FAQ for Degree Apprenticeships 

Degree apprenticeships are an innovative, new approach to developing the nation’s workforce, bringing together the best of higher and vocational education.

Degree apprenticeships can be at Level 6 (undergraduate degree) or Level 7 (postgraduate degree) and each programme is mapped to an apprenticeship standard, ensuring that apprentices develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for a specific occupation.  Apprenticeships can be paid for by employers through the Apprenticeship Levy.  

What is a Degree Apprenticeship? 

Apprentices are employed throughout the programme and this combines work with university study, either in blocks of time, day release, a blend of face to face and online study or full time study with placements, depending on the programme and the employer.

As an employer, a degree apprenticeship programme provides an opportunity to recruit, develop and retain outstanding individuals with the skills needed as the business evolves. 

For apprentices, it’s a practical way of putting theory into practice and gaining a wealth of experience whilst achieving a formal qualifications without incurring the cost of fees.

What is an Apprenticeship Standard?

Apprenticeship standards are created by employer groups, referred to as Trailblazers, and describe the occupational profile linked to the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours that are required to achieve full competence in a particular occupation. These are associated with a specific Degree Apprenticeship Level. Apprenticeship standards can either be integrated, where the End Point Assessment is managed by the training provider, or non-integrated, where a registered independent End Point Assessment Organisation is appointed to undertake the final occupational competence assessment as part of an apprenticeship.

Who pays for a Degree Apprenticeship? 

University fees are paid for by your employer / the government for a degree apprenticeship not by the Apprentice. 

If your company is a levy-paying organisation, you can pay for degree apprenticeship training at the University of Birmingham through your Apprenticeship Levy Account.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy? 

The Apprenticeship Levy came into effect in April 2017. The levy applies to employers in England who have annual payroll bill above £3 million. Where applicable, the levy is charged at a rate of 0.5% of their annual pay bill.  Employers can use funds from the Apprenticeship Levy to pay for apprenticeship training. Find out more about the Apprenticeship Levy.

What are the eligibility requirements for a degree apprenticeship?

Degree apprentices can either be new or existing employees and must:

  • Be at least 16 years old (there is no upper age limit)
  • Meet the entry requirements for the course
  • Have the right to work in England
  • Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England over the duration of the apprenticeship
  • Be contracted to work a minimum of 30 hours per week
  • Apprentices must be paid at least their age-related Apprentice National Minimum Wage.

In addition, each individual degree apprenticeship programme has a set academic entry criteria which must be met by applicants.

What is the minimum duration of an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships must last a minimum of 12 months and at least 20% of your contracted working hours must be spent on off-the-job training. Upon successful completion of an apprenticeship, you are guaranteed a job with your employer in the role for which you have been trained through the apprenticeship. 

What is off-the-job training? 

A degree apprentice must spend a minimum of 20% of their apprenticeship undertaking off-the-job training.  This refers to ‘learning which is undertaking outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievements of an apprenticeship’. For more information, see the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s guidance.

What are the benefits of Degree Apprenticeships? 

For apprentices, there are a number of key benefits to studying a degree apprenticeship:

  1. Apprentices are paid a full time salary for the duration of their apprenticeship
  2. Apprentices have no tuition fees to pay – these are paid by the employer through the Apprenticeship Levy
  3. Apprentices are given time off work for study
  4. Apprentices graduate with a full degree at the end of a degree apprenticeship
  5. Apprentices receive a graduate-level job at the end of their studies

Employers can benefit from developing apprenticeships as part of their workforce plans in a number of ways:

  1. Address skills gaps
  2. Upskill and retain existing talent
  3. Recruit new talent into the business

For further information on the Apprenticeship Levy, see the Government website.

Why choose the University of Birmingham?

The University of Birmingham has been educating students for over a century, and we have a wealth of experience in partnering with business and industry to find solutions to real world issues and to deliver bespoke, innovative education and training.

Our diverse portfolio of programmes, from science and engineering through to business and law, means that we have the expertise to meet your requirements and your apprentices will benefit from exposure to sector-leading research and Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) rated gold-standard teaching.