon completing the degree apprenticeship, the apprentice will receive a nationally recognised qualification, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They will also gain professional certifications relevant to their chosen occupation, enhancing their employability and career prospects.

Benefits of Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships offer numerous benefits to both apprentices and employers:

  1. Earning While Learning: Apprentices receive a salary throughout their apprenticeship, allowing them to gain valuable work experience and financial independence without incurring significant student loan debt.
  2. Industry-Relevant Skills: Degree apprenticeships focus on developing skills and knowledge directly applicable to specific industries and occupations. This ensures that graduates are job-ready and equipped with the skills employers seek.
  3. Enhanced Employability: Graduates of degree apprenticeships possess a blend of academic qualifications and practical experience, making them highly desirable to employers. They often have a head start in their careers compared to traditional university graduates.
  4. Career Progression: Degree apprenticeships provide a clear pathway for career progression. Apprentices can gain promotions within their organisation or explore new job opportunities with their enhanced qualifications and experience.
  5. Cost-Effective Higher Education: Degree apprenticeships offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional university education. Since employers typically cover the tuition fees, apprentices can earn a degree without the burden of student loans.


Degree apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity for individuals to pursue higher education while gaining valuable work experience. Through academic study and on-the-job training, apprentices can develop industry-specific skills, enhance their employability, and achieve nationally recognised qualifications. By offering a salary and practical experience, degree apprenticeships have become an increasingly popular option for those seeking an alternative to traditional university pathways. Whether you are a school leaver, career changer, or aspiring professional, exploring degree apprenticeships could be a fantastic step toward a successful future.

Updated on July 13, 2023

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