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Last updateWed, 03 Mar 2021 10am

UCLan's first building services degree apprentices complete training

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is marking National Apprenticeship Week (8-14 February) by seeing its first cohort of building services design engineer degree apprentices complete their training.

The six learners’ primary role is to work with other construction professionals to design, install and maintain the mechanical and electrical installations found in buildings. They are now officially Incorporated Engineers having successfully completed their end point assessment with the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), supported in their endeavour by staff at UCLan and their employers.  

The degree apprenticeship enables the learners to develop skills and knowledge that are directly relevant to their jobs and earn a wage, whilst simultaneously studying for a degree qualification. 

One of the learners, Joe Lingard, who is employed by Environmental Services Design Ltd in Manchester, worked as a qualified electrician for 15 years before deciding he wanted a new challenge.

He said: “I think degree apprenticeships are particularly beneficial to mature students who may already have career experience that will feed into their learning. Incorporating the end point assessment into the course gives the added bonus of an industry stamp of approval and demonstrates my capabilities.” 

The Director of Environmental Services Design Ltd, John Eccles, added: “Joe has been with the company for two years and transferred onto the degree apprenticeship programme when he joined us. Training our engineers through this route is a great way to employ people because it gives them a clear development pathway and of course, the financial costs to the employer are much less than other staff development options.

“Joe is a great advocate for the course and had the right commitment and mindset from the start. We’ve already got another trainee enrolled onto the business services degree apprenticeship at UCLan.”

A fellow learner on the BEng (Hons) Building Services and Sustainable Engineering Degree Apprenticeship, Neil Hitchman from VINCI Construction UK Ltd, said: “As a 40-year-old that hadn’t been to college for nearly 20 years I finally achieved my dream of doing a degree.  The tutors created such a fantastic learning environment and every piece of machinery or test equipment needed is available to carry out all the experiments and practical sessions necessary for the report write up. I truly cherish the four years I was at UCLan.”

Kyle Davies, who works for CBRE Ltd in Manchester, added: “I would recommend an apprenticeship over full time university study in any practical subject. Working in the associated field and gaining real life experience is extremely valuable to your own development and to employers.”   

UCLan currently has more than 1,500 learners enrolled on 33 degree apprenticeship programmes for more than 300 employers across a wide range of sectors including healthcare, digital, policing, construction, engineering, professional services and management. 

This latest cohort graduation marks another key milestone in the University’s degree apprenticeships programme. It was rated as ‘good’ in its first Ofsted inspection and commended for “supporting the Lancashire skills and employment strategic framework to increase the number of higher and degree apprentices in key priority areas with skills shortages.”

Antony Barron, Head of Degree Apprenticeship Development at UCLan, said: “What better way to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week than by seeing another new UCLan degree apprenticeship produce its first qualified professionals. This programme is now adding to the production line of professionals produced by the University and employers across the region and nationally in vital occupations across all sectors.

“Apprenticeships benefit the employee, employer and the region and over half of UCLan apprenticeships are in vital frontline services, which are in obvious high demand in the current difficult climate. Because of this, and due to the need of all occupations to adapt to changing and very demanding circumstances, we have seen an increase in the number of employers taking advantage of the apprenticeship levy. This allows businesses to pay for the degree apprenticeship from taxation, to upskill their employees and change the way their organisations work. 

“Employers are investing in their best asset, their staff, and developing a highly-skilled worker who has relevant academic qualifications combined with on-the-job training to help them transition into new services, markets, and ways of working.”   

UCLan is the largest provider of degree apprenticeships in the region. It was recently placed 13th in the top 350 training providers in the UK and the second ranked university providing apprenticeships in the country. It works in partnership with employers to develop degree apprenticeship courses that are directly aligned with business needs. 

Antony added: “Our approach chimes firmly with the skills strategy of the Lancashire Economic Partnership to be responsive to the needs of Lancashire and be able to train and retain skilled employees in the area. Our portfolio is aligned directly with the skills needs of the region. This not only benefits those directly involved, but also has a wider positive economic and social impact on our communities and their health.”

More information about UCLan’s degree apprenticeship provision can be found on the UCLan website, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 01772 895500.