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Degree apprenticeships: How you could get a degree for free

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Degree apprenticeships

If you want to get a degree, but you’re worried about finances or just not sure that a traditional university course is right for you, a degree apprenticeship could be a great option. 

A degree apprenticeship allows you to study towards an undergraduate or master’s degree while you work, getting invaluable industry experience and earning a salary. Your off-the-job training takes place in your working hours, and you won’t have to pay for your tuition. 

Find out everything you need to know about degree apprenticeships here. 

What are degree apprenticeships? 

Degree apprenticeships are jobs with training. On completion of the apprenticeship, you’ll achieve an undergraduate or master’s degree – just like someone who has got their degree through a traditional route. 

Your training is paid for by apprenticeship funding, so unlike with traditional university courses, you won’t have to pay for your tuition yourself. What’s more, you’ll earn a competitive salary while learning.  

Though you’ll study part-time at a university, around 80% of your time will be spent doing practical work. This allows you to get real-life work experience and still gain a recognised qualification. 

Degree apprenticeships are a Level 6 or 7 apprenticeship. 

Who can do degree apprenticeships and what are the requirements? 

The requirements for each degree apprenticeship are different.  

Some Level 6 apprenticeships will ask for at least five GCSEs at 9-4 (or A*- C on the old grading scale), including English and maths. But you could also progress into a degree apprenticeship from a lower-level apprenticeship, or another qualification like a T Level. 

It does mean that you’ll need to be at least 18-years-old to participate in most degree apprenticeship, though there is no upper age limit. 

However, as well as considering your grades, employers will be looking for other skills like communication, teamwork and passion. They might also value prior industry experience as much as formal qualifications.   

How much do degree apprentices earn? 

The amount you can earn depends on the specific apprenticeship. However, many employers offer apprentices a salary of at least £20,000 a year.  

Apprentices often go on to well-paid jobs on completion of their training. Recent analysis showed that one year after finishing their programmes, the median salary for a former Level 6 apprentice was £34,620. 

What kind of degree apprenticeships are available? 

Degree apprenticeships are available in a range of industries, from engineering, to science, to law, to marketing and digital. 

For example, you could gain a BSc (Bachelor of Science) degree through a civil engineering, nursing or biomedical apprenticeship. Other apprenticeships could lead to a BA (Bachelor of Arts) in digital marketing, or an LLB (Bachelor of Laws).   

The NHS recruitment and training body, Health Education England (HEE), has also confirmed funding for a new Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship.

There are hundreds of degree apprenticeships on offer throughout the year. 

Browsing apprenticeships and filtering them by level and location could be a good way to get inspiration for the kind of degree apprenticeship that excites you. 

How to apply for a degree apprenticeship  

You apply to degree apprenticeships direct with the employer. You can now search for degree apprenticeships via the Find an Apprenticeship website or via UCAS. 

Applying for a degree apprenticeship is similar to applying for a job. This means that unlike with university courses, you can apply for degree apprenticeships at any time.  

Applications will differ depending on the apprenticeship, but it’s likely that you’ll have to submit a CV and do an interview.  

To get personalised advice on your application, you can talk to a careers adviser for free via the National Career Service. There are lots of ways to get in touch including by phone, webchat or in person. 

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