Apprenticeships Minister opens £10 million WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, at the University of Warwick
On Thursday 17th June 2021 Gillian Keegan MP, the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, formally opened the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, at the University of Warwick.
The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre was awarded £10 million funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The new Centre provides apprentices with the opportunity to study on degree programmes to develop the skills needed by advanced engineering and manufacturing companies.
The Centre offers degree apprenticeship training programmes for up to 1,000 students at a time.
WMG and the rest of the University of Warwick already provides 20 Degree Apprenticeship programmes across five academic departments for 791 students, one of the largest groups of degree apprenticeship courses at a Russell Group university.
Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said:
“It was such a privilege to open the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre at Warwick University. Apprenticeships are a brilliant way for people of any age to launch new careers or progress in their industry, with opportunities at a range of levels across a variety of exciting sectors.
“As a former apprentice myself I know first-hand the lifelong passion for learning an apprenticeship can instil. It was wonderful to speak to Beverley and Rishi and hear their passion for where their apprenticeship journey will take them. I look forward to seeing how the centre will support the leaders of tomorrow to get the skills they need to succeed.”
The degree apprenticeship students will complete their studies at the University campus in conjunction with their employment at companies throughout Coventry and Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
Rishi Chohan, Degree Apprentice from the Manufacturing Technology Centre, said “It was a great pleasure to show Gillian Keegan MP around WMG’s fantastic Degree Apprenticeship Centre. As a final year degree apprentice, on the Applied Engineering Programme, the skills I have learnt at WMG, University of Warwick, have helped consolidate and facilitate my development as an engineer progressing into leadership at the Manufacturing Technology Centre.
Beverley Ngo, Degree Apprentice from Jaguar Land Rover, adds: “It was a pleasure to attend the official opening of the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre. I am a second year degree apprentice at Jaguar Land Rover and part of the first cohort of Digital Apprentices on the “Digital Technology Solutions” course. It was an honour to meet and show Gillian Keegan MP around the fantastic building that I will be learning and developing knowledge in such an important area of technology.”
The innovative new Degree Apprenticeship Centre has a unique learning environment with open spaces for collaborative and individual work, technology-enabled seminar rooms and a purpose-built, multifunctional, laboratory for activity based teaching and learning using state of the art equipment. The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre is the first stage of a future Degree Apprenticeship complex at the campus to train students in a range of Degree Apprenticeships.
At the official opening WMG Executive Chair Margot James said:
“We are delighted to welcome Gillian here today to officially open the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, and recognise the importance of our vital work with industry. Our Apprenticeship Centre provides the opportunity for apprentices to study whilst working in their companies, upskilling our workforce and bringing tangible benefits to advanced engineering and the manufacturing sector, to ensure the UK remains competitive”
The University of Warwick’s Vice Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft:
“Warwick’s degree apprenticeships are founded on passion, knowledge, and a commitment to innovation. We demonstrate this in the way we work with industry and other partners and our degree apprenticeship students.”
“We encourage gifted apprentices from all backgrounds to share our passion who want to have the opportunity to earn as they learn and pursue exciting careers in their chosen field from day one of their time on these programmes.”
“Employers also value the passion and innovation of these students who will help close the skills gaps and inspire positive change both inside and outside the workplace.”
“As a university we are deeply committed to continue to expand our routes to degree qualifications.”
Marion Plant, Board Director and Chair of the CWLEP’s Productivity and Skills Business Group, said:
“This is a significant project funded by the CWLEP and fits in perfectly with our Strategic Reset Framework to provide high quality jobs and levelling up opportunities by supporting the development of higher-level skills.
“It is vital for the long-term ambitions of Coventry and Warwickshire’s economy that we retain talented people in the area by ensuring employers have the skills their future workforces will need to drive forward the innovations for which we are renowned in automotive and advanced manufacturing, to be globally competitive in an increasingly digitised world.”
Work-based learning has always been a key part of WMG’s philosophy they are passionate about offering apprentices an integrated experience and supporting companies with their workforce strategies – be it recruiting the next generation of talent or upskilling or reskilling existing employees to support career paths and changes in business need.
Businesses today are rapidly changing and the skills they require to develop and grow are changing equally as quickly. People are already doing jobs that did not exist 10 years ago and the events of 2020 have precipitated even greater change. Working collaboratively at a broader level with industry, other training providers and specialist bodies, WMG is continuing their pioneering approach to develop programmes and identify priority areas that will help fill the existing and emerging skills gaps as they arise.
WMG Senior Teaching Fellow, Rink Desai has been awarded a prestigious Transforming Education Award, from the University of Warwick’s Student Union, for Student Communication.
The Student Communication award is for any individual staff member who has gone above and beyond in using meaningful ways to ensure that everyone has access to relevant and timely information.
This may specifically encompass communicating developments with regards to changes in light of Covid-19 restrictions, but also in general. The awarding panel noted that: “Rink has done an excellent job communicating with his (apprentice) students and kept them updated with early release of learning resources and timetables which helped them to plan their employment and degree commitments at a turbulent time. This was a result of Rink acting on the ‘voice of the student’ which was very much appreciated by his cohorts.”
Rink said: “I am very honoured to have been recognised by the degree apprenticeship students. We have had a challenging year where students and staff have dealt with difficult circumstances, and also a time in which communication has been key to ensuring a rewarding learning experience. My sincere thanks go to the students who have contributed to such a positive learning environment.”
Rink teaches Process Optimisation on the BEng Applied Professional Engineering programme. Find out more about the programme here: BEng Applied Professional Engineering Programme : University of Warwick
- Degree Apprenticeships (DA) at WMG include courses partnerships with employers and come with a competitive salary
- WMG's undergraduate DA courses include Digital and Technology Solutions, Applied Professional Engineering, and Digital Healthcare Science
- Postgraduate courses include Sustainable Automotive Electrification and Smart, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
- National Apprenticeship Week 2021 runs until Sunday 14th February
- Applications for Jaguar Land Rover Degree Apprenticeships in Partnership with WMG close on Monday 15th February
WMG at the University of Warwick is set to continue its working partnership with employers to train the next wave of engineers and digital technologists - with new cohorts of degree apprentices set to start this September.
WMG’s undergraduate degree apprenticeship courses, including Digital and Technology Solutions, Applied Professional Engineering Programme, and Digital Healthcare Science, and postgraduate Sustainable Automotive Electrification and Smart, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles courses, bring together the best of higher education and work-based learning and come with the additional benefits of earning a competitive salary while learning and no university tuition.
Over the duration of their courses the apprentices will be taught on the University of Warwick campus for a number of weeks each year to complement their practical work based experiences – including in WMG’s new Degree Apprenticeship Centre.
For those interested in developing a new career and starting as a degree apprentice this September, there is still time to apply for courses at WMG in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover.
WMG and Jaguar Land Rover’s partnership provides degree apprentices the opportunity to develop the technical skills and knowledge necessary to building Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering capability for an autonomous, connected and electric future, with applications for courses open until February 15th.
§ For details on the full range of available Jaguar Land Rover degree apprenticeships and how to apply please click here.
Further to degree apprentice opportunities in the automotive and engineering sectors, WMG now offers the opportunity to train in Digital Healthcare Science. The course provides a breadth of scientific training including high-level consultation skills, a holistic, evidence-based and values-based approach to shared decision making, psychology, behavioural science and clinical physiology.
Developed with extensive consultation with leading healthcare science academics, senior NHS staff and policy makers, the Digital Healthcare Science course also provides valuable study and professional skills including data handling, statistics, research ethics and methods, literature review skills and critical appraisal, standards of conduct performance and ethics.
§ For details on the Digital Healthcare Science degree apprenticeships please click here.
Sue Parr, Director of Apprenticeships at WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“National Apprenticeship Week is the ideal time to both reflect on the success of those who are currently gaining skills and experience, but also to encourage those looking to follow in their footsteps.
“At WMG we are delighted to host and teach so many aspiring degree apprentices in key sectors and support them in applying the knowledge they gain here with the experience and skills they are developing at work to have real and immediate impact for their organisations and their career.”
Beverley Ngo, a current Software with Data apprentice, said of her decision to apply for a degree apprenticeship with Jaguar Land Rover and WMG:
“I wanted to be able to apply what I was learning to the real world, so the apprenticeship was the perfect opportunity for that. The funded degree and salary was obviously a bonus too! The degree itself appealed to me as I have always enjoyed maths and problem solving, so DTS felt like the right fit for me.”
Jack Young, a current Software Engineer apprentice, said of his studies:
“I have really enjoyed being able to apply what I have learnt at WMG to my work and vice-versa. It has been beneficial to be able to implement knowledge from both sides of the course and get a deeper understanding of what we are learning and why we are learning it.”
Congratulations to Manoj Vadher, Head of Engineering Reliability and Knowledge at Royal Mail, who’s been named as the winner in the Degree Apprentice of the Year category, at the West Midlands regional National Apprenticeship Awards 2020.
Manoj, is currently in his final year of his Master’s Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship as part of the WMG Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship programme.
Manoj explains: “I am also the functional lead in engineering for the Royal Mail development programme. I have been working with the communities, colleges and the universities to develop apprenticeship programmes. As a result, Engineering at Royal Mail now has the benchmark development programme all through the apprenticeship schemes.
“I have also applied the learning from my apprenticeship to deliver solutions that had the major positive impact on the ways of working bringing significant financial savings. I delivered engineering maintenance strategies, robotic process automation and machine learning initiatives.”
He adds: “Balancing work and study can be challenging, especially if you are in a demanding role. The programme is delivered using the block delivery model, making it easier to balance your time. The key benefit of studying through apprenticeships is that it allows you to integrate study with your day-to-day role. For me, both areas grew in parallel. You quickly start to understand and manage the priorities in your personal and professional life. My personal productivity improved. I don’t think I will ever go back and waste valuable time on the some of the activities at both work and home.”
WMG Senior Leader Course Leader, Trudy Spencer, explains: “The teaching team at WMG thoroughly enjoy working with the Royal Mail delegates to deliver the Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship Programme. It is particularly satisfying to see the programme learning being applied in the workplace and having a positive impact on both the Royal Mail business and the delegates’ personal development.
“Manoj has been an advocate for our programme from the launch and has taken every opportunity to apply and share his learning back at work. We are delighted to see his achievements being recognised through this award.”
James Baker, Chief Engineer and Fleet Director at Royal Mail group said: “I am delighted Manoj’s hard work and dedication has been recognised at the West Midlands regional National Apprenticeship Awards. He has used his learning to develop himself and to grow the capabilities of the wider business team. A great personal achievement and demonstrates the positive impact continual development can have.”
Manoj adds: “If anyone is thinking about doing an apprenticeship, I would say it is the best choice you can make for yourself. Find the right course with the relevant apprenticeship standards for you and go for it.”
Manoj went on to the final of the National Apprenticeship Awards on 25th November where he was Highly Commended.
Find out more about the WMG Senior Leader Programme here.
Prior's Court, a specialist residential school in Berkshire and training and development centre for young people aged between 5-25 who are severely affected by autism, is working with WMG at the University of Warwick to help recruit two specialist Digital Healthcare apprentice staff.
The new Digital Healthcare Apprentices will investigate and evaluate data collected on Prior’s Court pupils to support improvements in the wellbeing and experiences of young people with autism at Prior's Court –and will be part of the first wave of a new, innovative national digital healthcare science workforce, working in health and social care to improve people’s health and wellbeing.
Using ‘Big Data’ mining techniques the apprentices, working under joint supervision by academics and specialist autism practitioners, will be able to sift more than a million data points to identify circumstances which predict particular behaviour patterns. This will in turn enable earlier intervention steps to be taken.
This could make a major difference to their quality of life, minimising incidents and perhaps even enabling a young person at the school to later enter employment where this was may have not been previously possible.
The two new Digital Healthcare Apprentices will provide specialist support to the Foundation and its young people, while also studying towards a Bachelor of Science Undergraduate degree in Digital Healthcare Science with the University of Warwick drawing on the expertise of two departments – WMG and Warwick Medical School.
Prior’s Court Chief Executive Mike Robinson said: “Autism is a complex condition. The fundamental question ‘Why does someone with autism have a good day or a bad day?’ is a difficult one to answer. For the young people at Prior’s Court who are severely affected by autism, often with other complex coexisting conditions, it is almost impossible to answer. We believe that by applying the power of being able to collect and analyse large quantities of data to this problem, we will be able to start to answer the question.
“Our digital platform Prior Insight is capturing thousands of pieces of data on our young people every day but it is the practical application which is key. By working with the University of Warwick and recruiting Digital Healthcare Apprentices we can ensure that data is comprehensively analysed and applied to positively impact the lives of many more people with autism – both at Prior’s Court and in the wider world of autism.”
Professor Ed Peile, of Warwick Medical School, comments:
“On my first visit to Prior’s Court I was inspired by how the team there are constantly striving to help young people with severe autism lead happy and fulfilling lives. I was keen to see their cutting edge project using the digital platform ‘Prior Insight’ and to understand what role future members of the new specialism Digital Healthcare Science could play.
“It was immediately apparent to me that, both in their apprenticeship training and when they graduate, Digital Healthcare Scientists have so much to offer at Prior’s Court, and so much to gain there. Thanks to the investment in data collection at Prior’s Court, there is a huge amount of information about how each young person functions.
“Not only that, but working with other technologies including ‘wearable digital technology’ and using the skills of behavioural science and shared decision-making taught on our innovative ‘fusion science course’ will enable the apprentices to contribute as they learn in the workplace.”
How to apply
Applications for the two new roles close in just two weeks on 30th September 2020. Details on how to apply can be found here
The primary focus of the day was to help students learn more about Degree Apprenticeships and explore digital health, technology and engineering career paths.
The event included a range of practical workshops and demos including engine stripping in WMG’s engineering hall, an introduction to programming and electric circuits as well as finding out about airflow over an aeroplane using a wind tunnel. Existing apprentices also gave a short talk on their apprenticeship journey and some of the exciting projects they are working on.
Rebecca Archer, Business Engagement and Student Destinations Manager, at the WMG Academy for Young Engineers Solihull, said:
Steve Maggs, WMG’s Director of Undergraduate Programmes added:
“I’d encourage teachers, parents and students to attend more Degree Apprenticeship events to understand what engineering, technology and healthcare careers are available, and research how diverse, varied and stimulating studying and working in these area can be.”
WMG will be hosting further events of this kind to raise awareness of STEM career paths and Degree Apprenticeship programmes.
Work is on track for our new WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, at the University of Warwick, to equip young engineers with the high-level skills businesses need in the future.
The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre was awarded £10 million funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The steel frames for the Centre are now in place in the first phase of creating the complex, which is scheduled to open in September this year.
The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, at the University of Warwick, will provide apprentices with the opportunity to study on degree programmes to develop the skills needed by advanced engineering and manufacturing companies.
The Centre will run training programmes up to Master’s Degree level initially for 1,000 students, who will complete their studies at the University campus in conjunction with their employment at companies throughout Coventry and Warwickshire.
The Centre will feature flexible teaching and lab space, and an environment for technology-enhanced learning as well as provide advice and support to apprentices and organisations.
The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre is the first stage of a future Degree Apprenticeship complex at the campus to train students in a range of Degree Apprenticeships.
Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the Midlands Engine and whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“The Government’s £10 million investment in the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre will give young people the cutting-edge engineering skills they need to secure high-value jobs and ensure advanced manufacturing companies have the qualified staff required to grow their business and competitiveness.This will help drive up the productivity of businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and make a valuable contribution to delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, said: “The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre will provide the opportunity for apprentices to study whilst supporting our manufacturing base by learning the skills necessary for the UK to stay competitive.”
Jonathan Browning, chair of the CWLEP, said: “It is great to see the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre taking shape since this will be a valuable resource to train students with the skills which employers need to drive their businesses forward.
“The Local Growth Fund was established by the Government to give LEPs the opportunity to fund projects which will boost the economy, support businesses and create jobs.
“It is vital we equip apprentices with high-level skills and this centre will bring huge benefits to the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector in the area.”
Caption: From the left, Professor Steve Maggs (WMG, University of Warwick), Gemma Gathercole (CWLEP) and Marion Plant (CWLEP) at the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre
NOTES TO EDITORS
Local Growth Fund
Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.
That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.
Some additional key facts:
- There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
- The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.
- LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.
Some Midlands Engine key facts:
- The government is committed to making the Midlands an Engine for Growth in the UK, increasing economic growth and improving the quality of life for everyone. The Midlands is home to over 10 million people and over 780,000 businesses. Its economy is worth £217.7 billion.
- So far the government has awarded £1.9 billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Midlands.
WMG, University of Warwick
WMG is a world leading research and education group and an academic department of the University of Warwick, established by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 in order to reinvigorate UK manufacturing through the application of cutting edge research and effective knowledge transfer.
WMG has pioneered an international model for working with industry, commerce and public sectors and holds a unique position between academia and industry. The Group’s strength is to provide companies with the opportunity to gain a competitive edge by understanding a company’s strategy and working in partnership with them to create, through multidisciplinary research, ground-breaking products, processes and services.
Every year WMG provides education and training to schoolchildren through to senior executives. There is a growing part-time undergraduate programme for apprentices, as well as full-time undergraduates. The postgraduate programmes have over 2,000 students, in the UK and through centres in China, India, Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia.
WMG, at the University of Warwick, has launched a new Master’s programme with Royal Mail Group which is designed to develop leadership talent in technology based industries. A wide range of Royal Mail Group staff, from all levels of management, are the first participants in this new programme.
Twenty five Royal Mail Group staff enrolled with WMG in September 2018 in a three year development programme which will enable the participants to gain a Leadership and Management focussed MSc from the University of Warwick. The programme is aligned to the Level 7 Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship standard.
The three-year part-time programme combines workplace learning with block release study at WMG in eight one-week study modules, each followed by a work-based assignment plus a work-based project. The programme is made up of core and elective modules, giving participants the opportunity to develop specialisations of particular relevance to their current role and future career aspirations. It will lead to a University of Warwick MSc and a Degree Apprenticeship.
WMG, at the University of Warwick, have been awarded £10 million to build a new Degree Apprenticeship Centre for the high value manufacturing sector.
The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre will focus on courses essential to the effective development of advanced engineering and manufacturing companies.
The Centre, which is due to open in 2019, has received £10 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The Centre will provide training programmes up to Level 7 (Master’s Degree level) with an initial capacity for 1,000 students on roll at any one time. The apprentices, who will be employed by companies, will undertake their academic studies at the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, which will be on the University of Warwick campus.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Sue Parr as WMG’s new Director of Apprenticeships.
Sue joined WMG in December 2015 as a Business Development Director, tasked with developing our Professional and Executive Programmes, following 12 years at the Open University where she was Director of Executive Education.
Following the huge success of our Applied Engineering and Dyson degree programmes we are now extending our Degree Apprenticeship provision across engineering, digital, cyber security and healthcare.
Our Degree Apprenticeship programmes complement our existing academic and professional courses and enable us to contribute to regional and national employment needs and to enhance our students’ employability and skills. Crucially, they help widen access and participation by introducing alternative entry criteria, new flexible modes of study and new models of delivery.