Degree apprenticeships: what headteachers need to know

Degree apprenticeships offer students the chance to work, study and earn at the same time in subjects from biomedical engineering to digital marketing. QA Education worked with teen magazine Future Mag to find out about these new apprenticeships and how you go about getting one.

Degree apprenticeships are new, uptake is still low and employers and universities are wary of red tape involved. But the good news is numbers are rising, and there are 27 new schemes launching in September 2018, which should – if all goes to plan - create thousands of new opportunities.

From biomedical engineering through to analytical chemistry or social work, the range of the new degree schemes, announced in October 2017 by Education Secretary Justine Greening, boosts the choice available – these new apprenticeships complement the existing 18 schemes. And the new courses will support 4,500 apprenticeships – a sharp rise from the 1,620 which were underway during the last academic year.

While most companies like the idea in principle, they’ve been slow to get on board, says the Institute of Student Employers (ISE). And there’s an enduring snobbery amongst parents and would be students against vocational schemes, and companies are aware of this. Currently employers receive on average 19 applications per apprenticeship vacancy versus 68 for a graduate vacancy, says the ISE. Engineering still features strongly in the new line-up - British companies are short of some 20,000 engineers and technicians every year and we’ll need 1.8 million more by 2025, says Engineering UK.

degree apprenticeships student

“There’s more choice than ever for young people entering the labour market,” says Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Institute of Student Employers (ISE). “This year we’ve seen employers increase apprentice vacancies at a much faster rate than graduate schemes.”

What can be studied on degree apprenticeships?

Engineers are well provided for in the 2018 offering with master’s level engineering offered by Lancaster University and biomedical engineering at Keele University. At LSBU, they have 21 higher and degree apprenticeships listed including civil engineering and electrical and electronic engineering. Design engineering will be available at Sunderland and civil engineering at Warwick, where you’ll also be able to study tunnelling and underground space engineering. Food and drink engineering is offered at Harper Adams University, and nuclear engineering at Aston.

Cyber skills are catered for with cybersecurity courses at Northampton, Winchester and more.

Some science degree apprenticeships are new – computer science and healthcare science at Aston University and elsewhere, food science and technology at Harper Adams, biomedical science at Sheffield Hallam and Teesside, laboratory science at Hertfordshire and some chemistry courses at Warwick. Anglia Ruskin University will offer bioinformatics in the health and science sector.

Occupational health and paramedic science are also well catered for with a range of vocational degrees, and social care will be offered at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Open University.

LSBU is also offering degree apprenticeships in digital marketing and management.

Degree apprenticeships for the public sector have increased. You can study nursing and paramedic science at Birmingham City University, and more nursing and occupational health related courses at Coventry and Keele Universities, while Lancaster University will offer policing.

See the Future Mag article here