Alternatives to University


degree apprenticeships

A degree apprenticeship enables you to gain a full undergraduate or master’s degree while you work. Degree apprenticeships take three to six years to complete, depending on the course level. You’ll spend most of your time working and you’ll also study part-time at university. For example, you might go to university one or two days per week, or in short blocks, such as a week at a time. Overall, you spend about 20% of your time studying vs. 80% of your time working.

What are the benefits of degree apprenticeships?

  • You’ll get real-life experience working alongside your degree.
  • Your degree is fully paid for, so there’s no cost to you.
  • You’ll get paid a salary just like a normal employee.

Click here for further information on Degree Apprenticeships.

Higher Level Apprenticeships

Higher apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain Level 4 qualifications or above, with most apprentices gaining an NVQ Level 4, HND, or foundation degree. Some offer the opportunity to progress to Level 7 (which is postgraduate degree level).

What are the benefits of higher apprenticeships?

  • Apprentices are employed and paid a wage throughout the course.
  • Apprentices will gain a head start in their chosen profession.
  • Training costs are co-funded by the government and the employer.

Click here for further information on Higher Apprenticeships.

Top 100 apprenticeship employers 2022

The Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2022 is the national league table that recognises England’s leading apprenticeship employers for their overall commitment to employing apprentices, their creation of new apprenticeships, the diversity of their new apprentices, and the progression of their apprentices onto further apprenticeships and employment. The annual rankings have been developed by the Department for Education, in partnership with High Fliers Research.

Support for Parents and Carers

If as a parent / carer you need guidance on how you can support your student on their apprenticeship journey, click on the following links for more information –

School Leaver Programme

School leaver programmes give you a direct route into the world of work post-18.

  • The benefits of going straight into work are numerous and begin with earning a wage while you’re learning – both on the job and formally.
  • There are also the benefits of learning new skills, meeting new people, travelling, and gaining the confidence and capabilities that come with working with people older and more knowledgeable than you.
  • Often employers will offer post-18 job options which allow you to develop into exactly the same end role as a graduate – just by taking a different route which may be better suited to you.
  • A typical school leaver programme will last between 12 months and five years, and may include obtaining a qualification as part of the programme objectives.

Links that may be of interest –

School leaver programmes | EY UK

School and College Leaver careers | PwC UK Careers

Year in Industry

By doing a year in industry you’ll experience the world of employment and work on real life projects that impact a business. The learning is hands-on, meaning you acquire certain skills you can’t when sitting in a lecture.

  • A 9 to 12 month paid placement with one of 300 top UK companies, e.g. National Grid, Shell, Rolls Royce, L’Oreal etc
  • They have placements for students interested in a wide variety of areas.
  • You will receive full support through a year-long mentoring service, including on-site visits from the Year in Industry team and free management training.
  • Each year around 25% of all Year in Industry students end up being sponsored through university.
  • Many of the 300 partner companies see the Year in Industry as an important part of their recruitment programme.
  • All their placements give you the skills and knowledge employers are looking for.
  • You can complete the placement in a GAP year prior to university or to gain experience for employment.

Links that may be of interest –

Why choose a degree with a year in industry? (

Gap Year

A gap year offers you the opportunity to gain skills and experiences, while giving you time to reflect and focus on what you want to do next.

  • A productive gap year can be valuable on your CV – many employers value the experiences students have gained if they’ve actively managed their time, set themselves goals, and stretched themselves.
  • A gap year can also enhance your higher education studies – if you decide to apply for uni, you could tailor your gap year to relate it to the subject area you plan to study.
  • Admissions tutors know that some students may take a little time to adjust to studying again, but many former gap year students are generally more focused and responsible.

Click here for more information on gap years.