The ‘Mastership’ – a trailblazing degree apprenticeship devised by Cranfield – is providing masters-level vocational education for 73 graduate engineers from a leading global defence, security and aerospace manufacturer this year, while allowing the company to claim back the funds under the Apprenticeship Levy’s rules.

A new facility at Cranfield University that will enable bespoke and real-time online tutorials was recently opened and now other large engineering and manufacturing organisations are keen to exploit the training, so the postgraduate-only university has launched a second course in 2018.

The Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Engineering Competence, which is part of the competency-focused apprenticeship, is delivered fully online.

This gives students the flexibility to study around work and minimise their time away from the business, by combining live interactive group sessions and “on-demand” sessions.

Cranfield’s Mastership complies fully with the definition of apprenticeship training under the government’s guidelines for the Apprenticeship Levy. Graduate engineers receive enhanced, online education and the employer is immediately eligible to reclaim the levy it pays, providing certain criteria are fulfilled. The levy is currently 0.5 per cent of a company’s payroll when that is £3 million or more per annum.

Explains Cranfield University’s director of manufacturing Professor Rajkumar Roy: “This innovative programme is a further strengthening of Cranfield’s masters-level apprenticeship offering. Online delivery is key, and engineers are now able to access our study both through live interactive and “on-demand” sessions.”

This project is being managed by Industry Interface UK (II:UK) on behalf of Cranfield.

Adds II:UK co-founder Stuart Whitehead: “We are delighted that Cranfield has entrusted us to deliver such an innovative project. We will be using our Jefferson Group social media platform, designed to promote British manufacturing and STEM initiatives, to highlight the many unique aspects of the course and we look forward to meeting with interested parties across the UK in the coming weeks.”