Evidence presented to the Institute from companies leading calls for the training – who together employ 40,000 staff in the UK – was a key influencer in the decision being reached.
The degree apprenticeship application, co-ordinated by the Applied Materials Research, Innovation and Commercialisation Company (AMRICC), has been led through an employer group, formed last year.
The content of the degree apprenticeship will incorporate a broad range of materials including metals, ceramics and advanced ceramics, glass, polymers, rubbers and composites, as well as new and novel materials.
Dr Chris Stevens, of NGF Europe, is chair of the employer group. He said: “I am delighted the Institute for Apprenticeships has approved the proposal to generate a standard for apprentices to be trained to degree level in materials science and engineering.
“There is great potential to take young people, and existing experienced employees, as apprentices and provide them with good scientific understanding of how things work, so that products and processes can be made to work quickly and effectively. It will be a real benefit to individual companies and the UK as a whole.”
The employer group is now asking businesses to get involved to steer the development of the apprenticeship occupational standard and assessment.
James Smith from Caterpillar, who is vice chair of the employer group, said: “The new degree apprenticeship will cover education and training in a wide range of traditional and novel engineering materials and will address themes such as materials optimisation for product design, failure analysis, manufacturing processes, and end-of-life processing.
“This will set students up well to go straight into a career in analysis, manufacturing, product development, or the development of new materials themselves. We are excited to move now into the course development process and wish to get representation and input from as broad a range of employers as possible,” Smith concluded.
AMRICC has created an online area where companies can register their interest in the degree apprenticeship.