Degree Apprenticeships FAQs

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about degree apprenticeships.

General information about Degree Apprenticeships

What is a higher/degree level apprenticeship?

Higher level apprenticeships are a combination of on-the-job training and studying for a higher level qualification – a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

There are rules governing what an apprenticeship is. The main ones are:

  • the apprentice must be employed in a real job; they may be an existing employee or a new hire
  • the apprentice must work towards achieving an approved apprenticeship standard
  • the apprenticeship training must last at least 12 months
  • the apprentice must spend at least 20 percent of their time on off-the-job training, ie studying.

Employing an apprentice is very simple. The National Apprenticeship Service can provide all the information you need to know in order to employ an apprentice.

What levels of apprenticeships are there?

Higher apprenticeships are available at a range of levels. We will be running apprenticeships at foundation degree (level 5), bachelor’s degree (level 6) and at master’s degree level (level 7).

Who can be an apprentice?

An apprentice must be employed and paid a wage; but can be a new recruit or existing member of staff that requires training and development to enable them to undertake a new role. There is no age limit for an apprentice.

What are the business benefits of a degree apprentice to my organisation?

  • UWE Bristol, with its partner FE colleges, can provide apprenticeships that provide clear progression routes from craft/technician level through to professional and postgraduate managerial skills.
  • Apprenticeships offer a route to reach talent who could be missed through more traditional recruitment routes.
  • Through an apprenticeship you have the ability to mould employees to business needs and fill higher level skills gap.
  • Apprentices can put into practise what they have learned in the workplace the next day, and keep the business up-to-date with the latest techniques and technology, increasing your organisations productivity.
  • There is government funding available to support the training of apprentices and you and your organisation may be able to access this funding.
  • If you are a large employer – with a salary bill of £3,000,000 pa or more, from spring 2017 you will be paying, via HMRC, the employer levy which will be 0.5 percent of your salary bill. If you recruit and employ apprentices, you will be able to recover this levy payment and use it towards the cost of training your apprentices.

How is the apprenticeship delivered?

The educational part of the apprenticeship will be based on a UWE Bristol degree programme relevant to the apprenticeship (see the 'What apprenticeships does UWE Bristol offer?' section below to find out more). The degree programme will be delivered in a range of formats including day release, block release and blended learning. Not all programmes will be available in all formats.

How long does a degree apprenticeship take?

An apprenticeship based on a foundation degree would typically require three years of study. If the apprenticeship integrates a bachelors/undergraduate degree it will take four to five years to progress through the programme. At Masters’ level an apprenticeship would last 18–24 months.

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

Yes – our programmes are accredited by the relevant professional body and whilst the specific professional/employment requirements may vary between disciplines/professions the apprenticeship and the related degree will count towards professional registration.

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. 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 us during the recruitment phase to ensure the apprentice meets your job/employment criteria and the university’s academic entrance requirements.

What apprenticeships are available?

An apprenticeship is defined through a Standard which states the knowledge, skills, and behaviours the apprentice needs to develop during their programme of study. These Standards are developed by Industry to meet the needs of that sector.

Standards are split into various levels, from level two (GCSE) to level seven (Masters Degree). Download the current GOV.UK approved Standards.

What apprenticeships does UWE Bristol offer?

Below shows the degree apprenticeships we offer and the related degree you will study to achieve it.

Chartered Manager (level 6) – delivered through a degree in BA(Hons) Leadership and Management Practice.

Embedded Systems Engineer (level 7) – delivered through a degree in MSc Digital Systems Engineering.

Chartered Surveyor (level 6) – delivered through a degree in either:

  • BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management
  • BSc (Hons) Construction Project Management
  • BSc (Hons) Building Services Engineering
  • BSc (Hons) Real Estate (in partnership with Bridgwater and Taunton College).

Digital and Technology Solutions Professional (level 6) - delivered through a degree in BSc Digital and Technology Solutions Professional (Weston College).

Embedded Electronic Systems Design and Development (level 6) -  delivered through a degree in BEng (Hons) Electronics and Computer Engineering (in partnership with Gloucester College).

Aerospace Engineer (level 6) – delivered through a degree in BEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering (in partnership with City of Bristol College).

I cannot find a relevant apprenticeship for my organisation, can I develop one?

Employers can develop the standard that defines the knowledge, skills and behaviours. This process is managed by the Department for Education. If you cannot find a suitable standard, please get in touch. We will be happy to work with you and help coordinate local employers so that a standard can be developed and a suitable academic programme developed to meet the requirements of the standard.

Funding for apprenticeships

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

As of April 2017 all UK employers with a payroll of more than £3 million per year will pay a levy of 0.5 percent to support apprenticeships. This will be collected by the Government through PAYE, with the first £15,000 offset.

Employers will be able to ‘spend’ their levy on apprenticeships via a digital account. Those whose payroll is less than £3 million will not pay a levy, but will still have access to funding via a digital account through a ‘co-fund mechanism’, to support their own degree apprenticeships.

How do I calculate the levy payment for my organisation?

To calculate how much levy you will pay,  you can use the SFA levy calculation online tool for employers to estimate your levy contribution, begin to plan your training requirements, and estimate your financial spending.

What is the digital apprenticeship services (DAS)?

You will be able to access funding for apprenticeships through a new digital apprenticeship service- the DAS. The system will allow you to:

  • select an apprenticeship standard
  • choose the training provider or providers you want to deliver the training
  • choose the organisation that will assess your apprentices
  • post apprenticeship vacancies.

If you are an employer who pays the levy, you can also use the digital apprenticeship service to:

  • set the price you’ve agreed with your training provider
  • pay for apprenticeship training and assessment.

How do I find out more about the levy and funding opportunities?

Up-to-date information on the apprenticeship levy, funding and regulations  and the latest government policy paper Apprenticeship funding from May 2017 is provided by Skills and Funding Agency (SFA).

Contact us

If you would like to find out about the levy and Degree Apprenticeships, please email the Degree Apprenticeships Team at or call +44 (0) 117 32 81043.

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