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APPRENTICE BLOG: What Can I Do Before I Apply for A Degree Apprenticeship?


Christa Bridges, 19, is a Digital & Technology Solutions Degree Apprentice working for PebblePad based in Telford, Shropshire. During National Apprenticeship Week, she has advice and tips for school, Sixth Form or college leavers who are considering studying for a Degree Apprenticeship.

"My name's Christa and I am a 19-year-old degree apprentice from Shrewsbury. I am currently in my first year of the Digital and Technology Solutions Apprenticeship with the University of Wolverhampton. The Apprenticeship is for four years, and I'm working for PebblePad while completing my degree. At PebblePad, I am an Application Developer and I absolutely love developing my software engineering career by improving my problem-solving and programming skills. I am glad I chose to do an Apprenticeship after finishing college as it has given me the opportunity to learn while I work alongside professionals in the industry."

Degree Apprenticeships are quite a commitment to make and are highly competitive. In this article in my “Journey To Becoming A Degree Apprentice” series, I will be covering these questions you may have:

What considerations should I make when I am exploring Degree Apprenticeship programmes?

Where can I find Degree Apprenticeship vacancies?

How can I stand out as a Degree Apprenticeship applicant?

What considerations should I make when I am exploring Degree Apprenticeship programmes?

When looking for potential Degree Apprenticeship programmes, there are a few questions I recommend asking yourself:

What Do You ENJOY Doing at School/College and in Your Own Time?

For me, I really enjoyed the programming units at college and Python at school, and I was doing programming in my own time. When I was looking at Degree Apprenticeship programmes, I was looking for roles which involved doing this, primarily software engineering. Consider roles that you think you would enjoy doing!

How Far am I Willing to Travel to Work?

Some areas can be difficult to find Degree Apprenticeships in, so you may have to consider looking further afield than your local area to find the right Apprenticeship.

Am I Happy to Relocate?

To relate to the above question, you may wish to move to live close to where you will work if there are not Apprenticeships you would like to do in your area. Consider whether moving away is suitable – is it important you still live close to family? How much would it cost to live in your new location? Will you get enough money from your Apprenticeship to do this?

What Values Do You Have?

Companies have their own values; do they align with yours?

What are the Entry Requirements?

Do you have the skills and personality the company need, and do you have the GCSE and A-level grades to do the Apprenticeship?

How is Off-The-Job Training Structured?

Would you prefer day release (say, 1 day a week going to university) or blocks of time where you will be at university?

Does This Apprenticeship Guarantee a Job at the End of it?

Some Degree Apprenticeship programmes do, others you may have to complete an interview at the end or achieve a minimum grade at university. If a job isn’t guaranteed at the end, that wouldn’t be the end of the world because you would have some experience and the qualification at the end, which will help you stand out as a candidate, but it's still worth thinking about.

By considering these points, it will help you to get an idea of which Apprenticeship programmes you think you would benefit from most. Be open-minded though! I would not suggest putting all your eggs in one basket and having your heart set on one particular Apprenticeship programme. It’s possible that you might not get a place on it – Degree Apprenticeship programmes are competitive, as I said at the start. On the flip side, it’s also possible that you find an opportunity that is even better for you which you wouldn’t have come across if you kept your heart set on one pathway.

Where Can I Find Degree Apprenticeship Vacancies?

The places I used to find Degree Apprenticeship vacancies include:

  • Find an Apprenticeship:
  • Indeed:
  • LinkedIn: – companies may post, or put vacancies under the jobs section. was also a fantastic resource – it displays vacancies for companies and it also has reviews from Apprentices, so you can get an idea of what to expect from the Apprenticeship, such as what you will be doing on the job, the skills you will learn, whether others are enjoying the Apprenticeship, how organised and structured the programme is, the support from the employer, the support from the training provider (this is a good point, you may not necessarily get information about the training provider on the company’s website), extracurricular activities at the workplace, whether people would recommend it, and tips people have for the application process (potentially some tips that could be specific to a Degree Apprenticeship programme that would not be covered in my series!). Explore the site generally as well, there are some guides about career options and industry too!

You can get notifications of job vacancies for all of these by the way, so you don’t miss an opportunity!

There are other sites too that can help you find Degree Apprenticeship programmes, so spend some time exploring to help you find the right opportunity. Also, make others aware that you are looking for a Degree Apprenticeship. You could post on LinkedIn, and you could mention to your friends, family, and teachers as they will know who to go to if they find out about an opportunity!

How Can I Stand Out as a Degree Apprenticeship Applicant?

You can stand out as a Degree Apprenticeship applicant by taking part in opportunities that allow you to use your initiative! There are numerous ways you can do this:

Get Some Work Experience

Use this as an opportunity to find out what it is like working in the industry, and perhaps what it is like working at a company you are interested in going to for a Degree Apprenticeship! This could help you inform your decisions later and help you to stand out since you would have gained practical experience of technical and soft skills.

Go to Insight Events

Companies may hold events that provide you more information about the Degree Apprenticeship programme they offer. You can meet people who work at the company, and you can mention that you have attended their event when you are applying for the Degree Apprenticeship – demonstrating that you’re keen and using your initiative!

Do Extra-Curricular Activities

You would be able to talk about these when you are going through application processes and it could be a way for you to gain practical experience. See if there are extra-curricular clubs at your school or college if you are there or see if you can start your own if there aren’t any that match your interest. Starting your own would really help you to stand out – you would be identifying something that is missing at your school or college and you would be filling that gap, and you would be able to flex those leadership muscles! If you do start something, don’t worry if it doesn’t go to plan. When I look back at the coding club I ran back at college, there are certainly things that I would have done differently. The important thing is that you can talk about what you have learnt and how this would impact you in the future.

No matter whether you are at school/college or not, you could also carry out your own projects to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the subject and learn new skills that you could apply and build up on when you are doing the Apprenticeship.

Connect With People on LinkedIn!

They do say it’s not about what you know, it's about who you know! Perhaps use this point in combination with the others. If you go to an insight event or a company visits your school/college, see if you can connect with the employees on LinkedIn and thank them for the event/visit. This will make a good first impression, and it will be clear that you are keen and using your initiative!

You could also connect with people who are doing the Apprenticeship programmes you are considering, so then you could ask them about their experience and any advice they would have. Then, if you do decide to do the Apprenticeship programme, there will be someone there who you’ve spoken to before!

One Final Note…

I hope this article has helped if you are looking to apply for a Degree Apprenticeship! As a 19-year-old Apprentice with PebblePad and the University of Wolverhampton, I really wanted to share what I had learnt based on my experiences of applying for Degree Apprenticeships last year, and encourage others to start their career via this pathway, as well as helping others to feel more confident when they go through application processes!


Find out more about how Degree Apprenticeships can benefit you or your business:

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