Leeds College of Building 21082023

Leeds College of Building Celebrates First University Centre Graduates

The first students to complete a degree-level apprenticeship at Leeds College of Building University Centre (UC) have graduated.


The class of seven BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering Site Management degree apprentices employed by BAM attended the graduation ceremony at validating institution, Leeds Beckett University.


Working in partnership with the university and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Leeds College of Building delivers a bespoke Level 6 programme designed to meet the needs of the civil engineering industry. The distinct pathway combines academic study with practical on-the-job experience.


Chris Tunningley, Leeds College of Building Assistant Principal for Adults & Higher Education, said:

“I’m thrilled to see this first-ever group of degree students from Leeds College of Building finish their studies and graduate from our new University Centre. This was the first group of degree students to start at the College, and I am immensely proud of their achievements.

“Our higher education numbers have expanded massively since the first degree apprenticeship students enrolled, and this will continue to grow. With over 90 students currently studying on the degree apprenticeship programmes, we are looking forward to more graduations from the next Leeds College of Building University Centre cohorts.


“Apprentices such as these are fantastic ambassadors for graduate careers in the construction industry. Alongside vital craft and trade skills, the sector desperately needs higher-level professionals to help innovate across specialisms, from advanced construction techniques to sustainability.”

Apprentices study six independent blocks throughout the year, two of which are taught online. This blended learning delivery model means employees from various backgrounds and projects can participate and learn from anywhere in the UK.


The first group to enrol on the degree apprenticeship are employees of BAM who work at sites from York to Kent. The training provided opportunities to work on BAM’s projects across the UK, such as Network Rail projects, Environment Agency Flood Alleviation schemes, and the Tideway Tunnel Super Sewer under the River Thames.


Ian Hunter Apprenticeship Manager, from BAM, said:

“This is a wonderful achievement for our apprentices. They have all worked incredibly hard to achieve their degree, whilst balancing the demands of a full-time position with us. We are proud of them all. The structure of the programme at Leeds College of Building and the expertise of the apprenticeship team and teaching staff, really is top quality. Combined with the support the apprentices get from our business in terms of real work experience and expert guidance on site, we believe that our apprentices are set for success.”


Degree apprentices work towards end-point assessment with the Institution of Civil Engineers. On successful completion, students achieve the sought-after Incorporated Engineer (IEng) accreditation, a title acquired by professionally recognised civil engineers. The degree apprenticeship takes up to three and a half years to complete, however the BAM employees finished in just two and a half years.

Degree Apprenticeship Curriculum Manager Nikki Carthy, who coincidentally graduated from Leeds Beckett University with an MSc in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution on the same day, said: 

“The Level 6 degree apprenticeship was an exciting development for the College. The programme was the first degree-level apprenticeship we offered, providing a natural extension and additional progression route from Level 3 up to Level 6. We’re extremely grateful for the support of our partners who made this happen and look forward to continuing our vital work together. This programme will help even more engineers to enhance their careers while filling vital skills gaps in the industry.”

Leeds College of Building is already producing exceptional civil engineers making their mark in the industry. Around 250 students are currently enrolled on Civil Engineering training programmes. Last year, BAM’s Civil Engineering Site Management Degree Apprentice Alisa Ahmad was named Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) Apprentice of the Year.

Over the last five years, higher-level courses have grown to represent a significant proportion of the Leeds College of Building provision. Approximately 80% of delivery in the new University Centre now covers Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeships, Higher, and Degree Apprenticeships. The College achieved Highly Commended at the West Yorkshire Apprenticeship Awards 2023 for Training Provider of the Year.


Leeds College of Building celebrated another significant milestone this year after launching a Construction Quantity Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship with applicants from BAM and JN Bentley Ltd. Created with franchise partner the London South Bank University and with full accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Building, the programme is one of the first Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship programmes offered, starting from Level 5 at the College’s University Centre.


Places are still available on the Construction Quantity Surveying Degree Apprenticeship programme, delivered as a day release programme from week commencing 11 September.  To find out more about this or any other higher education training, visit the Leeds College of Building course search.