Government funding for work-based construction courses encourages employers to up-skill workforce

A series of unique work-based construction degree courses have been launched at Middlesex University.

Delivered by the University’s Institute of Work Based Learning (IWBL), the four courses are aimed at giving those in the construction industry a higher education qualification whilst they continue working.  Together with a 50 per cent contribution from the employer, the Government funds the student’s studies, encouraging more employers to up-skill their workforce.

The courses are designed to enable the work-based learners, including those with significant experience, to gain a university degree and contribute to a professional body membership. 

The courses include three honour degrees and a foundation degree, giving a higher apprenticeship.  They include:

  • BA (Hons) Professional Practice in Construction Site Management
  • BA (Hons) Professional Practice in Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management
  • BSc (Hons) Professional Practice in Engineering Management
  • Higher Apprenticeship in Construction Operations Management

The ‘on-the-job’ degrees are built around modules such as managing commercial risk, delivery, scope and specifications as well as designing a specific construction management project.  It enables students to continue working within a construction environment whilst building their own academic portfolio on a live project.

The programmes have all been approved as higher and degree apprenticeships by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), which means they are eligible for Government funding.   Under the funding rules scheme, the Skills Funding Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, contributes up to half of the course fees, if employers pay 50%, meaning the student pays nothing if they are employed as degree apprentices.

The qualification also contributes to the graduate’s professional body membership, which can lead to accreditation with organisations such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, adding value to employers and the career progression of the student.

The Middlesex IWBL was one of only two higher education institutions to receive funding from the Government’s Higher Apprenticeships Fund to develop Higher Level Apprenticeships in the construction industry in 2011.

Course leaders Keith Buckland and Neville Webb have extensive experience in the construction and mechanical engineering industries, allowing students to learn from practitioners with real-world knowledge.

Dr Darryll Bravenboer, Head of Academic Development at the IWBL, said: “We have specifically designed these programmes for apprentices and managers in the construction industry who are looking to gain that critical qualification and recognition within an ever-growing industry.

“Construction and engineering play a fundamental role in creating jobs and growth, which is why it is important that we have set up these courses to allow workers to develop the advanced skills needed.

“The beauty of these professional practice courses is that students gain a highly recognised qualification while carrying out their work.  The modules have been created to fit around a typical day on a construction site, from managing money, quality and time to surveying and construction management projects.”

All courses will start in October 2015. For more information, visit http://www.mdx.ac.uk/about-us/our-schools/institute-for-work-based-learning/courses or email [email protected]