Looking for a Sponsored Degree Programme
What is a Sponsored Degree Programme?
Employers call their school leaver schemes all sorts, from Training Programmes and undergraduate Apprenticeships to Sponsored Degree Programmes. It gets even more confusing because there is a big difference between Sponsored Degree Programmes, Sponsored Degrees and student sponsorship.
Sponsored Degree Programmes
Sponsored Degree Programmes are school leaver schemes that focus on the fact that you’ll get a degree as part of the programme. As well as studying for a degree at university, students are often regarded as permanent employees of the company and receive a salary.
The schemes are often devised with a particular university, meaning that the student will have little say in what university or course they do. However, more often than not, they’ll have their entire course fees paid by the employer or at least receive a bursary or scholarship to go towards the cost of their university education.
Students might attend university on a part-time or distance learning basis whilst working for the employer, or they might go to university full-time, spending their holidays working for the company. The employer might also offer students a guaranteed job on qualification or, subject to performance, a place on their graduate scheme.
Examples of employers that offer this type: Logica, Experian, Morrisons, PwC
The balance of time you’ll spend at university and in the work-place will vary from scheme to scheme, so make sure you check.
Other universities will provide degrees that are sponsored and devised with a consortium of employers and/or professional associations. These are more common in industries like engineering and accountancy, usually for more vocational degrees. For the consortium sponsored degrees, students might be sponsored wholly or partially (e.g. £1,000 for each year) and might take an industrial placement or a summer placement with an employer in the consortium.
Alternatively, like the Ernst and Young degree, a degree might be devised with and sponsored by a single employer (sometimes in tandem with a professional association). For these degrees, the employer involvement will likely be more comprehensive. For example, students on a sponsored scheme might receive a bursary and have a yearlong placement and two summer placements with the employer. Depending on academic and placement performance, they might also get a spot on the graduate scheme or a job with the company upon graduation.
Students on these types of degree aren’t permanent employees and won’t earn a salary, apart from during their placement year or summer internship. However, it’s an excellent way of guaranteeing experience as part of your degree and helps you to fund your university education.
Examples: Loughborough’s Innovative Manufacturing Engineering degree and the Ernst and Young Degree.
Some companies will offer sponsorship either to a small number of students on a degree course in the form of a scholarship or they will sponsor a promising student irrespective of their degree course and university; although, of course, they might target students on particular courses. Students have also been known to approach companies before they attend university in the hope of some form of sponsorship.
This is probably the most informal sponsorship programme of them all. The employer might cover a student’s fees for part of their university education or give a one-off token amount to the student. In return, students might take up a summer placement with the company, work with them after university or they might actually have no particular obligations towards the company at all.
Alternatively, some companies will sponsor students who stand out during their internships or placements with them, offering to cover their last year or two years at university and giving them a place on the graduate scheme or fast-tracking their application to the interview stage.