Despite contrary belief, apprenticeships aren’t always easy.
Painted as a period of training that equips you with a niche set of skills and invaluable industry experience, many students opt for an apprenticeship to acquire practical skills and earn a egular pay cheque.
Reporting to TES News, 22 year old Chantelle Koutsou joined the Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service as an apprentice in 2016.
Acknowledging the hard work required, Chantelle would still recommend an apprenticeship to others.
“They’re a great way to learn while earning some money as you go. You don’t have to feel pressured to go to university or college just because everyone around you is doing it. In my apprenticeship, I got lots of support and felt part of the crew from day one,” she explains.
But while you’re searching for yours, it’s useful to know the difference between the two main styles.
What is a higher apprenticeship?
Taking from one to five years to complete, a higher apprenticeship is equally funded between the government and your employer.
This type of apprenticeship is an opportunity to gain Level 4 qualifications or above.
Typically, apprentices gain an NVQ Level 4, HND or foundation degree via this route, and some may even get the opportunity to progress to Level 7 – a postgraduate level.
For a higher apprenticeship application in the UK, UCAS advises that you aim for at least five GCSEs grades A*–C (9–4 on the new grading system), including English and maths subjects, and Level 3 qualifications, including A levels, NVQs or BTEC. In other countries, regulations may differ.
Nearing the end of their higher apprenticeship, participants complete an assessment that tests both their academic learning and occupational competence developed through on-the-job training. After this, they may receive a full-time position or great credentials to show their next potential employer.
If you opt for a higher apprenticeship, you’ll be employed and paid a wage throughout the course.
What is a degree apprenticeship?
The key difference between a higher and degree apprenticeship is that you can achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of a degree apprenticeship.
But through the higher apprenticeship, you’ll cover certain undergraduate and postgraduate aspects of your chosen field, but you won’t complete it with a degree to your name.
As you can imagine, the competition for this type of apprenticeship can be tough as they’re relatively new and there aren’t yet many around.
They’re also still being developed by employers, universities and professional bodies working in partnership with each other.
Merging work with part-time university study, this is an incredible chance to gain real-world experience, freshen up your CV and kick-start your chosen career.
If you’re still unsure, watch a degree apprentice in action via this UCAS video.