Extractives and Mineral Processing Occupations (England)

Framework status: Archived

Framework details

Framework ID: FR02344
Issue number: 11
Issued: 01 August 2013

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Extractives and Mineral Processing Occupations (England)
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Issued by

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.

Everyone depends on the earth's mineral resources. These natural resources must be found, then mined, quarried or dredged from the ground or sea bed and processed to provide the materials and products which are essential to our daily lives. 

Extraction takes place at either quarries for sand, gravel and rock; mines for coal, salt and potash and dredging from the sea bed for sand and gravel. Materials from both quarrying and dredging are then processsed to meet the needs of customers. For example, crushed rock can be coated with bitumen at an asphalt plant and then used to make or repair roads, runways, playgrounds, car parks and much more. Crushed rock, sand and gravel can be mixed with cement to produce concrete which is widely used in construction. The construction industry is totally reliant on minerals in order to build homes, hospitals, bridges and roads. Such is the importance of the materials quarried and mined.

The Extractives and Mineral Processing industry is very diverse and can be divided into a number of different sub-sectors. For example, the industry covers:

  • Deep coal mines and opencast coal working
  • Mining and agglomeration of lignite
  • Extraction and agglomeration of peat
  • Manufacture of solid fuel
  • Mining of iron ore, uranium, thorium and other non-ferrous metal ores
  • Quarrying of ornamental and building stone, limestone, gypsum, chalk and slate
  • Operation of sand and gravel pits
  • Mining of clays, kaolin, chemical and fertilizer minerals
  • Production of salt
  • Manufacture of cement,  lime, plaster, ready-mixed concrete and mortars
  • Cutting, shaping and finishing of ornamental and building stone
  • Other mining and quarrying activities

Currently quarrying and mining employs nearly 50 thousand people in the UK and a further 20 thousand in jobs related to the industry - technicians, fitters, drillers etc. The total annual production value exceeds £6 billion. There are over 1,300 quarries in the UK supported by a fleet of 25 marine aggregate dredgers together they produce 210 million tonnes of aggregate per year.

The skill base requirements for the sector covers a wide scope, ranging from mobile and fixed plant operators through to mining technicians and quarry managers. The industry offers a vast array of opportunities ranging from mining, civil, mechanical and industrial engineering, geology, logistics, operations, production, environment, health & safety and sales and marketing.

It is widely predicted that higher level management and technical skills will become increasingly important to the industry in the future as more of the elementary tasks become automated. There will be a continuing need for Health & Safety skills in the sector and it will become more important for workers to be multi-skilled and be able to work across several areas of the business.

Proskills works with employers from the Extractives and Mineral Processing Industries 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 Extractives and Mineral Processing industries 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 Extractives and Mineral Processing industries 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 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 Extractives and Mineral Processing 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 all levels will give Apprentices a range of pertinent skills, whilst the underpinning knowledge will ensure that Apprentices understand basic and complex Extractives and Mineral Processing 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 Extractives and Mineral Processing 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 Extractives and Mineral Processing Industries, please visit :
www.advice-resources.co.uk 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.


Download framework

Extractives and Mineral Processing Occupations (England)
(PDF document 11.5 MB)