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How to get a job in IT: Apprenticeship vs university

Christina Mercer | Aug. 11, 2017
There are various ways to get that dream job in IT, but which one is right for you?

How to apply for a degree apprenticeship

There are searchable databases that list a variety of degree apprenticeships, GOV.UK and The Tech Partnership offer a great resource for sourcing all the latest schemes. Alternatively, you can visit employers' websites and apply via their website. This is a worthwhile task as some employers won't advertise their degree apprenticeships away from their website.


How much does a degree apprenticeship cost?

The payment structure of a degree apprenticeship is relatively simple. A student's training costs and tuition fees will be paid for them by the government and the employer, up to a capped amount of £18,000.

Two-thirds of the total costs, excluding living costs, will be contributed by the government, while the remaining third is paid for by the employer. On top of this employees are obliged to pay students minimum wage.


Pros and cons of a degree apprenticeship

The benefits of a degree apprenticeship might seem obvious, namely the lack of fees and a weekly wage, but the balance between study and hands-on training seems to be its biggest selling feature, marketing itself as the best of both worlds.

So depending on you learning style, a degree apprentice could suit someone looking for practical experience that complements academic learning.

On the other hand, the degree apprenticeship scheme is definitely not for the work-shy, students are expected to work almost a full working week while also submitting essays and university assignments. This means degree apprenticeship students will miss out on the stereotypical 'student lifestyle'.

"We do encourage the degree apprenticeship as it encourages students to get everything that a non-degree would bring but allows them to have that academic qualification as well," said Head of Country Digitisation and Skills for Cisco UK, Hema Marshall. 

"Academica can sometimes be quite difficult for some people. So it's a choice about where their strengths lie and what the best learning path is for them."


Student testimonial - Accenture degree apprentice Lucy Sarginson explained why she chose a degree apprenticeship

"The biggest pro [of the degree apprenticeship] is coming to work on a Monday to Friday job, getting training, experience and working with a fantastic range of people that also have so much experience," Sarginson said.

"I don't feel like an apprentice at work, I'm just someone else in the office, no one treats me differently because I'm a young apprentice," she added.

Looking for a new job in tech? 



An apprenticeship is essentially a job with an extensive training programme. UK apprentices will gain recognised qualifications while also gaining experience in their chosen field.

What's more, according to GOV.UK, employers believe apprentices are 15 percent more employable than those with other qualifications.


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