Apprentices - Made for Your Future

Earn as you learn with higher and degree apprenticeships at the University of Derby.

Get paid to train for a degree-level 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 university study. Your employer will cover your tuition fees, so you’ll get a university-level qualification without having to take out a loan.

We’re investing in you

We work with local and national employers, including high-profile organisations such as Rolls-Royce, the NHS and JCB to deliver a recognised qualification that will help you succeed in your chosen career.

You’ll be learning in some of the most up-to-date facilities in the country. Our industry-focused laboratories are part of a £12 million investment – providing you with state-of-the-art technology to help you get the best out of your studies.

A girl smiling in a yellow polo shirt with JCB written in black, she is standing next to 2 males who are staring into the crowd.

Exceptional support for engineering apprentice Molly

JCB apprentice, Molly Burrows, has nothing but praise for her Degree Apprenticeship in Manufacturing Engineering, and for the academic support she’s received from Derby. As a result shes grown in confidence in her role at JCB, where she helps to keep the production line running smoothly.

Find out more about Molly's apprenticeship experience Find out more about Molly's apprenticeship experience

What you will get from a work-based apprenticeship:

  • A full-time job with a market-leading organisation
  • Invaluable experience gained from working alongside industry experts
  • Career progression with an employer that has invested in your talent
  • New skills and nationally recognised qualifications
  • Gold-standard teaching from a pioneering Apprenticeship provider.
  • 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).

Our courses

Our courses in development

We are continually updating our Apprenticeships portfolio to meet the needs of a competitive and changing market. Take a look at our courses in development.

Science and Engineering

  • Materials Science Technologist
  • Environmental Practitioner

*subject to approval


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View Why you should consider studying an Apprenticeship! video transcript


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.

We offer a 'grow your own' approach to developing staff in your organisation. Whether you're looking to attract motivated new talent to develop new skills, creativity and enterprise into your organisation, or simply offer existing staff new opportunities to develop and progress their career, a higher or degree apprenticeship delivered by the University of Derby can support the specific needs of your business. We will work closely with you to develop a programme that meets your business needs.

What's more, a higher or degree apprenticeship is:

  • A cost-effective way to train, develop and upskill a workforce
  • A way to motivate staff and improve job satisfaction
  • A way to improve staff retention rates

Our work-based programmes 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.

'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.

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Staking out a future in procurement

Apprentice Alex Lawrence is making a huge impression in his career in procurement

Find out more about his apprenticeship Find out more about his apprenticeship