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The University of Birmingham has joined forces with industry to develop an apprenticeship standard for the next generation of materials scientists and engineers.

Working with other HE institutions and businesses, the University has helped set up the new government standard. The standard will help to set up programmes that address the UK's skills shortage in this sector. It also establishes the national occupational standards that will be required for future Materials Science and Engineering, and offers future alternative routes to a standard degree.

The University of Birmingham’s leading Material Science and Engineering academics and apprenticeship specialists advised employers to recognise occupational competences such as knowledge, skills and behaviours as part of the standard of assessment, and helped them to design the end-point assessment for the apprenticeship. Many other higher education providers will in future be able to use the standard to create degrees and training for materials scientists and engineers.

Dr Alessandro Mottura, Deputy Head of the School of Metallurgy and Materials, said, “We at the University of Birmingham are delighted to have participated in this new initiative that will shape the future landscape of engineering skills. We believe in providing students with the best opportunities and experiences possible to prepare them for the world of employment, and believe this standard will help secure a strong engineering sector. We look forward to seeing how the apprenticeship scheme develops over the coming years.”

The degree apprenticeship is also being supported by Staffordshire University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Queen Mary University of London, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Derby, as well as IOM3.

Getting agreement from the Institute for Apprenticeships is a major success for members of the apprenticeship’s employer group, who have worked together with AMRICC (Applied Materials Research, Innovation and Commercialisation Company), to bring the scheme together. More than fifty companies from across the UK - employing around 40,000 staff nationwide and 150,000 globally - joined the group last year to take the programme forward.

Now the occupational standard has been set, the next step is the development of assessments for the apprenticeship and the courses for students.

A wide range of materials, including metals, ceramics and advanced ceramics, glass, polymers, rubbers and composites, as well as new and novel materials, will be covered in the syllabus, offering students a gateway to a wide variety of opportunities.

James Smith from Caterpillar, who is vice chair of the employer group, said: “This apprenticeship will set students up to go straight into a career in analysis, manufacturing, product development, or the development of new materials themselves.

“The nature of the content is wide-ranging to give students the opportunity to gain a broad view of the technology and make informed decisions about their future career’s direction.

“We are excited to see the programme take shape. It’s good news for prospective apprentices, academics and businesses in a wide range of sectors and industries across the UK.”

AMRICC has created an online area where companies can keep up to date with the degree apprenticeship at


Notes to editors

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.


AMRICC is a unique international facility which will fast-track advanced materials and materials processes into commercial products. It will attract businesses from across the globe looking to develop solutions for the 21st Century and beyond and develop the material scientists of the future.

It has been established with the support of the international materials technology company Lucideon as well as Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.