Postgraduate Open Evening

Degree Apprenticeship Employer FAQs

What is an apprenticeship?

  • Gain industry experience whilst in paid employment
  • Gain a recognised qualification
  • Earn a wage

How does it work?

Apprenticeships are delivered to provide apprentices with the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to become a capable and confident professional in their chosen field. There are three parts to an apprenticeship:

Programme of study:

An apprentice will spend at least 20% of their contracted work hours participating in Off the Job training. This should involve new learning that is helping the apprentice gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours in the apprenticeship standard (e.g. attending face-to-face lectures, carrying out workplace projects and mentoring).

A paid job:

An apprentice will spend the remaining 80% of their time working for their employer in a genuine, salaried role. This will be closely linked to the programme of study and during their employment the apprentice will have the opportunity to put what they are learning into practice.

An assessment at the end of the programme:

All apprenticeships have an End Point Assessment, although this is delivered in different ways depending on the programme being studied. In some cases this is integrated, meaning that completion of the degree itself is the End Point Assessment. Others are separate, where an independent organisation will assess competence against the apprenticeship standard.


What are the benefits of degree apprenticeships?

  • Apprentices are employed and paid a wage throughout the course.
  • Apprentices will gain a full degree — bachelor's or master's — without needing to pay student fees.
  • Apprentices will gain a head start in their chosen profession.
  • It will allow apprentices to acquire the graduate/postgraduate level skills they need.
  • Employers can attract new talent — particularly high calibre school-leavers who are keen to earn a degree in a work-based environment.
  • Training costs can be co-funded by the government and the employer.

Is there a limit to the number of apprentices an employer can have?

No – employers can take on as many apprentices as they feel they can support.

Can you do an apprenticeship after a degree?

Yes! Many graduates are now seeing the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship after their degree. In May 2017, with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, the Government relaxed the rules on previous learning and in addition has spent a lot of time and money to create a number of apprenticeships at Level 6 and 7, equivalent to Degree and Masters levels. As an added bonus, graduates are also eligible for funding, which means that many employers, with training budgets boosted by the apprenticeship levy, are looking at how they can attract a whole new intake of graduates via an apprenticeship route. However, if you already hold a degree you are not able to complete an apprenticeship in a similar subject – an apprenticeship must always deliver new learning so the area being studied would need to be different.

Do apprentices get paid a salary?

Yes, the salary depends on the employer.

Who is eligible to do a degree apprentice?

In general, if you are over 16 and live in England then you may well be eligible to do a Degree Apprenticeship. Citizens of EEA countries or non-EEA citizens legally resident in the UK for at least the previous three years before the start of the apprenticeship (NOT for educational purposes), may also be eligible.

Who benefits from a degree apprentice?

If a learner already has a clear idea of the career they want to pursue, and they want to take a practical approach to their studies, then a Degree Apprenticeship is the right choice. It isn’t a free degree and they will have to balance work with study and other commitments. However, it could be the opportunity they need to reach their full potential. They will learn at a top-class academic institution whilst gaining all the skills they need to thrive in the workplace.

What do I do when I’ve finished?

It is up to the apprentice and their employer what they do when they have finished their apprenticeship. We hope there will be an opportunity for apprentices to stay on at the same company, either as an employee in a relevant role, or progress to the next level of apprenticeship. In some instances this is not possible but an apprentice will now be a highly skilled and well qualified graduate ready to move onto a new organisation. Alternatively, they may decide to apply for university for further study.

What qualification will they gain?

During their programme an apprentice will be working towards a nationally recognised apprenticeship standard. Many apprenticeships are accredited by relevant industry regulatory bodies and will help further apprentices in their chosen career. Degree Apprenticeships also include a full undergraduate or postgraduate degree, for example a BA, BSc, BEng, MA, MSc or MEng. For those learners who do not already hold a Level 2 English and/or Maths qualification additional support will be provided to enable them to achieve this during their programme.

Who pays for the training?

Training providers in England* access funding through the Apprenticeship Levy or via the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Organisations that have an annual paybill of £3million or more contribute 0.5% through PAYE as an Apprenticeship Levy. This can be used to fund apprenticeship training only. Smaller businesses that do not contribute into a Levy can access funding through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The employer will be required to pay 5% of the total training costs, with the ESFA funding the remaining 95%. From 2020 the ESFA plans to allow all employers, regardless of size, to access levy funding to pay for apprenticeships training.

There are additional financial incentives available to employers in some cases. Training Providers can provide details on this on an individual basis.

* In Wales Apprenticeships are funded by the Welsh Assembly and in Scotland by Skills Development Scotland