Higher & Degree Apprenticeships

Higher and degree apprenticeships offer a work-based learning programme and lead to a nationally recognised qualification at one of the following:

  • a level 4 and 5: equivalent to a higher education certificate, higher education diploma or a foundation degree

  • a level 6: equivalent to a bachelor degree

Degree apprenticeships were primarily targeted at 18 to 19-year-old school leavers as an alternative route to gaining a degree, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds who are deterred from studying a traditional full-time programme by high tuition fees and student debt.

However, the qualification is suitable for anyone, including 16 to 18-year-olds and mature students and this includes staff currently in employment that wish to progress further in their careers. Degree apprenticeships will strengthen the 'vocational pathway', and support career progression ultimately into management.

It is expected that many levy paying employers will encourage relevant exisiting staff to further their skills, career and knowledge by undertaking a higher or degree apprenticeship.

Degree apprenticeships are currently available in a number of key areas and this number is growing on a regular basis, current areas include:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Aerospace software development

  • Automotive engineering

  • Construction

  • Defence

  • Digital industries

  • Electronic systems engineering

  • Financial services

  • Life and industrial sciences

  • Management

  • Nuclear

  • Power engineering

  • Public relations

  • Surveying

The WTPN has a number of member organisations whom are delivering higher and degree apprenticeships including:

The way that degree apprenticeships are delivered will vary, but all courses will include blocks of practical on-the-job training and academic study. Each programme will be tailored to suit individual employer needs and will be delivered in the style of the training providers teaching model.


Organisations of all sizes can offer degree apprenticeships.

However, notable employers involved in the scheme include:

  • Aerospace engineering and Aerospace software development: Airbus, BAE Systems and Rolls Royce;

  • Automotive: BMW Group UK, Toyota Manufacturing UK and Vauxhall Motors;

  • Construction: BAM Construct UK Ltd, E-ON Energy Solutions Ltd and Willmott Dixon Holdings Ltd;

  • Defence: General Dynamics, Raytheon and Serco;

  • Digital industries: BT, Fujitsu and Network Rail;

  • Electronic systems engineering: ARM, Embecosm and FlexEnable;

  • Financial services: Barclays, HSBC and Santander;

  • Life and industrial sciences: Astra Zeneca, GSK and Pfizer Inc;

  • Nuclear: EDF Energy, Magnox Ltd and Sellafield;

  • Power engineering: Amey, Siemens and SSE;

  • Public relations: Claremont, Golin and KOR Communications Ltd;

  • Surveying: Axis, EC Harris and Faithorn Farrell Timms.

As with other apprenticeships, apprentices won't pay training costs or student fees.

Apprentices obviously have to cover living costs, but they will receive an apprentice minimum wage, meaning that they could earn up to £500 every week. Degree apprentices aren't eligible for student loans.

If you already have a job, your employer may pay for your degree apprenticeship. You will need to approach them explaining your reasons for wanting to do it and how it will benefit the company

You can search and apply for degree apprenticeships by visiting employer websites, and through:


Here are two further guides that you may find beneficial:

If you have further questions or would like a WTPN member to contact you regarding higher or degree apprenticeships or are a training provider that delivers Higher and Degree Apprenticeships and wishes to join the network please email your query here.