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Just the Job - Finding Higher Degree Apprenticeships

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Just the Job - Finding a Higher Degree Apprenticeship

Higher Degree Apprenticeships (HDAs) have received plenty of coverage since they became available in 2014/15. The idea of studying part-time for a degree - without any tuition fees - while gaining a salary and experience through employment unsurprisingly appeals to school and college leavers. Department for Education statistics show that - despite a drop in the total number of new apprentices - the figure for degree apprentices quadrupled in the past year.

However, it takes time for universities, businesses and government to build routes and partnerships, and messages to learners have not always been clear. Naturally, when universities team up with different firms in different sectors, arrangements can vary from course to course. But for candidates, it's not always obvious where to look or how to apply, and they may have questions about which courses are available, how they'll be taught, and accommodation options.

Equally, HDAs are unfamiliar to many teachers and advisers, even if they're experts in supporting their students' UCAS applications for full-time study. Similarly, learners' parents are often attracted by the idea of higher education without student debt, but understandably want to know about the practicalities of HDA study. They may also have negative opinions based on past perceptions of apprenticeships.

For all these reasons, Sheffield Hallam's Schools and Colleges Engagement Team continues to offer specific HDA activities for institutions in South Yorkshire and beyond. Usually run for post-16 students, these sessions range from an introduction to the HDA route, to focusing on how to build a strong apprenticeship application. We seem to be doing a decent job so far, as we've spoken to more than 1,800 students on this subject between September 2018 and January 2019.

Still, we're always looking to improve our information and advice for schools. This involves listening to Hallam's current apprentices - some of who personally support our work with schools - working with our Business Team, and asking schools and students what they would find most useful.

In addition, we run events which are specifically aimed at helping final-year school or college students (Year 13 or equivalent) find their apprenticeship opportunity. Our HDA Jobs Fairs feature employers from a range of sectors, all aiming to recruit for the next academic year. Last November's event saw our best attendance so far, and our March Jobs Fair will soon be open for bookings through our HDA pages.

In the meantime, if you would like to inquire about HDA activity for your school or college, please feel free to contact Martin Flynn, School and College Engagement Coordinator, via

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