Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

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Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs
Apprenticeship, Higher
             Apprenticeship and
             Degree Apprenticeship

             A Guide for HEIs

             The University Vocational Awards Council

                                          University Vocational Awards Council



                                            Phone: 01204 903355

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Click on the heading below to go to the section.

1.    Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 2
2.    What is Apprenticeship? ................................................................................................................. 2
3.    Why HEIs should Consider Involvement in Apprenticeship ............................................................ 4
4.    The Apprenticeship Reforms........................................................................................................... 8
5.    Degree Apprenticeships ................................................................................................................ 12
6.    Higher Apprenticeship Frameworks ............................................................................................. 14
7.    Apprenticeship Funding ................................................................................................................ 16
8.    How to Get Involved in Apprenticeship ........................................................................................ 17
Annex 1 - Higher Apprenticeship Timeline ........................................................................................... 19

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

1.       Introduction

This e-guide has been produced by UVAC. It will be updated on a regular basis and Higher Education
Institutions (HEIs) and their partners are encouraged to provide case study material and suggest
revisions and links to supporting material which would help HEIs consider and, as appropriate,
develop their role in apprenticeship.

The e-guide focuses specifically on new apprenticeship standards and the associated reforms to
apprenticeship which are currently being implemented. Information is, however, also provided on
existing higher apprenticeship frameworks, which are currently available for delivery, but which will
be replaced by apprenticeship standards. The aim is for all new apprenticeship starts to be on
standards by 2017/18. The guide also provides information on apprenticeship funding and on new
developments such as degree apprenticeships. As such, the guide is aimed at assisting HEIs
(working with their partners) and, on the basis of employer demand, to consider their
involvement in the implementation and delivery of new apprenticeship standards, the delivery of
existing higher apprenticeship frameworks and new degree apprenticeships.

The guide has been primarily produced for HEIs, but Further Education Colleges (FECs), training
providers and other partners may also find it of value. Further advice and guidance on
apprenticeship is available from University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC).

2.       What is Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are designed to enable individuals in employment gain the knowledge, skills and
behaviours required for a defined occupation. Under the apprenticeship reforms, employers
working with professional bodies (as and where appropriate), have formed Trailblazers (recognised
by government) to develop nationally recognised apprenticeship standards - short, succinct
documents that define the knowledge, skills and behaviours for occupations and related high level
assessment plans.

Government defines apprenticeship as follows:

‘An apprenticeship is a job, in a skilled occupation, that requires substantial and sustained training,
leading to the achievement of an apprenticeship standard and the development of transferable skills
to progress careers.’

Source: BIS/DfE

This definition builds upon earlier definitions. Higher apprenticeship (covering apprenticeship at
level 4 to level 7) has been defined as follows:

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

‘Higher apprenticeships are national work-based programmes based on employer need that enable
individuals in employment to develop the technical knowledge and competence to perform a defined
job role. As such, a higher apprenticeship is not just a learning programme, but an approach to
workforce development and enhancing business performance.’

Professor Joy Carter, Chair of UVAC and HE Champion for Higher Apprenticeships and Ian Ferguson, CBE, Chairman of
Trustees, Metaswitch Networks and Employer Champion for Higher Apprenticeships, in Developing Quality Higher
Apprenticeship Frameworks for England, April 2013

Any apprenticeship (based on either an apprenticeship standard or framework) that also includes
achievement of a full bachelor’s or master’s degree can be referred to as a degree apprenticeship.

The potential importance of the apprentice agenda to the higher education sector is demonstrated
by the following facts and figures.

Apprenticeship Facts and Figures

    Government’s planned investment in apprenticeship in 2013-14 was over £1.5bn.
     Apprenticeships, including higher and degree apprenticeships attract government co-
    Apprenticeships have been developed from level 2 (intermediate) up to and including level 7
    Around 50 higher apprenticeship frameworks at levels 4 to level 6 have been approved. The
     higher apprenticeship frameworks developed can be accessed at
     As explained in this guidance higher apprenticeship frameworks are being replaced by employer
     developed apprenticeship standards
    As at March 2015, 34% of apprenticeship standards approved were at HE level
    Apprenticeship standards have been approved in some key occupational/HEI subject areas
     including: solicitor, chartered legal executive, manufacturing engineer, construction site
     management, professional accountant, network engineer, and software developer. The
     apprenticeship standards approved and details of those under development are available at
    Substantial numbers of employers and major national employers are involved in Trailblazers
     developing apprenticeship standards. Details of employers and professional bodies involved in
     specific Trailblazers are outlined at
    There were over 850,000 apprenticeship participants in 2013/14, of which 18,100 were higher
    Over 220,000 workplaces employ an apprentice
    Advanced level (level 3) apprentices earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their
     lifetime than those with lower level qualifications; this rises to £150,000 for those doing higher
     apprenticeships (level 4 – 7)
    70% of employers using apprenticeships report higher productivity and improved quality of
    A National Audit Office Report estimates that adult apprenticeships deliver £18 of economic
     benefits for each £1 of government investment.

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

3.       Why HEIs should Consider Involvement in Apprenticeship

Policy - Apprenticeship is a priority for the Coalition Government. The importance of higher
apprenticeship and the university role has been highlighted by the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Vince
Cable MP.

“Higher apprenticeships are an important solution to the sub-degree gap, and there are already
some superb schemes, for which entry is as competitive as getting into Cambridge... The kind of
programme, including a sponsored degree, has huge advantages both for employers (who gain staff
with theoretical as well as practical knowledge tailored to their specific needs) and for individuals
(who gain a career-focused degree, earn good money while they study and graduate free without
student loans).

Previous governments did not support this route effectively. Higher apprenticeship funding is difficult
to claim and poorly administered. We are changing that by routing funding directly to employers,
enabling them to purchase training…apprenticeships can include full undergraduate and master’s
degrees, funded through employer and government co-investment.

This is an essential step to making higher apprenticeships the norm rather than a niche in the
overall skills programme – making it as plausible to complete a degree via an apprenticeship as to
go to university for 3 years. This is a huge opportunity for universities, who think of their customers
in terms of employers as well as individuals. Doing so can attract significant investment, as well as
Introducing cutting-edge practice into their degree programmes…”

Vince Cable, Cambridge Public Policy Lecture on the Future for HE & FE, April 2014

The Secretary of State has also stated:

‘The Government’s ambition is for it to become the norm for young people to achieve their career
goals by going into an Apprenticeship or to university to – in the case of some Higher Apprenticeships
– doing both.’

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

From a higher apprenticeship perspective, this is a significant statement, recognising both the
university role in apprenticeship and that an individual can potentially have the best of both worlds
and gain a degree while working, earning and learning through a higher apprenticeship.

Degree Apprenticeships were launched at 10 Downing Street in November 2014 and are potentially
a very significant development. Degree apprenticeships are apprenticeship frameworks and
standards which include a full bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Apprenticeship is also a priority for the Labour Party. An analysis of the Labour Party’s potential
approach to higher education and Apprenticeship can be found by UVAC members in the members’
area of the UVAC website. The position of the three main Westminster parties on apprenticeship
and technician level skills demonstrates that whatever the outcome of the 2015 General Election,
technician level skills and developing alternatives to traditional full-time bachelor’s degree
programmes are likely to be policy priorities.

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

In addition to political priorities there are other reasons why HEIs may want to review the
apprenticeship agenda:

Demographics - The number of 18 – 20 year olds reached a peak in 2011. The decline in 18 – 20
year olds will continue to decline until 2021 (rising thereafter) by when the population of this age
group will be 14% lower than in 2011. To maintain the level of current 18 – 20 recruitment to HE in
the short to medium term, HEIs will have to recruit a higher proportion of the cohort. Higher
apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships could represent a way for HEIs to recruit new cohorts of
learners - those who, in future, want to choose an alternative to a ‘traditional’ full-time bachelor’s
degree. Involvement in apprenticeship could also represent a useful approach to widening
participation and access both in delivering programmes at level 4 and above and supporting
progression to higher education from advanced apprenticeship. The University of Greenwich has
undertaken extensive work in tracking apprenticeship progression which HEIs may find of value. 1

International Students - While international (non-EU) full-time undergraduate entrants increased
in both 2012-13 and 2013-14, the level of growth was substantially lower than that experienced
prior to 2010-11 and compared with competitor countries 2. Future immigration controls and
changes to student visas could have an impact on international entrants to HE.

The Dominance of Full-Time Bachelor’s Degree Provision - English higher education provision
is characterised by the dominance of full-time bachelor’s degree provision. Full-time UK and other
EU undergraduate entrants to universities and college in England in 2013/14 were 8% higher than in
2012/13, following a dip from 2011/12. UK and other EU full-time undergraduate entrants to
universities and colleges in England were 384,000 in 2010/11, 398,000 in 2011/12, 351,000 in
2012/13 and 378,000 in 2013/14 3. In comparison:

     UK and EU part time undergraduate entrants fell from 259,000 in 2010/11 to 139,000 in
     Entrants to foundation degree programmes at English HEIs have fallen substantially between
      2010/11 and 2012/13 with full time entrants falling from 21,000 to under 13,000.
     International comparisons on short cycle professional education and training qualifications
      make interesting reading. The percentage of adults aged 20 – 45 who have short cycle
      professional education and training as their highest qualification (OECD 2014 survey of adult
      skills) was lower in England than in France, Japan, the USA and Germany

As outlined, all three main Westminster political parties are interested in alternatives to ‘traditional
full-time three year bachelor’s degrees’. Yet the full-time bachelor’s degree is increasingly
dominant. The attitude and subsequent decisions of individual learners and employers will be the
key determinant of the success or otherwise of alternatives to ‘traditional full-time three year
bachelor’s degrees’. Future developments and trends in this area should be reviewed.

  Progression of Apprentices to Higher Education, BIS/University of Greenwich, 2013
  Ibid 2
Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Subject Focus of Recent Growth in First Degrees - The growth in the number of first degrees
awarded between 2002 and 2012 has been very uneven 4:

    Humanities – 81.3%
    Business/Administration – 77%
    Creative Arts/Design – 76.3%
    Physical Sciences – 23.7%
    Engineering/technology – 16.3%
    Computer Science – 6.5%

Whether such demand will continue in the future may be an issue. Employment opportunities may
be an issue for prospective students. In December 2011 (thirty months after graduating) 37% of
creative art and design graduates were in non-graduate jobs. In comparison after the same period
only 16% of engineering and technology graduates were in non-graduate jobs 5. It seems probable
that more industrial planning and devolution at city level could incentivise and support HE provision
which is linked to skills and labour market requirements.

The Employer as Purchaser of Higher Education – The expansion of HE provision in recent
decades has been funded by the state and, latterly, by the state and individuals with access to state
backed loans. The reforms to apprenticeship focus on the employer as purchaser of the learning and
accreditation required for the apprenticeship. As such the employer (not the individual) will
purchase what they consider most appropriate and cost effective from a provider of learning, i.e.
private training provider, FEC or HEI. As outlined in section 7 of this guide, for apprenticeships based
on apprenticeship standards, employers will purchase provision and a Government co-investment
will be provided based on the principle that for every £1 that an employer invests in training an
apprentice, the Government will pay £2 up to a clear cap. This funding will apply to HE qualifications
when used to deliver the requirements of the apprenticeship standard and could prove very
attractive to employers. This funding system will also apply to new degree apprenticeships.
Employers value apprenticeship with over 220,000 workplaces employing at least one apprentice.

Learners, Loans and Debt – As the apprenticeship funding model is based on the employer and
government funding the cost of the training and accreditation provision, the apprentice will not pay
tuition fees or therefore need to access a student loan if an HE programme is used to deliver the
requirements of the apprenticeship standard. Essentially, when used to deliver the requirements of
the apprenticeship standard the apprentice/student will have their tuition fees paid by the state and
their employer 6. The apprentice/student will also be employed and earn a salary. The prospect of
‘earning while you learn’, no student debt and a job from day one will potentially be highly attractive
proposition to many prospective HE students and their parents, particularly at a time when average

  Source: The Edge Foundation, compiled from data from HESA, Higher Education Statistics for the UK 2001/02
(accessed via and 2011/12 (accessed via
  Futuretrack Stage 4: transitions into employment, further study and other outcomes, prepared by Warwick
Institute for Employment Research for the Higher Education Careers Service Unit, November 2012 –
  Subject to the caps and rules outlined in Section 7 of this guide
Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

student debt is forecast as £44,000 7 and when YouGov research commissioned by the Guardian has
identified that almost 60% of parents are dissatisfied with fee levels 8.

Competition - An increasing number of universities, FECs, independent, private sector
training providers, awarding organisations and professional bodies are exploring the
potential of higher apprenticeship. While apprenticeship will present HEIs with a range of
opportunities, it also poses a range of competitive challenges; employers may use further education
or professional qualifications and ‘purchase’ provision from training providers. For universities,
apprenticeship may present opportunities for new innovative development and delivery
partnerships. Professional bodies are particularly interested in exploring how apprenticeship can
support the development of new pathways to professional membership, indeed professional bodies
have a key role as apprenticeship standards must link to professional registration (where this exists).

Apprenticeship an ‘alternative’ to existing HE provision? – Apprenticeship is often positioned
as an alternative to university. It need not be. University qualifications can be used to deliver the
requirements of an apprenticeship standard if this is what an employer wants 9. Apprenticeship
‘provision’ is, however, solely focused on those in work and achieving the skills, knowledge and
behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standard and assessment plan. Accordingly, apprenticeship
represents an alternative to ‘traditional’ full-time HE provision.

The new approach to apprenticeship signifies some key shifts in the overall ‘skills system’, which
could have substantial implications for HE. These include:

   An emphasis on employer leadership and control - The employer is in the ‘driving seat’ as the
    ‘standard setter’, customer and actual purchaser of learning and accreditation for the

   A shift in apprenticeship focus from predominately level 2 and 3 to level 3 and HE levels -
    apprenticeship is moving into HE vocational territory

   New HE programmes and models of delivery based on employer demand as alternatives to full-
    time three year bachelor’s degrees

   A wider range of HE programmes, but greater government support for those focused on STEM
    and skills needs determined by employers and encompassing prescribed HE (e.g. foundation
    and bachelor’s degrees) , non-prescribed HE (awarding organisation and professional body
    qualifications) and non-accredited learning provision

   An opening up of the market and encouragement for new providers to enter the market on the
    basis of employer demand

   A wider range of and differentiation in the type of institution and providers of higher level
    learning programmes - with potentially lower or different cost bases and different pricing

  2014 Institute for Fiscal Studies report ‘Payback Time’ for the Sutton Trust
  Subject to the requirements of the apprenticeship standard
Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

      Some breakdown in the divides between HE, FE and private training providers and new
       designation of providers

      Competition and opportunities for HE collaboration with FECs, awarding organisations and
       professional bodies to deliver learning and accreditation to meet the requirements of a
       ‘national’ apprenticeship standard

      Growing policy focus on technician levels 4 and 5

      Greater diversity between localities, reflecting devolved decision making and control

      Interest in exploring how employers should make a greater contribution to the cost of HE

      Greater uncertainty. The HE sector has experienced substantially more certainty and stability in
       comparison to further education and skills provision. A blurring of the boundaries between HE
       and FE and skills provision will open up provision, but also potentially expose HE to the prospect
       of change and uncertainty in skills policy and provision

      Winners and Losers – responsiveness to employer demand will be key to the success of any HEI
       seeking to be involved in apprenticeship.

4.         The Apprenticeship Reforms

The UK Government 10 is currently introducing reforms to apprenticeship in response to a major
review of apprenticeship conducted by Doug Richard - The Richard Review of Apprenticeships -
published in November 2012. While acknowledging the success of apprenticeship, the key aims of
the reforms to apprenticeship are focused on the following:

      Employer Driven - Employers designing Apprenticeships to meet their needs
      Simplicity - Replacing complex apprenticeship frameworks with short, simple apprenticeship
       standards written by employers
      Quality - Improving quality through more rigorous testing and grading at the end of an
      Giving Employers Purchasing Power - Government funding for the training of apprentices
       will involve routing funding through employers.

To take forward the reforms to apprenticeship, government has invited employers to work together
and form Trailblazers to work and consult across their respective sectors and design apprenticeship
standards and assessment plans for apprenticeships.

     The apprenticeship reforms apply to England only
Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Government describes 11 the core of an apprenticeship standard as:

‘A short and clear role description setting out the main activities that someone in this occupation
would do in language that can be easily understood by someone without technical knowledge.

A definitive list of the skills, knowledge and behaviours that you as employers would expect from
someone who is a fully competent professional in this occupation.’

Apprenticeship standards are short documents of no more than two sides in length written in clear
language that can be easily understood by potential apprentices, their parents and employers and
training providers.

Employers, working, where appropriate, with professional bodies (and not SSCs or HEIs, FECs,
awarding organisations etc.) develop apprenticeship standards. Standards will meet professional
registration requirements in sectors where they exist. There will be only one apprenticeship
standard for an occupation.

Apprenticeship standards are not qualifications and government does not expect qualifications to be
specified as part of the standard unless employers agree that a ‘specific qualification or qualifications
should be required (e.g. because of statutory regulations in your sector) as a precursor to end
assessment. Any qualification stated in the apprenticeship standard will be a mandatory
requirement for all apprentices to achieve in order to successfully complete their apprenticeship 12’.

From discussions with Trailblazers, UVAC believes that at HE levels most apprenticeships will involve
the acquisition of a qualification during the apprenticeship training programme. The actual
qualification used will be determined by employers and, where appropriate, will relate to statutory
and/or professional body requirements and may include, QCF/FE, HE, professional and vendor

A nationally accepted and approved apprenticeship standard for a particular occupation at higher
education levels will have implications for universities designing and delivering qualifications and
programmes in these areas. Employers and learners may want to know how particular HE
qualifications relate to an apprenticeship standard. Individuals completing advanced apprenticeship
may also want to know how this will support entry to appropriate higher education programmes.
HEI admissions staff will want to be aware of this development.

Where professional registration exists for an occupation, an apprenticeship standard must link to
professional registration and individuals completing the apprenticeship must have the evidence to
prove they have met the competence needed to secure professional registration.

For advanced and higher apprenticeship, apprentices must achieve level 2 English and Maths if this
has not been achieved prior to starting the apprenticeship.

   The Future of Apprenticeships in England – Guidance for Developers of Apprenticeship Standards and
Related Assessment Plans – October 2014
   Ibid 3
Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Approved Apprenticeship Standards - Apprenticeship standards produced by employers and
approved by government are available at:

As at March 2015, 44, representing 34% of the apprenticeship standards developed were at Higher
Education level (level 4 – certificate of higher education to level 7 – master’s degree level).

Apprenticeship standards currently developed at HE level cover the following occupations:

Level 4

Actuarial technician, Construction technician, Conveyancing technician, Cyber intrusion analyst, Data
analyst, Dental practice manager, Digital media technology practitioner, Network engineer, Software
developer, Software tester, Senior chef culinary arts, Unified communications troubleshooter,
Aircraft maintenance certifying engineer (Fixed and Rotary Wing), Hospitality manager, Investment
operations specialist, Junior management consultant, Nuclear welding inspection technician,
Paraplanner, Professional accounting taxation technician, Public sector commercial professional,
Retail manager, Senior housing/Property management.

Level 5

Dental technician, Healthcare assistant practitioner, Laboratory scientist.

Level 6

Building services engineering site manager, Chartered legal executive, Civil engineering site
manager, Construction design manager, Construction quantity surveyor, Construction site manager,
Control/technical support engineer, Electrical/Electronic technical support engineer, Manufacturing
engineer, Product design & development engineer, Licensed conveyancer, Professional accountant,
Relationship manager (Banking), Aerospace engineer, Aerospace software development engineer,
Chartered surveyor, Embedded electronic systems design and development engineer, Digital &
technology solutions professional.

Level 7

Solicitor, Outside broadcast engineer.

Apprenticeship Standards Under Development - Apprenticeship standards that are currently
being developed by employer Trailblazers are listed at

The names of employers and professional bodies involved in the development of the apprenticeship
standards is also published at

Apprenticeship standards are not assigned a level until developed.

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Apprenticeship standards currently under development that appear to be at HE level are as follows:

Level 4

FE teacher, Passenger transport manager, Welder, Dental hygiene therapist, Dental laboratory
manager, Senior early years practitioner, Head greenkeeper/Golf course manager,

Level 5

FE qualified teacher, HR advisor, Early years centre leader, Senior paraplanner, Senior journalist

Level 6

FE graduate lecturer

Level 7

HR director/consultant, Management consultant

Timescales - Phase 1 of the apprenticeship standards began in October 2013 in eight sectors. A
second phase of Trailblazers began in March 2014 in a further 29 sectors and a third phase of
Trailblazers was announced in October 2014 covering 37 sectors. Three further rounds of
Trailblazers are scheduled in 2015. Further apprenticeship standards at HE level, subject to employer
demand, will be developed.

Government intends that all apprenticeship starts will be on apprenticeship standards from the
2017/18 academic year. As such, apprenticeship standards will replace existing apprenticeship

Once an apprenticeship standard has been developed and approved the Trailblazer is asked to
undertake three further activities:

   Develop an assessment plan
   Provide the SFA with information on the planned costs of delivery so the appropriate funding
    cap can be allocated to the apprenticeship standard
   Work with education and training providers to develop their provision to meet the
    requirements of the apprenticeship standard.

All apprenticeships based on standards will have an end-point assessment – where an apprentice
will be required to demonstrate competency across the whole standard. End-point assessment will
be synoptic – assessing skills, knowledge and behaviours in an integrated way – and will, in most
cases, be graded. An apprentice will only be able to complete the apprenticeship by passing the
end-point assessment. Independence must be ensured in the end point assessment. The
achievement of qualifications during an apprentice’s training does not count towards the
achievement of an end-point assessment.

An apprenticeship standard will only be available for delivery when both the standard and
assessment plan is approved and a funding band (identifying a core government contribution) has
been assigned to the standard.

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Grading – As part of the reforms to apprenticeship, government is introducing grading to
apprenticeship to stretch the most able and recognise their progress during the apprenticeship. A
pass grade will demonstrate full competency against the apprenticeship standard. Government has
stated that there should be at least one grade above pass to recognise exceptional performance. In
some cases – on the basis of industry circumstance – government may grant an exemption from

Provider Reference Groups - BIS are encouraging Trailblazers to work with education, training and
assessment providers while undertaking the above activities. BIS has asked the Association of
Colleges (AoC), Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and UVAC to support
Trailblazers in this process. As part of this development AoC, AELP and UVAC are supporting the
establishment of provider reference groups to plan for and support the implementation of
apprenticeship standards, for more information contact UVAC.

Apprenticeship Certification – Responsibility for the issue of apprenticeship certificates remains
with the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (FISSS) to ensure simplicity and
consistency. The apprenticeship certificate is not a qualification, but serves to confirm the
apprenticeship has been successfully completed.

5.      Degree Apprenticeships

The following information was provided to UVAC by BIS. SFA has/will be producing further

‘Degree apprenticeships are a model bringing together the best of higher and vocational education,
and see apprentices achieving a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship.
These involve employers, universities, and professional bodies working in partnership. Apprentices
are employed throughout, and spend part of their time at university and part with their employer;
employers and universities will have flexibility to decide how best to structure this, e.g. via day
release or block release.

Apprentices will complete a rigorous end assessment which tests both the wider occupational
competence and academic learning required for success in that profession, in this case incorporating
a bachelor’s or master’s degree. This degree programme can be structured in one of two ways:

    Employers, universities and professional bodies can come together to co-design a fully-
     integrated degree course specifically for apprentices, which delivers and tests both academic
     learning and on-the-job training. We think this will be the preferred approach for many sectors,
     as the learning is seamless and it does not require a separate assessment of occupational
    Alternatively, sectors may wish to use existing degree programmes to deliver the academic
     knowledge requirements of that profession, combine this with additional training to meet the
     full apprenticeship training requirements, and have a separate test of full occupational
     competence at the end of the apprenticeship (e.g. delivered by a relevant professional body).
    In either case, degrees earned via this route will be awarded by world class universities so will be
     held in equal esteem as degrees undertaken via the full-time traditional undergraduate route.’

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Degree apprenticeships are being particularly targeted at 18 – 19 year old school leavers as an
alternative to traditional HE.

The same Government/employer co-investment funding regime applies to degree apprenticeships
as to other apprenticeships, meaning the learner does not pay tuition fees. As with all
apprenticeships the individual learner is employed. Apprentices apply to the employer offering the
degree apprenticeship which then works with relevant universities to select students with the most
potential to be successful in both the degree and career.

Companies committed to offer Degree Apprenticeships in the digital sector include: Accenture, BT,
Capgemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HMRC, Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds
Banking Group, Network Rail and Tata Consulting Services.

Universities involved in Degree Apprenticeships in the digital sector are Aston, Exeter, Greenwich,
Loughborough, Manchester Metropolitan, University College London, University of the West of
England and Winchester. More information on the digital degree apprenticeships is available at

Nine degree apprenticeships were announced by the Prime Minister on 12th March in the following

   Chartered Surveying
   Electronic Systems Engineering
   Aerospace Engineering
   Aerospace Software Development
   Defence Systems Engineering
   Laboratory Science
   Nuclear
   Power Engineering
   Public Relations

Places will be available from this September.

Places are also being advertised for starts this September on the Degree Apprenticeships on offer in:

   Digital
   Automotive Engineering
   Banking Relationship Management
   Construction

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

6.      Higher Apprenticeship Frameworks

This section of the guide outlines current features of higher apprenticeships based on frameworks
i.e. programmes that are currently being delivered and will continue to be delivered until replaced
by higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships based on new apprenticeship standards
developed by the employer trailblazers. Around 50 higher apprenticeship frameworks have been
approved and are eligible for SFA funding – subject to the SFA procurement process. Please contact
the SFA for further information.

HEIs may want to consider involvement in existing higher apprenticeship frameworks by:

    Seeking approval for an appropriate qualification to be included in an apprenticeship
     framework to accredit the technical knowledge or technical knowledge and occupational
     competency requirements specified in the framework. A list of approved higher apprenticeship
     frameworks is available at

    Considering how to support progression from advanced apprenticeship frameworks to HE
     programmes. The University of Greenwich, supported by BIS has undertaken considerable
     tracking work and analysis in this area

As outlined above it is important to note that existing higher apprenticeships based on
frameworks and the higher apprenticeship frameworks system will be replaced by the
development of new apprenticeship standards. The full implementation of the reforms to
apprenticeships will take place during 2015/16 and 2016/17 with the aim that all new
apprenticeship starts from 2017/18 are on new apprenticeship standards.

The guidance presented in this section applies to current higher apprenticeship frameworks.

A higher apprenticeship framework is a nationally approved learning programme; ‘a framework’,
which defines the technical knowledge and occupational competence identified by a framework
developer as required for a specific job role at a specific level. The higher apprenticeship framework
identifies which qualifications have been approved as delivering/accrediting the technical knowledge
and occupational competence requirements of the higher apprenticeship. Issuing authorities
(usually Sector Skills Councils (SSCs)) will advise on the incorporation and approval of qualifications
to accredit the technical knowledge and occupational competence requirements of higher
apprenticeship frameworks.

The key features of a higher apprenticeship (in addition to its focus on developing the technical
knowledge and competence for a defined job role) are as follows:

    All higher apprentices must be employed in a real job throughout their apprenticeship

    Higher apprenticeship delivery must be led and based on employer skills requirements. A
     higher apprenticeship is both a learning programme and an approach to workforce
     development focused on developing the performance and productivity of an employer’s

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

      As with intermediate and advanced apprenticeships, higher apprenticeships based on
       frameworks must comply with the Specification for Apprenticeship Standards in England (SASE)
       england which is underpinned by statute. SASE, among other requirements, specifies the
       minimum credit requirements for higher apprenticeships – at levels 4 and 5 this is 90 credits
       and at levels 6, 120 credits. The statutory requirements for apprenticeship are contained in the
       Apprenticeship Schools Children and Learning Act (ASCLA) 2009 The Government is amending
       this Act to enable the reforms to apprenticeship described elsewhere in this guide

      As of April 2013 higher apprenticeship frameworks could be developed at level 6 (bachelor’s
       degree level) and level 7 (master’s degree level) in addition to level 4 (certificate of higher
       education level) and level 5 (foundation degree level). The issue of new higher apprenticeship
       frameworks ceased in August 2014.

      Prescribed HE qualifications (e.g. bachelor’s and foundation degrees) can be used to accredit
       the technical knowledge and/or the occupational competence components of a higher
       apprenticeship as can non-prescribed HE qualifications e.g. FE/QCF qualifications and
       professional qualifications. Higher apprenticeships can also incorporate HNCs/HNDs

      Higher apprenticeship frameworks were approved as complying with SASE by the designated
       ‘issuing authority’ - usually a Sector Skills Council (SSC). Click here for a list of SSCs.

      Where appropriate a higher apprenticeship framework outlines ‘how the learning programme
       leads to associate and/or full membership of a professional body’ 13

      A national registration system for apprentices is in operation. HEIs and others recruiting
       apprentices should ensure they are registered on Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE).
       Registration is a very simple process and details can be found at

      A national certification system is also in operation for higher apprenticeship frameworks (as
       distinct from component qualifications) and it is a legal requirement that this is followed. As
       with registration, certification is a very simple process and details can also be found at
       Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE)

      Employers taking on a higher apprentice are required to enter into an Apprenticeship
       Agreement with the apprentice. The SFA/NAS guidance on Apprenticeship Agreements outlines
       that ‘An Apprenticeship Agreement is an agreement between an employer and an apprentice
       under which the apprentice undertakes to work for the employer and is in the form prescribed by
       s32 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (ASCLA) 14 and states that the
       agreement is entered into in connection with a qualifying Apprenticeship framework.’ A simple
       proforma agreement and guidance are provided by the SFA on their website here.

     Developing quality Higher Apprenticeship frameworks for England, 2013
     Apprenticeship Schools Children and Learning Act (ASCLA) 2009
Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Transition – HEIs are still being encouraged by BIS and SFA to consider participating in the delivery
of existing higher apprenticeship frameworks, but should note the aim is that from 2017/18 all new
apprenticeship starts will be based on the new standards.

7.        Apprenticeship Funding
Higher Apprenticeship Frameworks - Following the 2014 Budget the funding model for
apprenticeship frameworks is simpler. For FE and HE qualifications government will co-invest with
employers in the delivery of HE qualifications on the same basis as FE qualifications. The rate of
funding for individuals starting an Apprenticeship at age 19 and above will be 50% of the agreed cost
of the HE qualification. SFA is undertaking a procurement exercise and HEIs interested in the
delivery of frameworks should contact the Skills Funding Agency.

Funding Model for Higher Apprenticeship Frameworks

                                           16-18                          19+

  FE & HE Qualifications                   Fully funded                   Government co-invests with
  Levels 4-6

  Professional Qualifications              No Government funding          No Government funding

Apprenticeship Standards – A simple employer-routed funding system is being trialled in 2014/15.
A key object of the new funding system is to give employers greater control and purchasing power
over apprenticeship training. For every £1 that an employer invests in training an apprentice, the
government will pay £2 up to a clear cap (maximum total government contribution). Extra funding
will be provided to support small businesses with fewer than 50 staff, for apprentices aged 16-18
and for successful completion.

2014 - 15 Funding Model for Trailblazers

Source - BIS
Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Employers can ‘purchase’ the training and accreditation required for the apprenticeship from a
training provider, further education college or HEI.

Development Funding and ‘Provider’ Readiness – HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund call in September 2014
included a dedicated call for expressions of interest for innovative activity that will develop technical
education in HE and support the government’s industrial strategy’. The call made specific reference
to apprenticeship and HEFCE has invited four institutions (two HEIs and two FECs) to develop full
bids. UVAC has agreed with HEFCE to support and advise HEI and FEC projects funded through the
Catalyst Fund that include a focus on apprenticeship.

8.       How to Get Involved in Apprenticeship

In recent years HEIs have experienced difficulties in responding to the apprenticeship agenda.
Apprenticeships were predominately based on further education processes and crucially
Government funding was not available for HE qualifications when used in apprenticeship. The
situation has and is still changing. Firstly, public funding is available to support the use of HE
qualifications when specified in apprenticeship frameworks or used by employers to deliver the
requirements of an apprenticeship standard. Apprenticeship is also – on the basis of employer
demand - moving from a predominately intermediate (level 2) and advanced (level 3) programme to
a programme focused on advanced (level 3) and higher level skills. HEI engagement in
apprenticeship is being actively encouraged by BIS and SFA. HEFCE has also highlighted the potential
importance of the apprenticeship agenda and technical level skills.

UVAC would suggest HEIs adopt the following approach to apprenticeship:

    Start with employers and employer demand (and work with partners as appropriate) on the
     basis of their interest in apprenticeship standards and frameworks

    Explore SFA financial support for prescribed HE qualifications in higher apprenticeship
     frameworks – be aware of the changeover from apprenticeship frameworks to standards. If
     there is existing demand from employers consider contacting the relevant SSC/issuing authority
     regarding the inclusion of an HE qualification within an existing apprenticeship framework. To
     support this process the Skills Funding Agency has/is producing leaflets on:

     −   Funding, funding agreements and data requirements for HEIs delivering apprenticeships
     −   How HEIs can request that HE qualifications are added into existing higher apprenticeship
     −   Higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships in general.

    Identify apprenticeship Trailblazer occupations with which a university/partners have synergy
     and where employer interest is or may be apparent

    Liaise with apprenticeship Trailblazers - use UVAC as an ‘introducer’

    Consider involvement in degree apprenticeships

    Raise apprenticeship with HEFCE at a regional level

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

   Liaise at a LEP level re. apprenticeship frameworks and standards, local priorities and employer
    interest in apprenticeship

   Monitor the approaches of other HEIs and awarding organisations, professional bodies, FE and
    private/alternative providers

Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship - A Guide for HEIs

Annex 1 - Higher Apprenticeship Timeline

       Summer 2011 - Prime Minister announces Higher Apprenticeship Fund to support
        development of higher apprenticeship frameworks

       November 2012 - Richard Review published (remit includes higher apprenticeship)

       April 2013 - Specification of Apprenticeship Frameworks in England revised to
        encompass Level 6 and 7 and HE qualifications at these levels

       October 2013 – Prime Minister announces apprenticeship reforms and first

       Autumn Statement 2013 – £40m to fund 20,000 higher apprenticeship starts over 2

       March 2014 - First round Trailblazer apprenticeship standards published – and
        further Trailblazers announced

       Budget 2014 – announced Government would fund HE within higher
        apprenticeships and provided £20m additional funding for HE within higher
        apprenticeships over 2 years

       May 2014 –Trailblazer funding model announced for 2014/15 starts

       August 2014 - Second round Trailblazer apprenticeship standards published

       September 2014 - First Apprenticeship starts using new standards

       November 2014 – Government announces new degree apprenticeships model

       2017/18 - All new apprenticeship starts to be on standards

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