Higher Apprenticeship in Mineral Products Technology (England)

Framework status: Current (latest) issue

Framework details

Framework ID: FR04328
Issue number: 7
Issued: 16 July 2018

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Higher Apprenticeship in Mineral Products Technology (England)
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Issued by

Contact name: Matt Hardy
Telephone number: 0845 6440448
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 National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) - Quality Statement

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.

All apprentices commencing their Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. This can then be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the Apprenticeship.

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 Higher Apprenticeship framework for Mineral Products Technology (England) at Level 4 and 5 has been designed to provide the Extractives, Cement, Concrete, Asphalt, Clay, and Deep Mining Industry sector with high grade technicians, managers and leaders of the industry for the future, combining practical skills with higher education qualifications and facilitate progression to Level 5 and 6 qualifications and beyond. Where appropriate it will interface with professional qualifications and recognition providing people with professional and transferable skills recognised across the industry and globally. Higher Apprentices graduating from the programme will fulfill senior roles in management, operations and research within the sector.

There are currently six sectors represented in this framework covering a wide range of job roles in the Mineral Products Technology industry and which broadly fit into the higher-level skills requirements for the following sectors:

  • Extractives
  • Asphalt
  • Cement
  • Concrete
  • Clay
  • Mining

For an overview of these various sectors within the industry go to the following,click on:

The industry’s primary role is to extract minerals from the ground for use in their natural form or to process them into added value products such as bricks, concrete and asphalt. These products are basic, but essential. They help to build our houses, hospitals and schools and our roads, railways and airports. It’s an exciting and stimulating environment in which to work, offers excellent pay, job opportunities, travel, on-going training and cutting-edge technology, plus the chance to work in a variety of disciplines.

The Mineral Products Technology sector is diverse covering for example:

  • 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

With the world’s population predicted to increase from 6.5 billion to 9 billion by 2050, the demand for minerals is likely to increase. The Mineral Products Technology industry is challenged with satisfying this growing demand in a sustainable way, which requires science, engineering, technical and management skills of the highest quality and at a variety of levels. Expertise in these areas is becoming scarce and the industry is facing a global shortage of skilled professionals. This means our higher level apprentices who successfully complete their programme of study will be in demand.

The sector, with a turnover in excess of £2.5bn, is a key contributor to the construction sector and UK economy, representing some seven per cent of GDP or £110bn a year of expenditure. Over the last couple of decades the sector has experienced substantial consolidation, mainly through acquisition. Five major multinational companies – Lafarge/Tarmac, Hanson (part of HeidelbergCement), Aggregate Industries (part of the Holcim Group) and Cemex – account for the majority of sales in each of these markets.

This apprenticeship framework is the culmination of collaborative work between the companies of the industry it represents, the professional bodies, such as the Institute of Quarrying, which support it, and the higher education institution with which it works. It is a reflection of the importance the industry and its partners place on the continuous up-skilling and development of its personnel to ensure the industry is in a position to make the most of future opportunities and the challenges presented within a complex and dynamic global economy.

The main occupations within the higher-level occupations within the industry are:

  • Technicians - engineering technicians, draughts persons, laboratory technicians, electrical and electronics technicians and quality assurance technicians.
  • Professionals – mechanical engineers, design and development engineers, production and process engineers and planning and quality control engineers.
  • Managers – production, works and maintenance managers, research and development
  • Process and Quality Assurance Managers.

Only a small proportion of this workforce is qualified to Level 4 or equivalent and above, which leaves a significant body of the workforce over half with qualifications below Level 4 or their equivalent. The workforce is predominantly white, male, with around 86% aged in the 25 – 60 range, which means that the workforce is aging.

In order to meet the challenges to fill higher-level occupational skills gaps, the sector’s employers have increased training activity/spend or they are increasing and expanding trainee programmes, such as apprenticeships. The sector’s employers are supporting this higher apprenticeship in Mineral Products Technology because it provides a cost effective, comprehensive package of qualifications with recognised progression routes to meet their higher-level skills needs.

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Higher Apprenticeship in Mineral Products Technology (England)
(PDF document 2.71 MB)