Engineering Competence

Engineering Competence PG Dip

Degree Apprenticeship

In 2016, the whole world saw an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program called AlphaGo consistently beat the best human player in a board game called ‘Go’. Therefore 2016 has been marked as a new starting point for AI. The success of AI also triggered profound industrial, economic and social changes across the world. The UK Industry Strategy white paper in 2017 highlighted AI and Data Science as areas in which the UK government intends to maintain its leading position.

The Post Graduate Engineer Degree Apprenticeship (incorporating the PGDip Engineering Competence) programme is designed to support this UK Industry Strategy. It will be particularly valuable for SME leaders and future leaders who wish to uplift their own industry 4.0 capabilities and, through them, to enhance their businesses in this industry revolution era.

The course is designed to prepare engineers and business leaders for new developing interdisciplinary fields of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.  The programme will cover lots of important ideas, tools and skills emerging in this area, with a broad spectrum of applications.

The programme includes a series of Level 7 modules on AI, Data Science and IoT as options for students. It also incorporates a leadership module, making it attractive for continuous professional development (CPD) as well.

Benefits to the employers

  • Upskill future leaders to help scale your business
  • Industry led learning to apply Industry 4.0 technology in your business
  • Access funding to develop chartered highly qualified engineers
  • Practical innovation projects deliver tangible business benefits
  • Access tech lab network across the Northwest

Benefits to the apprentice

  • Fully funded through the Apprenticeship Levy
  • Accelerate your career without a career break
  • Entrepreneurship and leadership coaching
  • Achieve a Postgraduate Diploma
  • Share and learn with a unique peer network of professionals
  • Optional MSc top-up available as an extended project

Job Role

Research and Development Engineer, Design and Development Engineer, Systems Integration Engineer, Quality Assurance/Compliance Engineer, Test / Qualification Engineer, Manufacture / Production Engineer, Maintenance / Test Engineer, Product Support (incl. logistics) Engineer, Decommissioning/ Disposal Engineer, Supply Chain/Procurement, Engineering Business Manager.

What does the course lead to

The engineering sector is key to the UK economy and generates just over one quarter of total UK GDP. The engineering sector in the UK needs over 180k new graduates with engineering skills each year until 2022. To help meet this demand training providers in the UK need to double the number of graduates entering the industry.

Graduates of this programme will be equipped with both leadership and technical skills in working on modern data related projects as an individual, as well as in a team.

Within the programme students completing the PGDip Engineering Competence and EPA of the apprenticeship can exit there or choose to progress on to the MSc project. On completion the student will be awarded an MSc Engineering (Design & Development).

Graduates could work as engineers for design and developing new products, managing their businesses, as well as many other roles.

Course content includes three key strands for the MSc Engineering (Design and Development);

  • 1 leadership module
  • 3 project modules (2 for PGDip)
  • 3 technical modules selected from a set of level 7 modules shown below.

For selection of the technical modules, students will be supported by the course team to find the best set of choices based on the skills audit of each individual student and his/her career aspiration, as well as business demand of the company the student is coming from if appropriate.

Professional qualifications

This Apprenticeship Standard aligns with the current edition of the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) at Chartered Engineer (CEng) level. The experience gained, and responsibility held by the apprentice on completion of the apprenticeship will either wholly or partially satisfy the requirements for CEng and reaches the agreed level of professional competence.

Programme location and delivery

UCLan works with employers to design and deliver degree apprenticeships and establishes the content and delivery of a programme according to their needs on an individual basis.

UCLan is committed to the principle of an apprenticeship being the development of an individual into a role of which the course is one component. What and how this is delivered is designed with the employer through the tailoring of delivery both mode and content.

Information for Employers

STANDARD: Apprenticeships allow the learner to combine work and study by mixing on-the-job training with classroom learning. An apprentice will be employed to do a real job while studying for a formal qualification, usually for one day a week at one of our UCLan campuses or training centres. By the end of their apprenticeship, they will have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in their chosen career or progress onto the next apprenticeship level.

Apprentices in every role follow an approved study programme, which means they’ll gain a nationally recognised qualification at the end of their apprenticeship.


LEVEL: Post Graduate Engineer, Level 7

Funding Band

Degree Apprenticeship Standard £27,000

View further information on the Levy

Apprenticeship fees are paid by employers either from their levy or through the levy and not by apprentices. Employers can negotiate the cost of the Degree Apprenticeship and UCLan works with each employer to identify and tailor the delivery of the programme to their needs, the workplace, the role, and the requirements of each apprentice. The price agreed with the employer is dependent on these specific needs, numbers of apprentices, location, and agreed mode of delivery. Apprentices are paid a salary by their employer and do not qualify for any funding from Student Finance.

How to access the programme

Contact our Business Development Team:
Telephone: 01772 895500, email:

Create an account or Search for an apprenticeship

Information for apprentices


DURATION: Part-time: PGDip Engineering Competence: 2.5 years / MSc Engineering (Design and Development): 3 years

FEES: The course fee is shared between the Government and some employers, meaning that you as the degree apprentice do not pay the standard tuition fee rates.

Students on Degree Apprenticeships do not qualify for any funding from Student Finance.

Entry Requirements

Degree Apprenticeships have flexible entry requirements depending on the circumstances of the prospective apprentice and in particular takes into account previous employment experience. UCLan works closely with the employer and apprentice to assess previous learning and work experience and if suitable the appropriate year of entry. Maths and English qualifications can be gained during the apprenticeship.

Applicants will normally be required to have:

Honours degree in STEM areas at a 2:2 or higher which includes a significant element of engineering.
Applicants shall have learned at least one programming language (e.g., C/C++) in formal education and passed the assessment(s).

  • Applicants shall be in employment and have full support from their employer to join this course.
  • Applicants who do not meet the above requirements can be considered individually.
  • Applicants might be interviewed if the course team deems it necessary.

Applicants whose 1st language is not English will be required to have a minimum level of proficiency required by the University for postgraduate studies. For more information, see UCLan International find your country web pages.

How you can access the programme

  • Talk to your manager or your employer and show them this web page
  • Apply for jobs advertised with a degree apprenticeship
  • Mention you would like to do a DA when applying for jobs

Register your interest

We will try to match you with employers seeking apprentices.

If you are already in employment then talk to your employer about the course and how your company can utilise the Apprenticeship Levy to join it.

Your employer or potential employer should then contact to begin the process of drawing up a contract and welcoming you to the University.

Course Content

Years 1 and 2

PGDip Engineering Competence.


  • Disruptive Leadership
  • Industry 4.0 Project Feasibility Study
  • Industry 4.0 Design and Development


  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Internet of Things
  • Big Data Analytics and Visualization
  • Programming with Data
  • Visual Information Processing
  • Digital Signal and Image Processing B
  • Advanced Robotics and Intelligent System Design

Year 3


MSc Engineering (Design and Development)

  • MSc Project

Learning Environment and Assessment

UCLan has an extensive array of learning resources both on and off campus. For those off campus there are many resources:

  • Electronic resources including e-journals and e-books
  • Search by Subject guides to help access journals and books, etc. online
  • Access to other libraries and information services (perhaps closer to home) through local and national schemes such as Sconul Access
  • Inter-Library Loans Service
  • Information Skills training programme
  • Access to IT help and advice from LIS Customer Support
  • The Remote Access services allow students to access their UCLan network account, the library's electronic resources and some core software applications from their own computer as if they were on-campus

The UCLan Library building in Preston provides comfortable, flexible study spaces and offers a wealth of excellent learning resources, extensive collections of information sources and expert help and support from Library staff. There are around 700 computers, including Apple Macs, in the Library. You will also find computers, including Apple Macs, in other buildings and study spaces on campus. You can also borrow laptops from the Laptop Loan area on the Ground Floor of the Library during staffed hours. The Library has a dedicated training team who provide support and training for students.

Our one-stop shop aims to provide everything you need for your academic and work pursuits. The print shop offers a full reprographic and design service and you can also buy a range of IT related products, including software at reduced prices.

As well as access to thousands of books, audio-visual materials and journals, the Library also provides:

  • Extensive opening hours (including 24/7 opening during term time)
  • A wide range of different study environments for both individual and group study including bookable study rooms and pods
  • Laptop loan scheme
  • A large number of electronic resources which are available wherever you have access to the internet
  • Media suite containing Apple Macs
  • Self-service issue and return facilities

Open access PCs and wireless access throughout the building

Each module on the programme has a virtual learning resource (Blackboard area) which hosts materials, chat facility, guidance and even facilitates the electronic submission of course work.

Learning facilities include a Data Science Lab in the new Engineering Innovation Centre, the ERE labs, modern graphics processing unit (GPU) cards for running simulations, e.g., deep learning, of data based projects.

The course team has expertise in data science and related applications such as deep learning, medical imaging, signal analysis for non-invasive inspection, computer aided diagnosis.

Expert tutors will assist students in developing their skills further, through tutorials, assignment preparation sessions, and verbal feedback in class and assignment work.

Each student will have an academic advisor who will be supporting the student’s learning journey here during the course.

End Point Assessment

The Degree Apprenticeship programme includes an end point assessment.

View further information about EPA

Further Information about Degree Apprenticeships

Important Information

Contact Us

This course is based in the School of Engineering
Telephone us for further information +44(0)1772 892400
or email us at: | Book a visit

Further Information for students

You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Central Lancashire on our Student Contract page.