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Delivering degree apprenticeships? Here are 7 things you need to know

Delivering degree apprenticeships is very different from traditional undergraduate programmes.

Delivering degree apprenticeships? Here are 7 things you need to know

People in a classroom working together

Degree apprenticeships are growing in popularity and are now an established part of the higher education offering. Degree apprenticeships give universities access to a new income stream, help HEIs develop links with employers and align institutions with market demand.

Delivering degree apprenticeships is very different to traditional undergraduate programmes. Although your subject specialism will stay the same, you’ll need to think about employer engagement, apprenticeship funding, Functional Skills, off-the-job training and end-point assessment. Degree apprenticeships are a whole different ball game – here are 7 things you need to know before you pitch.

1. Employer engagement is a major part of apprenticeship delivery

Although degree apprentices are enrolled in your faculty, they’re also a full-time employee. They spend most of their time learning at work, so keeping employers engaged in the learning journey is crucial for the apprentice’s progress. Employers need to be involved in every stage of the process to provide support, enable teaching and approve progress. This means you’ll need systems in place to help tutors collaborate with employers effectively.

2. The ESFA’s apprenticeship funding rules are complex

Degree apprenticeships are funded by the ESFA. To claim funding for your learners, you have to comply with their strict regulations – like submitting accurate ILR (individualised learner records) every month. You may need to invest in an apprenticeship system with a built-in ILR tool, and train staff to make sure they have the expertise to maintain compliance.

3. Some students may require Functional Skills

Unlike traditional undergraduates who often have to meet strict grade requirements, degree apprentices may not have level 2 maths and English. In these cases, universities must support degree apprentices to achieve their Functional Skills before they sit their end-point assessment (EPA).

4. Off-the-job training is a mandatory requirement

All degree apprentices must spend at least 20% of their contracted hours completing off-the-job training. Off-the-job training must also be planned, recorded and tracked for quality assurance and funding compliance. Using an apprenticeship software with a built-in off-the-job training tracker will make this process much easier to manage.

5. End-point assessment isn’t mandatory in HE

All apprentices need to pass their EPA to complete their apprenticeship. But EPA isn’t a mandatory requirement in all HE qualifications – the ‘degree’ part of the degree apprenticeship. This may mean that you’ll need to encourage apprentices to sit their EPA. If they leave the programme when they achieve their degree and don’t attempt the EPA, you won't receive the completion payment – 20% of the total apprenticeship funding. This will impact your success rates and could damage relationships with employers. Moving the curriculum around a little so that the final degree achievement is scheduled after EPA is a quick solution.

6. Degree apprenticeships are quality assured differently to traditional degrees

At the moment, degree apprenticeships are quality assured by the Office for Students, but this is about to change. In April 2021, Ofsted will start inspecting all universities that deliver degree apprenticeships. This may mean a few changes in delivery and quality measures but will help improve the quality of degree apprenticeships across the country.

7. Using an apprenticeship software is highly recommended

There are many things to think about when it comes to degree apprenticeship delivery, which is why most HEIs use an apprenticeship software to manage the entire process.

The UK’s most popular degree apprenticeship software is OneFile, used by over 30 HEIs to support their delivery. Even the UK’s largest provider of degree apprenticeships uses OneFile – the University of Exeter – as well as institutions like the University of Warwick, the University of Law and the Open University

OneFile is so popular with HEIs as it has everything you need to plan, deliver, manage and track the entire apprenticeship journey. OneFile has a built-in eportfolio, funding calculator, learning journal, course builder, off-the-job tracker and reporting suite.

To find out exactly how OneFile works, how you can use it to 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.