How to decide whether a degree apprenticeship is right for you
Apprenticeships combine working, earning and learning and allow apprentices to learn in a practical manner to gain a qualification alongside work experience. In the case of a degree apprenticeship, this means a degree-level qualification, no tuition fees, and 3-6 years of work experience on-the-job.
Doesn’t that sound nice? Why wouldn’t you want to do that?
Well, there are a few things you should ask yourself in order to determine whether you would be a good candidate for a degree apprenticeship, or whether a more traditional higher education route might suit you better.
1. Do I prefer to learn practically or through theories?
If you are someone who would prefer to learn practically and on-the-job, applying the classroom knowledge immediately to the real workplace, a degree apprenticeship might be suited to you. However, if you like to make notes in the classroom and thrive from understanding the meanings of the theories behind the subject, perhaps a traditional degree programme consisting of lectures, seminars and independent reading is better for you.
Work-integrated learning is often covered through traditional degree programmes through placements and internships. However, it is important to appreciate the level of practical learning in a degree apprenticeship.
2. Am I willing to put in the initial work?
Unlike for traditional university applications, there is no centralised application process for degree apprenticeships, like UCAS. You have to apply for degree apprenticeships directly, throughout the year, as normal job openings. Therefore, you need to be proactive and organised and willing to put in the time to discover and apply for the roles.
You need to put effort into the applications. The competition can be high for some roles and therefore you need to take the time to prove that you are a worthy candidate. Don’t just send one generic application out to multiple companies, because they will know that you’ve done that and it will make your application seem rushed and disinterested. Tailor each application to the company and add a bit of research you’ve done within it to come across as interested.
If you are willing to put in the time to research the roles and companies that you are interested in, you could be more suited to a degree apprenticeship.
The good news is that if you’re not sure, you can apply for traditional pathway programmes throughUCAS and as many degree apprenticeships as you want simultaneously - there is no limit!
3. Am I interested in a subject that degree apprenticeships cover?
Degree apprenticeships are fairly new and therefore the Apprenticeship Standards are not developed in as many subjects as are offered via the traditional pathway route. Another point to note is that degree apprenticeships only come in single subject areas such as Business Management, not Economics and Politics or Business Management with Marketing.
You need to ask yourself if you are ready to commit to studying one subject at degree level whilst also completing work-based projects and a full-time job role that supports that degree, job role and personal development. If you are looking to study a subject that does not necessarily directly relate to a job role, such as Philosophy, for example, a degree apprenticeship may not be able to facilitate that and therefore a traditional degree at university might be better for you.
4. Am I willing to commit to the demands of a real job role?
In a full-time job role, you will be working 9am-5pm Monday-Friday (in most cases) and you will have weekends and evenings to complete extra study in your own time. You will also be given an allocated amount of holiday annually, much different from the previous time off you would get from school and traditional university. You will also be paid an annual salary, that will be credited into your account on a monthly basis and you might have the opportunity to achieve bonuses and promotions, just like any job role.
Asking yourself these questions is a great way to decide if you would be a good candidate for a degree apprenticeship, good luck!
To find out more about Pearson College London’s degree apprenticeships, visit their website.
About the author
Katie Fiddaman is a Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice studying and working at Pearson College London as Communications, PR and Content Assistant. She is currently studying towards my BA (Hons) Business Management degree, which will take three years to complete.