Higher education at 18+

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships provide a route to higher education through work-based training. You will get trained to do a job, get a higher level qualification and be paid at the same time - so no student debt at the end!

Higher Apprenticeships work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 4 and can go to Level 7, in some cases (a degree is Level 6). As part of a Higher Apprenticeship you might do a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation or Honours Degree.

A Degree Apprenticeship is a new way to gain a degree while being employed and trained at the same time. 

Find out more about apprenticeships, what they are and how to get one.

A level students thinking about apprenticeships

If you are doing A Levels you might be considering an apprenticeship or higher education (university) when you finish. 

An apprenticeship can be a good route if you want to get training for a specific job sector and be earning at the same time. There are all sorts of opportunities for fantastic apprenticeships developing all the time.

However, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Apprenticeship vacancies for the summer after you finish your A Levels will probably be advertised sometime after January 15th, which is the application date for higher education. Therefore, if you are undecided about whether to choose an apprenticeship or higher education path it is probably best to apply for higher education and then look for apprenticeship vacancies. If you get an apprenticeship you can always decline your university offer.
  • There are 40+ different job areas now offering Higher Apprenticeships, which are higher education level qualifications (Level 4+). Employers are asking for A Levels and other Level 3 qualifications as entry requirements. Search for vacancies online at the gov.uk website and by looking at companies' websites or make speculative applications.
  • If you do not have the relevant job specific experience you might have to complete an Advanced Apprenticeship, even through these are the same level qualifications (Level 3) as A Levels - although you might be able to complete it quicker than a 16 year old.
  • Not all sectors offer Higher Apprenticeship qualifications so make sure you check if they are available in your chosen sector.
  • For some jobs a university degree is the only pathway e.g. vet, doctor, architect, etc and there is no apprenticeship pathway
  • Higher Apprenticeship opportunities are likely to be highly competitive!
  • There will be up to 15,000 apprenticeship vacancies in over 1,400 job roles available to students getting their exam results this summer.
  • Last year, there were 3,700 Higher Level Apprenticeships available (up by 67.6% on the previous year).
  • There are also now Degree Apprenticeships. These have been designed by employers and universities. Find out more.