Dan pictured with apprentice, laptop and digital screen

Apprenticeships, apprenticeships, apprenticeships. There has been plenty of coverage in the news recently as apprenticeships have been cited as being central to rebuilding the economy post COVID-19. At Leeds Trinity University, we’ve seen almost 80 new police officers join the West Yorkshire Police Degree Apprenticeship programme, with the University providing classroom-based teaching as part of their training.

Given the interest in apprenticeships in the current job climate, as well as their growth in popularity in recent years, I thought I would explain what they are.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based learning programme, focussing on developing knowledge, skills and behaviours for a particular career. Apprentices are always employed full time, and spend a minimum of 20% of their programme learning through working.

Leeds Trinity has been delivering degree level apprenticeships to local and national employers ever since the Apprenticeship Reforms introduced degree apprenticeships to the marketplace in 2017. Our first cohort started on the Chartered Management apprenticeship and since then we have added programmes such as the Senior Leader (MBA) apprenticeship, Supply Chain Leadership, and Business to Business (B2B) Sales. Each programme includes a full honours degree which is achieved by completing assignments and undertaking work-based projects.

Apprenticeships are paid for through an Apprenticeship levy which the University contributes towards. This levy is made up of 0.5% of the University’s payroll which can only be spent on apprenticeships.

Common misconceptions

Apprentices are paid less

If you have a contract of employment, nothing changes. Your current terms conditions remain the same; if you work 35 hours a week you still get paid for 35 hours a week at the same rate as in your contract. Your earning potential increases as you develop new skills, undertake work-based projects, and become more productive (if that’s even possible).

I’m too old

You’re never too old to learn something new – there is no upper age limit on apprenticeship, and the  average age of our apprentices is around 30.

It costs too much

It doesn’t cost you anything to undertake a degree apprenticeship. The full cost of the training is paid for through the University’s apprenticeship levy.  The funding rules state that apprentices cannot be asked to contribute towards their training before, during or after the apprenticeship. You will be getting a degree for free, and you will be one step closer to getting your dream job (if you’re not already in it). 

I’m too qualified already

This depends on what you’re qualified in, and what apprenticeship you want to do. Even if you hold a degree, a Masters, or even a PhD, you can still do an apprenticeship if you are learning substantive new skills. For example, if you’ve got a degree in Physics, you can do a degree apprenticeship in Digital Marketing, Management, or anything other than Physics.

I don’t need any training

Things change and evolve; we’re in a new normal situation where having highly developed skills can help you adapt and thrive. Look at how much the digital sector has changed in the last ten years with the use of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

There is always scope for new learning, and with an apprenticeship you get to apply this to your work, keeping you ahead of the curve.

What are the benefits?

You are developing new knowledge, skills and behaviours which will:

  • Make you more valuable and productive in your new or current profession
  • Increase your earning potential
  • Give you experience of projects which benefit you and your employer.

On a very basic level, you are getting a degree for free, the only cost being that of the time you spend studying over and above your contracted hours.

From an employee’s perspective, there are no negatives – you have everything to gain by doing a degree apprenticeship. If you’d like a chat about how or what you could study on an apprenticeship, get in touch with the Apprenticeships team, we’d be happy to help.

Leeds Trinity offers apprenticeships in Business to Business (B2B) Sales, Chartered Management, Digital Marketing, Senior Leadership, Supply Chain Leadership, Children, Young People and Families, and the Police Constable degree apprenticeship.

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