Partnership with Ulster University and MEGA to provide new apprenticeships

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  • Ulster University is partnering with Manufacturing & Engineering Growth & Advancement (MEGA) to provide Northern Ireland’s first degree level apprenticeship in Manufacturing & Engineering. 

    This first of its kind course, funded by the Department for the Economy, has just begun and represents a new chapter in higher education for the Magee Campus.  

    This dynamic new offering is designed to help create a pipeline of skilled talent fit for industry’s needs now and into the future, ensuring Northern Ireland is in a position to maximise the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution.  

    The innovative programme presents an alternative to the traditional degree route – and instead will see apprentices employed from day one. This means participants incur no cost in their higher level education; in fact, they earn a salary.  

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    At an event in the Great Hall of the Magee campus on Friday afternoon, Deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill, officially launched the programme and met some of the first cohort of apprentices, commenting: “The MEGA apprenticeship degree is a ground-breaking programme that will be transformative for our manufacturing and engineering industry. It will support the sector to develop, drive economic growth, and provide opportunities for people to develop much sought-after skills.   

    Minister O’Neill also added:“This partnership between Ulster University and MEGA is exactly the sort of innovative approach that will help to harness the enormous economic potential of our digital and engineering capabilities. We are already a global player in these sectors and this programme will no doubt help to cement our place as a world leader.”

    Industry 4.0 skills such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and digitalization, will be amongst the key themes studied within the new programme offered by the School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems at Magee. By undertaking this mechanical and manufacturing degree, students will learn key skills and apply theory to practice in the work environment, thereby making an instant impact within their workplace, whilst building a solid foundation for future career prospects. 

    MEGA is supported by Invest Northern Ireland through its Collaborative Growth Programme, in partnership with Mid Ulster District Council. 

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    By engaging with the MEGA Apprenticeship model, industry is also directly tapping into Ulster University’s research capability. Apprentices who train the Magee campus of Ulster will benefit from access to Centres of Excellence such as the Centre for Industrial Digitalisation, Robotics and Automation (CIDRA) and the Cognitive Analytics Research Laboratory (CARL) that are being developed as part of the emerging Derry and Strabane City Deal and which will become a destination for Research and Development for our industry partners.  

    Applications have just opened for the 2022/23 course this week and will close on 31st January 2022.

    This is the latest initiative from the Magee-based School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems which recently launched an industry focused Masters in Smart Manufacturing Systems which will equip people in the five core technologies that are essential to raise the development of manufacturing and productivity to the levels required in the next 50 years which are: Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, automation, internet of things (IoT) and industrial digital technologies (IDTs). 

    The Collaborative Growth Programme is aimed at SME-led networks and provides support for groups to pursue innovative collaborative projects with the potential to increase business competitiveness.  

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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