The Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James has visited Bridgend College - the first training provider to deliver the new Higher Apprenticeship.
The Higher Apprenticeship will be aimed at those working within the Life Science sector. At the moment two of the four pathways available are on offer at Bridgend College.
- Life Science Technician - Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities
- Food Science Technician - Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities
In addition the apprenticeship offers the opportunity to gain professional status as a Registered Science Technician or Engineering Technician.
The apprenticeship is made up of qualifications and industrial experience, providing apprentices with the skills and knowledge required to become competent in their chosen job role.
This Higher Apprenticeship programme is designed for roles that use life sciences, chemical science, food science, process development and to provide progression and new skills for existing laboratory, scientific and technical employees.
The Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James said:
“Science is the bed rock of economic growth. It’s important for us to introduce apprenticeships into this area.
“The introduction of Higher Apprenticeships provides us with a range of opportunities. For the first time, we will have a pathway that melts the distinction between vocational and academic learning.
“As Higher Apprenticeship frameworks can include HNCs, HNDs and Foundation Degrees, there will be clear progression routes from Foundation Apprenticeship at Level 2 into HE, therefore creating a credible alternative to academic routes.
“Higher Apprenticeships support employers’ needs and provide an aspirational pathway for people who want to earn and learn at the same time. They present an opportunity for a more demanding alternative to ‘traditional’ full-time higher education, where employers adopt apprenticeships as an alternative to graduate recruitment.
“I now encourage employers to get involved in this new, exciting route. Work with us to ensure we have a new generation of technicians with the science skills employers want and need.”
Director of Work Based Learning, Bridgend College Matthew Williams said:
“We at Bridgend College are delighted to be launching the first Life Science Higher Apprenticeship programme in Wales.
“As evidenced within the Employment and Skills Plan for South East Wales, Bridgend and its surrounding area is a hotbed for Life Science related industries. This Higher Apprenticeship will provide apprentices with the high level skills their employers require, enabling them to develop and prosper within the industry.
“Starting in January, there is still plenty of time for employers to engage in this programme, one of a number of new Higher Apprenticeship initiatives Bridgend College is running this year.”