Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job which combines work with studying for a qualification. You’re employed, paid, and most of your time is spent on the job. At the same time, you’re studying for a qualification.

What is a Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship?

Higher level and degree apprenticeships provide a higher level of qualification than other apprenticeships: that is qualifications at Level 4 or above, or in other words above A levels, BTECs or their equivalents.

What grades do I need?

The entry requirements for apprenticeships vary from programme to programme, depending on the requirements of both the employer and the training provider.

Entry requirements for higher level apprenticeships usually include at least five GCSEs grades 9 – 4 (A* – C on the old grading system), including English and Maths.

For degree apprenticeships typically you will need Level 3 qualifications, including A levels, NVQs, or a BTEC. Some employers will expect or require you to have studied subjects relevant to the apprenticeship you are applying for.

Higher level and degree apprenticeships can also be accessed by firstly having gained Level 2 or 3 qualifications, usually from within in the same industry, and often through the same employer.

What qualifications will I get?

A higher level apprenticeship is an opportunity to gain a Level 4 qualification or above, with most apprentices gaining an NVQ (Level 4), HND or foundation degree (Level 5).

A degree apprenticeship is an opportunity to gain a full bachelor’s degree (Level 6) or even a master’s degree (Level 7). Degrees earned via this route are awarded by a recognised body which is able to award degrees, typically a university, and are of an equivalent standard to degrees taken via the full-time undergraduate route.

How does it work?

Up to 80% of your hours will be spent at work, for example, 4 out of 5 working days. Indeed, many employers structure apprenticeships like this. However, other apprenticeships will see you working full-time for a number of weeks or even months and then studying full-time for a number of weeks on placement blocks.

With at least 20% of your paid time dedicated to your studies, you may be required to attend college, university, or an alternative training provider. However, you may have the option to study at your place of work,  online, or use a combination of options; your employer will decide which method works best.

How long do they take?

A higher level apprenticeship can typically take from one to five years to complete.

A degree apprenticeship can typically take between three to six years to complete.

How much do they cost?

There are no fees for individuals doing a higher level or degree apprenticeship. The costs of the training are shared by your employer and the government.

What industries could I work in?

As of October 2021 there are more than 100 apprenticeship types available. From accounting to aerospace engineering, and new apprenticeships are being developed all the time. Large, well-known companies offer degree apprenticeships, but you’ll also find smaller, lesser-known companies offering them too.

What could I earn?

For apprentices of any age, and in the first year of an apprenticeship only, the minimum wage is £4.81 per hour. After successful completion of the first year, the national minimum wage for your age will apply. However, for higher level and degree apprenticeships the vast majority of businesses offer considerably more than this.

In fact, you could potentially earn upwards of £300 per week, plus your employer and the government pay your tuition fees.

Other benefits could include access to a car, leisure facilities or a relocation allowance if you have to move.

Go Higher West Yorkshire, or GHWY for short, is a partnership of Higher Education Providers in West Yorkshire. GHWY exists to help everyone who can benefit from a Higher Education to access the information they need to make the right choice for them.

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