Learn and earn: LIT pioneers engineering apprenticeship-to-degree scheme
Ian McGuire, Kirby Group, Frances Hardiman, LIT, and Pat O’Doherty, ESB and Apprenticeship Council of Ireland. Image: Alan Place

Learn and earn: LIT pioneers engineering apprenticeship-to-degree scheme

30 Nov 2016815 Views

For the first time in Ireland, completion of an apprenticeship will lead to a bachelor of engineering degree, pioneered at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT).

LIT’s new apprenticeship in industrial electrical engineering is a two-year programme which will lead to qualified electricians being awarded with a BEng.

The course is made up of alternative stages of on-the-job and on-block training and education.

‘We want to see people learning while earning. This is a model which we believe will succeed, and one that can be applied in other sectors’

Leading to a Level 7 bachelor’s degree in engineering, the apprenticeship is specifically designed as a progression programme for qualified electricians who wish to upskill and to acquire advanced knowledge, competences and skills to move into engineering roles in the industry.

A new model for education in Ireland

The programme involves a 24-month apprenticeship contract with an employer, where 70pc of time is spent on the job, and two 15-week blocks are spent at LIT.

“This is a completely new apprenticeship model for engineering in Ireland,” said LIT president Prof Vincent Cunnane.

“The people who complete this programme will become engineers qualified to play a key role in the design, construction and operation of the factories of the future.

“LIT is absolutely committed to this new apprenticeship model. We want to see people achieve progression through apprenticeship-based degrees. We want to see people learning while earning.

“This is a model which we believe will succeed, and one that can be applied in other sectors. This apprenticeship is at the forefront of how learning is changing in Ireland,” Cunnane said.

Companies taking part in the first cohort of the programme include: Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (Vistakon), Limerick; Kirby Engineering, Limerick; Kostal, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick; Analog Devices, Limerick; H&MV Engineering, Limerick; O’Keeffe Electrical, Ennis, Co Clare; Molex, Shannon, Co Clare; Specialist Technical Engineering Services, Waterford; BMC Manufacturing, Ashbourne, Co Meath; and Reach Active, Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years. He joined Silicon Republic in 2002 to become the fulcrum of the company’s news service. He received of the Irish Internet Association’s NetVisionary Technology Journalist Award 2005 and saw Siliconrepublic.com awarded ‘Best Technology Site’ at the Irish Web Awards seven times. In 2011 he received the David Manley Award commending him for his dedication to covering entrepreneurs. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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