Accreditation first as Keele University masters-level apprenticeship programme earns prestigious RSC quality mark

Accreditation first as Keele University masters-level apprenticeship programme earns prestigious RSC quality mark

Published on 25/03/2024
Accreditation first as Keele University masters-level apprenticeship programme earns prestigious RSC quality mark A masters-level apprenticeship at Keele University has made history by being the first scheme of its kind to earn RSC accreditation.

Successful apprentices on the Research Scientist programme will receive an MSc in technical leadership in analytical science.

The recognition of this apprenticeship scheme reiterates our organisational belief in the variety of routes open to technicians looking to progress their careers in chemistry. It also dovetails with our support of the Technician Commitment and marks our eighth total apprenticeship accreditation, covering levels from school leaver to postgraduate.

“This accreditation of a degree-level apprenticeship programme is a really important first for the RSC,” said Katie Dryden-Holt, Vocational Skills Programme Manager within our Accreditation and Careers team.

"The MSc in this programme, which is studied for part-time while apprentices are in the workplace, has met the same robust criteria as accredited full-time MSc degrees. Through this recognition, we are showing that if someone wants to combine work with study, they can still enjoy the benefits of a first-class chemistry education and explore all the avenues open to them."

Dr Chrystelle Egger, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and Forensic Science at Keele University, said: “Working with the Royal Society of Chemistry on the accreditation process is a very thorough, deep dive into the programme, assessing whether it is fit for purpose and whether it indeed brings in knowledge and professional competency in the chemical sciences.

“With the apprenticeship nature of the programme, the assessment goes further and checks that standards of qualification, competence and conduct are undeniably upheld by those apprentices in the chemical sector.

“This in-depth understanding of the programme is carried out very constructively and professionally by the RSC accreditation team and their independent assessors, both from academia and industry. The site visit allows an honest, well-rounded conversation about the quality of learning, including the experience of the learners and the impact of the learning on organisations.”[image block]The first step towards granting accreditation to the apprenticeship was to bestow the same recognition on the MSc component within it, which our assessors did while acknowledging the ‘innovative’ nature of the programme.

The Committee for Accreditation and Validation rubber-stamped this section before the Registration Committee took over and the apprenticeship aspect of the programme met the criteria for accreditation, which closely align with the requirements for Chartered Chemist status.

Dr Helen Pain, our Chief Executive, said: "As supporters of the Technician Commitment, the RSC is proud to accredit this programme, which offers genuine career development opportunities to individuals working in technical roles."

The robust processes and critiques and the collaborative approach were all seen as particularly beneficial by Dr Egger.

She added: “What has been really pleasurable for us was to work with a very open-minded professional body where innovation in teaching is considered, dissected and reflected upon without any preconceived idea as to what a programme should look like, bringing constructive criticism to the programme team, as a critical friend would.

“Having had the programme accredited has been really well received by our learners, employers and partners, and although it is hard work to put together, successfully going through an accreditation is definitely worth the efforts.”

Apprenticeships offer an opportunity to learn new and hone existing skills and are useful as a means of helping staff with their career progression goals.

Those interested in finding out how apprenticeships could work for their organisation can get in touch with Katie at for advice or an informal conversation.

"I would strongly encourage any organisation that employs staff in technical roles, who are looking to take the next step in their career development, to consider whether apprenticeships could work for them," she said.

"If their company pays the apprenticeship levy, they could utilise this to cover much of the training costs, while demonstrating a real commitment to the development of their staff."

To see the full list of accredited providers, go to our Search and Apply page in the Earn While You Learn section of A Future in Chemistry.

Our Valued Sponsors & Partners