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New Graduate Apprenticeship scheme mixes work and study for engineers


The National Training Organisation for Engineering Manufacture (EMTA) has joined forces with the Department for Education and Employment to launch the first "earn as you learn" portable engineering degree.

The new qualification comes in the form of a new Graduate Apprenticeship scheme, which has the support of the likes of the Engineering Employers Federation and professional institutions including the Engineering Council. The scheme will work in a similar way to that of the Modern Apprenticeships by linking study for a qualification (in this case, at higher education level) with structured work-based learning.

The Graduate Apprenticeship scheme has three main components: the foundation component in applying engineering principles, the Higher Education Component for an appropriate academic qualification (this could be one of a number of different qualifications), and a work based component which requires the apprentice to demonstrate competence in selected occupational standards. Students will also be expected to demonstrate competence in a number of key skills. One of the key benefits of the scheme are that it is designed to link in directly with the needs of the organisation, in part through the completion of a work-based project, and can be used by companies of any size because of its flexible nature - a definite benefit to the SMEs which make up a sizeable part of the engineering sector.

A learning contract in the form of a training plan is drawn up between the employer, the Higher Education institution and the apprentice forms to encourage collaboration between all those involved. Graduate Apprentices also have a mentor whose role will help to develop the student towards the achievement of professional registration with an appropriate engineering institution.

A number of well known firms have taken up the Graduate Apprenticeship scheme as a model for their training and development programmes, including Britax and BAe Systems, and small companies are increasingly seeing the benefits of the scheme.


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