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October 5, 2023

Pioneering the Tracks of Tomorrow: Wales' First Railway Engineering Degree Apprenticeship

Pioneering the Tracks of Tomorrow: Wales' First Railway Engineering Degree Apprenticeship

University of South Wales and Coleg y Cymoedd Forge a Path for Future Rail Engineers

In a landmark development, the University of South Wales (USW) is at the forefront of a pioneering initiative, in collaboration with Nantgarw-based Coleg y Cymoedd, to introduce the first railway engineering degree apprenticeships in Wales. This groundbreaking program, approved by the Welsh Government, is set to reshape the landscape of rail education, offering apprentices in the sector a unique opportunity to earn a university-accredited engineering degree.

Shaping the Future of Rail Engineering

Commencing in January 2024, with subsequent annual intakes starting from September the following year, the four-year degree apprenticeships will empower students with specialised knowledge and skills in railway engineering. These courses mark a significant step forward, providing apprentices with a comprehensive understanding of the industry while earning a Bachelor of Sciences degree.

Tailored Learning Paths

The Degree Apprenticeship Railway Engineering courses offer a tailored learning experience, allowing apprentices to specialise in one of two crucial tracks within the rail sector. The first path focuses on civil engineering and rail track development, encompassing permanent way infrastructure. The second path delves into electro-mechanical systems and electronics, directly contributing to electrification and rolling stock maintenance.

Collaboration between Academia and Industry

One of the distinctive features of this program is the collaboration between Coleg y Cymoedd and USW. Students will undertake part of their course at Coleg y Cymoedd, gaining hands-on experience and exposure to industry-specific challenges. Subsequently, they will continue their education at USW, combining theoretical knowledge with practical insights to emerge as well-rounded professionals in the field of railway engineering.

Industry-Relevant Expertise

The partnership's approval by the Welsh Government underscores the commitment to fostering industry-relevant education. By aligning academic coursework with the demands of the rail sector, apprentices will graduate not only with a degree but with practical skills that are directly applicable to the challenges and advancements within the industry.

Elevating Apprenticeships to Degrees

The introduction of degree apprenticeships in railway engineering signifies a paradigm shift in the perception of vocational education. By offering a structured and accredited degree program, the initiative elevates the status of apprenticeships, recognising them as a valuable pathway to acquiring both practical skills and academic qualifications.

Conclusion: Tracks to Success

As the first railway engineering degree apprenticeships in Wales set to roll out in 2024, the collaboration between the University of South Wales and Coleg y Cymoedd stands as a testament to the power of education-industry partnerships. This initiative not only addresses the growing demand for skilled professionals in the rail sector but also paves the way for a new generation of engineers who will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of railway engineering in Wales and beyond.

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