How to Win a Degree Apprenticeship:
FCE Solutions’ Charlotte Allen advises KS4 and at Harris Next Steps Careers Fair

There are so many different post 16 options now it is hardly surprising that everyone is so confused by it all. Think about when your parents or grandparents were 15-16 years old. You’d go on to this course, which would then get you this exact job, but the employment world isn’t like that anymore.

The wonderful thing about all of this choice is there is really a viable option for everyone, you could go to university and do a typical degree, you could go straight into employment, you could even do an apprenticeship. This allows students of all capabilities and needs to find something that suits them.

One of the options is a Degree Apprenticeship. As the title says it is an apprenticeship where you work, earn and learn but in the end, you will gain a degree from a partnered university. Higher level apprenticeships do already exist where you have the option to undertake a degree or not, on a Degree Apprenticeship the university study is mandatory.  Another difference is that you would be regarded with full-time employment status, rather than student status. This way you will have the benefits of being a full-time employee with support from HR, mentors and managers but also you will have the learning and pastoral assistance from the university.

As well as holding employment status your tuition and training costs are settled between the university and the employer. So, you don’t need a student loan, and you’ll receive a wage throughout your course. You’ll receive minimum, the apprentice National Minimum Wage.

The subjects that you can take for a Degree Apprenticeship are Vocational subjects that require a high level of academia. They range from aerospace engineering to nursing, from construction to business management. Equally, the number of companies providing Degree Apprenticeships has jumped in the last few years and these include Santander; GlaxoSmithKline; BMW; and Rolls Royce. The length of the Degree Apprenticeship depends upon the employer you work for. You’ll study using a flexible study method determined to suit the employer’s needs and so a Degree Apprenticeship can run from one to six years. The learning can be done through distance learning, blended learning or even block mode learning which is where you’ll take a period of full-time study away from your full-time work. 

So how do you ‘win’ one of these Degree Apprenticeships?

With these 6 principles:

  • A Willingness to work hard
    • You are going to be working for an employer who is going to want you to bring something to the table in their company from the moment you walk in the door. You also need to keep your degree studies in check, so you need the mindset of working hard.
  • Confidence and maturity
    • It’s ok if you feel that now is not the time to start a Degree Apprenticeship. If you need to go and travel the world or get some work experience beforehand, that’s ok. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities is a key aspect that you need, and you take as long as you need to get there. Maturity goes without sayingyou’re your employer will not stand for the same attitude you may have given your teachers in school. If you’re not contributing positively to the company, then why should they keep you or give you a second chance. They are paying for your tuition, you are their investment. So, make sure you present and positive.
  • Learn independently
    • Most of your study will be independently done in the evenings and at weekends. So, you need to make sure that you feel confident in your ability to meet deadlines for your degree without the need for additional reminders from others.
  • Time management skills
    • You are going to be working full-time AND Studying for a degree. Normally, people tend to do one or the other. So, your time management skills are going to be tested every day.
  • Get work experience
    • Research the sector you want to work in. Then make a list of companies that work in that sector and start to approach them with your CV, both in an email and in person (make sure you look presentable) to try and acquire work experience. There is no right way to approach a company but what they will be impressed by is determination, resilience (if they say no once, try asking again), and perseverance. Show how you are willing to work for free, how you want to learn more about the sector, how you want to know more about their jobs. Show them your thirst to know more.
  • Be prepared
    • Treat any communication you have with any company as if it is your interview. Research the company thoroughly, if you know who you need to talk to research them too. Ask questions, to be inquisitive is an asset. An above all know that you have what it takes to do anything you set your mind to, so believe in yourself.


For more information about Apprenticeships or any post 16 option please do not hesitate to contact our Candidate Engagement and Media Co-Ordinator Charlotte Allen.

Charlotte is a qualified Art teacher and SEN Champion. Starting her career in film and galleries in London she soon moved onto working in a secondary school as a Teaching Assistant becoming the Autism Specialist. Charlotte then went on to teach English and Art, with SEN specialism. Since leaving full-time teaching she travels to schools up and down the country leading workshops and talks on SEN Provision and Strategies, Art Therapy Workshops for staff and students and career/ CV workshops.