Welsh Government partner with universities to launch new degree apprenticeships

The Welsh Government has teamed up with three universities to launch new degree apprenticeships in Construction Management, Civil Engineering, Quantity Surveying, Building Surveying, and Real Estate.

With the construction sector alone needing an extra 11,000 workers by 2028, the new degree apprenticeships come at a crucial time.

Starting in September 2024, these four-year programmes, fully funded by the Welsh Government, will offer students the chance to earn a degree while gaining hands-on experience in employment. The courses will be offered at Wrexham University, the University of South Wales, and the University of Wales Trinity St David.

The Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Energy, and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “These programmes not only prepare individuals for high-demand jobs and higher wage occupations, but will also ensure a skilled, resilient and forward-looking workforce to drive economic growth and provide innovative solutions to social and climate challenges.”

Jac Beynon (featured image), an assistant Quantity Surveyor at Jones Brothers (Henllan) Ltd in Cross Hands, will be one of the first to benefit from the new apprenticeships in UWTSD in September. He said: “As I finished my A-Levels in school I was exploring my options as to what to do next. I thought about going to university full-time, but I didn’t like the idea of waiting three or four years before starting work. So when someone mentioned an apprenticeship scheme which would allow me to work and learn at the same time – I was sold.

“My primary aim is to gain practical, hands-on experience. I want to develop industry-specific skills that are directly applicable to real-world scenarios. Undertaking an apprenticeship is also about building confidence in my abilities to handle professional responsibilities and make informed decisions independently.”

The new apprenticeships have also been welcomed by the construction industry, and Universities. The Construction Industry Training Board praised the “sector pulling together in a shared direction to overcome industry and broader challenges”, whilst representatives from Wrexham University, the University of South Wales, and the University of Wales Trinity St David spoke positively about meeting the needs of both learners and employers, creating new and immediate opportunities and delivering high-level skill sets.

Gareth Williams, Standards and Qualifications Manager (Wales) for the Construction Industry Training Board said: “People wanting to work in construction need clear career pathways into the industry and these new construction degree apprenticeships are a significant milestone towards achieving this. The launch of these apprenticeships also demonstrates a sector pulling together in a shared direction to overcome industry and broader challenges.”

Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor at Wrexham University, said: “We continuously review our portfolio and learning pathways across all levels to meet the needs of learners and employers – and the Construction Degree Apprenticeships are a tremendous example of meeting those needs. From engagement with employers in the region, we know that they are excited that these are launching here in Wrexham.”

Louise Pennell, Associate Dean of Partnerships and Development in University of South Wales’ Faculty of Computing, Engineering, and Science, said: “At USW we have extensive expertise in running these study routes. Just last year we were a key partner in the launch of the first railway engineering degree apprenticeships in Wales, a course which has already proved popular among both students and those operating in the sector. These new degree apprenticeships will create new opportunities for individuals and companies operating in the construction industry, and further cement our reputation as an institution which is leading the way in producing job-ready graduates with the skills needed to thrive in crucial sectors.”

Professor Elwen Evans, KC, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) said: “UWTSD is delighted that the Construction Degree Apprenticeships are now available for employers and apprentices in the sector. These programmes will enable individuals to develop a high-level skill set that will benefit them and their employers in a fast moving and exciting sector.”

Courses

– Construction management – offered by all three universities
– Civil engineering – offered by Wrexham University and University of South Wales
– Quantity surveying – offered by all three universities
– Building surveying – offered by Wrexham University and University of South Wales
– Real estate – offered by University of South Wales
CITB’s Construction Skills Network report CSN Industry Outlook – 2024-2028 – CITB.

The degree apprenticeships are fully funded by the Welsh Government through HEFCW (or Medr from 1 August).

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