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Potential implications of degree apprenticeships for healthcare education

Denise Baker (School of Allied Health and Social Care, University of Derby, Derby, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 18 December 2018

Issue publication date: 29 January 2019



The purpose of this paper is to critically reflect on evidence relating to the development and delivery of apprenticeships and its potential implications for pre-registration healthcare education.


An iterative review of English language literature published after 1995 to date relating to apprentices and apprenticeships was undertaken. In total, 20 studies were identified for inclusion. Only three related to the most recent apprenticeship initiative in the UK, and the majority were UK based.


Three key themes were identified: entering an apprenticeship, the learning environment and perceptions of apprenticeships. Successful completion of an apprenticeship relies heavily on both understanding the role the apprentice is seeking to inhabit, as well as well-structured and comprehensive support whilst on the programme. These findings are then discussed with reference to professional body requirements and pre-registration education in healthcare.

Practical implications

Appropriate work experience and support for learning are critical to apprenticeship success and apprenticeships should be given equal status to traditional healthcare education routes.


The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 (Finance Act, 2016), acknowledgement that all National Health Service Trusts will be levy payers and the introduction of targets relating to apprenticeships for public sector employers have all contributed to growing interest in the apprenticeship agenda in health and social care.



Baker, D. (2019), "Potential implications of degree apprenticeships for healthcare education", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 2-17.



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