Composites manufacture is the combining of materials to form a lighter and stronger rigid structure as an alternative to metal. These lightweight rigid structures are essential in the Aerospace, Automotive, Marine and Renewables industries and are becoming increasingly important in the Oil & Gas, Construction and Rail sectors. The composite industry therefore has an increasing requirement for skilled employees.
A Composites Technician employed within a Composites Manufacturing environment will find themselves at the heart of cutting edge technologies using state of the art equipment and will become a skilled resource that will be an enabler for manufacturing technologies, processes and practices.
A Composites Technician is engaged in a variety of processes in the production and creation of materials and components that are used in a range of applications including but not limited to: airplanes, cars, boats, turbine blades, oil & gas rigs, bridges, trains and satellites. They provide specialised knowledge and skills that support manufacturing programmes and projects and may be deployed in the areas of design, tooling, moulding, lay-up, curing, machining, inspection, testing, repair and material production.
As the Technician grows in competence and expertise, other areas of composites technology such as automated manufacture development, preform technologies, processing technologies, validation and post processing, may form part of their role and responsibility.
For more information on the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to fulfil this role, please see: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/composites-technician/.
There are no formal entry requirements but each employer might state their own requirements. This will likely include level 2 qualifications in English, maths and a science or technology subject.
The apprenticeship will typically take 36 months to complete.
Apprentices will complete work-based learning and will be paid a wage, gaining valuable knowledge and experience. In-house training will be provided by the employer with an Assessor visiting and supporting in the work place. Further training will be provided at the Isle of Wight College, depending on the needs of the learner and the employer. This method of delivery allows for a flexible approach which is tailored to each apprenticeship.
As part of the apprenticeship, apprentices will be required to achieve a recognised L3 Engineering qualification, as approved by the relevant professional institution, to be deemed eligible to apply for Engineering Technician (Eng.Tech.) status with The Institute of Materials ( IOM3) and/or the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
The apprenticeship will end with an End Point Assessment (EPA). This measures the skills, knowledge and behaviours each apprentice has developed. Employers will decide when the apprentice is ready to be assessed.
The End Point Assessment consists of:
Career development / progression opportunities into posts will include, but not be limited to: Supervisor, Team Leader or Senior Technician. Further progression via a Higher Level Apprenticeship or Foundation degree in either Composites Manufacture, Materials Engineering or Materials Science may be encouraged, leading to a full degree where employers deem this to be appropriate and desirable.
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