Earlier this year UVAC, UUK, OfS and HE mission groups raised concerns about the use of the term “degree level” when referring to apprenticeships at level 6 and above, irrespective of whether they include a degree or not. The Education Select Committee, at an Accountability hearing on 17 July 2018, also raised this issue with Anne Milton, MP. Our chief executive, Adrian Anderson wrote an article on this issue during the summer.
Following lobbying by UVAC with other partners, it was confirmed by DfE that apprenticeships at these levels should be described as “Level 6+ and Degree Apprenticeships”.
According to DfE officials, the Minister was clear to the committee; if an apprenticeship gives you a degree then it is a “degree apprenticeship”. Degree Apprenticeships are those that have been approved with a degree as a mandatory qualification, which must be achieved as part of the apprenticeship by all apprentices.
Where a degree is not a mandated in the apprenticeship standard, they are considered to be “Level 6+ apprenticeships”.
It may still be possible to study a degree (as agreed between the employer and provider) where it matches the knowledge, skills and behaviour in the apprenticeship standard but it is not a requirement (of the standard). Although some apprentices undertaking these apprenticeships will achieve a degree not all will and therefore it would not be appropriate to refer to them as “degree apprenticeships”.
DfE have communicated this position to the Institute for Apprenticeships.