Becoming an apprentice

Get paid to train for a qualification with our apprenticeship programmes. Whether you’re embarking on a new career or want to progress in your existing role, you’ll divide your time between on-the-job training and academic study.

The benefits of apprenticeships


A blonde lady, speaking in a navy blue Bombardier jumper.

View Why you should consider studying an Apprenticeship! video transcript

What we offer

In partnership with Buxton and Leek College, we can offer apprenticeships from levels 2-7 and for a wide range of job roles. We work with a number of high profile businesses (including Rolls Royce, the NHS and the Institute of Quarrying) to develop their workforce and shape the future of their organisations. 

You will need to apply for an apprenticeship through an employer; you can't apply to our University directly. You can search for apprenticeship vacancies on the Government's Find an Apprenticeship website.

Buxton and Leek College offer intermediate apprenticeships (Level 2) and advanced apprenticeships (Level 3). These are equivalent to five GCSEs and two A-levels respectively.

Levels 4 and above

Our apprenticeships offer on-the-job training combined with academic learning to produce competent and capable employees. By investing in your employees, they will offer you the chance to embed new skills and grow talent within the workplace.

In partnership with The Institute of Apprenticeships, we can offer Business Apprenticeships from level 2 to level 7. Meaning that you can up-skill your workforce, no matter what stage of their career they're currently at.

Find out more about these apprenticeships

In partnership with Buxton and Leek College we offer hospitality apprenticeships from level 2 to level 7.

Find out more about our hospitality apprenticeships

Find out more information on our Mineral Products apprenticeships

Rolls-Royce Nuclear Skills Academy outside view

Nuclear Skills Academy

The Nuclear Skills Academy has the funding to provide 200 apprentices each year with nuclear education across a number of courses for at least the next 10 years.

Find out more about the Nuclear Skills AcademyFind out more about the Nuclear Skills Academy


An apprenticeship is a work-based training and education programme that allows employees to earn as they learn. Apprentices are given on-the-job training delivered alongside degree-level academic learning while they work towards a nationally recognised qualification. This can be:

A higher apprenticeship

This type of apprenticeship allows apprentices to study towards a Level 4 and 5 qualification. A Level 5 qualification is the equivalent to a foundation degree and above.

A degree apprenticeship

This type of apprenticeship allows apprentices to study towards Levels 6 and 7 qualifications, and is the equivalent to a bachelors and masters degree.

A higher or degree apprenticeship focuses on combining academic study with workbased learning, allowing apprentices to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours set out by the apprenticeship framework in a real-life setting. Academic study is required, and is comparable to a Level 4 HNC equivalent or a bachelors degree. In contrast, a HNC equivalent or bachelors degree focus on full-time or part-time academic learning.

  • You must currently be in paid employment for at least 30 hours per week
  • You must have 5 GCSE’s grade C or above equivalent in maths and english
  • You must have 120 points from A-Levels/BTEC or other qualifications or experience
  • Your employer must pay for the training
  • You must have the right to live and work in the UK
  • At least 50% of your work must take place in England (There are different rules for apprentices who work in Scotland and Wales).

'Off-the-job' training is defined as the time spent by the apprentice away from the employment setting (or within the employment setting but outside of their usual duties) that directly relates to the apprenticeship framework or standard. Each apprenticeship programme requires a minimum time spent undertaking this type of training, and it can be spread over the duration of the programme.

What counts as 'off-the-job' training?

  • Theory teaching, including lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning and manufacturer training
  • Practical training, including shadowing, mentoring and industry visits
  • Learning support (including using online material) and time spent working on assignments.

It does not include:

  • Training undertaken in English or maths
  • Progress reviews
  • Apprenticeship framework or standard assessments
  • Any training which takes place outside of the apprentice’s paid working hours
  • Time spent in 'off-the-job' training must be recorded by the apprentice.

The time it takes for an apprentice to complete a higher or degree apprenticeship at the University of Derby varies, and can be affected by a number of factors. Our courses are offered over a minimum number of years, and vary by apprenticeship standard, the type of programme, employer requirements/expectations and the development of the apprentice. Each apprenticeship is tailor-made to employer experience and to meet your entry criteria.

Our apprenticeships require a combination of on-the-job learning as well as on-campus study at the University of Derby.

Apprentices are required to attend on-day or block release from their employment. Patterns of attendance will vary depending on the course. There is a 20% mandatory ‘off-the-job’ learning requirement for apprenticeships.

Our programmes are specially-designed to help apprentices link academic theory to their employment setting, enabling them to apply their developing skills and knowledge within their job role. Apprentices are encouraged to use real work problems and issues to inform and enhance their knowledge, and provide evidence of this learning for assessment purposes.

The University of Derby supports its apprentices with online resources, including readings, podcasts and recordings of lectures and tutorials. Apprentices will also have a personal tutor to review progress and identify further learning opportunities – pushing those who are doing well, and helping those who require additional support.

Apprentices will be given work-related activities to undertake, which can be designed in consultation with employers to ensure your organisation receives a real benefit. This type of activity can be scheduled to suit the apprentice, enabling them to learn to manage their time and workload effectively.