The Continued Growth Of Degree Apprenticeships


There was a time when attaining a good university degree from a prestigious university was perceived as being the zenith of ‘success’ for young adults. In recent times, however, this attitude has been increasingly challenged, and whilst a – what we would probably term – ‘conventional’ university degree is still a valid and much-vaunted pathway to follow, it’s certainly not the only one. Practical, vocation-based qualifications (apprenticeships, for example) have been gaining on their traditional counterparts for some time now, and show no obvious signs of slowing down. There are pros and cons to both, which is what makes the option sitting plum between the two so exciting. The team here at Munday + Cramer wanted to explore the growth of degree apprenticeships and how they’ve impacted our own architectural practice, in recent years.

‘Traditional’ Degree Qualifications

Why, then, when you consider the high quality of teaching that most tertiary educational institutions now offer, do an increasing swathe of people seem to be turning away from the traditional university experience? Well, there’s a variety of reasons. Firstly, whilst universities are a sure-guarantee of a good education, the certainty of subsequent employment is far less. Gone are the days where the mere presence of some letters on your CV were a fast-track into employment.

This, when paired with what many teenagers see as exorbitant tuition fees, makes for an increasing apathy towards the prospect. That said, there are of course still career paths in which a degree is necessary, but the paper and snug-fitting mortarboard no longer hold the inalienable sort of power and influence that they did a few decades ago.

Apprenticeships

You don’t need to investigate for long before realising why these practical qualifications have become so popular in recent years. The first reason – money. It would be entirely disingenuous to suggest that this is the sole driver in students’ reasoning in choosing an apprenticeship, but there’s no doubt it plays a large role. Whereas university tuition debt numbers into the tens of thousands of pounds, apprenticeships present the chance to earn a wage.

The obvious setback with apprenticeships is that they don’t provide you with a degree. And whilst it’s true that the qualification might not hold the same kind of stock it used to, it’s unquestionably still a good thing to have. Where one excels, it seems, the other falls down. That’s where degree apprenticeships come into play.

Degree Apprenticeships – The “Baby Bear’s Porridge” Of The Education World

If only there were some kind of qualification which combined the book-led learning that university tuition provided and the hands-on practical experience afforded by the workplace! Well, it just so happens that that’s exactly what degree apprenticeships offer individuals! Whilst degree apprenticeships don’t offer a wage in the way that full apprenticeships do, they shoulder a large portion of the tuition debt for their degree. For many, it’s the most viable option out there. A reticence to commit to a lifetime’s worth of student loan debt, after all, is completely understandable.

Indeed, according to Universities UK, degree apprenticeships help to widen participation, they offer a way for universities to diversify their offerings and help to develop crucial employer engagement and relationships. These qualifications are particularly useful in fields like architectural design, data analytics, building surveying and facilities management that require high levels of critical thinking but in an often incredibly specific setting, the kind of which you can only become accustomed to with hands-on experience.

Good For The Individual, But Good For The Firm As Well…

It’s clear, then, that degree apprenticeships provide one of the most well-rounded educations to today’s younger generation, whilst at the same time grounding them in the world of employment. It isn’t just the apprentices who benefit, though, with the firms for whom they work also profiting. Speaking in the Guardian recently, Munday + Cramer’s Director, Lee Hatwell, had this to say about the impact of degree apprentices within a business:

“We are finding their desire to learn and progress is having a positive effect on their teams – and they have provided a fundamental level of capacity and support that we had almost forgotten existed in the past few decades.” – Lee Hatwell

Degree apprentices enthuse a workplace and instilling a dynamism and vigour amongst its employee roster that would scarcely be felt, otherwise. Ultimately, eagerness and the desire to get ‘stuck in’ that these individuals bring with them has an infectious effect which can’t help but rub off on everyone else. In other words, they’re good for everyone!

Contact Munday + Cramer

Degree apprenticeships won’t be suitable for everyone, just in the way that full-university degrees and full apprenticeships won’t be. They provide arguably the best balance, however, in meeting the demands of the modern-day job market; namely, bookish learning with experience, too. So, if you’d like to find out more about our work as an architectural design and building surveying firm, then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200 or by emailing us at info@mcessex.co.uk.