Challenges, barriers and strategies for engaging in Level 7 apprenticeship studies

Richard Poole*, Fiona Cook, Stuart Sims, Joanne Brindley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This study explores the lived experience of apprentices on a degree-level programme and their perceptions of how elements of apprenticeship study that aren’t components of traditional degree study – i.e., off-the-job training – impact their learner journey. This article undertakes a thematic analysis following qualitative interviews with eleven apprentices, who are early-career academic professionals nearing the end of their apprenticeships. Key findings offer a mixed picture, and suggest that the study habits and preferences of apprentices are personal to individuals and are impacted on by employment workload and access to off-the-job study time. Apprentices indicate that many factors encroach on their ability to utilise the allocated off-the-job study time, primarily the ability to be released from employed work and conflicting priorities around meeting study, business, and personal needs. Apprentices suggest that in reality it is almost impossible for them to spend 20% of their working time on their studies. Recommendations are offered to both institutions and individuals, regarding the need for sound dialogue and the removal of barriers to ensure that apprentices can meet the contractual requirements of apprenticeship study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-168
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Issue number2
Early online date26 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Apprenticeships
  • workload
  • off-the-job training
  • study habits
  • priorities


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