Level 7 Systems Engineer degree apprentice at work

Level 7 Systems Engineer Apprenticeship

Does solving complex engineering challenges by overseeing the engineering, business and management parts of a system or project sound exciting to you? Then a Level 7 Systems Engineer Apprenticeship might be the program to start your professional career!

In this article, you will find information on the following points (click on any of them to go straight away to that part):

1. Occupational Profile for Systems Engineering

1.1. What is Systems engineering

Systems engineering is a multidisciplinary field that combines the responsibilities of engineering and management. It is a process that defines, plans, and implements the projects for the development, integration, operation, and maintenance of systems.

The most common form of systems engineering is project-based. It revolves around major projects such as transportation infrastructure development and environmental protection projects. The other form of system engineering is product-based, and it focuses on designing and developing products like computers or coffee makers.

1.2. Who is it for?

Level 7 apprenticeships are equivalent to a masters degree, so this apprenticeship standard is for self-motivated graduates with an upper second class or higher award in an electronic engineering or another science degree.

1.3. What does a Systems Engineer do at work?

As a Systems Engineer apprentice you will work closely with project managers and employees from business development and/or sales teams. You might be responsible for building and managing teams of skilled workers and specialists in scientific and technological areas.

As a Systems Engineer you may also have a customer-oriented role, to supervise the system and make sure that it meets customer and user needs and expectations.

1.4. What jobs can you get with a Level 7 Systems Engineer Apprenticeship?

People who choose this career often hold jobs like: Lead Engineer, Project Engineer, Technical Lead, Acquisition Engineer; Systems Engineer; Test Engineer; Requirements Engineer; Requirements Manager, Systems Architect, Systems Designer, Systems Analyst, Engineering Manager, Systems Specialist, Technical Manager, in-service Engineer, Through-life Systems Engineer, Operation and Support Engineer, Acceptance Engineer, Integration Engineer, Interface Manager.

2. Key duties of a Systems Engineer (Level 7) apprentice

As part of your job role as a Systems Engineer, you will perform tasks and duties that will allow you to meet certain competencies. Some of these key duties will be:

  • Define and manage the system lifecycle for a project
  • Define and manage project requirements
  • Manage project risk
  • Model and analyse systems
  • Generate solution concepts
  • Architect and design systems
  • Plan and manage systems integration
  • Plan and execute system verification and validation
  • Provide technical leadership within a project
  • Support transition of the system into the operational environment
  • Provide systems-level in-service support of the system
  • Support technical aspects of project management
  • Take responsibility for configuration and data management
  • Co-ordinate technical outputs and work of multi-disciplinary teams
Systems Engineer working on a production system in a factory.
Level 7 Systems Engineer apprentice working on a production system in a factory.
Attribution required: Infographic vector created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

3. Knowledge, skills, behaviours of a Systems Engineer (Level 7)

There are several knowledge, skills and behaviours that are required of a systems engineer. Throughout your apprenticeship you will develop and improve each one of these. To see the complete lists, visit Institute for Apprenticeships’ “Systems Engineer Degree page.

3.1. Knowledge required to be a Systems Engineer

  • K1. Systems engineering lifecycle processes.
  • K2. The role a system plays in the super system of which it is a part.
  • K3. The characteristics of good quality requirements and the need for traceability.
  • K4. The distinction between risk, issue, and opportunity and the different forms of treatment available.
  • K5. The benefits and risks associated with modelling and analysis.
  • K6. How creativity, ingenuity, experimentation and accidents or errors, often lead to technological and engineering successes and advances.
  • K7. Different types of systems architecture and techniques used to support the architectural design process (i.e. the specification of systems elements and their relationships).
  • K8. Non-functional design attributes such as manufacturability, testability, reliability, maintainability, affordability, safety, security, human factors, environmental impacts, robustness and resilience, flexibility, interoperability, capability growth, disposal, cost, natural variations, etc.
  • K9. Integration as a logical sequence to confirm the system design, architecture, and interfaces.
  • K10. Interface management and its potential impact on the integrity of the system solution.

3.2. Skills required to be a Systems Engineer

  • S1. Select appropriate lifecycle for a system or element of a system and establish its lifecycle stages and the relationships between them.
  • S2. Define context of a system from a range of viewpoints including system boundaries and external interfaces.
  • S3. Use appropriate methods to analyse stakeholder needs to produce good quality, consistent requirements with acceptance criteria and manage them throughout system development.
  • S4. Identify, analyse, recommend treatment, and monitor and communicate risks and opportunities throughout project.
  • S5. Generate a physical, mathematical, or logical representation of a system entity, phenomenon or process.
  • S6. Apply creativity, innovation and problem solving techniques to system development or operation.
  • S7. Define the systems architecture and derived requirements to produce an implementable solution that enables a balanced and optimum result that considers all stakeholder requirements across all stages of the lifecycle.
  • S8. Identify, define, and control interactions across system or system element boundaries.
  • S9. Assemble a set of system elements and aggregate into the realised system, product, or service using appropriate techniques to test interfaces, manage data flows, implement control mechanisms, and verify that elements and aggregates perform as expected.
  • S10. Define verification plans (including tests) to obtain objective evidence that a system of system element fulfils its specified requirements and characteristics.

3.3. Behaviours that a Systems Engineer should demonstrate

  • B1. Adopt and encourage within the team an holistic thinking approach to system development.
  • B2. Perform negotiations with stakeholders recognizing different styles of negotiating parties and adapts own style accordingly.
  • B3. Adopt and encourage within the team a critical thinking approach using a logical critique of work including assumptions, approaches, arguments, conclusions, and decisions.
  • B4. Take personal responsibility for health and safety practices and sustainable development.
  • B5. Operate with integrity and in an ethical manner and ensure that team members perform with integrity and in an ethical manner.
  • B6. Take a proactive and systematic approach to resolving operational issues.
  • B7. Maintain awareness of developments in sciences, technologies and related engineering disciplines.

4. Entry criteria for a Level 7 Systems Engineer Degree

Each employer and academic training provider can have their own entry criteria. What would normally be expected from the apprentice is to have already achieved:

  • a level 5 STEM qualification and 5 years relevant experience


  • a level 3 or 4 STEM qualification and 10 years relevant experience.

5. Qualification and link to Professional Recognition after completion

After completion of the apprenticeship program, you will get awarded a master’s degree in Systems Engineering.

You will also achieve the standard of Practitioner against a selected profile of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) competencies.

Finally, the program will also provide you with a route towards the knowledge, experience and competence required to apply for recognition by INCOSE as a Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) and to apply to be registered by the Engineering Council as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).

6. Conclusion

The Level 7 Systems Engineer apprenticeship is a great program to take your career to the next level, by increasing your knowledge and skills in systems engineering.

With its completion, you will get awarded a masters degree, and be able to efficiently take roles as a Lead Engineer, Project Engineer, Technical Lead, Acquisition Engineer, Systems Engineer, Test Engineer, etc.

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