You could be forgiven for not having heard of postgraduate degree apprenticeships, also known as level 7 apprenticeships, which were launched in March 2015 with just 30 learners. But these master’s-level programmes have big potential.
The Department for Education says it expects uptake to increase when the apprenticeship levy comes into force in May. And while only a few apprenticeships are available, such as in systems engineering or digital technology solutions, there are plenty more in the works, including teaching.
With level 7 apprenticeships, students will have an undergraduate degree or equivalent, and be expected to be working for their sponsor company.
When finishing A-levels, many young people think the only option is to go to university to study for a degree. But for some, the sheer scale of tuition fees and living costs is a disincentive, when compared to the perceived benefit of having a degree.
Put simply, they feel they cannot justify the expense of a three-year full-time course when there is a risk there will be no job at the end of it.
But there is another way. Regardless of grades, there is the option of studying for a degree or higher level qualification at an FE college. College HE is often better value for money, as the provision is available in the local community and travel and accommodation expenses are significantly reduced. Plus it can be more flexible, with options to study part-time for those already in a full-time job.