Confirm, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre in Smart Manufacturing, has partnered with University of Limerick to deliver the world’s first Principal Engineer Doctoral Apprenticeship. The Professional Doctorate in Engineering (DEng) is also Ireland’s first qualification at level 10 funded through the national apprenticeships programme.
The Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) programme is a level 10 award (equivalent to PhD) focused on skills development. Rather than traditional PhD research project which makes a contribution to the ‘body of knowledge’, the PDEng will focus on applying industry focused research to practical problems, formulating solutions to complex issues and designing effective professional practices within a particular field. It will comprise of one or more commercially relevant projects, typically based on the candidate’s work environment and will require company sponsorship and an industry mentor to secure apprenticeship funding.
Professor Conor McCarthy, Director of Confirm; the SFI Research Centre for Smart Manufacturing, said: “Confirm Centre is delighted to support the Principal Engineer Doctoral Apprenticeship as it allows us to work directly with Industry personnel on their real world problems. This programme also allows us to open up our community of practice portfolio bringing academia and industry together to help support Ireland in its transformation to a digital manufacturing paradigm.”
Unlike the majority of apprenticeships, the Principal Engineer Doctoral apprenticeship is aimed at existing staff with experience of solving problems and delivering innovative solutions. The value proposition for employers is that existing staff with expertise in key areas now have an opportunity to earn a doctoral qualification in the workplace without going back to university full time. Staff recognition, loyalty and retention are enhanced through the process.
How does it work?
The programme has been devised by industry and developed by the University of Limerick. Candidates who wish to enter the programme must first pass attend a Qualifier Module, the next of which runs on the 14/15th of January 2021. As part of this module, candidates are required to submit a mini-thesis outlining their proposed research areas.
Minimum requirements for the programme are typically a 2.1 honours degree in a relevant area as well as five years’ experience. Applicants must also meet the University of Limerick English language requirements. Programme Managers would also facilitate recognition of prior learning (RPL) and would recognise candidates with a lower qualification provided they have relevant industrial experience. Research-based patents or peer-reviewed publications would also be recognised.
Fees have been set at 30% of the annual student contribution set by the Government. For the years 2020/ 2021, this will be €900pa – a significant saving for employers on standard PhD fees. Under the July Stimulus the government will make a once off payment of €3,000 for any apprentice signed up before 30 March 2021. There has never been a better time to take the next step in terms of your education and your career.
For further information about the Principal Engineer Doctoral Apprenticeship Programme click on the brochure Principal Engineer DEng or email [email protected]. You can apply for the Qualifier Module here.