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  4. COMING SOON: Laboratory Science Degree Apprenticeship

COMING SOON: Laboratory Science Degree Apprenticeship

The Open University’s Laboratory Science Degree Apprenticeship programme will provide apprentices with both broad scientific knowledge and understanding and the higher-level skills required to develop a fully competent laboratory scientist in a specialist discipline, including Chemical Sciences, Life Sciences and Health Sciences.

This programme is currently in development and employers can register their interest.

Successful apprentices will be able to deliver scientific value to an organisation as well as analyse, interpret and evaluate relevant scientific information, concepts and ideas, utilising these skills to develop subsequent experiments or investigations and propose solutions to problems.

The Laboratory Science Degree Apprenticeship is a work-based higher education programme that integrates academic and work-based learning in a way that can be delivered flexibly around the demands of your workplace. Upon successful completion of the programme, apprentices will reach the required standards to be recognised by the relevant professional bodies at Registered Scientist (RSci) level.

Who is it for?

The programme is suitable for employees across a multitude of roles within laboratory science due to the disciplines that the apprentice can specialise in. The programme can also be used to support recruitment of new apprentices to your organisation.

We have no formal academic entry requirements for the programme, although the employer may choose to have its own selection criteria. Typically potential candidates will have: 

  • Achieved five GCSE’s at grade C or above, including English, maths and a science subject
  • A relevant Level 3 qualification providing the appropriate number of UCAS points for entry to a Level 6 Higher Education programme 

What topics does the apprenticeship cover?

The programme consists of a practical work-based strand and a theoretical component, which are studied in parallel. All apprentices will study an introductory module, exploring key ideas underpinning the study of science disciplines (biology, chemistry, earth science, environmental science and physics/astronomy) or alternatively the study of science of human health.

There are two work-based learning modules complementing apprentices’ existing practical skills and developing their understanding of the science underpinning their laboratory related work. Apprentices will take core compulsory topics, including:

  • Laboratory operations and instrumental analytical techniques
  • Professional aspects of laboratory sciences
  • Research methods, ethics and experimental design
  • Business environment
  • Career development and employability

There are opportunities to choose a pathway of study through the work-based learning modules, offering a flexible way of fulfilling apprentices professional development needs.

At Level 6, all apprentices will explore contemporary areas in science, searching current research, evaluation methods, risk analysis, decision making and the communication of science. In the final project module, apprentices will undertake an individual scientific work-based project applying knowledge and skills from prior studies.

The specialist disciplines

The programme is based on a core set of outcomes that are supplemented by one of the following specialisms:

  • Chemical sciences: organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry
  • Life sciences: cell and molecular, organismal and evolutionary biology
  • Health Sciences: cell and molecular, human biology and infectious diseases

Why choose The Open University’s Laboratory Science Degree Apprenticeship?

  • Tutor-supported online learning is delivered flexibly around the demands of your organisation, enabling apprentices to balance study with personal commitments and minimising time away from the workplace
  • Learning is accessible 24/7 and can provide consistently high quality education for multiple staff, regardless of their location
  • Our experience in supporting learners, whatever their prior attainment, means you can develop applicants from all backgrounds, with us helping them to develop study skills as they engage with the programme
  • Apprentices can apply what they learn immediately into practice, for the positive benefit of the organisation
  • We have nearly 50 years’ experience of providing knowledge and skills to busy working adults and have a proven history of delivering apprenticeship programmes to organisations from the NHS to Babcock.

Programme structure

An apprenticeship requires at least 20% of an employee’s time to be allocated for off-the-job learning, The Open University’s tutor-supported online learning gives you the flexibility to pick the most suitable times proactively and reactively around organisational needs – minimising the impact on day-to-day productivity.

Online delivery is both varied and interactive, using rich media formats that engage and enthuse apprentices on their journey. Learning can be accessed 24/7 on computers, tablets and mobile devices. Online forums and tutorials as well as email and telephone communication are used to support apprentices throughout the programme.

Laboratory schools will take place at The Open University campus in Milton Keynes, throughout the programme. This is to build apprentice’s confidence within laboratories, carrying out laboratory-based practical work in their specialism and further develop their skills, knowledge and technique.

What support will you receive

We are a national provider with a local presence. Our apprenticeship programmes are supported closely by academic and practitioner colleagues who link with employers to provide on-going management of the programme delivery. Locally-based practice tutors support apprentices and supervisors throughout the practice-based learning. Apprentices are also supported by expert academic module tutors, who deliver all of the necessary underpinning theoretical knowledge.

On top of account management support, your organisation will also be allocated with the following Open University professionals:

  • Practice Tutor - Helps to integrate learning into the workplace across the entire programme and supports the delivery of the work-based learning modules and the final work-based project. Apprentices and their line managers will have face-to-face or virtual meetings with their practice tutor at least four times per year
  • Academic Tutor - Subject-matter experts who facilitate learning within each of the knowledge modules, through personalised tuition, support and feedback
  • Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager - Supports employers to deliver their apprenticeship programmes and manages the apprentice journey from start to successful completion. Providing employers with apprentice progress data on a regular basis.

Course Summary


Approximately 5 years, including preparation for the end-point assessment

Qualification achieved

Depending on the specialism:

  • BSc (Honours) Applied Science (Life Sciences)
  • BSc (Honours) Applied Science (Health Sciences)
  • BSc (Honours) Applied Science (Chemical Sciences)

Register interest

Further information

For a more detailed look at our Laboratory Science Degree Apprenticeship, download our brochure.

Download brochure