FAQs: Degree and higher apprenticeships – What are apprenticeships?

Degree Apprenticeships Toolkit

We’ve pulled together a list of FAQs regarding degree and higher apprenticeships.

An Apprenticeship can be defined as a full-time paid job, which incorporates a programme of structured on and off the job training meeting.

The government additionally defines that it must meet certain specific criteria regarding duration (12 months or more), training (min 280 hrs, of which at least 30% away from workplace), employed hours (min. 30hrs a week), wages, achievement of minimum standards of English and Mathematics, and compliance with national apprenticeship standards (previously frameworks)

It is important to understand that the government’s model for apprenticeships of all types is that they should be employer led and driven and with the training largely workplace delivered.  Indeed for most apprenticeships there is not even a requirement for an educational qualification to be included (although most do at least at the higher levels).  Consequently most of the government guidance is written from the context/perspective of the employer rather than the education provider who is essentially a supplier (of education/training services) to the employer in this model.

However there are some more HE specific sources of useful information – probably the most comprehensive is published by The University Vocational Awards Council, who in 2015 produced a document called “Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship – A Guide for HEIs”. http://www.uvac.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/UVAC-Apprenticeship-Guide-12th-March-2015.pdf

The HEFCE website also has a Policy Guide on Degree Apprenticeships (including information on funding opportunities for HEIS’) at:

UUK have also produced some information on degree apprenticeships, including a March 2016 report on their projected growth:

And a 2019 update:

The government also produced a fact sheet and “quick start guide” for HEI’s interested in delivering apprenticeships (for the year 2015-16).

It should also be noted that much of the above applies specifically to England, and that different arrangements may apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

It is also worthwhile to note that the development of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships in Engineering is perhaps somewhat behind that in other areas, notably IT and Business, Finance and Law.  Some useful and transferable information can be found by looking at these.  For example:


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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