All about apprenticeships

  • Did you know there are apprenticeships available in sectors including accountancy, engineering, IT and journalism, for example? Despite what you may think, they aren’t just for ‘learning a trade’.

  • Did you know that some apprenticeships even allow you to work and study towards a degree?

If you decide university isn’t right for you, it could be worth exploring apprenticeships, and there are a range of exciting opportunities available that you might not have previously considered. They enable you to start working and earn a wage while you learn key skills and gain the qualifications that future employers are looking for. 

Degree level apprenticeships involve working a minimum of 30 hours per week and gaining practical industry experience, whilst studying a Bachelors or Master’s degree at a partner university.

A Higher Apprenticeship is available to anyone with A-level qualifications, and provides workplace training, a salary and leads to a national qualification.

You can find a helpful overview of how apprenticeships work on the UCAS and Prospects websites. Prospects has lists of employer who offer apprenticeships in Engineering, Business and Law. If you are interested in applying to any of the employers listed, you could look on their websites for further information about what they offer and how to apply. Also, see here for a helpful overview of industries that offer apprenticeships.

So, where can you find apprenticeships?

The Government portal lists a range of opportunities ( but you could also try the following … (vacancies are pulled through from the Government portal above, but there is plenty of useful information on the site)

There are also companies that put students in touch with employers – like recruitment agencies. You could find these with a Google search, e.g. for IT and Technology apprenticeships, you could try

There may be funding available, depending on your circumstances. For more information, see or

If you are considering leaving your course and would like to talk through your options, call 020 7882 8533 to book a 1-2-1 appointment with a Careers Consultant. Also see our updated handout: Changing or leaving your course


Thinking about changing your course?

At this time of year  it is normal to feel anxious about your progress. Exams are fast approaching and you may feel that your current course is not the right one for you. Perhaps the reality of your course did not meet your initial expectations? Or perhaps you chose your course because of parental pressure?

What should you do?

  • Don’t despair! Many students feel this way.
  • Talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling. It may be that you are simply worrying about your exams and grades.
  • Think carefully about why you want to change course.

Why do you want to change course?

1.  You are struggling academically.

Talk to your tutors. There may be extra courses you can take to help improve your grades in certain areas. They may be able to resolve your problems by giving you extra help.

2. You feel a different course would be better suited to your career.

Come and see us (WG3 Queens’ Building) to talk about this. Most jobs are open to students from all degree backgrounds. Employers look for candidates with the right skills, experience and motivation for the job and are often they are less concerned about the subject you studied. Employers also value work experience. Think about getting some work experience in the career area you are interested in. Not only will this be valued by future employers, but it will also help you decide whether it really is the right career for you.

3.  You do not enjoy the subject area

Think carefully about why you don’t like the subject. If there is just one aspect you do not like, you may be able to change modules while staying on the same course. Have a think about what aspects of the new course you particularly like. Remember that rather than changing courses completely you may be able to take a joint honours course.

If you remain certain that you want to change course there are several things you should do:

How do you change course?

1.  Speak to a tutor and some students from the course you wish to change to.

This will give you a good insight into what to expect from the course and will help you to justify the change to your department.

2. Make an appointment to go and speak with your academic adviser.

You should have been allocated an adviser (a staff member in your department but not necessarily someone who teaches you) at the beginning of the academic year. This is the person to discuss this with.

3. Visit Advice and Counselling on the ground floor of the geography building to discuss your student finances.

Remember that there may be a financial implication is you change course. The Student Loans Company may reclaim money if they feel you have been overpaid. You should discuss this with your Local Education Authority (LEA).

If you still wish to change course:

1. Go and speak with The Head of Department for the course you wish to join.

There may be conditions attached to the change. Some courses have prerequisites and you may need to take additional modules or undertake additional skills training in your spare time before you are able to register. You may also need to apply again through UCAS.

2. Collect and complete a change of programme form from Registry.

If you have managed to satisfy the conditions you will need to go to the Registry in room CB5, Queens’ Building, Mile End campus or the Student Office at the Whitechapel campus, to collect a change of programme form. Both the department you are leaving and the one you intend to join will need to sign this form before you are allowed to change.

Remember that if you would like an impartial chat about your options, or are worried about how your change of course might affect your intended career, book an appointment with one of our Careers Consultants.