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Should I consider a Degree Apprenticeship?

St Benedict's Careers Department held a very useful and informative evening event for students and parents, presenting the advantages, opportunities and application process for Degree Apprenticeships.

St Benedict's Careers event: degree apprenticeships

Should I consider a Degree Apprenticeship?


So that’s the short answer. The slightly longer answer (paraphrasing the view of one of our current U6) might be: ‘Yes. I don’t understand why more people aren’t applying for these. You’d be mad not too.’

As a result, our most recent presentation on Degree Apprenticeships on the 1st February, in the run up to National Apprenticeships Week, saw strong attendance by parents and pupils with much interest generated by the quality of the speakers secured by Mrs Hopgood, St Benedict’s Head of Careers. Having described the rapid shifts we have seen in the quality and range of apprenticeships available, as well as the much better access to information on providers and how and when to apply, we first heard from Luke Smith (OP22) who last year secured a place on PwC’s unique Flying Start Degree Apprenticeship programme. Most apprenticeships are secured by applying to the employer: applications to Flying Start are via UCAS and are one of the five choices pupils can make when applying to university.

The Degree Apprenticeship talk was an opportunity for me to listen to, and question, a person who is actually doing one. The information we received that evening varied from the split between work and university to debunked myths surrounding the topic. It was nice to get a clear view of how Degree Apprenticeships function and their incredible benefits, such as having your degree paid for and gaining valuable work experience at a young age. After attending the evening I would say I have a much better image of where I can see myself going with a Degree Apprenticeship in the future."


Stefan K (L6/Y12)

Luke’s chosen area is in Business Accounting and Finance. Not only does this allow him a complete first year student experience at Newcastle University, by the end of his degree he will have completed 80% of the ICAEW exams. Providing he achieves a 2:1 in Finals, he has a guaranteed job offer at PwC.  Given that the second and third years of the programme include paid work placements of increasing length, by the end of his first full year’s employment at PwC he aims to have completed the working hours requirement and final exams to become a fully qualified chartered accountant. Hence, four years after leaving school he will have two qualifications and work experience that would otherwise have taken him six years to complete.

PwC offer Flying Start degree apprenticeship programmes in Accounting, Business Management and Technology: and technology was the apprenticeship area discussed by our guests from VMWare. Bola and Zahra are solution engineer apprentices also studying Digital and Technology Solutions (IT Consultant) at the University of West London. For both, working at VMWare was the culmination of an early interest in technology, reflected in A Level and GCSE choices. In a wonderfully engaging and personable presentation, with a core theme of being open to learning experiences and challenges, they demonstrated the presentation and networking skills they have clearly learned ‘on the job’ and had supported by their day release studies at UWL.

The degree apprenticeship talk was a highly informative and inspiring portrayal of a new perspective of the future for students. It explored the reality of a degree apprenticeship, with presentations on day to day experiences from apprentices – students who have gone through the same decision-making process as I am currently undergoing. The talk presented a variety of different apprenticeships, from the logical economics and business sectors all the way to more creative, architecture routes, uncovering pathways for a variety of students with different interests. Having been apprehensive at first at the idea of a degree apprenticeship, both my parents and I were surprised at their appeal and our curiosity about this path, which is something I now see myself pursuing."

Chiara P (L6/Y12)

By contrast Harbinder Birdi is a St Benedict’s ‘dad’, whose initial involvement in the architectural feat that is the newly revamped Elizabeth Line Tottenham Court Rd station coincided with the birth of his now 13-year-old son. Bridging architecture and engineering, he now lectures at Cambridge University on large-scale projects, and why they will always run late and over budget. At the same time, he compellingly and graphically illustrated why degree apprenticeships will always come in under time, under budget, and represent excellent value for money – for both the investor (employer) and consumer (student).

St Benedict's Careers event; Apprenticeships
Qualification and training models: architecture

The landscape has changed on degree apprenticeships: when we first presented on these in 2018, information was hard to find and opportunities were limited in number. Now at the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week on 6th February, the Education Minister has announced that from 2024 apprenticeships will be an equal feature on UCAS as part of school-leaver applications. It’s clear apprenticeships are going to make universities work harder to justify the investment in a traditional degree.

Mrs K. Norris (St Benedict's Careers Officer)

St Benedict's Careers event: apprenticeships
Tottenham Court Road station