Professor Sean Arkins pictured with some of the first students to graduate with Masters Level Apprenticeships
Professor Sean Arkins, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, pictured with some of the first students to graduate with Masters level apprenticeships at the University of Limerick.
Tuesday, 23 August 2022

The first ever students in Ireland to graduate with a “ground-breaking” Masters level apprenticeship were conferred at the University of Limerick yesterday (22/08/2022).

The students – 34 of whom are graduating from the Lean Sigma and Supply Chain programmes run by the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s Flexible Learning Centre – are the first from any education institute in the country to graduate with Masters level apprenticeships.

Commenting on the graduates' achievement Professor Sean Arkins, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering said: "This ground-breaking Masters apprenticeship programme embodies the Faculty's Mission Statement which focuses on being distinctive and innovative in our approach to education. I am extremely proud of these graduates and want to wish them the best in their future careers."

In a world’s first, a batch of doctoral apprentice students will also graduate from UL in 2024. The Masters level apprenticeship students are among over 3,200 new graduates being conferred at UL over five days of the 2022 Autumn Conferring Ceremonies this week.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, UL President Professor Kerstin Mey said: “Today’s first ever Irish apprenticeship Masters graduates are all highly valued experienced professionals who have now broadened and significantly augmented their skillset while continually working. They are very deserving of our praise. 

“These graduates are significantly contributing to current or predicted skills gaps by growing their own in-house knowledge and talent with a combination of ‘on the job’ learning and formal studies.”

The UL apprenticeships programme focused on structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in UL. It is a dual system - a blended combination of on-the-job employer-based training and off-the-job training.

Responding to the growing popularity and the diversity of options in apprenticeships, UL is the first university in Ireland to offer higher-level apprenticeships and the first university in the world to offer a level 10 (PhD) apprenticeship.

The apprenticeships were developed by a consortium of industry leads, in partnership with UL, with the aim of meeting the expanding needs of businesses in Ireland and to prepare Irish industry to be leaders on a global scale. 

Speaking ahead of meeting the new cohort of apprenticeship graduates, Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins TD, said: “Today is a very special day for the graduates of these apprenticeship programmes. They should all be proud of their achievements.

“This is also a proud day for UL, as the first university in Ireland to offer apprenticeships from degree to post-graduate level and a global trailblazer in the provision of apprenticeships at doctorate level. The message is loud and clear: apprenticeships are open for business and in more areas than you might think,” Minister Collins added.

Conferring at the University of Limerick will continue throughout this week, more information can be found on


four female graduates of the UL Masters Apprenticeship Programme standing together wearing caps and gowns. In the background there is a white house.

Some of the Masters Apprenticeship graduates celebrate their achievement outside Plassy House at the University of Limerick.