Apprenticeship Degrees blog Chemical & Process Engineering Degree Apprenticeship

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2021, Kenny Moffat, Programme Director discusses how their department's history and close links with industry helped them launch of their first DA in Chemical Process Engineering in September 2020.

Long standing links with Industry

Since its inception in 1796, as a ‘place of useful learning’, the University of Strathclyde has always retained strong links with practice and industry. In my Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, we embody that spirit, through ourIChemE accredited, industry focussed degree programmes and apprenticeships.

Collaborating locally and nationally

The BEng honours chemical engineering, by distance learning, was created at the request of local industry in 1992, to enable the progression of technicians into engineering roles. As technology allowed, this evolved into a fully online programme, with students based all over the world, and it remains the only IChemE accredited, distance learning undergraduate degree, in the world. This was followed by a MSc Process Technology and Management, from 1997, and later the MSc Chemical Technology and Management, and MSc Advanced Chemical and Process Engineering.

More recently, we have mapped our long standing IChemE accredited BEng honours chemical engineering, to the Science Industry Plant and Process Engineer Standard (SIPPE), to create a work based BEng(Hons) Chemical Engineering Degree Apprenticeship (DA) which launched its first cohort in September 2020.

Collaboration with employer partners continues to be crucial to ensure the programme meets their business needs, now and for the future. Offering training and development on the job, the programme may be suitable for school leavers who are hired directly into a Degree Apprenticeship role, or for existing employees whom the company wish to develop into an engineering position.

Fully funded Personal and Professional Development

The Chemical Engineering DA is fully funded by the apprenticeship levy with no additional cost of tuition required from the employer or learner. After successful completion of the 5-year programme, graduates will be awarded an IChemE accredited BEng(Hons) Chemical Engineering, from the University of Strathclyde, and a Degree Apprenticeship award, from the Institute of Apprenticeships. In addition, learners will develop an ePortfolio of evidence throughout their studies that can be used for Professional Body accreditation upon completion of their degree studies.

A practical curriculum

The first year of the DA programme curriculum covers chemistry and maths for chemical engineers, and the basic principles of chemical engineering. This ensures that all apprentices gain and refresh, the fundamentals that will be necessary for later chemical engineering subjects. Apprentices will also work with their University Learning Advisor and Mentor from within their own business, to develop a training plan that meets the requirements of the SIPPE standard.

Alongside their work based learning, apprentices study the core chemical engineering subjects, including fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, mass transfer and process design, learn how to use engineering programming tools, as well as gaining broader knowledge in Project Management, Ethics and teamwork. In the final year, their studies conclude with a Chemical Engineering Design project, and a work based project, showcasing the skills gained throughout DA programme and enabling the End Point Assessment and degree award.

Support each step of the way

As Programme Director, I have over 10 years’ experience managing distance learning, industry focussed degree programmes and 20 years of industry experience prior to this. As a former apprentice and a distance learning degree student myself, I am in tune with the needs of industry and can relate to the experience of an industry-based student.

The academic aspects are taught by a team of world class academics and former industrialists, from the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering. The academic team is also supplemented by guest lecturers from industry, including two Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professors.

Each learner has a dedicated Work Based Learning Advisor who form part of the teaching team to support learners throughout their studies to transfer the academic learning into the workplace to deliver real value for both apprentice and their employer.

Balancing work and study whilst trying to also learn on the job can be a difficult task. We have ensured that our DA learners have support across the board from academic colleagues, their Work Based Learning Advisor, through providing pastoral support where required and by maintaining good communication and relationships with our employer partners supporting their learner on the business side.

Apprenticeship programmes are built on collaboration, and from initial programme design through to day-to-day management of learners, that always at the forefront at Strathclyde.

Employers who would like to know more about the opportunities available through Degree Apprenticeships in Chemical Engineering, or any of our programmes and services to industry, should contact Kenny Moffat at

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Degree Apprenticeships in England are supported by the Education and Skills Funding Agency


Graduate Apprenticeships in Scotland are funded by Skills Development Scotland