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Barnaby Lenon, outgoing Chair of the Independent Schools Council thinks “schools need to keep an eye” on degree level apprenticeships “as an alternative to the traditional route into higher education”.

RIC supports students who are weighing up degree-level apprenticeships alongside the usual university options. Apprenticeships let you earn while you learn and are definitely worth a cost-benefit analysis. Responding to what parents and students want, we’ll be featuring these options in our sixth form Futures programme from September 2024.

Sure, most of our students are eyeing up traditional university or art school spots, but the range of apprenticeships available, including those with top-notch blue-chip companies, is constantly growing. Even careers like Medicine and Law are opening up to apprenticeships.

Take the Solicitor Apprenticeship, for instance. It’s a six-year, Level 7 degree apprenticeship programme perfect for post A-level students, paralegals, and chartered legal executives. It covers everything in a law degree and helps apprentices bag a law degree and even an LLM Masters. Complete the apprenticeship, pass the centralised Solicitors Qualifying Examination, and you’re in as a solicitor.

There are fresh plans for Medical doctor degree apprenticeships. According to NHS England’s long-term workforce plan, published in June 2023, a whopping 13% of England’s medical students in 2031 will be apprentices. Check out more about this new initiative from our Dukes Education partners at The Medic Portal here

Ben, who scored a spot on the BP School-Leaver Trading Development Programme, says: “Without the grades I achieved at Rochester Independent College I would not have had the qualifications necessary to apply to BP. I now sit on the Diesel and Jet Fuel Trading Desk in London and manage various risks that are inherent in the oil markets.”

Students can now use UCAS to search and apply for apprenticeships, just like they do for degrees, thanks to new plans announced by the Education Secretary and UCAS in 2023. UCAS has ramped up their service so students can see more personalised options, including apprenticeships. Starting from 2024, students can apply for apprenticeships through UCAS alongside their undergraduate degree applications.

These plans aim to give technical and vocational education the same clout as traditional academic routes. For more details, check out the UCAS guide to apprenticeships here