What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a full-time job where an employee undertakes off-the-job training paid for by the employer. A degree apprenticeship is an apprenticeship where the employee is studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level (levels 6 or 7 respectively) as part of their apprenticeship. This is a subset of higher apprenticeships, which are available at levels 4 to 7 and include other apprenticeships at level 6 and 7 that don’t lead to a degree upon completion.
This guide explores characteristics of those starting all apprenticeships in 2016-17 and compares them to those entering other forms of education and training.
Please note: when referring to ‘degree apprenticeships’ in this guide, data will also include other apprenticeships at levels 6 or 7 where a higher education award is not gained upon completion.
Compared with other levels of apprenticeships and higher education generally there were relatively few degree apprentices in 2016-17, but the number of starts are growing.
In 2016-17 there were 2,580 degree apprentices registered in higher education, of which 1,750 started their apprenticeship that year.
There was a roughly equal number of young and mature entrants undertaking degree apprenticeships, with young students (entrants under 21) more likely to be going into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) apprenticeships.
There were more males entering degree apprenticeships than females, but relative to similar higher education courses there is a slightly lower proportion of males.
Apprenticeships at all levels had lower proportions of entrants from minority ethnic groups, than entrants to similar higher education courses.
Apprenticeships have a lower proportion of entrants with a declared disability than entrants to higher education.
Student region of domicile
The North West and North East of England have the highest proportion of the working age population entering degree apprenticeships, with London having the lowest density.
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30 per cent of degree apprenticeship entrants come from areas underrepresented in higher education, slightly higher than the proportion entering similar full-time higher education courses (26 per cent).
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