SEMAP is a 1-5 year programme of blended vocational and academic learning at Masters level that will
develop a rounded systems engineer at INCOSE practitioner level who should also be able to apply
for a CEng.
It is a part of the BIS Apprenticeship Trailblazer programme, which aims to make apprenticeships
employer-led, simpler and more standard.
2. Where has it come from and why is it needed?
The SEMAP has been developed by the Defence Growth Partnership skills group run by Allan Cook CBE
and a team of defence employers, including the MoD, and led by Atkins.
It is needed in order to assist in addressing a skills gap in systems engineering identified by a
2014 survey of defence skills shortages (See Q5).
3. Who is it aimed at?
The SEMAP aims to up-skill existing workers and also attract new entrants to the sector.
It applies equally to large organisations, including government departments, and to Small and Medium
4. Who would a typical Apprentice be and what are the entry requirements?
A typical Apprentice could be:
A recent graduate in STEM with some experience in a technical discipline with the Employer
An ex Higher Apprentice with a Level 4 qualification and at least 8 years experience in systems
A mid-career engineer looking to transfer to the sector from another sector, e.g. telecoms
Employers will set their own entry requirements cognisant that the typical apprentice will be at
Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) Level 6 - equating to a Higher Apprenticeship,
a Bachelors or existing Masters degree or an equivalent amount of experience (to meet QAA requirements).
Apprentices will also need to meet the entry requirements of Cranfield University, who are the Lead
5. How would you summarise the Value Proposition to the Employer and Apprentice, and why not just take a normal MSc?
This offers a clear route to Practitioner level in Systems Engineering.
The scheme offers a blended approach of academic and vocational learning that will provide enhanced
competence over a purely academic route or a standard Graduate Development Scheme.
The scheme has flexibility so that it can be tailored to the needs of an Employer, reflecting local
needs and particular domain interests of the Employer and Apprentice.
The scheme places an emphasis on developing soft skills; and business and project management awareness.
The qualification will be nationally recognised and transferable.
6. What advantage does this offer the Employer over sending someone on a normal MSc or our existing Graduate Development Scheme?
The blend of academic and vocational experience will produce a more rounded and useful practitioner
– by allowing reflective learning and the opportunity to apply academic learning on project work.
The scheme content can be tailored to personal and organisational needs, for example the ‘project’
element could be linked to a specific topic of interest e.g. maritime autonomous vehicles.
Experience could be obtained at other employers, which would provide new insights and allow relationships
to be developed
Each Employer can define their own local version of the scheme to meet their needs
7. Given this is aimed primarily at up skilling existing employees, why is this called an Apprenticeship?
The SEMAP is aimed at upskilling and attracting new entrants to the sector.
At level 7, it is likely that ‘apprentices’ will already have work experience, possibly in another
sector and or be already employed.
An apprenticeship relates to learning advanced skills for the kind of high value economy that Britain
aspires to have – so it applies at Level 7 as well as other levels of learning.
Other Level 7 apprenticeships exist (e.g. solicitor) and several Aerospace ones exist at Level 6.
8. Surely an Apprenticeship is aimed at lower levels of learning and as an alternative to university? Do I have to be called an ‘Apprentice’?
Most apprenticeships are aimed at lower levels, as alternatives to a standard university route, however
there is a drive to create higher level apprenticeships at Levels 5, 6 and 7 (Bachelors, Honours
Whilst formally this scheme is an apprenticeship, the term does not have to be used to describe the
scheme and the participants do not have to be referred to as apprentices.
9. Why is this only aimed at Defence?
The SEMAP is primarily focussed on the Defence sector because the origin of the apprenticeship was
the Defence Growth Partnership and most of the employers involved in creating it are from the
Defence sector, although some have involvement in other sectors (e.g. Atkins). We have sought
to interest other sectors e.g. rail but without interest so far.
The core modules are all applicable to other sectors, and the elective modules could in time be focussed
on other sectors if they wish to become involved.
As time progresses we would actively welcome other sectors to become involved.
Access, Governance and Funding
10. How do I access it?
Information on SEMAP is available on the SEMAP website.
Additional information the rules surrounding the apprenticeship can be found in the BIS funding
guidance (guidance can be downloaded via the downloads section)
Governance arrangements will be confirmed mid-2016
12. How does funding work?
2/3 of academic content to be government funded up to maximum £18,000 contribution (ie £27,000 course
value). Additional employer incentives are available for SMEs. Successful completion of the apprenticeship
will also merit an incentive contribution to employers.
Funding will be routed through a ‘Lead Provider’. The Lead Provider will receive funding from Employers
(1/3 contribution) and from the SFA (2/3 contribution) and pay for the academic tuition required,
including any subcontracted payments to other institutions. The Lead Provider will be responsible
for passing on employer incentives (paid by SFA) to employers.
13. What qualification will an apprentice obtain?
Successful apprentices will receive a Certificate marking successful completion of the Apprenticeship,
recognised across the Defence sector and by INCOSE.
They will also receive either a Post Graduate Certificate, Post Graduate Diploma or MSc in Systems
Engineering, depending on the number of academic credits obtained under the apprenticeship and
the quantity of approved accredited prior learning.
If the individual learning profile of the apprentice is tailored appropriately, the apprentice should
also be in a position to apply for a CEng. See also Q16.
Structure and Assessment
14. What will be the Learning Objectives for the programme?
To become an INCOSE Systems Engineering Practitioner.
15. Why is Cranfield University the sole Lead Academic Provider?
Due to the short timetable and design and launch the scheme, a pragmatic and low-risk approach is
being followed. One aspect is to reduce the number of key parties involved – in this case through
having one Lead Academic Provider acting as a partner.
This has been accepted by other potential providers of academic content who will offer variety through
sub-contracting modules through Cranfield.
Cranfield University is very experienced in offering a Defence Systems Engineering MSc course and
have excellent credentials.
In due course other Lead Academic Providers will be welcomed.
16. Will it deliver a CEng?
If the individual learning profile of the apprentice is tailored appropriately, the apprentice may
also be in a position to apply for a CEng.
This would be achieved by ensuring that the vocational work placements were chosen with the requirements
of CEng in mind, and that Logbook was structured to allow evidence to be captured tracking the
link to CEng requirements.
17. Will a joint academic award be offered from day 1?
Each apprentice will initially be registered onto the Cranfield Post Graduate Certificate, regardless
of which academic award they intent to complete. Once formal agreements between Cranfield and
the other academic providers have been established and put in place, apprentices will be transferred
onto the new collaborative academic award.
This process will have no effect on the final academic award the apprentice receives. Credits completed
and obtained while on the PG Cert will count towards the final academic award.
Apprentices successfully completing this apprentice will receive either a PG Cert, PG Dip or MSc
in Systems Engineering.