The first ever degree-level apprenticeship to train environmental practitioners in England has officially been launched. This means that employers in England are now able to recruit candidates to start the programme this autumn.
Louise Beamish, Head of Acoustics, WSP and Chair of the Trailblazer Group, said: “The launch of this degree apprenticeship marks a hugely significant milestone for the environmental industry. We very much hope this will become a primary route to an environmental degree whilst gaining valuable vocational skills.”
The Level 6 Environmental Practitioner degree apprenticeship is a new route into the profession that combines academic education with practical experience to equip future employees. Through the programme, apprentices will develop the vital knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to proactively manage environmental projects and their impact in urban and rural areas, and through infrastructure programmes, whilst being able to balance social, economic, engineering and environmental issues
Under this apprenticeship, apprentices will be able to earn a salary from an employer while completing a professionally accredited degree qualification in environmental science (or similar) and, through the End Point Assessment process, be eligible to gain professional registration status through a range of environmental professional bodies licenced by the Society for the Environment.
There is strong interest in the scheme, with over 30 employers interested in employing apprentices. The Trailblazer Group is working with at least five universities who are aiming to offer the apprenticeship from this September, with more set to come on board in the future.
Currently, the vast majority of environmental practitioners enter the profession after graduating from an undergraduate or postgraduate degree across a broad range of subjects. This apprenticeship will support those entering the profession, not only with the academic credibility of their graduate counterparts, but in the delivery of highly technical and professional skills. The time needed to complete the apprenticeship can vary, but it is typically completed within four to six years. Levy-paying employers in England can use the levy to fund this apprenticeship up the maximum funding rate of £27,000.
The IES welcomes the launch of this new apprenticeship. Adam Donnan, IES CEO, said
"The more routes there are into the environmental profession, the better for student recruitment and diversity in the sector. The apprentice gets a cost-effective method of attaining a degree, with the additional gold-plated assurances of the End Point Assessment. Given our expertise in higher education, and the assessment of the knowledge and skills of environmental professionals, we will be acting as an End Point Assessment organisation. We also recently accredited our first training provider programme, the Environmental Science (Practitioner) BSc (Hons) from the University of Central Lancashire.
If you are an employee looking to recruit an apprentice, an individual wishing to start an apprenticeship, or a university hoping to act as a training provider, please get in contact and we should be able to provide assistance."