Glass Industry (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR03106
Issue number: 24
Issued: 23 September 2014

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Glass Industry (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.

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

The Glass Occupations industry covers:

  • Manufacture of flat glass
  • Shaping and processing of flat glass
  • Manufacture of hollow glass
  • Manufacture of glass fibres
  • Manufacture and processing of other glass, including technical glassware

 Additional industries include:

  • Glazing and Curtain Walling
  • Manufacture and installation of windows, doors and conservatories
  • Automotive Glazing
  • Architectural Stain Glass and Stain Glass Conservation
  • Photovoltaics

Although the Glass industry has been affected by the recent downturn in the economic climate, employers are relatively optimistic about the future, with around a third of them predicting business growth over the coming years.

There are a number of factors that continue to have an impact on companies in the Glass sector such as, competition, advancing technology, legislation and environmental issues and changing working practices. It is vital to ensure the presence of appropriate training for the Glass industry to help them prepare their employees for the future and maintain and improve productivity and competitiveness.

Training in the form of the Glass Industry Apprenticeship framework has been welcomed by employers since the early 1990s as a mechanism to provide highly specialised, suitable skilled staff in the use of advanced technologies associated with the Glass industry. Currently, the average starts for Apprenticeships at Level 2 is 350 per year and 50 Apprentices at Level 3.

Employers in 2009 reported skills gaps in a third of employees in the Skilled Trade, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives occupational groups. These skills gaps result in decreased productivity, increased operating costs and difficulties in introducing new working practices.

Currently over half of all Glass companies are training their employees to address the issue of skill gaps. The vast majority, despite the tough economic climate, want to maintain their level of training and a fifth want to increase the number of employees that they train.

The Glass industry is currently not attracting females, applicants from black and minority ethnic groups or those with a difficulty or disability in sufficient numbers. The Glass industry recognises that it is not making the most of the pool of talent that is available – this is untapped talent which could help to meet their skills gaps and shortages, thereby contributing to increased productivity and competitiveness.

Another key challenge for the Glass industry is that the current workforce is ageing, with a particular shortfall of employees aged 16-24. 

The Level 2 Intermediate and Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeships for Glass Industry Occupations have been designed to help fill the skills gaps and shortages caused by an ageing workforce, by attracting younger people into the Glass Industry and providing them with the skills, knowledge and experience which employers are seeking to recruit and retain. In addition, it will provide a progression route which will help to upskill the existing workforce to meet future economical, environmental and technological changes within the industry.

The Level 2 Intermediate framework includes a range of job roles at manufacturing, craft and technical level working with glass using a range of processes such as cutting, engraving, glass blowing, the manufacture and installation of windows, doors, conservatories, soffits and bargeboards, the repair and replacement of automotive glazing and the installation of photovoltaics.

The Level 3 Advanced framework builds on, and develops, the manufacturing, craft and technical knowledge in all of the above occupational areas and also offers a route to progressional opportunities for team leading and leading hand roles and also an additional option of fenestration surveying.  

More pathways are being built as technology advances and new processes develop, For example, fire resistant glazing.

For more information about the Glass 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 skills gaps lie, what influences the recession has had and the future of the industry in terms of a green agenda and job requirements.

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Glass Industry (England)
(PDF document 12.5 MB)