Employees from a range of engineering businesses across the country have come together this week to form the first cohort on the pioneering Electro-mechanical Engineer Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Nottingham. The degree-level Electro-mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship standard was only approved for delivery in December 2020, making the apprentices not only the first at Nottingham, but the first in the country to study this new programme.
The new five-year programme allows both new and existing employees to undertake academic study alongside their employment, enabling them to gain valuable experience and bring real-time benefits to their employer.
‘Our business is based in “Smart Robotics”, and typically takes two years of work experience (post degree) to become fully conversant in the art. We see the new Degree Apprenticeship as a really interesting idea to match academic with practical experience – and be fully productive in a similar timeframe’ Rodger Holden, Director, True Precision Robotics.
Offering a cost-effective way to develop both mechanical and electrical engineering expertise, the programme focuses on developing skills, knowledge and behaviours, working on real engineering challenges in the workplace, producing graduates capable of overseeing the development of an entire engineering product.
Programme Director and Associate Professor Dr Rowland Travis explains,
‘Businesses benefit from motivating and developing the potential of their staff, tapping into their enthusiasm, working with them to grow into more responsible roles in the future with an improved confidence in their technical area – in this case electro-mechanical engineering.’
Adam Wiggins, a Supplier Quality Engineer at Cosworth Ltd who has joined the programme says:
‘I am excited to have been provided with the opportunity by my employer to develop my knowledge and understanding of electrical and mechanical engineering.
I look forward to being able to use the knowledge I gain to support my employer moving forwards, as the automotive industry continues to increase its focus on the development of the performance abilities and efficiencies of hybrid or full electric vehicles.’
In their first week the apprentices undertook an Electro-mechanical kit challenge to develop their technical skills and teamwork. Initially working alone to build a vehicle and then in teams to develop its capabilities, the apprentices finished the week with a race to find out which team’s modifications had resulted in the fastest performance.
‘This is the beauty of apprenticeships. We have employees from a diverse range of engineering companies, from large internationals to very small businesses with a handful of employees. The apprentices have different focuses within their day jobs and coming together to learn and share ideas improves the experience for everyone on the programme as it becomes a melting pot of innovation.’ – Professor Adam Clare, Faculty Apprenticeship Lead.
The University of Nottingham offers specialist apprenticeships at level 6 and 7 in the areas of healthcare, data science, engineering, architecture, and scientific careers. If you’d like to find out more about the Electro-mechanical Engineer Degree Apprenticeship, watch the on-demand information webinar or contact the university’s Degree Apprenticeship Team.