What are Level 6 (Degree) Apprenticeships like?
As a Level 6 apprentice, you’ll spend a majority of your time working with your employer and the rest studying towards your degree. You could study at university or with a training provider, learn online, or your assessor might come to your workplace. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to put your academic knowledge to the test in the workplace as you progress with your learning.
Before you even realise it, you’ll be managing teams, projects or important processes and these responsibilities can only be expected to grow throughout your apprenticeship. Don’t let this put you off though! While working you’ll have the support of your manager, workplace mentor and colleagues so you can take on the responsibility that’ll come with your role.
What qualifications do I get?
If you choose a Level 6 degree apprenticeship, you’ll graduate with a full BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree from your university – no different from the one that your peers will receive if they go to university as a full-time undergraduate.
As a degree apprentice, many employers will also sponsor you to gain chartered status (something essential to certain roles) or to complete qualifications that are more directly related to your job. This could be one that allows you to use certain machinery or systems.
But, if you don’t have any recent qualifications in English and Maths, you’ll have the opportunity to get your Level 2 or 3 Functional Skills qualification to pass the apprenticeship programme. Your training provider will check this on your behalf when you sign up for the apprenticeship.
What is the difference between a level 6 (degree) and level 6 (higher) apprenticeship?
To explain this, we’ll have to go into some more detail. Every qualification you do has an associated level with it, to put it in context, Level 2 qualifications are the equivalent of GCSEs, Level 3 are the equivalent to college/sixth form and a Level 8 is the highest level of qualification you can get (a Doctoral degree).
With a level 6 apprenticeship you will get a level 6 qualification, regardless of if you do a higher or degree apprenticeship. The difference is that with a degree apprenticeship you will get a bachelor’s degree, whereas with a higher apprenticeship you’ll get the same level qualification, it just won’t be a degree.
How do they work?
Unlike a conventional degree, you’re guaranteed to have all of your tuition fees paid on your behalf by your employer, as well as receiving a salary for your hard work! As a Level 6 Apprentice, you'll be earning a salary of at least £7,000, however, this will depend on your employer – as a higher-level position most will offer a starting salary of around £18,000. That means you won’t really fit the usual ‘broke university student’ stereotype - nice!
Degree apprenticeships can be a little complicated to talk about due to their hybrid nature. They all depend on the role you choose and the employer and training provider that runs the programme. You’ll spend 20% of your time working towards your qualification; like a full-time degree, you’ll be taught with a variety of lectures, seminars, group study, flipped learning and much more.
This can either be on a block release basis (where you spend a few weeks at work and then a week at university or with a training provider), but most will combine block training in the workplace and studying once a week. This could be online from your desk at work, at home or with an external training provider, college or university.
Can I do a Level 6 apprenticeship?
As a high-level apprenticeship, you’ll likely need some formal qualifications to complete the programme as your employers will want to know that you can take on the challenging academic work.
Most Level 6 apprenticeships will require five GCSEs at 9-4 (or A*-C on the old grading scale), including English and Maths. You’ll also need Level 3 qualifications, such as A-Levels, NVQs, a BTEC or a Level 3 (Advanced) apprenticeship. But, if you think you don’t have the qualifications to complete the programme, fear not! If you have experience in your chosen industry a lot of employers will be more relaxed in terms of which qualifications, you need.
What kind of apprenticeships can you do at a degree level?
There are more than 40 different apprenticeships at a Level 6 (Degree) Apprenticeship, including:
- Building Services Design Engineer
- Chartered Surveyor
- Civil Engineer
- Clinical Trials Specialist
- Digital Marketer
- Laboratory Scientist
- Nuclear Scientist and Nuclear Engineer
- Police Constable
- Professional Economist
- Project Manager
- Registered Nurse
What does an employer look for in my application?
Level 6 apprenticeships are highly competitive, even more so than a lower-level apprenticeship or a full-time undergraduate degree, as there aren't as many available in the country and those applying for them are just like you; people who really know their stuff.
If you’re applying for a degree apprenticeship, an employer will likely want some employment history. This doesn’t have to be a full-time job, a part-time role while you were at college or school would be a perfect example to show that you can handle the work/study/life balance. This will let them know that you can reliably hold down a job and possess good time management and prioritisation skills.
However, if you don’t have much experience, there are still ways that you can impress an employer. Make sure you emphasise these key skills on your CV, whether that’s by using examples from extra-curricular activities or taking from experiences that you had at school, college or in your free time. If you've already completed an apprenticeship this may help you stand out as you can show that you know how to balance your workload.
To help you out with applications, we have compiled the three key traits that we think employers are looking for in our abundant experience operating alongside them:
You’ll need a genuine interest in the role and degree subject to work independently. It’s three years of your life – you’ll want enthusiasm to complete your work even when it gets tough!
You’ll need to be mature enough to participate in the workplace and follow the etiquette there. That means someone who is dedicated to their work, studies and is a good fit for the company will be a crucial aspect of the apprenticeship application.
Often, employers will use psychometric tests in the application process to find out more about you as a person – they’ll maybe even uncover things that you didn’t know about yourself!
3. Academic Ability
This is a very challenging option, and your employer doesn’t want to set you up to fail; after all, it’s in their best interests as well that you succeed! Grades aren’t everything, but you’ll need to make sure you can take on some of the harder academic aspects of the position.
What support will I get while doing a degree apprenticeship?
As a Level 6 apprentice, you’ll have much more support than the typical undergraduate. Not only will you have HR support as well as your manager, but you’ll normally be assigned a workplace mentor. They may not work directly with you, but they’ll be able to offer extra support. Also, as a student, you’ll be able to access the same support from your tutor and student service if you have any difficulties during your studies.
How much will a Level 6 (Degree) Apprenticeship cost?
In some specific industries, a degree is definitely worthwhile. But if you choose to attend university and graduate, you’ll leave the all-nighters at the library and alcohol-filled parties with friends in your student flat with an average of £40,000 of debt. However, a Level 6 degree apprenticeship will incur no cost to you, just like any other apprenticeship!
Through the UCAS system, you can apply for scholarships that can go towards your tuition fees, but quite a few would be needed if you wanted to pay them off in their entirety. On the other hand, with a Level 6 apprenticeship there are no training costs or tuition fees to your higher training – that means no student loans to worry about in the future! With this option, you’ll even be paid to get your degree; it really is the best of both worlds.
Where can I find degree apprenticeship vacancies?
You can find exciting details about new Level 6 apprenticeships across England on our website. Search by your postcode, preferred industry or specific employer to find the perfect role for you. Once registered with www.getmyfirstjob.co.uk you can apply for as many apprenticeship positions as you want with the click of a button.
Some large employers like BT, Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG and Tesco will also have their own apprenticeship programmes you can apply for directly with the employer.
How does a sponsored degree programme work?
Other options include doing a sponsored degree. Like a degree apprenticeship, you’ll work directly with your employer while studying or after graduating, meaning you’ll get the experience you need for future roles while gaining your qualification. To find out more info about sponsored degree programmes, check out our blog post on them here!
How does will a Level 6 Apprenticeship improve my future prospects?
As part of the Level 6 apprenticeship, you’ll be combining the theoretical knowledge you gain at university with work every day – that means you’ll always have the opportunity to see your learning pay off in real-time. In more diverse frameworks, such as a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, many organisations will allow you to rotate around the business to get you to grips with their different departments.
When you finish your programme, you'll also be well-equipped to continue your work with your organisation compared to the traditional graduate. You'll know the ins and outs of the business, whether that’s due to the knowledge you picked up completing your degree or from the internal processes you absorbed while at work.
This work experience means you may even lead or mentor the 'regular' graduate programme with your experience! If you don’t remain with the same company don’t worry, your qualifications and practical skills will be highly valuable to other employers.
Is a Level 6 Apprenticeship difficult?
If you’re considering a Level 6 Apprenticeship, you should remember that it’s not the easy alternative to a full-time undergraduate degree. In fact, it’ll be as academically challenging as a traditional degree, but you’ll have the pressures that come with a job too. You’ll have to make sure there’s enough time in your day to get everything at work done as well as completing your coursework.
If you ask any uni student, they’ll tell you how much work they have to do and how awful deadlines can be. Equally, you’ll know from your parents, family and friends how working can come with its own issues. In a degree apprenticeship you’ll have to handle both of these at the same time. But, if you think you’re capable, you’ll be setting yourself up with some great career prospects for the future!