In today’s fast-paced world, traditional higher education paths aren’t the only route to success anymore. Degree apprenticeships have emerged as an innovative and valuable alternative, offering students the chance to earn a degree while gaining practical work experience and earning money. In this blog, we’ll explore what degree apprenticeships are, their duration, and the perspectives of both students and employers.


What is a Degree Apprenticeship?

Degree apprenticeships represent a blend of academic learning and on-the-job training. They provide individuals with the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in a specific field while working for an employer. This educational pathway combines classroom instruction at a university or college with hands-on experience gained through paid work with a participating employer. A lot of the time, specifically in this day and age, the university chunk is also done online without ever having to travel to a classroom.


From a student’s perspective:

As a degree apprentice, I believe I get the best of both worlds. I’m studying for a degree in Digital marketing while working as a Marketing manager at a tech company we all know and love, Purple Frog. Here’s why I chose and love this approach of education:

  • Earning while learning: To put it simply, I’m earning a salary. This financial stability has allowed me to cover living expenses and have a disposable income without taking out student loans.
  • Real-world experience: The practical knowledge and skills I gain at work are immediately applicable to my studies, they relate to one another immediately and put my knowledge into practice before it’s forgotten. I can see the real-world relevance of what I’m learning in class and the impact that my modules have.
  • Networking opportunities: Being in a workplace has connected me with industry professionals who can provide valuable insights and mentorship. These mentorship moments have not only broadened my horizons but have also helped me navigate the labyrinthine world of my marketing and holding a career. From learning the art of secret handshakes and mastering industry lingo, these connections have been invaluable in shaping my career journey.

From an employer’s perspective:

Degree apprenticeships have been a complete win-win for our company. But why? Let us tell you!

  • New perspectives: Apprentices have the potential to bring fresh and dynamic energy into the workspace. They’re young, enthusiastic, and chomping at the bit to learn and roll up their sleeves for some real work. Gone are the days of tired clichés; these apprentices bring a whole new vibe to the office and are actually keen to achieve and work to high standards.
  • Savings that make sense: The topic of money can be the elephant in the room, but it’s actually a huge part of degree apprenticeships. The apprenticeship levy isn’t just a tax; it’s like an unconventional golden ticket. It takes a chunk of the financial load off businesses shoulders when it comes to training and education (and saves your apprentice a bunch of student loan debt). Think of it as a smart investment – we pay in, and it pays us back in skilled and motivated employees who are committed to the company for a select period – as a minimum! It’s like having your cake and eating it too!
  • Customised training: One size doesn’t fit all, and we know it. With degree apprenticeships, you can custom-tailor the program to fit your business needs entirely. No more generic training that leaves apprentices feeling a little lost in translation. Instead, you can somewhat handpick the skills and knowledge that are spot-on relevant to their roles.


Length of Time: Typically 4 Years

Degree apprenticeships typically take four years to complete. This duration allows students to gain substantial work experience and complete the required academic coursework. It’s worth noting that some programs may vary in length depending on the field and degree level, I’m currently taking part in a 4-year course, if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask me!


Costs Involved for Businesses and the Apprenticeship Levy

Continuing this topic from earlier, for businesses, the costs of degree apprenticeships can be offset by the apprenticeship levy. Employers with an annual wage bill exceeding £3 million are required to contribute to this fund. These contributions are then used to cover the costs of apprenticeship training and education. Smaller businesses may also receive government incentives to help with the cost of hiring apprentices etc.

Degree apprenticeships offer a unique pathway to higher education, combining academic learning with practical work experience. From a student’s perspective, they provide an opportunity to earn while learning and gain relevant skills. Employers benefit from fresh talent, cost-efficiency, and customised training programs. With a typical duration of four years and support from the apprenticeship levy, degree apprenticeships are paving the way for a brighter future for both students and businesses alike.