University and college construct new degree apprenticeships partnership

The first fully funded Construction Degree Apprenticeships in Wales have been launched at Wrexham University, in partnership with Coleg Cambria.  

A special event was held at the University’s Plas Coch campus in Wrexham to celebrate the introduction of the first Welsh Government fully funded Construction Degree Apprenticeships in Building Surveying, Civil Engineering, Construction Management and Quantity Surveying.

Starting in September 2024, these four-year programmes will offer students the chance to earn a degree while gaining hands-on experience.

They are designed to meet the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the Welsh Government Framework, alongside the requirements of the professional bodies.

In addition, the new Degree Apprenticeship will provide valuable access to a more diverse cohort of students studying for professional qualifications.

Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor at Wrexham University, said: “We are delighted to have launched our Construction Degree Apprenticeships – in partnership with Coleg Cambria – in Building Surveying, Civil Engineering, Construction Management and Quantity Surveying, which are the first to be fully funded by the Welsh Government.

“As a University, 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.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Welsh Government, for providing financial backing, as well as our partner bodies, organisations and employers from across Wales. None of this would have been possible without everyone’s shared vision and engagement.”

Karl Jackson, Site Lead at Coleg Cambria Bersham Road and Assistant Principal for the Institute of Technology: “We are delighted to collaborate with Wrexham University on the new Degree Apprenticeship qualifications, a suite of programmes that will further enhance our existing Higher Education Construction courses.

“The Degree Apprenticeships offer a great opportunity for students to gain practical experience while earning their degree and will provide them with valuable skills and knowledge, combining academic learning with on-the-job training.

“This approach not only helps learners understand the theoretical aspects of construction but also allows them to apply what they’ve learned in real-world situations, making them highly competent and employable.”

Dr Janet Young, Director General of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) said: “This new Degree Apprenticeship will play a key role in inspiring and creating a new and diverse generation of engineers for Wales and the wider UK. It also contributes to the ambition and implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that will benefit current and future generations.”

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. We look forward to seeing the first cohort of people sign up for these apprenticeships.”

Jeremy Miles, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Energy, and Welsh Language, added: “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.”

The launch of this pathway is the result of strong co-operation and engagement over the past two years with all the relevant bodies and representatives in Wales including:

  • Welsh Government
  • The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
  • The Higher Education Funding Council Wales (HEFCW)
  • Wrexham University
  • The Joint Board of Moderators (JBM)
  • The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  • The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
  • The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Employer representatives and other key stakeholders.