What is a Work-Based Degree?

A different department from the Aston foundation Centre, a work-based degree allows an employee to study, supported by the government and their employer.

Employees benefit from both academic and work-based learning, lectures and online study. They develop their skills and become better qualified and more useful to their employer and industry generally.

Aston's work-based opportunities include:

  • Foundation Degrees - a two year programme that is a qualification in its own right, and a route to a full Bachelor's Degree.
  • Degree Apprenticeships - a full honours degree supported by the government bringing together the best of higher and vocational education.

Why do a Work-Based Degree?

  1. Improve your skills and career prospects whilst remaining in work.
  2. The degrees are varied, flexible and accessible.
  3. Work on real-world projects, helping to resolve employers’ problems.
  4. Develop the academic and vocational skills you need for career progression.
  5. Progression opportunities, including fast-track from a Foundation Degree to a Full Honours Degree.

Information for Employers

Many sectors are facing technical and professional skills shortages. You can help your company get ahead and fill its skills gap by working with us to design and deliver a Work-Based Degree which meets your exact requirements (depending on the number of your employees who would enrol onto the degree). Alternatively you can send staff on to one of our existing Work-Based Degree programmes.

We have strong links with business, industry and the public sector, and have developed Work-Based Degrees with organisations such as National Grid, Scottish and Southern Energy, BMW, CapGemini, E.ON UK, SpecSavers and the NHS.


Work-Based Degrees can benefit all organisations and businesses, from large multinationals to small local companies, as well as the public sector.

Your employees will:

  • Study primarily in the workplace, meaning your employees won't need to spends significant amounts of time away from work.
  • Work on problem-based projects aimed at resolving real-world business issues.
  • Develop their transferable skills such as communication, team working and problem solving.
  • Cascade the knowledge acquired to other colleagues.
  • Have increased motivation and commitment to your organisation.
  • Have increased confidence in applying skills and knowledge.
How long is a Work-Based Degree?

A full-time Foundation Degree usually takes two years to complete. Your employee(s) will undertake work-based learning, supported by a range of online material. They will also attend lectures by block release.

After completing a Foundation Degree, your employee can progress to the final year of a relevant full Honours Degree, which will usually take a further year to complete full time, or two to three years part time.

Alternatively a Degree Apprenticeship can take five years, however the student graduates with a full Honours Degree.

Existing Work-Based Programmes

We are currently accepting applications for the following Work-Based Degree programmes:

If you are an employer and these programmes do not meet your requirements, please get in touch to discuss working with us to design and develop your own Work-Based Degree.

Progression Opportunities

As a work-based degree graduate you will have many different options.

You may decide to progress onto a full Honours degree, or go on to take further professional development programmes.

Our progression programmes are designed to help you develop strong academic and vocational skills to boost your long-term employment prospects or to change career.