The rise of degree-granting apprenticeships heralds a bright future for civil engineering

The future of the profession of civil engineer is supported by a constant increase in the learning of engineering degrees.

Civil Engineering degree learning was first offered in the 2017-2018 academic year, its popularity growing since then – and with the first students on the road graduating in 2023, it should only grow. To mark National Apprenticeship Week, course providers and course enrollees themselves are outlining the benefits of the road for aspiring civil engineers and the industry at large.

There are currently 19 institutions across the UK offering the five-year course, which allows graduates to gain a BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering while gaining paid on-the-job training in engineering companies. established engineering that will enable candidates to achieve their IEng.

Figures acquired from eight of these universities show that there has been a steady increase in the number of people joining civil engineering graduate apprenticeship courses year on year, with only some showing a slight drop caused by the pandemic. The largest increases in new entrants have been seen at the University of Salford, which has grown from two entries in its freshman year of 2018-19 to 32 freshmen in the current academic year, and at London South Bank University, which started with 12 degrees. apprentices in 2017 and currently has 76 in its 2021-22 cohort.

This is good news for the industry as a whole, as the degree apprenticeship pathway ensures that quality, well-qualified and experienced new blood enters the job market on a regular basis, helping to alleviate the skills shortage. .

Over the course of five years, graduate apprentices combine technical classroom and laboratory learning with hands-on hands-on experiences. They learn engineering in the fields of geotechnics, materials and structures, then apply this knowledge on site, working alongside practicing civil engineers in different fields and at different stages of their careers.

To enter a degree apprenticeship, a candidate must find employment with a competent civil engineering company, which will then pay tuition fees in addition to providing a salary. Universities will help candidates find this job, with each institution having links to quality local businesses.

NCEDimple Parmar’s graduate apprentice of the year is in the middle of her degree apprenticeship and is full of praise for the course option. The young engineer worked for Laing O’Rourke during her studies and believes she already has a head start in her career even though she has not yet graduated.

Degree apprenticeships are not just for high school graduates, however, as they provide flexible pathways into civil engineering for people of all ages and backgrounds. Many people who already work in civil engineering decide to join the degree course in order to improve their skills and further their careers.

Nottingham Trent University Director of Diploma Learning David Drury said: “I certainly think apprenticeships are one of the answers to today’s skills shortages, not the only answer, but they should be a key part of any strategy to address these issues. Degree apprenticeships are a fantastic way to increase workforce and employee diversity and improve social mobility within society. »

Miranda Blofeld, Head of Degree Learning Projects at the University of Warwick, said: “Employers use civil engineering (degree) learning to attract a pipeline of new talent to the organization as well as to develop existing staff, mainly from a level 3 apprenticeship or in some circumstances more experienced staff who have not had formal education for some time. We have a mix of apprentices in our program and the balance between recent graduates and current employees changes from year to year.

Institution of Civil Engineers Director of Learning, Richard Davis, said: “Degree apprenticeships allow individuals to earn while they learn, but one of the main benefits is that the practical element gives them an opportunity early to apply what they have learned, linking the academic side of a course with practical experience.

“Apprenticeships also provide great opportunities to develop life skills and work with people at different career stages, which really helps apprentices become competent engineers.

“In collaboration with employer groups, ICE has been supporting the development of civil engineering apprenticeship programs for over 5 years. We see them as an important alternative route to professional development and qualification at EngTech or IEng level.

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