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Postgraduate study
Education & Youth

Academic Professional Apprenticeship (APA) with Postgraduate Certification of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education PgCert

The academic professional apprenticeship provides an easily accessible and high-quality route to meet the professional development needs of practitioners who are new to teaching and supporting learning roles in higher education.


Professional apprenticeship


Course overview

It is suitable for all new academic employees with less than three years’ experience in higher education and provides the pathway for employees to reach their full professional competence.

Apprentices come from a range of institutions, and this offers them the opportunity for rich collaborative work and discussion. It is an 18 month course at level 7 and both the apprenticeship standard and end-point assessment are aligned to the current editions of the Higher Education Academy UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).

Study this course and you may be eligible for a £2,500 Sir Keith Skeoch postgraduate scholarship.

Course delivery is varied, and includes professional development activities, peer observations and workshops. It is a work-based course and can be accessed nationally using a hybrid delivery model.

Please note, we can only respond to enquiries from employers, or individuals with agreement from their employer to undertake an apprenticeship.

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Course details

Modules have been developed to ensure that they support the apprentice's professional role and identity in terms of their teaching and supporting learning activities.

Course structure

Core modules

Developing Academic Practice

This module enables a range of higher education professionals who have a role in supporting learning and teaching to advance their knowledge in their own area of practice in order to contribute to a high-quality student learning experience.

It develops apprentices' knowledge, understanding and critical awareness of current drivers, for example TEF, NSS and UKPSF, university strategies and issues in higher education.

The learning and teaching strategy supports apprentices to focus on an educational issue of relevance to you, negotiated with the tutor, and apply learning from contemporary academic theory, pedagogic research and/or scholarship to develop a project to enhance higher education practice. Apprentices are expected to seek out and take advantage of additional opportunities to address their identified professional development needs.

Facilitating Learning in Higher Education

Apprentices develop knowledge and understanding of, and skills in, their role as a teacher in higher education. The module prompts them to engage with institutional and external drivers, in particular university academic strategy and the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education, as well as the Teaching Excellence Framework, and to reflect upon their impact on learning and teaching in higher education.

The module employs the concept of the ‘informed, reflective and competent practitioner’ as a framework to enable apprentices to interpret and apply knowledge and understanding to their own practice as educators. Stemming from this, apprentices undertake a critical and analytical appraisal of the academic role across a selection of core learning-and-teaching activities.

An important part of the module is promoting continuing reflection on teaching practice, for which a teaching-observation component is one of the main triggers.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

The minimum off the job training for a full-time apprentice is an average of six hours per week. The off-the-job training provides the time to focus and develop the required skills, knowledge and behaviours to achieve the apprenticeship. Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of day-to-day work duties and leads towards the achievement of the apprenticeship. This training takes place within the apprentice’s normal (contracted) working hours.

Apprentices study this course on a part-time basis, however the programme includes elements delivered using distance learning, blended learning and there are initial blocks of teaching for each module. All modules include work-based elements and application of theory to practice.

The course is managed and taught by principal and senior lecturers who all hold either fellowship or senior fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

How you are assessed

Apprentices are provided with course and module guides containing comprehensive information about their assessments. They complete a portfolio for each module. However, these will differ in content to reflect the different purpose of each module. Apprentices then use some of the content from these portfolios to develop three further assessment tasks to satisfy the end-point assessment of the academic professional route they are studying.
Find out more

Their progression through the course is discussed at regular meetings with the course team and workplace mentors
Formative assessment, includes, but is not limited to, online discussions, individual feedback about any draft pieces of evidence, synchronous and asynchronous discussions, as well as observers’ comments on observed teaching sessions.

End-point assessment
> Academic professional practice, as a classroom observation
> Professional conversation
Written submission comprising a 3,000 word reflective journal and an annex containing a maximum of ten pieces of supporting evidence (4,500 words).


Entry requirements

To be accepted on to an apprenticeship course you must have support from your employer and meet the course entry requirements.

Standard University postgraduate entry criteria applies, plus:

> apprentices must demonstrate that they are currently teaching or supporting learning on HE level provision (minimum 50 hours per academic year)
> contracted for a minimum of 30 hours per week
> before starting their Teesside University apprenticeship, learners must hold Level 2 qualifications in English and maths. Find out more.

Apprenticeships starting from August 2021
Apprentices will continue to be eligible for an apprenticeship in England if they meet the eligibility requirements in place at that time, including that:
• they were living in the EEA or Switzerland on 31 December 2020
• they have been living in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar for at least the last three years before starting an apprenticeship
• they have lived continuously in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar between 31 December 2020 and the start of their apprenticeship
• they will spend at least 50% of their working hours in England during their apprenticeship
• the apprenticeship starts before 1 January 2028.
Apprentices' children are also eligible for an apprenticeship in England on the same terms even if they are not themselves UK nationals.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements



Career opportunities

Apprentices on the course can progress to the MA Education.


Professional apprenticeship

An apprenticeship combines vocational work-based learning with study for a university degree. Designed in partnership with employers, apprenticeships offer it all - a higher education qualification, a salary, and invaluable practical experience and employment skills.

Find out more


  • Not available full-time


2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants

Apprenticeship levy paying employers - £9,000 paid from your levy funds. Non apprenticeship levy paying employer - £450 (remainder paid by government co-funding)

More details about our fees

  • Length: 2 years plus 6 months end-point assessment
  • Attendance: Blended delivery
  • Start date: January and September

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Telephone: 01642 738888

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