New Generation Materials Training Moves Forward

Plans to develop a Degree Apprenticeship to bridge a skills gap in materials science and engineering have taken a significant step forward.

An employer group - formed of representatives from materials companies across the UK - has been formed, which will now apply to the Government for approval to develop the proposed apprenticeship

The group wants to develop skills which they say are missing in the current materials training curriculum.

They want to develop a Degree Apprenticeship for Materials Professionals with a broad scope, which includes ceramics, advanced ceramics, glass and polymers – including new and novel materials.

Support for the training is being offered by the Applied Materials Research, Innovation and Commercialisation Company (AMRICC), which is helping to facilitate the application.

An agreement to pursue the Degree Apprenticeship application was reached by the employers during a meeting organised by AMRICC’s Chief Executive Dr Cathryn Hickey, and Sarah Tudor, Director of Employer Partnerships at Staffordshire University, which was held to explore the possibilities.

Dr Hickey said: “The employers we have spoken to are keen to access training for their current staff, to develop further skills within the work environment.

“They want to develop material technologists with a broader understanding of the materials which are being used to make the products they are working with.

“There’s also a request from companies who want to train their existing employees, in particular engineers, to have a wider understanding of the performance of materials, so they are better able to tackle and solve problems they experience on a daily basis within the manufacturing environment.

“In addition, there is also a significant lack of understanding and knowledge about adhesion and bonding and joining of materials.

“These requirements and more will now be considered by the employer group, who will determine the exact content of this qualification and address how it meets the needs of industry.”

Opportunities to get involved in the development of the training are still open to employers.

Dr Hickey added: “We would urge manufacturers and those offering employment in materials science to get involved and play a part in the process and help shape the skillset of the future workforce.”

Organisations interested in the programme can contact Dr Hickey on 01782 764333 or

May 2017