About higher and degree apprenticeships

Higher and degree apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with study for a higher level qualification, giving employers the highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce that their businesses need.

What are higher and degree apprenticeship standards?

The UK government is committed to expanding the number, range, and quality of apprenticeships, including those that offer training at higher and degree level.

Apprenticeships are defined as jobs with training. An apprenticeship standard provides learners with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed to develop during their programme of study to become occupationally competent in their chosen career. Apprenticeship standards are developed by Trailblazer groups of employers and industry bodies to meet the needs of their sector. The apprenticeships delivered by UWE Bristol are designed to meet the needs of our apprentices and their employers. The apprenticeship standards provided by UWE Bristol will include a range of higher and degree apprenticeships at:

  • Level 5 (Foundation degree)
  • Level 6 (Bachelor's degree)
  • Level 7 (Master's degree).

If you are interested in standards from Levels 3 and 4, we may be able to redirect you to one of our further education college partners.

For more information view the approved standards on GOV.UK.

How are higher and degree apprenticeship delivered?

The educational part of the apprenticeship will be based on a UWE Bristol higher and degree courses relevant to the apprenticeship. The course will be delivered in a range of formats including day release, block release and blended learning. Not all courses will be available in all formats.

As apprenticeships are work-based qualifications, on-the-job training is undertaken at the employee’s workplace.

How long does a higher and degree apprenticeship take?

A higher and degree apprenticeship with UWE Bristol can take anything from 18 months to five years, depending on the course.

Who can be an apprentice and how they apply?

There are eligibility criteria for who can undertake an apprenticeship programme. An apprentice should be:

  • aged 16 or above on the first day of their apprenticeship
  • employed and in receipt of the apprenticeship National Minimum Wage (they may be an existing employee or a new hire)
  • able to work towards an approved apprenticeship standard
  • on programme for training and practical period that is a minimum of a 12 months, prior to entering the gateway and end-point assessment periods
  • able to spend an average of six hours per week, subject to course requirements, completing off-the-job training such as studying at university or mentoring/coaching activities in the workplace
  • able to spend at least 50% of their working time in England
  • able to evidence a grade C/4 in maths and English GCSE or equivalent. In some cases, this can be supported through the apprenticeship with one of the University’s further education partners and should usually be completed by the end of the first year on programme.

More details about who can be an apprentice can be found via the national apprenticeship service.

You can find apprenticeship vacancies on GOV.UK.

More information is available for apprentices on enrolling and applying for a higher and degree apprenticeship.

What role do I have as the apprentice’s employer?

As an employer you will have all the normal statutory employer responsibilities for the apprentice.

Apprentices must spend at least six hours per week of their contracted working hours completing off-the-job training. It can be flexible and does not have to mean one day out of the workplace every week. The training time is achieved in a number of different ways, including face to face delivery at university, online learning and work-based projects and activities.

In addition, you will need to agree to provide paid time off from work for study, provide in-company support/mentoring for the apprentice and collaborate with UWE Bristol during the recruitment phase to ensure the apprentice meets your job/employment criteria and the University’s academic entrance requirements.

Off-the-job training is a statutory requirement for an English apprenticeship. Training is undertaken by the apprentice during the apprentice’s normal contracted working hours, for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills, and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship the learner is undertaking, all the way through to completion of their end-point assessment.

The Apprenticeship Agreement and Training Plan, supplied by UWE Bristol, must be signed by the apprentice and the employer on or before the start of the apprenticeship.

Our team at UWE Bristol will support and help facilitate the apprenticeship process.

If you have any questions, please email our Higher and Degree Apprenticeships Team at apprenticeships@uwe.ac.uk or call +44 (0)117 328 4888.

Can I develop a relevant apprenticeship for my business?

Employers are able to develop a Standard that defines the knowledge and skills. This process is managed by the Department for Education.

If you cannot find a suitable Standard, please email our Higher and Degree Apprenticeships Team at apprenticeships@uwe.ac.uk. We will be happy to help coordinate local employers so that a Standard can be developed and a suitable academic course designed to meet the requirements of the Standard.

Can higher and degree apprenticeships lead to professional body registration and membership?

Yes. Many of UWE Bristol's higher and degree courses are accredited by relevant professional bodies and we will also be working to secure accreditation for degree apprenticeships.

Current higher and degree apprenticeship courses

View our higher and degree apprenticeship courses

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