Call for university-led apprenticeships

A NEW elite apprenticeship should be created which has the same status as a degree, according to a new report co-authored by the vice chancellor of a Yorkshire university.

It says universities are well placed to offer a new kind of qualification that “blends academia and industry experience”.

The Future of Higher Vocational report has been co-written by Sheffield University’s vice chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett. He warned that despite the main political parties talking about increasing the number of apprenticeships there was still a real lack of clarity about the quality of these programmes, how they link to industry and ensure young people go on to get the best jobs.

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Sheffield University say its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre was the first of the UK’s specialist research facilities to recognise the needs of industry for a skilled engineering apprenticeship programme leading to degree level study.

This evening its first cohort of 250 advanced apprentices, who are employed and sponsored by engineering companies ranging from Rolls-Royce and TATA to smaller supply chain firms, will attend an Apprentices Award Dinner in Sheffield.

The event will highlight the achievements of a new form of apprentices, highly praised by director of global manufacturing at Rolls-Royce Hamid Mughal.

Mr Mughal said: “If I was 16 years old and I was given a hundred choices for careers, I would choose here every time. You cannot ask for a better environment for tomorrow’s engineers to create the complex, customer-oriented values and solutions for industry, the economy and for the UK than this environment.”

The first cohort of AMRC Advanced Apprentices was accepted in 2014 in a state-of-the-art training centre at the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

The AMRC Advanced Apprentices were named Widening Participation Initiative of the Year in the most recent Times Higher Education awards.