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Six reasons why you should think about a degree apprenticeship

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1. You get a salary and a degree at the end.

Degree apprenticeships are just what they sound like. You begin working for an organisation for a salary and studying at the same time. At the end, you’ll get a shiny new degree!

‘My motivation towards pursuing an apprenticeship degree was that I could study at the same time as working full time,’ said Alex Hogg, an apprentice at Cambrian Training. ‘The apprenticeship degree is also fully funded so does not cost me anything, and my employer supports me by allowing me to dedicate 20% of my work time towards study each week.’

It’s national apprenticeship week 2024!

Apprenticeships are a great way to learn new things, start a new career, and help companies develop their staff. This article has some reasons why you should think about studying for one – or set one up in your organisation.

The OU in Wales has a degree apprenticeship in Applied Software Engineering which is funded by the Welsh Government. You can find out about it here.

With the OU in Wales, aspiring tech wizards can get a BSc Honors in Applied Software Engineering. This combines the academic work of a degree, while applying what you’ve learned to real-world situations (more on this in a bit).

2. You’ll have support from the government.

One of the first things we think about when we’re looking to study something new is how it will be paid for. For OU students studying standard undergrad degrees, there’s a load of support available – from loans to maintenance grants.

Degree apprenticeships are affordable as well. In Wales, apprentices get backing from the Welsh Government, as well as taking home a salary!

3. It’s versatile and flexible.

When you think about an ‘apprentice’ you may be forgiven for picturing a young person in their first ever job. The fact is that many apprentices are seasoned pros who are looking to upskill or change career. It’s also a great way for companies to nurture new talent.

‘It's a unique chance to enhance and diversify the skills of our existing workforce,’ says Gary Hall at Swansea City Council. ‘While the absence of an experienced employee like ours for one day each week for training presents greater challenges than a new apprentice might, the long-term benefits are substantial. Their new skills and improved capabilities at the end of the apprenticeship promise to bring significant value to our team and operations.’

4. You’ll get hands on experience.

Whenever I used to hear ‘apprenticeship’, I'd picture starting over like a 16-year-old, with little cash, at the bottom of the organisation. But actually, it's quite the opposite. Challenge yourself. You'll pick up new skills and open up new opportunities.

Chris Hopkins, Virgin Atlantic Airways

This is one of the most compelling things about being an apprentice. The employer and the college or university will work together to create a training package with practical applications. You’ll be doing things which actually make a difference to the company, and give you a good understanding of the industry you’ve chosen.

‘My apprenticeship has developed me professionally from learning new skills such as software engineering and project management techniques which I am able to use in the workplace, adds Alex. ‘The apprenticeship has certainly made me more organised on both a professional and personal level.’

5. It can help nurture talent and build teams.

Apprenticeships can be a great way for businesses to bring new talent into the business. They can promote a diverse workforce, and a culture of continuous development. For many organisations, they’ve been a good strategic investment.

‘Since integrating apprentices, we've noticed a significant boost in productivity and creativity,’ adds Gary. ‘Their eagerness to learn and apply new skills positively affects our overall workflow and team dynamics.’

6. Everyone wins

One of the reasons degree apprenticeships have become so popular in recent years is because they benefit the wider community. They’re all about opening up learning to more people and helping workforces become more resilient.

The OU’s 2023 Business Barometer report showed that 75% organisations are experiencing skills shortages, and 43% have been unable to fill roles as they didn’t have enough applicants.

Because they can give businesses the chance to invest in their own staff, degree apprentices can partly address this ‘skills gap’.

For the learners themselves, a degree apprenticeship can help them achieve their potential and start a dream career – something they might not have thought was possible in the past.

‘My manager recognised my natural technical affinity and asked if I’d be interested in completing an apprenticeship.’ said another Alex – Alex Thompson – a degree apprentice at Admiral Group. ‘I am naturally quite a technical person, but I never studied the necessary subjects in school to be able to pursue a technical career. My current role has allowed me to have a glimpse into a technical position and this really interested me.’

If you’d like to chat about a degree apprenticeship and see if it’s right for you, e-mail

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