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Traditionally, a university degree was viewed as the optimum route into an engineering career. However, many students are now looking into other options. One alternative is a degree apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships have been used in engineering within the UK for hundreds of years, although they declined in popularity during the 1960s to 1980s. During this time there was a large focus on further education as numerous new universities, polytechnics and colleges opened. The popularity of work-based learning programmes, such as apprenticeships, rapidly declined.

Since the 1980s, apprenticeships have received widespread support from across the government, and many organisations have launched a degree apprenticeship scheme.

What is a degree apprenticeship?

Degree apprenticeships were launched in 2015. They are created in partnership between employers and universities and typically last four to six years. A degree apprenticeship combines full-time, paid work with part-time study at university, working towards a Bachelors or Master’s Degree.

Benefits of degree apprenticeships


Earn while you learn

During your degree apprenticeship, you will earn a salary and have a guaranteed job throughout our study. Many of the schemes benefit from regular pay increases, as you progress through your apprenticeship.

No student debt

As tuition fees are funded by the employer, degree apprentices will earn their degree without any student debt. The Institute of Fiscal Studies reports that the average university student finishes their degree with £44,000 of debt as well as no guarantee of a job.

On-the-job experience

The apprenticeship schemes are designed by employers, professional bodies and academic institutions. This ensures that apprentices gain the relevant skills to do their job and move easily from their apprenticeship into a skilled job.


Completing an apprenticeship looks really good on your CV. It demonstrates that you have up to six years industry experience, that you have the good time management skills needed to balance work and study and it also allows you to build a relationship with an employer in the industry.

2018 is the Year of Engineering

A career in engineering is exciting, rewarding and creative and yet there is a big shortage of engineers entering the workforce. The Year of Engineering aims to inspire the next generation and show young people what a career in engineering is actually like.

Posted 12th June 2018 by Alice RobertsSubject: Careers, EngineeringAge: 16-19, FE/HE