New Trailblazer Electronic Systems Degree Apprenticeship Approved

12 Mar 2015

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced today that the new degree apprenticeship standard submitted by the Electronic Systems Community (ESCO) has been approved. GAMBICA is one of three ESCO members leading this initiative, alongside Electronics Yorkshire and NMI.

Permission was granted to the sector to develop a degree level apprenticeship standard, only the second one in the UK, and the process got off to a flying start with a round table meeting at No. 10 in January, led by ESCO co-chairs, Baroness Neville-Rolfe and Warren East.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:

"I was delighted to be able to set the ball rolling with the round table. It was attended by a wide selection of industry representatives, universities, trade bodies and government officials, all lending their support, enthusiasm and input to make this initiative a success."

Warren East observed:

"The approval of this standard marks the beginning of the development of new, industry-designed training provision for the Electronic Systems sector in the UK. The standard is the first in a planned programme which will see a continuous ladder of apprenticeship provision being developed for the industry, ranging from Craft level to Masters' level apprenticeships."

The preferred focus for these new apprenticeship standards, is to consider the requirements for a specific job rôle and base the standard on that, with this in mind, the degree level standard is for an Embedded Electronic Systems Design and Development Engineer.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

"The apprentice agenda is not simply a numbers game, it is about quality as much as quantity. Degree apprenticeships bring together the very best of higher and vocational education, and allow apprentices to achieve a full bachelor's or master's degree, whilst training on the job. The initiative sees employers, universities, and professional bodies joining forces to develop the highly skilled workers our economy needs."

The standard was developed by a group from industry and the resulting draft then made available for public consultation. An extremely high degree of support for the standard was demonstrated through both online surveys and letters of support.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

"Degree apprenticeships are opening the door to professions such as Electronic Systems for many more young people across the country. They also play a key role in developing the high level technical skills British employers need to compete on the world stage.
"Apprenticeships provide life changing opportunities and I would like to thank ESCO for their hard work and commitment to this important initiative."

Having gained approval, the next steps for the working group are to design assessment and grading programmes; consider the requirements for professional registration; work with universities and training providers to ensure that it can be delivered and assess the likely cost of delivery, so that the level of Government funding applicable can be determined.

The standard and the Consultation Report are available on the ESCO website:

ESCO, the Electronic Systems Community comprises senior representatives from some of the country's leading businesses and the leading trade bodies for the UK sector. Three associations in particular have been leading on this initiative, Electronics Yorkshire, GAMBICA and NMI.

This degree level apprenticeship is being supported by: ARM; Automated Technology Group; Bae Systems; Embecosm; Emerson Process Management; FlexEnable; Frontier Silicon; Imagination Technologies; Measurement Technology; Renishaw; Schneider Electric; Selex ES; Sensium Healthcare; Thales; Toumaz, and some of the UK's leading universities.