Apprenticeships at Level 4 and above


The government has an agenda to grow the number and quality of apprenticeships. In addition, the government has set objectives to widen access to apprenticeships and ensure that programmes at all levels support social mobility for people from diverse backgrounds.

Learning and Work Institute (L&W) was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to undertake research to explore the extent to which apprenticeships at Level 4 and above are supporting social mobility for people from diverse backgrounds; employers’ motivations and barriers to offering higher-level apprenticeships; and apprentice experiences of undertaking programmes at Level 4 and above.

The research explored whether and how the demographic profile of apprentices at Level 4 and above differ:

  • from the general higher education cohort
  • from apprentices at other levels
  • across different apprenticeship standards.

The research took a mixed method approach involving analysis of Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data and publicly available Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data, as well as qualitative interviews with eight employers, 10 apprenticeship providers and 20 apprentices.