Degree apprenticeships: the story so far

Since they were introduced 5 years ago, degree apprenticeships have really taken off.

Degree apprenticeships: the story so far

Degree apprenticeships were introduced as a flagship policy on 12th March 2015 as part of the apprenticeship reforms. They were launched to provide a viable alternative to university study and give individuals the opportunity to gain a degree-level qualification and real-life work experience without accruing student debt.

Since the first 9 standards were released 5 years ago, degree apprenticeships have really taken off. In a BBC survey conducted in March 2017, 91% of universities said they were looking into degree apprenticeships as an option for their institution. By the end of 2017, over 100 of degree apprenticeship standards had been introduced – from aerospace engineering to architecture.

A quick Google search in any region brings up thousands of degree apprenticeship jobs. In fact, degree apprenticeships are outperforming apprenticeships at all other levels. Higher and degree programmes make up only 0.4% of starts nationwide, but while other levels have suffered a 26.4% decrease, higher and degree apprenticeships have seen a 25.4% increase.

According to the Institute for Apprenticeships, the 5 most popular degree standards are chartered manager, senior leader, digital and technology solutions professional, chartered surveyor and registered nurse. When you look at the starts for each standard in 2017/18 to 2018/19, you can see how much more popular each of the standards has become in just 1 year.

The chartered manager standard has grown from 2,314 starts in 2017/18 to 2,850 starts in 2018/19 – which is an increase of 23% in one year. The digital and technology solutions standard has increased from 1,312 starts to 1,508 starts (a 15% increase) and the senior leader standard has increased from 552 to 3,410 – a whopping 518% increase!

Out of 113 level 6 and 7 apprenticeship standards currently available, 88 are degree apprenticeships, and out of these, 44 are integrated degree apprenticeships (the university provides the scheduled teaching and the end-point assessment) and 44 are non-integrated degree apprenticeships (the EPA is conducted by an independent end-point assessment organisation) 

At the end of 2019, there were 56 more standards in the approval progress, so these figures are expected to increase by around 50% in the next 6 months.  

In line with the increase in standards and starts, the number of UK universities delivering degree apprenticeships has risen to 87 – and we expect to see this grow as interest continues to rise. Out of these 87 universities, the 10 with the highest percentage of starts are:  

What do half of these top 10 universities have in common? 

They all use OneFile’s apprenticeship software to deliver their curriculums.  

OneFile is the UK’s leading apprenticeship software. It has everything you need to deliver quality degree apprenticeships – including a built in eportfolio, course builder, learning journal, evaluation scorecard and off-the-job tracker.  

That’s why it’s already used by over 30 UK universities to deliver degree apprenticeships. 

We’re extremely happy with OneFile – the software works for our needs and our customer success manager goes above and beyond to support us!”  

Ben Campbell, University of Law 


To find out how OneFile works, how you can use it deliver degree apprenticeships, and what other universities think, download your ultimate guide to degree apprenticeships 

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.