We manage a pilot programme of degree apprenticeships, a new type of apprenticeship that combines the workplace learning of a traditional apprenticeship with a higher education qualification. They can also include professional qualifications relevant to industry.
Degree apprenticeship qualifications available in Wales are limited to three priority subject areas:
- IT / Computing
- Advanced manufacturing
Degree apprenticeships are part of the Welsh Government’s aim to increase the number of higher level apprenticeships, including those at degree level, as set out in its apprenticeship plan. The Welsh Government: apprenticeships, skills and training webpage has additional information and useful links.
How do they work?
Employers in Wales can offer a degree apprenticeship in IT, engineering or advanced manufacturing through a partnership with a university in Wales.
Just like traditional apprentices, degree apprentices work alongside experienced employees to gain practical skills and experience while receiving external training. This means that degree apprentices finish their course with the skills they need to succeed at work, as well as the higher-level knowledge that comes with a degree qualification.
The apprenticeships run for the duration of the degree course with apprentices spending around 20% of their time at university and the rest with their employer. In Wales, a degree apprenticeship will be a minimum of three years and usually up to a maximum of five years in length.
Students who live and study in Wales would usually apply for a Tuition Fee Loan up to the maximum cover of £9,000 for tuition fees. However, in the case of degree apprenticeships, the Welsh Government fully funds the fees, and the employer covers the cost of the degree apprentice’s wages.
As the Welsh Government funds degree apprenticeships through HEFCW as the higher education regulator, employers can be confident that degree apprenticeships will be subject to the same quality assurance as other higher education provision and comply with the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales (SASW).
Who can apply?
Anyone in Wales who meets the university entry requirements for the degree apprenticeship. This is usually someone with qualifications at Level 3 or equivalent on the Credit Qualifications Frame Work (CQFW), and/or relevant industry experience. The employer and university or college offering the degree apprenticeship might set specific subjects and grades.
To start an apprenticeship in Wales, you need to be:
- aged 16 or over – there is no upper age limit
- working in Wales for 51% or more of your time
- in a job role appropriate to the apprenticeship
The benefits for employers are:
- Degree apprenticeships encourage talent into the organisation or up-skill existing staff.
- Degree apprenticeships are flexible – they can be designed around the needs of the employer and can help to fill skills gaps, scout new talent, reduce recruitment costs, remain competitive and assist with business growth.
- Businesses of any size in Wales can take on degree apprentices. Contact your local university for more information or register your interest with Business Wales Skills Gateway.
- The apprenticeship model in Wales differs to the apprenticeship model in England. Higher education providers in Wales are able to deliver apprenticeships in England if they are on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP).
- Business Wales Skills Gateway: Regional Skills Partnerships (RSPs)
- Welsh Government apprenticeship learning agreement
- Quality Assuring Higher in Education Apprenticeships (QAA)
- Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol: Cymraeg 2050 – further education and apprenticeships
- Inclusive Apprenticeships, Disability Action Plan for Apprenticeships 2018-2021
- Welsh Government’s Employer Toolkit A More Equal Wales: A practical guide for employer to employing disabled people.