I’ve Completed a Degree Apprenticeship, Ask Me Anything!

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Chris2892
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I’ve completed 4 apprenticeships in engineering:
Intermediate (L2), advanced (L3), higher (L4-L5), and degree (L6).

Happy to answer any questions you might have about education, work, training, development, work-life balance, challenges etc.
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Gent2324
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do you think the path you took is better than going to uni full time?
what part of engeineering?
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Chris2892
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(Original post by Gent2324)
do you think the path you took is better than going to uni full time?
what part of engeineering?
My degree apprenticeship was mechanical engineering, working within medical device research and development.

In summary, yes, for me personally my apprenticeship was the better option.

To save giving you a very broad reply, would you be able to expand on the question please?
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Gent2324
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(Original post by Chris2892)
I’m summary, yes, for me personally.
To save giving you a very broad reply, would you be able to expand on the question please?
do you think the path you took is better than going to uni full time in terms of promotions, salary, ability to find other jobs and difficulty in the work
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Prefect1992
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I've always thought that degree apprenticeships are a better option. I'm just finishing up a degree in education, which entailed only 14 days on placement.... I still lack the confidence required to teach and the attitude was "sink of swim" in the sense that if you didn't grasp it or felt uncomfortable there was very little support available....
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Chris2892
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(Original post by Gent2324)
do you think the path you took is better than going to uni full time in terms of promotions, salary, ability to find other jobs and difficulty in the work
The apprenticeship setting provides opportunity not only to improve academic skills, but also task management and interpersonal skills with meaningful and progressive feedback. Both I feel require improvement in university courses.

In addition, the apprenticeship off-the-job training hour requirements mean a substantial amount of additional training is provided to apprentices. Where at university my project management module was assessed by a multiple choice exam, my project management training at work was certified by my ability to develop a solid project plan and effective risk mitigation. The final assessment being my ability to meet the deliverables and quantified project objectives. This was for a real world research project that eventually gained me a publication.

The work is extremely difficult and you’re always progressively pushed to improve, but with a huge support network. However, the work is meaningful and often with lasting effect. This drove me to perform through satisfaction that what I did was making a difference in the workplace.

So yes, I strongly believe that the apprenticeship route is more successful in developing a well-rounded engineer. Which in turn would be more desirable to employers.
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Prefect1992
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(Original post by Chris2892)
The apprenticeship setting provides opportunity not only to improve academic skills, but also task management and interpersonal skills with meaningful and progressive feedback. Both I feel require improvement in university courses.

In addition, the apprenticeship off-the-job training hour requirements mean a substantial amount of additional training is provided to apprentices. Where at university my project management module was assessed by a multiple choice exam, my project management training at work was certified by my ability to develop a solid project plan and effective risk mitigation. The final assessment being my ability to meet the deliverables and quantified project objectives. This was for a real world research project that eventually gained me a publication.

The work is extremely difficult and you’re always progressively pushed to improve, but with a huge support network. However, the work is meaningful and often with lasting effect. This drove me to perform through satisfaction that what I did was making a difference in the workplace.

So yes, I strongly believe that the apprenticeship route is more successful in developing a well-rounded engineer. Which in turn would be more desirable to employers.
Couldn't have put it better myself, imho degree apprenticeships should be a thing in more industries.
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SpiceRice
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Hey, thanks for starting this thread. Degree apprenticeships still seem to be overlooked.

Is the route to chartership more difficult?

Also, how does the transition from degree to full-time work happen? Do you automatically get offered a job with the company you're being an apprentice with? How do you feel about your future career prospects?

Trying to get a feel for how the professional life is different
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Chris2892
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(Original post by SpiceRice)
Hey, thanks for starting this thread. Degree apprenticeships still seem to be overlooked.

Is the route to chartership more difficult?

Also, how does the transition from degree to full-time work happen? Do you automatically get offered a job with the company you're being an apprentice with? How do you feel about your future career prospects?

Trying to get a feel for how the professional life is different
The new apprenticeship framework has replaced the National Vocation Qualification (NVQ) with an End Point Assessment (EPA).

The EPA external assessment requires the apprenticeship to evidence their competence by a summary 4K word report, ~3 hour presentation, and a professional discussion. This is in reference to specific knowledge, behavioural, and skills detailed in the apprenticeship framework. The EPA evidencing is very similar to what would be required in applying for Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).

I’d argue that because the evidence gathering is compulsory for the completion of an apprenticeship, a IEng or CEng application is much easier to submit and obtain because you already have the evidence gathered by the time you finish your university studies.

As for careers, this is dependent on the employer. My prospects were very broad, I was offered the option to do a full-time fully funded PhD without having to complete an MEng with a Russel Group university. I’ve instead decided to continue working for my employer, who have shown interest in funding a part-time PhD with successful submission of a business-need related research proposal.
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SpiceRice
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(Original post by Chris2892)
The new apprenticeship framework has replaced the National Vocation Qualification (NVQ) with an End Point Assessment (EPA).

The EPA external assessment requires the apprenticeship to evidence their competence by a summary 4K word report, ~3 hour presentation, and a professional discussion. This is in reference to specific knowledge, behavioural, and skills detailed in the apprenticeship framework. The EPA evidencing is very similar to what would be required in applying for Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).

I’d argue that because the evidence gathering is compulsory for the completion of an apprenticeship, a IEng or CEng application is much easier to submit and obtain because you already have the evidence gathered by the time you finish your university studies.

As for careers, this is dependent on the employer. My prospects were very broad, I was offered the option to do a full-time fully funded PhD without having to complete an MEng with a Russel Group university. I’ve instead decided to continue working for my employer, who have shown interest in funding a part-time PhD with successful submission of a business-need related research proposal.
3 hour presentation?!?! :s-smilie:
That's definitely interesting to hear re EPA. I've already started my eee degree so can't reconsider now, but I'll try to pass on the info to people I know.

How much freedom did you have in deciding what to specialise in? Did you know you wanted to work in medical device research?
Your field of work sounds interesting actually, wonder if you could possibly describe what your role is
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Chris2892
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(Original post by SpiceRice)
3 hour presentation?!?! :s-smilie:
That's definitely interesting to hear re EPA. I've already started my eee degree so can't reconsider now, but I'll try to pass on the info to people I know.

How much freedom did you have in deciding what to specialise in? Did you know you wanted to work in medical device research?
Your field of work sounds interesting actually, wonder if you could possibly describe what your role is
I didn’t particularly enjoy presenting either when I started, but I got used to it. There’s not really any other choice for some situations. The EPA can be 1-to-1 with an external assessor, so no stress of crowds. You talk about 4 or more separate projects in detail and explain the what’s, how’s, and why’s. So you can see how this might take a while, but it doesn’t have to be 3 hours. I wouldn’t worry about it yet, but you can begin keeping a log of the work you do etc.

I didn’t have much freedom of choice in the first 3 years, I rotated every 6 month around pre arranged departments and did all sorts of different projects. The rotations then switched to a year in length, but I chose to stay in my current department for the final 2 years.

I did my L2 and L3 in diesel engineering, and started to see it wasn’t likely to be a long term career. I saw the degree apprenticeship job opening and did some research. It just stood out for me. I didn’t really know the industry existed until I saw the opening.

I’ve done rotations within the product verification teams in both Tribology and Biomechanics, and also commercialised product design, process quality, and design quality. My current role is mainly verifying hip replacement design inputs by simulation of representative use, using both electro-mechanical and computational types of simulation. It’s really challenging and interesting, I love it.
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