Higher and Degree apprenticeships are an exciting hybrid between academic study and work place experience.
Although they are related and both founded on his fusion between traditional education and the importance of vocational skills, a higher apprenticeship and a degree apprenticeship are not the same thing, nor are they interchangeable terms.
Higher apprenticeships have actually existed for some time now. Whereas Degree apprenticeships are a specialised type of higher apprenticeship, and have not.
Being announced in March 2015, degree apprenticeships were born out of the desire to bring business and universities closer. Whilst existing higher apprenticeships enabled students to study to degree level, that was all it was – an enabling. Students could just as readily obtain a higher apprenticeship by gaining a work-based academic or vocational high- level qualification.
In juxtaposition, as the name would suggest, the degree founds the degree apprenticeship. Achieving this academic qualification is integral to apprentices passing their qualification. Having a stronger academic focus, it is expected that the degree apprenticeship may truly supply the young professionals which employees are hankering for.
Significantly, groups of businesses and universities are collaborating to develop these programmes. Universities such as Sheffield Hallam and Anglia Ruskin have been particularly prevalent in the introduction of the new apprenticeship. The Cambridge university views itself as a pioneer, who has pushed itself to the forefront. No longer are apprenticeship providers and universities fighting for the best candidates, one wanting to quash their creativity in favour of intellect – and the other acting contrastingly. Instead they have produced practical vocational degree courses which allow people to combine the academic study from a traditional university and the practical experience and wider employment skills vital for success. Degree apprenticeships appear to be a harmonious amalgamation of everything an aspirational student desires. Devised by and for businesses also proves just how employable these degree apprentices will be in the future.
In addition to this personal development and almost guaranteed employment that degree apprentices benefit from, they are also earning a wage. They are gaining a degree – which could even be a Master’s, and are not confined to subsequent years of debt. In fact their career prospects seem almost a stark contrast of students currently graduating from university.
Given the upcoming changes to apprenticeship funding, the domination of degree apprenticeships over other educational qualifications could be almost upon us. With the new apprenticeship levy and the collaboration of educational providers - both traditional and vocational - with businesses, it will be really interesting to see how the world of career development will be revolutionised.