UK Launches Composites Technician Apprenticeship

03 October 2017

2017 is a year of growth and opportunity for UK composites manufacturers with the launch of the new Composites Technician Apprenticeship, reports association Composites UK.

The modular training was developed by an Industrial Steering Group of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to offer employers a new tool to attract, train and develop talent within their businesses. It is set to make a significant contribution in addressing the skills shortages in composites using industries, Composites UK states.

“The approval by government of the Composites Technician Apprenticeship is a significant milestone and we can now train apprentices on composites part manufacture making sure the content of the qualification meets the needs of all the industrial sectors manufacturing composites parts,” notes Dean Jones of Rolls Royce, Industrial Steering Group Chair.

The Industrial Steering Group has developed the content of a new BTEC qualification with support from awarding body Pearsons. The apprenticeship is underway with colleges and training providers delivering the content of the BTEC and the training elements of the NVQ.

The training programme has eight mandatory units, which include materials, processes, design and defect detection, to provide the apprentice with a broad understanding of all elements of composites manufacture. This is designed to enable cross-industry movement of people in the future. In addition, there are ten optional units which enable the trainee to focus on specific areas and gain a deeper understanding in the specific operations the company requires. The number of the optional units will be increased as industry demand dictates and new processes and materials are developed.

“In the past, companies manufacturing in composite materials have had to train their apprentices in the principles of metallic manufacturing,” Jones explains. “Now there is a specific apprenticeship programme designed and developed by composites manufacturers to address this issue. The government’s commitment to support apprenticeships means that many companies can now train new and existing staff at low or no cost.”

For more information about the colleges offering the apprenticeship in 2017/18, please contact Brian Thornton, Programme Coordinator at the National Composites Centre on, or visit:

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