Combined Manufacturing Processes (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR02263
Issue number: 7
Issued: 21 June 2013

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Combined Manufacturing Processes (England)
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Contact name: Lisa Williamson
Telephone number: 01235 833844
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National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) – Statement on Apprenticeship Quality


  1. An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off the job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs
  2. On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

This is an Apprenticeship framework for any of the Process and Manufacturing Industries that wish to use Combined Working Practices (CWP) as the competency based qualification. The Paper manufacturing industry is one of those industries.


The Paper Industry covers the manufacture of:

  • Pulp
  • Paper & paperboard
  • Corrugated paper and paperboard and containers of paper and paperboard
  • Household & sanitary goods and toilet requisities
  • Paper stationery
  • Other articles of paper and paperboard

The Paper industry is of importance to other industries, either as an important part of the supply chain or as a supplier of end products and it makes a substantial contribution to the UK economy.

Manufacturing and conversion processes are a major part of the Paper industries work. Paper and Board manufacture is a global industry which produces a large number of products such as; books, newspapers, money, tracing paper, filters, roofing felt, packaging board, wallpaper, tissue paper, disposable nappies and healthcare products.

A recent LMI report identifies that the total size of the Paper sector in the UK is around 95,000 people in 2,500 workplaces. Turnover for the core industry is around £3.2bn. The UK Paper industry consists mainly of micro companies - accounting for around 62%. Employers employing 11-49 employees account for 22% of the industry. Large companies are not significant in the industry and represent only 2% of employers employing 200 or more. In the UK, there are 60 paper manufacturing centres clustered around Scotland, Lancashire and Yorkshire, Wales and the South West, Kent and areas around London. The largest concentration is in the North West of England.

Workers in the Paper industry tend to be full-time and directly employed, rather than on a contract basis. Three quarters of the workforce are male. One third of the papermaking workforce consists of managers, sales staff, and administrators. The remaining two thirds of the workforce are involved directly in manufacturing processes such as as operations or plant maintenance. Process Operators, Process Engineers/Superintendents and Team Leaders all help run and control  and maintain various specialised plant, processes and machinery. They also sample and test materials throughout the various stages of the paper product manufacturing process.

Typical paper and board manufacturing processes require workers to have a wide diversity of skills . It is therefore critical to the continued success of the Paper industry that this Apprenticeship framework encompasses the many different skill areas required to meet both current and future demands. The need for a multi-skilled, flexible and innovative workforce is a key requirement in the Paper industry. This need is expected to continue, with the majority of Paper employers indicating that multi-skilling will remain a priority, particularly among frontline operatives who are likely to need to gain maintenance and other “technical” skills to ensure they remain a valuable part of the workforce. The need for multi skilling is common to both large and small Paper companies.

Given the ongoing impact of global competition, advancing technology, and changing working practices, managers and leaders require the skills to be able to lead their teams through changes in their company and within the Paper industry as a whole. Many Paper employers highlight the introduction of systems such as Lean Manufacturing to help restructure their business and help to deal with lower productivity levels. These systems help to organise company structures from Managers to Operatives, in order to minimise wastage, and have met with great success in other industries.

Current and future challenges facing the Paper industry are:

  • Economical - a drive towards increased productivity and efficiency;
  • Environmental – reduced and cleaner waste; and
  • Technological – continued changing technologies.

There is an increasing onus being placed on businesses regarding the environmental impact of their products. The Paper industry is actively seeking to increase use of recycled and sustainable materials, reduce emissions, chemical and water usage and generate their own energy and so has invested in new equipment and skills development. The other main issue is the development of special measures for food contact on paper and board.

The Paper industry has recognised the need to address its skills gaps and is increasing its training and recruitment activities. The Paper industry still uses a mixture of traditional and modern processes. However, increased automation has created a need for machine/process specific skills in IT, beyond that of basic word processing and spreadsheet applications. Modern technological processes such as CAD, CNC, scientific research and nanotechnologies are becoming much more widley used.

Proskills works with employers from the Paper Industry to help businesses improve their productivity and competitiveness through skills training. Extensive research and comprehensive employer consultation has identified a need to upskill current and future workforces to enable businesses in the Paper industry to address the challenges they currently face. The current economic climate means that there is an increasing need for workforces to be multi-skilled. Skills training is required to help Paper businesses address the following:

  • Skills shortages
  • To meet constantly changing consumer demands and preferences
  • To support legislation compliance on Health and Safety as well as EnvironmentalManagement
  • To improve efficiencies by tightening up processes to tackle the issue of rising energy costs and the need for more energy-efficient machinery and processes
  • To drive business performance improvements to increase national and global competitiveness
  • To keep up with technological advances
  • To improve current low capacity utilisation which in turn means declining profitability, driven primarily by the acquisition of new technologies without adequate adaptation of business planning to accomodate their higher capacities

This Process and Manufacturing Industries Apprenticeship framework provides a structure that will ensure that training and assessment is carried out systematically and will help meet the current and future needs of the Paper industry. Essentially, this is a sound knowledge and understanding of the complexities of the manufacturing processes, underpinned by the relevant skills and principles.

The competency outcomes described at both Level 2 and 3 will give Apprentices a range of pertinent skills, whilst the underpinning knowledge will ensure that Apprentices understand basic and complex Printing industry principles and processes. The mix of competencies and job knowledge will engender the notion of best practice, health and safety and innovation.

The Apprenticeship framework for Process and Manufacturing Industries is designed with a changing
and more competitive world in mind – it is about providing the best possible preparation for achieving skilled occupational status, for both young and older workers, within industries that are ever changing and increasingly demanding.

For more information about the Paper Industry, please visit This report outlines information on careers available, new emerging jobs, transferability of skills career paths and opportunities for progression. There is information on pay scales, how to enter the industry and what qualifications are available. The report also shows trends in the industry, where there are current skills gaps and the future of the industry in terms of its green agenda and future job requirements.

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Combined Manufacturing Processes (England)
(PDF document 2.91 MB)