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Industry leaders, mayor and local MP hail launch of UEL degree apprenticeships

UEL civil engineering

Four new courses set to make a big impact in Newham

Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan CBE (pictured right) has hailed the launch of four new degree apprenticeship courses at the University of East London (UEL) as an important step forward in plugging the skills gap in the UK economy.

Speaking at the official launch of the degree apprenticeships at UEL’s Docklands campus to an audience of VIP guests from the worlds of finance, construction and engineering, Sir Terry said: “We’re trying to make a difference at Crossrail. It’s more than just the railway, it’s also about the skills developed and the jobs created which boost the UK economy, and degree apprenticeships help develop the skills our economy needs. 

“The University of East London is very much at the forefront of the government’s plan to significantly expand its degree apprenticeship scheme and address the skills gap.” 

Sir Terry was among a host of VIP guests at the launch event on June 16 from the worlds of finance, construction and engineering. 

The Government has awarded UEL 200 degree apprenticeships places in four key subject areas: Construction Site Management; Construction Design Management; Civil Engineering Site Management; and Digital and Technology Solutions. The new courses will begin in September.

Marking the launch, the Minister of State for Skills, Nick Boles, sent a message of support.

Mr Boles said: “An apprenticeship is designed to take you anywhere, and these new apprenticeships are the proof. Created by top employers, these apprenticeships will shape the leaders, civil engineers and construction managers of the future.

“They will also ensure we have the highly skilled workforce our economy needs and that young people have more choice for their future.” 

Also speaking at the event was Professor Ian Reeves (pictured left), the former chairman of the London region of the Confederation of British Industry, who encouraged young people to be optimistic about the future.

Professor Reeves said: “Whatever your personality or skill set, there is a place for you in the construction industry. There are so many roles and sectors and a variety of jobs.

“I hope these degree apprenticeships will open up an avenue for people who haven’t been able to access opportunities for one reason or another.

“I’m passionate about helping people and mentoring them, especially long-term unemployed people.”

The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, also gave a short keynote address. “It is great to hear about UEL’s efforts to create an accessible offer for our young people –where they can earn a wage and develop relevant skills at the same time.

“The rapid economic development in Newham means the construction sector in Newham is booming. We have to make sure that the skills that people gain are actually suited to the jobs that are available.
“By working in partnership with employers and education providers, we can equip our young people with the right skills to grasp the opportunities open to them. These apprenticeships are a great example of this partnership work.”

MP for East Ham, Stephen Timms, also attended the event and spoke about the value skilled industry workers would make to the local area as it goes through rapid regeneration, including a new billion pound finance district in the Docklands area, and a new commercial and housing development in Silvertown. 

“It’s a very positive contribution, helping people in our community make the most of the opportunities opening up in this part of London,” he said. 

Thanking his guests, UEL Dean of the School of Architecture, Computing, and Engineering, Professor Hassan Abdulla, said he was delighted with the launch, and felt confident about the newest additions to the university’s portfolio of degrees. 

“These new vocational programmes are really going to meet the needs of employers - transferable skills, attitudes and behaviours, and workplace knowledge that they are looking for from our graduates.

“We’ve been really engaged with major employers in the development of these degree apprenticeships. This is a very exciting opportunity, we’re leading the way.”