Degree apprenticeships: advice for university departments – Schedule of teaching and learning

Degree Apprenticeships Toolkit

We’ve pulled together a checklist of things for university departments to consider when proposing to get involved in degree apprenticeships.  It’s still evolving so please do contact us if you have experience or advice you would like to add.


Schedules of teaching and learning need to be agreed. These can take various forms:

  • Day release;
  • Block release;
  • Integration with some modules on some mainstream regular taught programmes.

There may also be periods of study on employers’ premises and at other institutions. These again have to be agreed and contracted.

Methods of grading, assessment and feedback need to be agreed and these will then be adhered to, in order to satisfy the exam board and other university regulations. The structures of assessment (presentations, experiments, lab work, practicals, as well as essays and exams) have also to be integrated throughout the programmes.

Agreeing employer-led content is vital from the above points of view. In employer led content, the university is required to have a position of ‘internal external examiner’ and in some universities this may mean that designated employer staff are given the status of adjunct employee at the university in question.

Examining employer-led content and the means by which this is done has to be agreed and contracted. It is essential to recognise that this can lead to conflicts, where for example:

  • The work is of a satisfactory university standard but has no practical relevance to the employer;
  • The work is of a satisfactory standard for the employer but does not meet the standards required by the university.

University staff will therefore need to remain in close contact and regularly visiting employers’ premises in order that neither of these positions occurs. Where there are disputes over standards, there needs to be an agreed means of arbitration and reconciliation of grades and work.

Student registration is an issue because of the UK UCAS regulations that govern undergraduate admissions to programmes at this level. This may have to be agreed as a formality; if students are not to apply via UCAS then an alternative is required, that is agreed and contracted. There may be disputes also over:

  • A candidate that is deemed suitable by the employer but not the university;
  • A candidate that is deemed suitable by the university but not the employer;
  • Levels of school achievements prior to admissions;
  • Variations in the principle of equality and fairness of treatment which govern all admissions at this level.


Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

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