Graduate Apprenticeships – Delivering Tomorrow’s Engineers

Graduate Apprenticeships – Delivering Tomorrow’s Engineers

Best Apprentice in Scotland

Shams Rahimi Graham Construction

Graduate Apprenticeships look set to play an increasing role delivering the next generation of civil engineers.

As well as creating degree qualified employees with the skills your business needs, all fees are met by Skills Development Scotland, meaning Graduate Apprenticeships are a zero budget highly effective investment.

In a guest blog for CECA Scotland, Sandy Murray, Director of Apprenticeships for Graduate Apprenticeships at Heriot-Watt University outlines more about graduate apprenticeships and why employers in the civil engineering sector can benefit.

“Since 1821, Heriot Watt University have been offering degrees which are highly regarded for their professional and industrial relevance. ​ We are a leader in work-based learning and skills development, delivering employment related education at a range of levels.  Our vision is to grow the Graduate Apprentice programme year on year to meet the demands of the organisations we work in partnership with.

This was recognised in March 2019, when the University was confirmed as one of the largest providers of Graduate Apprenticeship places anywhere in Scotland, with a total of 205 fully funded places awarded to Heriot-Watt by Skills Development Scotland, to help meet the needs of local and national employers.

Ryan Connor, Jacobs UK

Graduate Apprenticeships”, introduced by Skills Development Scotland in 2017, are changing the way organisations can recruit and retrain employees, benefiting and strengthening the Scottish workforce in key areas. Graduate Apprenticeships are now available in 12 subject areas allowing participants to study to honours level whilst remaining in full-time employment.

Key benefits for your business

All programmes are designed to meet the needs of your organisation.

Choice of degree programmes covering key disciplines.

Learning costs are fully funded by Skills Development Scotland.

Flexible entry points to suit current qualifications or experience.

Work-based learning ensures practical application.

Apprentices learn from leading academics and industry experts.

An excellent way to recover the Apprenticeship Levy you may already be paying.

The innovative approach to delivery developed at Heriot Watt University, enables employers to upskill their workforce in order to meet the growing demands of the modern business environment.  Employees remain in paid employment and “earn as they learn” their new work-based qualifications.

Businesses who have signed-up to the Graduate Apprenticeship programme are already witnessing the benefits in their workplace, with closer partnership working between employers, employees and Heriot-Watt University across a range of areas including Construction & the Built Environment and Civil Engineering.

At Heriot-Watt University the Graduate Apprenticeship programmes in both Construction & the Built Environment and Civil Engineering are recognised by professional bodies as pathways to developing apprentices towards becoming Chartered professionals, for example gaining IEng, MICE or RICS accreditation.

These Graduate Apprenticeship programmes are structured in such a way as to ensure that academic skills either build upon existing knowledge of procedures or (in the case of a newly appointed employee) are developed in parallel with them. This provides a streamlined approach which can be used to upskill existing employees or produce truly work-ready graduates for employment earlier than their contemporaries undertaking a full-time study route.

Case Studies

It’s not every day you get the chance to build your own classroom but that has been the case for two students at Heriot-Watt University.

James Kennedy and Nicole Paton (both pictured above) have spent the best part of a year combining their studies at the university whilst being an integral part of the construction team behind the newly completed £19 million GRID at Heriot-Watt.

Both are employed by the construction firm Bowmer + Kirkland, which is one of many companies signed up to the Graduate Apprenticeship programme offered at Heriot-Watt University.

James, from Larkhall, started his Civil Engineering course last September and worked as a trainee site engineer on the GRID project until it was formally handed over to the University in April. He praised the opportunities that have been opened up to him through the Graduate Apprenticeship programme, saying:

“I’m not sure where else I could go to earn a new qualification whilst remaining in employment.  It has been a fantastic opportunity for me to build on my workplace knowledge while developing my wider understanding of the industry, which, of course not only benefits me but also my employers. I’d encourage anyone who has the opportunity to enter the Graduate Apprenticeship programme to grab it with both hands!”

Nicole, from South Lanarkshire, is training to be a quantity surveyor. She found the opportunity of working on the GRID a rewarding one:

“It’s been an incredible experience for me and I’m learning a lot. My goal is to be a fully qualified Quantity Surveyor and through my studies here at Heriot-Watt and my employment at Bowmer + Kirkland, I feel that I’m in a great position to achieve that.”

You can read the full story here:

We have an experienced team at Heriot-Watt University who are proactively involved in the recruitment to and development of our Graduate Apprenticeship programmes and believe that Graduate Apprenticeships will form a significant part of the future landscape of Higher Education.  At Heriot-Watt University we are motivated by our links with industry to deliver work-based learning programmes which are of value to the construction sector and to the Scottish Economy.

Key Facts about Graduate Apprenticeships

  • All programme fees are fully funded for the duration of the programme with no course fees to pay for apprentices or employers
  • Students spend approximately 80% of their time learning at work and 20% learning at university
  • Applicants must live and work in Scotland and can qualify for entry based on both academic qualifications and relevant work experience
  • Work based learning counts towards modules and final qualification
  • Open to new recruits and existing employees, designed by industry for industry
  • Study to gain an honours level degree with flexible entry points
  • Programmes are for anyone aged over 16 – No upper age limit!

In 2018, there will be 12 programmes available at 12 Scottish universities and colleges’ right across Scotland.

For a full list of those participating click here .

Places are in high demand, and offered on a first come first served basis to qualified employees.  For more information on Graduate Apprenticeships in Civil Engineering or Construction & the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University, email”.