Sky's the limit for first Airbus apprentices to graduate with UWE degrees

Issue date: 03 December 2015

A group of apprentices who studied at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) as part of a pioneering approach to earning degree status have graduated.

Eighteen Airbus apprentices picked up their BEng degrees in Aerospace Engineering at a ceremony at Bristol Cathedral last week.

They were the first cohort to join the innovative scheme which sees apprentices mix academic study at degree level with practical on-the-job training in a partnership which also involves City of Bristol College.

Engineering roles within the aircraft manufacturer, based in Filton, now await for the new graduates.

The collaboration with Airbus is the first of a growing portfolio of apprenticeships with regional employers UWE is supporting.

Dr Catherine Hobbs, Head of the Department for Engineering, Design and Mathematics at UWE, said, “UWE is delighted to be working with Airbus to provide the academic input into the degree apprentice scheme.

“That Airbus chose UWE to work with on this scheme is an endorsement from a key industry player of the quality of the education we provide. This year's graduating apprentices have been a great group to work with, dedicated to getting their degrees alongside their work.

“They have shown initiative in helping both their employer and the two education providers involved, UWE and City of Bristol College, to get the scheme right as we progressed through this pioneering approach to gaining degree status.”

Airbus introduced the undergraduate apprenticeship programme at Filton in 2012 and it is believed to have been the first scheme of its type to be run in England.

Tony Rooke, early careers manager for Airbus in Filton, said, “The undergraduate apprenticeship programme is hugely challenging and it is a great achievement for these apprentices to do a job and successfully gain a degree in just three years.

“They have taken some giant steps at the start of their careers in aerospace.”

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