Higher Apprenticeship in Construction Operations Management

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1 Higher Apprenticeship in Construction Operations Management Information for prospective higher apprentices What is the Higher Apprenticeship in Construction Operations Management? This new Higher Apprenticeship is designed to enable you to gain the skills and knowledge you need if you choose construction operations management as a career. It is approved by CITB-ConstructionSkills, which is the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry and is endorsed by some large employers such as Seddon Group and Lovell Partnership as well as the Federation of Master Builders. The Higher Apprenticeship includes a Foundation degree awarded by Middlesex University. In future, the Foundation degree may also be awarded by other universities. The Higher Apprenticeship is for people who are employed in the construction industry and it enables you to gain a qualification and develop the skills and knowledge required to be a construction operations manager whilst you are working with much less time off-site. This means that you can continue with your learning at levels 4 and 5 (degree level), while employed and also gain a Higher Apprenticeship that is recognised by the industry. The Higher Apprenticeship is available at a range of colleges across the country. You will need to check to see if it is available at your local college or visit for further information. What qualifications or experience will I need to become a Higher Apprentice? Usually you will have completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in construction at level 3 or other construction qualifications such as a BTEC National Certificate/Diploma in construction. Your college tutor should be able to advise on whether the Higher Apprenticeship is right for you. However, if you have not completed an Advanced Apprenticeship, but have over 3 years experience working and are currently employed in the construction industry and want to progress to become a construction operations manager, this may also be the programme for you. Your previous work in the industry can be recognised towards achieving the outcomes of the programme and may also enable you to complete the Higher Apprenticeship more quickly. If you already have a construction HNC at Level 4 and want to pursue the Higher Apprenticeship you will normally be able to progress directly to the second stage of the Foundation degree and complete the Higher Apprenticeship (at level 5) in half the time. Are there any other requirements? You must be employed. The Higher Apprenticeship is intended for people working in the construction industry. Assessments cannot be completed if you are not in work. 1

2 Will my previous qualifications and experience help me to achieve the Higher Apprenticeship? Yes definitely. The skills in the apprenticeship build on what you have already achieved at work. There is a module at the start of the Foundation degree, which will help you to learn through work at degree level. This involves learning through your work activities and is a different approach to the one that you may have experienced with other types of programmes. It is also possible to get recognition for your previous experience to enable you to complete the Higher Apprenticeship more quickly. What qualifications will I get at the end of the Apprenticeship? You will receive a Foundation degree from Middlesex University. You will also be entitled to a Higher Apprenticeship certificate which is recognised by the construction industry. Successfully completing the Foundation degree will also guarantee you an opportunity to progress to a work-based BA/BSc (Hons) Degree with Middlesex. What will I study? To gain the qualification you will have to complete the following successfully. 1. The Foundation Degree Professional Practice in Construction Operations Management The Foundation degree includes the knowledge and practical skills you will need to achieve the Higher Apprenticeship without the necessity of completing another qualification such as an NVQ. What you do in your workplace will be assessed as part of the Foundation degree and the assignments you complete will be based on what you do at work. If you want to find out more about what you will learn on the modules in the Foundation degree you can ask your college tutor or visit for further information. 2. Functional Skills in English and Maths at level 2 Level 2 is GCSE level and if you already have Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths you will not need to take these qualifications again. Here are examples of the types of qualifications you might already have at level 2, which count as equivalent to the required function skills: A Key Skills qualification in English and Maths GCSE in English and Maths An A level or AS level in English or Maths You will need to ask your college tutor if the qualification you have is relevant. Make sure you bring copies of the certificates with you. If you do not have functional skills qualifications or equivalent in English or Maths when you start the Higher Apprenticeship you will need to take them as part of the Apprenticeship. 3. Personal Learning and Thinking Skills These are skills you will need to help you to work in the future as a manager. For example; how to communicate with people, how to work in a team and how to approach problem solving. You will be assessed on this, but your learning will take place through the other modules, which are part of the Foundation degree. 4. Employee Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) This part of the Higher Apprenticeship is where you learn about both the organisation that you work for and employment within the construction industry. For example, you will learn about your employment rights and responsibilities and the codes of practice within your organisation. If you have completed an apprenticeship 2

3 at Intermediate Level 2 or at Advanced Level 3 you will already have completed this and will not have to repeat it. However you will have to provide evidence that you have previously completed it. 5. Health and Safety Health and Safety is very important in the construction industry so it is an essential part of the apprenticeship. You will learn about this through the Foundation degree modules and practice it in your workplace. 6. Equality and Diversity This is about equal opportunities in the construction industry and making sure that everyone, regardless of their personal circumstances, has equal chances to succeed. You will also be able to attend courses on equality and diversity, organised by the construction industry, while you are completing your Higher Apprenticeship. I was going to study for an HNC/D what is different about the Higher Apprenticeship? The key difference between HNC/Ds and Higher Apprenticeship is that a Higher Apprentice must be in work and that work-based learning and the development of occupational competence (i.e. the ability to do the job) is a fundamental component of the Higher Apprenticeship. HNC/Ds are not work-based in this sense. As a work-based higher education qualification the Foundation degree developed for the Higher Apprenticeship has been specifically designed and approved to provide evidence of meeting the knowledge and competence requirements of the Higher Apprenticeship. Unlike HNC/Ds the Foundation degree includes guaranteed progression to a level 6 (Honours degree) if you successfully complete the learning programme. The Higher Apprenticeship and Foundation degree developed for the Higher Apprenticeship is suitable for you if you are employed and have the aspiration, ability and potential opportunity to develop into your role as a construction operations manager. The Foundation degree will enable you to develop independent learning and creative thinking skills which will be important in your role as a manager in the industry. This is because you will be involved in projects and decision making in your workplace throughout your course. How long will it take me to achieve the Higher Apprenticeship? It usually takes three years, studying part-time while you are working. It could take more depending on your circumstances, or less if you have already taken an HNC or have work experience at this level. To find out about this you will need to discuss it with your college tutor. What support is available to help me achieve the qualification? Your employer, or someone else who is a manager in the company, will support you by being your mentor. This means that you can discuss any issues you have and seek help from someone who is already a manager. Your employer will also make sure that you have opportunities to practice the skills you are learning and the new knowledge you have gained. Your college tutors will support you in achieving the academic parts of the award. They will also direct you to additional support you may need if you are experiencing difficulty with any parts of the Higher Apprenticeship. This could be through extra e-learning packages or face-to-face study support. 3

4 Where will I study? Primarily you will study at work as the work activities you undertake will be assessed to provide evidence that you meet the learning requirements of the Higher Apprenticeship. The Foundation degree is comprised of work-based modules that are delivered in your workplace and your tutor will visit you at work to help you and assess your progress. You are likely to also study at your local college. Some of the Foundation degree modules may be available through elearning, which means that you can study at home in your own time. You will need access to a computer, with internet access, at home - if not you can use a computer at college. What happens if I have to work away from home on a contract? This may not affect your progress as the work you undertake can contribute to the completion of the workbased modules of the Foundation degree programme. You will need to discuss this with your employer and college tutor. Online support is also available to support your study while away from home. Will there be any full days away from work? How much notice would I get of this? Before you start the course you will be given a timetable for the year so that you and your employer know exactly when you will be away from work. It is possible that there may be some block study days but the Higher Apprenticeship has been specifically designed to limit the time you spend off the job. A typical pattern might mean that you are off-site one day per month. What do I need to do to register on the Higher Apprenticeship? When you, your employer and college tutor have decided that the Higher Apprenticeship is right for you then the college will tell you how to enrol and register. How much will it cost? The cost will depend on what the college charges and this can be different for each college. You will need to contact your local college to find out what this is. If you are covering all or part of the fees and you are a UK resident, you will be entitled to a student loan. Details of repayment arrangements can be found on the Student Loans Company website. Will my employer have to pay anything? What your employer pays and what you pay will depend on your individual circumstances. But there are three main possibilities: Your employer pays the total fee You pay the total fee in which case if you are a UK or EU resident you will be eligible to apply for a student loan to cover the costs, meaning that you pay nothing while on the programme and only start repaying the loan when you start earning over 21K per annum. You and your employer share the costs. Again you could apply for a student loan to cover the fees you pay personally. What if I am made redundant or my company closes? Before you start the Higher Apprenticeship a learning contract/agreements will be put in place between yourself and your employer. It will detail what your commitments are as well as those of your employer in supporting you to take the Higher Apprenticeship and Foundation degree. This will cover what happens if 4

5 you are made redundant or your company closes. The college will have a commitment to you completing the Foundation degree while you are looking for work. There will be various ways in which they will support you in doing so. For example, you may be able to delay finishing the Foundation degree while you are looking for work, but still gain the credits for the parts of the qualification you have already completed. You may also be able to rejoin the course at a later date once you have found work with another employer. It is also possible to complete the Foundation degree by undertaking relevant voluntary work in the construction industry, but to complete the Higher Apprenticeship you need to be employed as an apprentice. The approach will depend on your personal circumstances and you will need to discuss details with your college tutor. What type of jobs will I be qualified to do? When you have completed the Higher Apprenticeship you will have the skills and knowledge to take on a construction operations management role or to enhance the supervisory role that you currently have within the construction industry. You will develop the approach that you will need in order to be a leader. For example, you will learn how to make sure that the construction site runs smoothly, you will develop the skills of working under pressure, of identifying potential problems and how to deal with them, and, very importantly how to deal with all types of people. What sort of salary could I expect to earn once I have completed the Higher Apprenticeship? This will depend on various things, for example which part of the country you decide to work in, the size of the firm you are working for and the level responsibility you have as a manager. However you can expect to earn around the following: As a site supervisor between 10k-25k As an experienced site manager between 25-40k As a project manager or contract director between 40k - 70k What qualification can I take afterwards? You can top up your Foundation degree to an Honours degree in Construction: again, you can do this while you are working. This might be a course offered by Middlesex University and offered at your local college or it could be from another university. This will take you about eighteen months. If you prefer you can take other qualifications offered by the construction industry. What do I do next? If you are interested first of all find out if the Higher Apprenticeship is offered at your local college. If it is, discuss the possibilities of taking it with your employer. For further information: 5

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