How to deliver degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are delivered by HEIs – but they’re very different to traditional degree programmes.

How to deliver degree apprenticeships


Degree apprenticeships are the gold standard in higher education. Apprentices split their time training on campus and in the workplace, and gain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at the end of their study. Degree apprenticeships are delivered by HEIs – but they’re very different to traditional degree programmes.

Planning your curriculum

Every degree apprenticeship has a Government-approved standard and assessment plan to help inform delivery. HEIs can use these to build their own apprenticeship curriculum – one that clearly states what they intend students to learn; that can be implemented in an individualised way; and that has measures in place to record the impact of the curriculum for learners.

Ofsted refers to this as the three ‘i’s – the curriculum intent, implementation and impact. Find out more about the three ‘i’s here.

Recording prior learning

Unlike traditional undergraduates, all apprentices must complete an initial assessment to record their prior learning. When you know each learner’s starting point you can individualise your curriculum to develop their knowledge further – which is what Ofsted wants to see.

Delivering learning in the workplace

With degree apprenticeships, most learning takes place in the workplace. Apprentices learn the skills, knowledge and behaviours in the standard by shadowing colleagues, completing practical activities and applying their knowledge in real-life situations.

As the main learning site is away from campus, HEIs must work closely with employers to set activities, provide support and monitor learner progression. This can be tricky to do remotely, so many HEIs use an apprenticeship software to help them manage their delivery.

Tracking off-the-job training

Degree apprentices spend most of their time learning in the workplace but must spend a minimum of 20% of their contracted hours completing off-the-job training. HEIs must work with employers to decide how the 20% minimum requirement will be met, and agree this with the apprentice in the commitment statement.

As the off-the-job requirement is time-based, apprentices need to record exactly how much time they’re spending off the job. They should also record what training has taken place, how it meets criteria in the apprenticeship standard, and upload supporting evidence.

End-point assessment

All apprentices must complete an end-point assessment (EPA) to pass their course. The assessment methods for each EPA is set out in the assessment plan, but could include a professional discussion, observation, exam or portfolio showcase.

Before an apprentice can take their EPA, they must pass through the gateway. The gateway is an agreement made between the employer, tutor and apprentice that the apprentice is ready to take the EPA. This process is very different to traditional degree exams or dissertations, so it’s worth reading about.

Degree apprenticeships are delivered across multiple learning sites, so delivery can be a little more complex than traditional degree programmes. HEIs need to work closely with employers to support, manage and monitor apprentices, so using an apprenticeship software to manage the process remotely is a must.

OneFile is the UK’s leading apprenticeship software, used by over 30 universities to deliver degree apprenticeships. With OneFile, HEIs and employers have full visibility of learner portfolios, so they can set activities, monitor progression, track off-the-job training and offer support wherever they are.

To find out more about OneFile and how it can be used to deliver quality degree apprenticeships, 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.