Early Careers Senior Consultant, UCAS
Advice on deciding whether a degree apprenticeship is right for you; and what a successful application takes.
What does it take to be a successful degree apprentice?
Willingness to work hard as you’ll be studying and doing a full-time job. You’ll also need to be confident and mature in order to handle the responsibilities of the workplace, as well as being bright and able to learn independently.
Apprenticeships are still sometimes seen as ‘second-best’ to a traditional degree. Is that true?
A degree apprenticeship is academically just as challenging as a traditional degree, but with the added pressure of full-time work at the same time! Apprentices need to be as bright as undergraduates, but more disciplined, too. Degree apprentices may soon outstrip traditional graduates because of the deep experience in a work context in addition to theoretical knowledge. Once more young people realise the advantages, competition for places will become extremely fierce.
What are the top three things you look for in an application?
A genuine enthusiasm for the subject considerably improves your chances of success. Secondly, the academic ability to succeed; not just grades, but numerical and reasoning skills. Finally, an applicant’s character is really important – they need to be mature enough to enter the workplace, and dedicated to working and studying at the same time. Doing paid or voluntary work can’t hurt, too!
What tips would you give applicants for getting the most out of interviews?
Remember you’re being interviewed to be an employee, as well as a student. You need to present yourself as someone who can contribute in a real job. Then do all of the things you would normally in preparing for a job role, such as finding out as much as you can about the company and the role, so you can ask intelligent questions.
What advice would you give to students who think they want to do a degree apprenticeship, but are not sure if it’s for them?
Start planning early, and try to get some work experience in the sector you’re interested in. Go to university open days and talk to the people delivering the programmes to find out more. There are many different study options, so think about what would suit your learning style.
What’s your top tip for young people thinking about applying for an apprenticeship?
Go for it! It’s an extremely exciting time in the world of apprenticeships, and is a fantastic opportunity that has the potential to set you up well for the rest of your life. Start investigating the opportunities available, find out as much as can, and see if there’s a degree apprenticeship that’s right for you. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already doing the right kind of things!