National Apprenticeship Week: The case for degree level apprenticeships

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Written by Alex Ball on 6 March 2017 in Features

It's National Apprenticeship Week, and Capita's Alex Ball is here to give us a quick rundown of the advantages of the degree level apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are already very well established as a pathway for school leavers and as an alternative to university. However, many employers sometimes overlook another area: higher-level and degree-level apprenticeships.

Degree level apprenticeships are being used by employers to both attract and develop new staff as well as upskilling the current workforce to realise true potential. But many employers still need to overcome the barrier of people not knowing about them.

All apprenticeships have an equivalent education level:



Equivalent education level



NVQs level 1



5 GCSE passes at grades A* to C



2 A level passes


4, 5,6 & 7

Foundation degree and above


6 & 7

Bachelor’s or master’s degree

Employers are increasingly looking at developing the higher-level apprenticeships to create the next generation of leaders within organisations.

Higher-level apprenticeships provide a deeper, richer, more meaningful programme. The embedding of qualifications into the workplace means that apprentices are not just provided with the technical knowledge but the competencies alongside it.

With a focus on work-based learning, the higher-level apprenticeships are like all other apprenticeships, combining work with study, and result in a programme that is business-oriented.

The standards of the apprenticeships are based on the core skills, knowledge and activities needed for performing a range of career roles to a high level, all within the context of the organisation – thanks to the replacement of the old apprenticeship frameworks with the new, employer-centric trailblazer standards.

The higher-level apprenticeships allow organisations to base the studying around the actual or future day job of the apprentice meaning that the learning is applied immediately and employers get the maximum impact.

There is a debate to be had about how to market the higher-level apprenticeship amongst internal staff. Is the apprenticeship brand as strong, meaningful and aspirational to a time-served middle-manager as it is to 18-year-old school leavers?

We will tackle this subject in more detail later in National Apprenticeships Week, where we look at the branding surrounding apprenticeships. For ideas and examples around this, contact Capita Apprenticeships.


About the author

Alex Ball is commercial director, Capita Apprenticeships.


Look out for more apprenticeship features throughout this week.


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