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Higher Apprenticeship - Engineering Manufacture - Level 4Apply Now »

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Level: 4

Location: The RoundHouse

Years: 3

Interview: Y

Course Summary

The Higher Apprenticeship provides a solid foundation in engineering under the auspices of our Higher Education provision. It enables you to progress from A-level qualifications or a Level 3 programme and offers  specialisms in a variety of engineering disciplines such as Design, Manufacturing, Mechanical or Electrical.

All Higher Apprenticeships are delivered as part of a programme in which you will be working full time at a hiring company.

We offer one route to achieve this qualification, via two main deliverables:

  • Day-release programme for the Level 5 Foundation Degree in Integrated Engineering
  • Remainder of the week, working towards the NVQ Level 4 Extended Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering

The three-year programme is primarily intended to allow apprentices in the workplace to gain an accredited degree in three to four years.

Foundation Degree

The Foundation Degree in Integrated Engineering is the technical certificate that provides a platform for the development of knowledge to support the Level 4 NVQ in work-based learning.  

Validated by Sheffield Hallam University, the programme has been designed in consultation with a number of employers who have expressed a need for engineering technicians to have specialist knowledge and an appreciation of the challenges across the various engineering disciplines.

The course is delivered at the Roundhouse campus, one day per week, as a series of modules that cover the major themes in engineering. Each module will constitute 1.5 hours per week for 36 weeks per year. The lecturer for each module has relevant industry and academic experience, educated to degree level or above.

Due to the intensity of the programme, it is expected that - as well as nine hours spent in College - you will at least equal this time working outside the College on assessments, research, revision and other learning activities.

The Foundation Degree programme is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) on behalf of the Engineering Council and hence the course will partly meet the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer.

The programme is regulated by HEFCE and the qualification is awarded by Sheffield Hallam University.

NVQ Level 4 Extended Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering

All NVQ Level 4 Higher Apprentices will complete an EAL Level 4 Extended Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering. Apprentices will complete 12 units at Level 4 over the duration of their apprenticeship.

These have been reviewed and selected via our experienced Level 4 Higher Apprentice Assessor, who will also assess competence of the apprentice within the workplace environment.  Depending on the requirements of the employer, bespoke units have been selected, based on the potential final job role.

As part of this qualification, any student will be expected to complete three Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations units, unless previous experience allows for recognition of prior learning. These units will be delivered at Derby College via another day release within the first six months of the apprenticeship. Units will consist of either Fitting, Mechanical Assemblies, Welding, Milling or Turning.

For applicants aged 19-25, 50% of the course fees with be co-funded, with the final year of the apprenticeship having no charge. If the student is 18 years old at the time of sign-up, then no cost will be incurred for the duration of the apprenticeship.


Entry requirements

All applicants will be invited to an interview to discuss their qualifications, experience and any other related issues.  

Applicants should have one of the following:

  • At least one GCE A-level pass in Maths and one in a relevant scientific/technology subject.  Two AS Level passes are considered equivalent to one A-level pass.
  • A Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in a science or technology-based subject.
  • A pass in the Preparatory Year of the Extended Degree Programme in Engineering, or other suitable science/technology-based Foundation or Access programme containing an appropriate level of mathematics, with an overall average mark of at least 40%. 
  • A qualification which is deemed to be equivalent to any of the above.

 Applicants will also need:

  • GCSE English and Maths grade 9-4 (A*- C).

We also welcome applicants who lack traditional academic qualifications. All such applicants will be interviewed and may be set an appropriate piece of work upon which a judgement will be made, taking into account their academic potential and relevant experience.

All applicants are subject to approval by Sheffield Hallam University to study the Foundation Degree in Integrated Engineering.

You will need to be aged 18 or over at the beginning of the course.

Course Content

For the Level 4 Extended Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering, students will complete 12 units which will be agreed with the hiring company. 

For the FdEng Integrated Engineering programme, there are three routes (namely Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing), each comprising a range of specialist and core modules:


Year 1 (all pathways):

  • Maths and Engineering Science
  • Engineering Principles
  • Business and Project Management
  • Investigative Project
  • Manufacturing Processes (Mechanical and Manufacturing route) or Analogue and Digital (Electrical route)

Year 2:


  • Mechanical Engineering (A and B)
  • Engineering Design and Manufacture
  • CAD
  • Project
  • Power Hydraulics and Control or Materials Engineering or Introduction to PLCs or Control and Instrumentation (dependent on employer requirements)


  • Engineering Design and Manufacture
  • Project
  • Automated Manufacture
  • Process Improvement and Lean Operations
  • Production and Operations Management
  • Power Hydraulics and Control or Materials Engineering or Introduction to PLCs or Control and Instrumentation (dependent on employer requirements)


  • Analogue and Digital Electronics
  • Project
  • Machines and Drives
  • Control and Instrumentation
  • Microprocessor Systems
  • Power Hydraulics and Control or Introduction to PLCs or Materials Engineering (dependent on employer requirements)

How will I be assessed?

Each module has a different approach to assessment, optimised for the materials studied and skills acquired. There is a common theme of high quality presentation, referenced research and in-depth analysis that runs through all assessments, be they examinations, seminars, coursework or laboratory reports.  Assessments will also take place within the workplace. 

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?


What can I do after this course?

The programme is strongly vocational and competency based and aims to develop engineers who have both academic and problem-solving skills in combination with work-based vocational skills.

Upon successful completion of the programme, students can progress to the top-up BEng programme at Derby College to gain the full honours degree.  Alternatively, Sheffield Hallam University will accept students on their top-up programme.

The offer made by the University will be subject to:

• successful completion of the Foundation Degree programme, including satisfying performance attainment requirements where specified

• submission of a satisfactory personal statement and reference

• meeting the University’s literacy and numeracy requirements

• satisfying any additional specific course requirements for entry to the designated progression route which may include successful attendance at an interview or selection event, successful completion of associated bridging studies or any non-academic conditions.

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This course is run at the Roundhouse Campus

About the Roundhouse »

Grace Draper

Grace Draper

Best of both worlds on a Rolls-Royce apprenticeship

At the age of 16, Grace Draper decided to apply for an apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce rather than go on to do A-levels. She’s not looked back since.

She has excelled while gaining on-the-job experience with the company and during her training at Derby College, where she has achieved Distinction standards. Now she is set to take her qualifications further with a foundation degree at the College, sponsored by Rolls-Royce.

Such has been Grace’s success that she was highly commended in the Manufacturing and Engineering Apprenticeship category of our 2014 Peak Awards. Judges described her as a ‘model learner’ and praised her collaborative work on projects, where she demonstrated the team skills and personal attributes which are vital in today’s engineering industry.

An apprenticeship at Rolls- Royce is the best of both worlds. We get to work in all sorts of areas of the company, earning while we’re learning. Having completed my first two years of the apprenticeship, I’m looking forward to starting the foundation degree.
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