Higher Degree Apprenticeships provide both work-based experience and tertiary knowledge development but facilitated insightfully, it can also lead to transformation. Traditionally, many students focus on the outcome of education – ‘the Grade’ – rather than the process of education – ‘the Learning’. Transformative learning can lead to a change in the individual’s professional identity and career aspirations, especially among Degree Apprenticeships. This study aimed to explore the motivation of Gen-Z Higher Educational students, investigating the contrast between traditional and Higher Degree Apprenticeships as learning communities.
Primary research was conducted using questionnaires and interviews. Data was collected form non-degree apprentice students (traditional students) and Higher Degree Apprenticeship students. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics and a thematic analysis was applied to qualitative data.
The research found that there is no significant variation between pathway and orientation. Both groups were motivated by the result to achieve a good grade, implying they were performance-avoidance led, which has been shown to have negative effects on long term career development and thus less transformative learning potential. Furthermore, a Higher Educational degree was seen as a ‘tick-box exercise’ to provide entry into Graduate schemes providing graduate employment and career progression enhancement.