Higher and degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships were first introduced in 2015 following the government’s English Apprenticeships 2020 vision. Higher education in apprenticeships has a role in contributing to social mobility by providing another route into higher education for learners in work, for improving future earning potential and accessing a professional career that might not otherwise have been available.    

Higher and Degree apprenticeships have been a part of the university since 2017. We offer apprenticeships between Level 4 and Level 7 enabling learners to gain a higher qualification such as a foundation degree, Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree whilst remaining in employment.  

Through our apprenticeships, apprentices will gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills and behaviours that they need for their immediate job and future careers. The apprentices will gain this through formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to apply these new skills in a real work environment, in a productive job role, through on-the-job training. 

We ensure the apprenticeship programme learning outcomes, content and assessment are aligned with the relevant apprenticeship standard.  These standards are created by employer led groups and describe the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to undertake the specific role to ensure the needs of the employer are met.  All standards are approved by Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education and will include an end point assessment (EPA). 

The Department of Academic Quality is responsible for the internal quality assurance (IQA) of apprenticeship programmes. These processes begin at the programme validation stage and continue through to the final end-point assessment stage of the apprenticeship.  

Our internal quality assurance processes are essential to ensuring that we meet the requirements of external quality assurance (EQA) bodies who will monitor the quality of our apprenticeship provision. The external bodies include: 

  • Quality of training provision: Ofsted 

  • End-Point Assessment: Designated Quality Body (DQB) (until March 2023) 

The below sections provide further details of our internal processes. 

  1. Apprenticeship programme validation and revalidation

    De Montfort University devolves responsibility for the validation of new apprenticeship programmes, and the modification of existing ones, to the faculties. Devolved programmes are normally delivered by DMU staff on campus, in a clinical or corporate setting.

    The Department of Academic Quality (DAQ) maintains oversight of changes to devolved provision by monitoring and supporting apprenticeship programme validation and curriculum modification.

    Apprenticeship Validation

    Apprenticeship validation is the process through which the university establishes that a new apprenticeship programme is viable, that academic standards have been appropriately defined while incorporating occupational standards and that it will offer apprentices the best opportunity to learn. It is about assuring quality but must also be about promoting best practice and adding value by enhancing the quality of the proposal. Validation provides an opportunity to review the information that will be provided to employers and apprentices and ensure that it complies with the requirements of the various organisations that govern apprenticeships in England. The University’s approach to validation is one of rigour and proportionality with flexible arrangements for programme approval, allowing us to be responsive to external demands and take account of the different levels of risk involved.

    Prior to the validation event a new apprenticeship programme proposal must receive faculty and university support as outlined in The Guide to Apprenticeship Validation. Once this approval has been gained, an apprenticeship validation event is convened by the faculty Associate Professor (Quality) or equivalent. Apprenticeship validation involves an event during which a panel of academic peers and external representatives from the relevant employment sector and professional services departments scrutinise the new proposal. However, the approval process also places great emphasis on the apprenticeship programme development stage, and the preparation and consideration of draft documentation at faculty level is considered key to facilitating an effective apprenticeship validation event.

    Apprenticeship Revalidation

    Revalidation is the formal process whereby an apprenticeship programme is revisited to ensure continued fitness for purpose. This process will only be required where apprenticeship programmes have undergone significant change or to comply with external body requirements.

    Please see section on curriculum modification for guidance on the process to be followed where changes to the programme are being made and please see the section on  suspension of intake and programme closure where relevant.

    For queries and further guidance about apprenticeship validation and revalidation please contact Daljit Kaur.

  2. Ofsted

    All apprenticeship provision is subject to inspection by Ofsted. Ofsted will judge all providers on key areas including the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and Safeguarding, as detailed in the Education and Inspection Framework.

    All programme teams should be familiar with the Ofsted Education and Inspection Framework and the Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook.

    For detailed information, please consult with your faculty Associate Professor Quality, Head of Quality or Faculty Ofsted lead.

    For general queries about Ofsted please contact Rebecca Thirlby.

  3. End-point assessment (EPA)

    End-point assessment (EPA) is the final stage of an apprenticeship. It aims to impartially assess whether the apprentice has developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours learnt during the course, as outlined in the apprenticeship standard.

    The quality assurance of EPA aims to ensure that we are conducting them fairly, consistently and robustly.

    The EPA guide provides an overview of the quality assurance processes for integrated and fully-integrated programmes where DMU acts as the end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) and delivers the EPA. These processes include:

    • Ensuring that EPA is undertaken correctly
    • Assuring funding bodies and employers that EPA is being delivered effectively
    • Appointing and conducting appropriate training for Independent Assessors
    • Appointing and conducting appropriate training for EQA External Assessor (role to be implemented in 2023/24)
    • Having effective monitoring processes which enable continual improvement

    For queries about the validation process for apprenticeships please contact Claire Richardson.

  4. Guidance and forms

    All guidance and forms relating to apprenticeships are presented together here, in process order.

    Apprenticeship Programme Validation


    Please see the following links for further information:

    End-Point Assessment (EPA)

    Accompanying forms: