Degree apprenticeships

Information for employers


Degree apprenticeships are an inexpensive way for your organisation to attract and retain talented employees, develop your workforce, fill skills gaps and improve your organisation's performance.

On a degree apprenticeship, apprentices go to university one day a week on day release to learn skills they can apply straight away in your organisation. They'll also have access to the University's virtual learning environment, so they can study independently.

When they complete their apprenticeship, employees will have a full Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

We launched our first degree apprenticeship in 2016 and now offer seven degree apprenticeship programmes, with more planned for 2018 and 2019.

Why partner with the University of Portsmouth?

We have strong relationships with business and industry through research programmes, innovation and knowledge transfer partnerships, undergraduate job placements, and graduate employment schemes.

This means we can develop Bachelor's and Master's degree apprenticeships that meet the needs of your business and your workforce.

We can also help you recruit talent and fill skills gaps by putting you in touch with people who want to do degree apprenticeships.

Make an enquiry

The University of Portsmouth offers a choice of degree apprenticeships and we selected one that met our business needs. The process of enrolling our apprentices was really straightforward and the staff have all been really helpful.

How are degree apprenticeships funded?

Degree apprenticeships are an affordable way to develop your staff because they’re funded by your apprenticeship levy account or heavily subsidised by the Government. 

Levy-paying organisations

If your organisation pays the apprenticeship levy, degree apprenticeships are funded by apprenticeship levy funding.

From April 2017, UK companies with an annual pay bill of more than £3,000,000 will contribute just under 0.5% of their total pay bill to this fund.

Organisations that don’t pay the levy

If your organisation doesn’t pay the apprenticeship levy, the Government subsidises up to 90% of the cost.

If your business has fewer than 50 employees, the Government pays 100% of the cost if at the start of the apprenticeship, the degree apprentice is:

  • aged 16-18
  • aged 19-24 and has a local authority education, health and care plan (EHC plan) 

When a degree apprentice is aged 16-18 or is aged 19-24 with an EHC plan, both the employer and training provider will receive an additional incentive payment of £1000 each to support the apprentice in their studies.

Other costs for employers

There may be some minor costs not covered by Government funding, such as the cost of End Point Assessments at the end of apprenticeships. These costs vary depending on which degree apprenticeship programme your employees do.

We'll help you understand what these costs are before you set up a degree apprenticeship programme with the University.

Degree apprentice salaries

Most degree apprenticeship salaries start at £12-18k a year, but this is set by the employer. However, apprentices must at least earn the minimum wage.

Existing employees usually stay on their current salaries when they do a degree apprenticeship.

Benefits of degree apprenticeships

As well as their low cost, there are many other benefits of degree apprenticeships:

Develop existing talent and fill skills gaps

Degree apprenticeships enhance existing employees’ knowledge and skills so they can progress to more senior roles.

Attract new talent

Degree apprenticeships help you attract new talent because people want to work for organisations that invest in their employees’ skills.

Improve business performance

Learning on degree apprenticeships is based around work-related situations, so employees will be directly solving work-related problems when they're at University.

You can also work with us to develop degree apprenticeship programmes that help your organisation meet its objectives.

Develop employees’ core skills

Degree apprenticeships develop core skills such as project management, problem solving and leadership abilities, as well as more specific, degree-related technical skills.

Enhance your reputation

By offering degree apprenticeships, you’ll be seen as an organisation that’s serious about developing its workforce.

Contribute positively to society

By upskilling your workforce, you’ll help contribute positively to the UK economy as well as your own business.

Keep employees’ skills up-to-date

We design our degree apprenticeship courses to match the needs of employers in today’s challenging business environment. Most courses are professionally accredited.

Quality assurance

All of our degree apprenticeships courses include an independent end-point assessment.

Degree apprenticeship requirements

To provide degree apprenticeships, organisations must provide degree apprentices with a formal contract of employment and pay them a salary that's at least equivalent to the minimum wage.

Apprentices must also spend at least 20% of their contracted hours learning away from their normal day-to-day work environment. This applies in periods when they won't be attending university, such as during the summer break.

To be eligible for a degree apprenticeship, apprentices need to have lived in the EU for three years at the start of their apprenticeship. They must also have the right to work in the UK and must meet the University's entry requirements.

We do an initial assessment with apprentices to ensure they are at the right level of English and maths to complete the degree. We also offer additional support to any apprentice with a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.