Cyber Security Analyst, Software Engineer, Chartered Manager – who would have thought that one day apprenticeships would be designed around these roles and result in a full degree qualification?

Apprenticeships have come a long way.  The times when apprentices were hired by craftsmen to pass on manual skilled trades are no more.  Today apprenticeships are available in every industry sector and provide exciting, high quality options in all kinds of careers.

You might be surprised at just how many degree apprenticeship opportunities there are, and the exciting range of benefits they can offer you. Find out more in this handy, at-a-glance guide…

What is a degree apprenticeship?

It’s a full-time, paid job with a structured development and education programme. A degree apprenticeship offers a mixture of on- and off-the-job training that gives you the skills needed to get ahead in your chosen career and results in a full degree-level qualification. 

What does a degree apprenticeship offer? 

  • An exciting and realistic alternative to university
  • You earn while you learn
  • You get time to study for a nationally recognised degree-level qualification
  • You get paid holidays and other benefits of being an employee
  • You have the support of a mentor
  • If you’re new to the world of work, you can learn invaluable transferable skills like dealing with a wide range of people, making presentations and teamworking

Why do a higher or degree apprenticeship?

  • A chance to get ahead – you’ll be starting your career three or four years ahead of your peers who go to university.
  • So much choice – there are a wide range of higher and degree level apprenticeships available.
  • It’s an opportunity to gain exciting new skills and move up the ladder – your employer may be looking to develop leaders and managers, so the apprenticeship could help you move to the next stage in your career.
  • No tuition fees for you to pay – people studying a full time degree course at university can pay around £9,000 a year in tuition fees alone, plus living and accommodation fees etc. With an apprenticeship, you’ll actually earn while you learn.

How do I apply for a degree apprenticeship?

Did you know that apprenticeships aren’t just for new hires? If you’re currently in work, now’s the time to talk to your employer to see what they offer.  We’d recommend starting with your line manager and perhaps also talking to HR.

If you’re not in work, or are interested in an apprenticeship within a different organisation, visit There are up to 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies on the site at any one time.

Myth busting

Myth 1: Apprenticeships are only for 16 year olds

43% of all new apprentices in 2015/16 were aged 25+. Of these, 11% were over 60.1

Myth 2: Apprentices are poorly paid

This is common concern is generally untrue. Employers are on the look-out for the best candidates and often willing to pay more to ensure they get top talent, particularly for degree apprenticeships.

Myth 3: They’re only for entry level jobs

Degree apprenticeships provide a real opportunity to upskill and gain what you need to progress into a more senior role.

Degree Apprenticeships with The Open University

At The Open University (OU), we provide apprenticeships programmes for employers to train new and existing staff. As well as providing flexible, tutor supported learning that can be delivered around apprentices' and employers' needs, we also a wide range of support  for organisations who are perhaps new to offering apprenticeships, or who don’t have enough resources in-house to manage the process.

If someone in your organisation would like more information about how we can work with them to deliver degree apprenticeships, they can call us on 0300 303 0122 or visit our website.

What’s it like to study with The Open University?

At the OU, we have a track record in providing flexible qualifications, work-based learning programmes and high quality, tutor-supported online learning. In fact, 4 in 10 of all UK part-time undergraduate students are studying with the OU and 76% of our students are in employment.

As well as apprenticeships, we have a wide range of qualifications and courses to help you fulfil your potential.