First class degrees for Capgemini apprentices
The UK's first university degree apprentices have graduated, with seven of the 11 students achieving first class honours.
Each of the students earned a degree in digital and technology solutions from Aston University, following four and a half years of study. The other four all achieved second-class degrees.
They followed an apprenticeship programme that combined academic study at Aston while working for technology firm Capgemini.
Degree apprenticeships enable students to study towards a university degree without paying tuition fees.
They spend part of their time with their university and part with their employer, so they also earn money and work experience from their apprenticeship job.
There are currently 26 UK universities that offer at least one degree apprenticeship course.
James Jones, 25, was among the first graduates. “I’ve gained the salary of a graduate years before I would have graduated taking a traditional bricks and mortar degree," he said.
"I haven’t paid tuition fees but have been paid a salary to attend virtual lectures and tutorials and to apply this learning instantly in my role as a software developer."
James Gee (pictured), 24, said: ““Every day is different but I always learn something new. I build complex system integrations, web applications and anything that involves custom software."
Professor Ian Nabney, executive dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Aston University, said: “Degree apprenticeships are a valuable option to applicants whose learning style is less suited to a traditional on-campus study route.
"The difference in delivery, allows them to apply their learning in the workplace rather than the classroom.
"This offers those with the right skills and aptitudes a challenging but rewarding route to graduate level jobs, while their academic achievement is recognised as being at the same high level as a traditionally-earned degree.”