Degree Apprenticeships; How they differ to the traditional degree

Degree apprenticeships were first launched as part of the Higher Education scheme in 2015 and have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. Known to be the ‘bespoke degree’ option compared to traditional degrees– degree apprenticeships enable Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to build their own curriculum that states exactly what they intend the students to learn based upon the employer/job requirements.

Whilst traditional degrees have a good employment rate after completion and have more course options, with more and more people going to universities nowadays than ever before, it is becoming increasingly competitive to guarantee a job after graduating. Due to this, degree apprenticeships have become very popular with students, universities and employers for their almost guaranteed employment at the end of the course.

When it comes to delivering degrees and degree apprenticeships, they are very different.

With degree apprenticeships, the apprentice benefits from being in a real-life situation from the start. Giving them the opportunity to start earning straight away as they spend 80% of their time training in the workplace, shadowing colleagues and completing practical activities. This allows their employer to successfully mould them into the type of worker they need and unsurprisingly there is a higher percentage of employment after completion due to many staying with the same employer.

In comparison, traditional degrees involve students spending a proportion of their time at university, either in lectures or tutor sessions and the other part spent studying in their own time. This is not measured in the same way as degree apprenticeships, and traditional degree students have much more flexibility and control in how they learn. Mainly due to the fact that students fund the course themselves, commonly by sourcing a loan through the Student Loans Company. Whereas, degree apprenticeships are funded by either the employer paying the apprenticeship levy or through the employer getting co-investment funding from the government.

The assessment process for a traditional degree usually involves assessments throughout, whereas a degree apprenticeship is assessed only at the end, during an End Point Assessment (EPA). Audit trails are therefore crucial for both HE courses, however more thorough tracking is needed for degree apprenticeships as the learner is based off site so much. It is also important for the HEI, assessors and employers to measure progress of the learner throughout the degree apprenticeship as they have a much more structured set of standards to follow compared to traditional degrees, including a requirement of 20% off-the-job training.

Tracking a learners progress and recording off-the-job training is crucial to understand if the apprentice is ready for their EPA. You can find out more about being ready for End Point Assessments here.

To do this, an e-Portfolio is needed which is where our cloud-based apprenticeship software comes in. The Quals Direct e-Portfolio solution enables HEIs and employers to monitor progressions, track off-the-job training, set activities and have full visibility of a learners development; making it easy to offer support if needed.

For more information about how the Quals Direct e-Portfolio can be used to successfully deliver degree apprenticeships, get in touch.