Preparations are under way in Victoria to offer the first apprenticeship in Australia at the Bachelor level in 2023. The qualification will be in systems engineering, which is currently only offered by universities in Australia to post-graduate students. Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design, integrate, and manage complex systems over their life cycles.

Ai Group has partnered with BAE Systems and a number of other businesses in the engineering, advanced manufacturing and defence industries sectors to develop the program. This business consortium has chosen Victoria University as the preferred provider to develop and deliver the training. Victoria University (VU) is known for its leadership in empowering a diverse community of students to grow their capabilities and transform their lives. VU was able to demonstrate to the consortium some of the innovative programs they have pioneered, and gave each member confidence that they have the flexibility to run the program successfully.

One of the requirements placed on the design of the qualification is that graduates of the apprenticeship will be eligible to apply for membership of Engineers Australia as professional engineers. The added benefit for apprentices is that when they do graduate they will have had years of experience learning while they work. They will have had the opportunity to apply their learning immediately in the workplace, which provides a context to learning not always available to full-time university students. To gain this benefit, while earning a wage as an apprentice and gaining years of relevant experience during the process, will place them years ahead of their peers when they graduate.

The delivery arrangement for the apprenticeship is being designed to follow an apprenticeship model rather than a university model. This means that 70 to 80 per cent of the apprentice’s time will be spent doing productive work with the rest spent in formal training. The training may be one day per week, possibly with intensive study at different times of the year. Some of the training will be face to face, some will be online. These are details currently being worked out by VU and the consortium partners.

Apprentices will sign a contract with their employers which outlines their and their employer’s responsibilities and obligations. Again, these details are being worked on by the consortium with assistance from Apprenticeships Victoria.

The intention is to commence about 30 to 40 apprentices in the program from 2023. If you feel that your company may be interested in participating in the pilot, contact Peter Canavan at to register your interest.