What are degree apprenticeships?
Apprenticeships allow people to earn qualifications whilst working (they must work at least 30 hours per week). They are a fantastic and cost-effective way for employers to upskill their workforce.
Research shows that companies that invest in apprenticeships benefit from greater productivity, enhanced competitiveness and improved staff retention.
Higher and degree apprenticeships result in qualifications at level 4 (the equivalent of the first year of an undergraduate degree) and above. At University of Gloucestershire, we offer programmes up to level 7 (Master’s level).
Whatever level of study, apprentices gain academic, professional and technical skills through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training, and by practising their new skills in the workplace.
What do apprenticeships entail?
For employers, it is crucial that they commit to employing the apprentice throughout their training, End Point Assessment, and beyond.
Apprentices should be motivated to learn and work diligently to successfully complete their apprenticeship.
The training provider, in this case, University of Gloucestershire, is responsible for delivering the theoretical content, known as the knowledge award.
Who can do a degree apprenticeship?
With so many options now available, more people than ever are eligible for an apprenticeship. Find out which of your employees are eligible by answering the questions below.
- Do they have the right to work in the UK?
- Do you currently employ them (or are you planning to employ them by the time the apprenticeship begins)?
- Do they/will they work for you for a minimum of 30 hours per week?
- Are they on a contract that will last for at least the duration of the apprenticeship (or can you put such a contract in place by the time the apprenticeship starts)?
- Are you able to support this programme with funding, development opportunities and a workplace mentor?
- Will you be able to release the learner for 6 hours a week to carry out ‘off-the-job’ training?
- Is the apprentice able to evidence successful completion of level 2 maths and English (this is equivalent to GCSE grade 4 or above)? Or are they willing to complete level 2 Functional Skills alongside their apprenticeship?
- Can you confirm that they are not already on an apprenticeship elsewhere, or in other government funded education (eg A Levels)?
- Have they lived in the UK for the last 3 years?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to all the above, then the person you have in mind is eligible. The next step is to contact us so we can put everything in place for the application.
If you have answered ‘no’ to some of the above, please contact us so we can discuss further options.
Importantly, an individual cannot apply for a degree apprenticeship directly (like you would for a traditional undergraduate degree).
If you are interested in undertaking an apprenticeship yourself, speak to your employer in the first instance and make them aware of why an apprenticeship is a worthwhile investment.
How are apprenticeships funded?
Find out how apprenticeships are funded by the Apprenticeships Levy and how we will support you.
To meet funding requirements, every apprentice must spend at least 6 hours a week of their contracted working hours doing ‘off-the-job’ training. It is an essential part of any apprenticeship and must take place during a learner’s working hours.
These 6 hours should be organised within the apprentice’s working time in a way that best supports both their learning needs and the needs of their employer.
If, due to some exceptional circumstances, it has to take place outside the learner’s normal working hours (e.g. they need to attend a particular event), then they must be given time off in lieu.
What is ‘off-the-job’ training?
The off-the-job element of an apprenticeship can be described as an activity where the learner is not undertaking their ‘normal’ work activity.
- block/day release for studying at university (i.e. lectures, workshops, etc)
- at desk training, where a manager or mentor is demonstrating a work process/specific job that will enhance the learner’s skills and/or knowledge
- attendance at internal training, conferences or trade shows, as this contributes to continuous professional development (CPD)
- distance learning/e-learning – although this must be part of a blended approach that also includes face-to-face teaching
- team building/away days for employees workshops
- during ‘normal working hours,’ using reference books and/or online resources
- shadowing other employees
- industry visits
- attendance at competitions
- attendance at internal/external meetings
- preparing and collating a portfolio of evidence
- revising and preparing for all elements of the End Point Assessment (EPA), such as knowledge tests, panel interviews and project showcases.
- time spent developing maths and English skills, because this is funded separately
- Learner Progress Reviews or on-programme assessments, because these review what has already been learnt, rather than teach new knowledge, skills and behaviours
- training that takes place outside of their paid working hours.
Compliance with this ‘6 hours off-the-job’ rule must be evidenced as part of normal audit arrangements. As such, both apprentices and employers need to keep detailed and timely records of off-the-job activities.
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