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Infrastructure asset management

A new degree apprenticeship is hitting the mark for employers and in-work learners.

New Zealand's first degree apprenticeship was developed with a focus on asset management, to help address a critical shortage of asset infrastructure engineers. Earlier research with industry representatives identified what was needed and then informed curriculum development. The degree apprenticeship has been available to learners since 2020, with the first cohort completing their degrees in 2022.

The research to evaluate the pilot was undertaken by Hana Cadzow, James Mackay, Sarah Hexamer and Adrian Ferguson, examining programme records and gathering data about the learners' employment. 

  • The level of engagement of industry representatives in delivery of the work-based programme is much higher than for other modes of delivery.
  • Employers' confidence in the programme is growing; at the end of 2022 42 companies have one degree apprentice, with 9 companies now having more than one. 
  • The programme has been popular with the number of learners increasing from 5 in 2020 to 71 enrolled for 2023 (at all three levels of the programme), most of whom are in employment and studying part time.
  • Many learners reported receiving significant salary increases and promotions since enrolling in the programme.
  • A higher proportion of the learners are women, compared with on campus delivery of the Bachelor of Engineering Technology.

The research team has identified opportunities to extend access to the asset management course, by offering it as a specialisation within the traditional Bachelor of Engineering Technology and as a Graduate Diploma. The success of the pilot means that this model for developing a degree apprenticeship programme could be replicated to offer other degree apprenticeships, for example in construction engineering and occupational therapy.