Caps off to AMRC Training Centre’s first foundation degree graduates

University teachers from the AMRC Training Centre beamed with pride this week as they watched the first cohort of students graduate with foundation degrees.

Samuel Ferguson, 25, Sam Forester, 21, Alexandra Smith, 24, and Tom Kaye, 24, are the first to achieve the foundation degree in engineering qualification delivered by the University of Sheffield’s AMRC Training Centre, which is part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Group.

Samuel, Alexandra and Sam followed the Mechanical Manufacture pathway while Tom pursued Manufacturing Technology.

They were among hundreds of learners honoured at graduation ceremonies hosted by the University of Sheffield at The Octagon on Tuesday, watched on by proud families, friends and lecturers.

Louise Cowling, head of degree apprenticeships, attended the ceremony and praised the students’ talent and tenacity to achieve.

She said: “The students graduating have risen to the challenge of combining work and study.  This not only tests the students’ academic ability but also their dedication and commitment to their academic progress and career.

“We are incredibly proud of Tom, Samuel, Alexandra and Sam. They have earned their foundation degrees through commitment, perseverance and dedication. This hasn’t been easy to achieve as full-time employees with responsibilities in their workplaces. 

“There is emerging evidence of a positive impact on students’ future prospects, including promotions and further employment opportunities as a result of their academic study, not least because the programmes include industrially authentic assessments. 

“We are delighted that graduation affords our graduates the opportunity to receive their degree with their families and employers – to share their achievement with those who have supported and helped them along the way.   

“We hope that Tom, Samuel, Alexandra and Sam will be the first of many more graduates combining employment and learning as part of our degree apprenticeship programmes.”

Graduate Tom Kaye, who works for Arconic Forgings and Extrusions in Sheffield, is planning to continue his studies with the AMRC Training Centre.

After the ceremony he said: “It’s been a really great experience and it was good to feel a part of the university and have that academic achievement recognised. It feels very good. The two years have been worth it.”

The AMRC Training Centre’s foundation degrees are delivered using a blend of face to face learning - lectures, seminars and tutorials - with online and self-paced learning and support to enable students to combine their studies with full time employment.

The foundation degree course taken by Sam, Alexandra, Tom and Samuel was an academic programme only but this now forms part of the degree apprenticeships delivered by the AMRC Training Centre which includes a top up programme to achieve a bachelor’s degree. Eleven students are now pursuing this top up degree and they will hand in a final project at the end of August, graduating next summer with a full BEng.

The degree apprenticeship programme has been designed in partnership with academic staff and employers to ensure students can graduate equipped to meet the current and future needs of the advanced manufacturing sector and there are three types of foundation degrees to choose from: Mechanical Manufacture, Manufacturing Technology and Maintenance Engineering.

Caps off to AMRC Training Centre’s first foundation degree graduates

Graduation July 2018

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