Aspire Higher have created a range of resources to support learners to understand the different options after GCSE’s.

Feel free to download and print off the Higher and Degree Apprenticeship Guide – it’s full of crucial information about apprenticeships.

If you require hard copies of this brochure, please email

  • You’ll spend most of the week at work (a minimum of 30 hours) watching, learning and getting stuck in. You will be learning from colleagues across all levels of the business, typically working closely with someone more senior who will review your progress and coach you. You’ll also spend time attending college, a university or training provider, training at work or online. Some apprenticeships use a combination of options; your employer will decide which method works best.

  • An HA has to last at least one year but to achieve a full degree this would be 3 years.

    • Level 4 and 5 – equivalent to a Higher Education Certificate, Higher Education Diploma or a Foundation Degree
    • Level 6 – equivalent to a Bachelor Degree
    • Level 7 – equivalent to a Masters Degree
  • A DA has to last at least one year but in most cases last 3 years.

    DAs achieve a full Bachelor Degree as a core component of the apprenticeship. You will be tested on your academic learning, as well as your professional career skills, by either:

    • A fully-integrated degree (academic and job skills)


    • A degree plus a separate final test of your professional competence leading to a professional qualification

    Higher and Degree Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 18 and can take anything from one to four years to complete. With both HA and DA routes you can achieve a full degree qualification.

  • What do these things mean anyway?

    Competitive salary

    Many employers advertise roles with a ‘competitive salary’. This means the salary and benefits will be in line with similar roles for other organisations or that it depends on your current skills and experience.


    Over the last three years, employers from over 200 organisations have been working together to develop a range of new apprenticeship standards “approved by the Department for Education”. An apprenticeship standard is a template for the way an apprenticeship is delivered:

    • 1. What an apprentice will do during their apprenticeship
    • 2. The skills they will need to perform the role they are training for


    An industry or part of an industry, covering groups of related occupations. Examples of sectors/ industries are Construction, Engineering, Freight Logistics, Health, Manufacturing and Retail. There is only one Issuing Authority for each occupational sector.


    The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) are responsible for giving colleges, training organisations and employers the right funding to help adults, young people, the unemployed and people with low skill levels to get the skills they need for employment.


    The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), part of the Skills Funding Agency, is a government agency that coordinates apprenticeships in England, enabling young people to enter the skilled trades.

  • It depends what and who you apply to. Grades vary from programme to programme. Some apprenticeships are awarded purely based on how you perform at interview. Others aren’t:

    Unilever requires five GCSEs including English and maths and two A Levels.

    Deloitte requires 260 UCAS points, plus GCSEs in English language (Grade 6) and maths.

    Network Rail requires A Level grades A-C, plus GCSEs in English and maths (Grade 4/5).

    Check out the UCAS website to see how your predicted grades convert into UCAS points.

  • An apprenticeship is designed by employers, so you’ll be developing the right skills and knowledge to be a success in your chosen industry. They’re looking for personal aptitude and enthusiasm rather than just your academic ability; in fact, some employers don’t ask for specific subject grades at all. It helps if you have a particular interest in the area you want to work in and can demonstrate this from previous experience.

    Anything that can demonstrate your interest and your readiness for work could help you stand out from the crowd, for example previous volunteering, relevant work experience or part-time work.

  • Find an apprenticeship tool:

    However some employers will ask you to apply directly to them. If this is the case, you’ll be directed to the right place from

    If you want to work for a particular employer, look on their website – most businesses have a jobs page for apprenticeships or vacancies.

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