During the first year, all apprentices study the same core modules, which will build on your initial workplace induction and link to typical job-based activities. These modules are:
- Industry Introduction (20 credits)
- Industry and the Environment (20 credits)
- Learning, Thinking and Study Skills in Higher Education (20 credits).
At the end of your first year, you will need to choose (with advice from your employer) one of the following five pathways:
- Mineral Extractives
Whichever pathway you choose, you will study these two core modules:
- Business and Operational Management (20 credits)
- Production Facility Engineering (20 credits)
Then you will study three modules from your chosen pathway. The modules for each pathway are listed below.
This module provides the learner with an underpinning knowledge and understanding of the Mineral Products Industry. The module will introduce the learner to the economic importance of the industry, its role in modern economies, and how it underpins the very fabric of civilisation. It will explore its roots in geosciences, providing an understanding of the chemistry and geology of the planet and its application in the evolution and exploitation of the minerals its mines. It explores the widespread nature of the industry across the United Kingdom and globally. Fundamental to working in this industry, particularly in the operational areas, is an understanding and competence in the recognition and application of health, safety, and environmental awareness. Furthermore, the leaner will gain knowledge of emergency planning procedures and the safe use and guarding of machinery and equipment used within the mineral products sector. Finally, learners will be introduced to both first aid in the context of the work environment and also mental health to keep pace with industry guidelines and best practice.
Industry & the Environment
Central to this module is the development of knowledge in the field of geology that is beneficial to the safe and effective operation of mineral extraction and construction sites and the identification of geological hazards. This module also introduces the general concepts of workplace health and safety with particular attention to noise and hazardous substances. A further element to this module is the introduction of sustainability and in particular corporate, social responsibility, standards, and governance in the context of the mineral products industry. Key topics are discussed and developed including climate change, net zero and performance reporting. Furthermore, the impact of biodiversity, geodiversity and natural capital as applied to the mineral products industry are described and discussed.
Learning, Thinking & Study Skills in Higher Education
This module gives learners the opportunity to identify and reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses, to enable personal developmental planning needs, to be identified as they begin to progress through their learning journey within the Mineral Products industry. It provides learners with the basic knowledge and tools required to recognise and review their personal learning and thinking skills. It explores with them how they can identify and assess their developmental progress and equips them with the skills needed for academic study, writing and progression. It will provide examples of how they can use this knowledge and the associated tools within the context of their workplace in the Mineral Products industry. This module will also provide learners with an introduction to British Values, PREVENT and Safeguarding followed by leadership, which will supplement their developmental and employability potential within the work context. In addition, specifically for apprenticeship learners this module will introduce the Knowledge and Skills required to prepare and develop an e-portfolio required for End Point Assessment purposes.
Business & Operational Management
This module develops the operational, business and financial knowledge and skills necessary to achieve the effective management of a mineral products facility. This includes an understanding of the human implications of running a successful business. The module also recognises the importance of communication (written and none written skills), people and values in developing a positive workplace culture. Furthermore, the concepts and principles of asset management are introduced to develop skills in relation to performance measurement and monitoring. To meet with modern day challenges students are also provided with the fundamentals of building a sustainable business and the concept of cyber security. Additionally, for apprentices this module supports and develops completion of the e-portfolio required for End Point Assessment purposes.
Production Facility Engineering
In relation to the Mineral Products industry, this module develops an awareness of the need for lubrication, bearings, and an understanding of the principles and concepts associated with hydraulic systems, their application and associated dangers. Also, the module introduces mechanical power transmission systems and develops an understanding of the behaviour of gases and how these are applied to the construction and operation of compressors, pumps and internal combustions engines. An understanding of asset prioritisation and plant operating and planned, preventative maintenance schemes are also developed along with process control concepts in relation to automation and digitisation. Furthermore, the module develops knowledge and awareness in relation to 3 phase and circuit control, power factor and correction, electrical safety, earthing, earth leakage and overcurrent protection.
Mineral Extraction & Transportation
This module provides an understanding of the issues associated with the exploration, and development of a mineral extraction site both here in the UK and internationally. It will also develop knowledge of a range of health, safety, and environmental issues, which are relevant to mineral extraction operations, particularly in respect of risk control and the prevention of health and safety incidents and accidents. Furthermore, the module develops the learners understanding of the techniques and principles employed in the extraction and transportation of minerals together with associated health, safety, and environmental issues in relation to current best practice and guidance.
Minerals Management & Processing
The module develops knowledge of a range of health, safety, and environmental issues in terms of best practice and guidance, which are relevant to extractives operations worldwide, particularly in respect of risk control and the prevention of health and safety incidents and accidents. The issues associated with sustainable development, reclamation of mineral workings, managing waste and an understanding of best practice in relation to environmental law and legislation and its implication for the minerals extractive industry are also covered. Furthermore, the module aims to develop knowledge and understanding of minerals processing and its applications within the industry, including feeding, crushing, screening, washing, separation, classification, and beneficiation techniques. The manufacture of cement is also included within the module.
This module is designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of personnel in the field of blasting. The objective of this module is to provide participants with a greater understanding of the requirements of blasting so that they are able to carry out their responsibilities in a safe and environment conscious manner, without risk of causing injury or damage and to maximise blasting performance whilst optimising overall operating costs.
Mixtures of aggregates and bitumen are used in several ways by the construction industry, particularly in highway and airfield pavements, in foot paths and other paved areas. This module introduces the concept of asphalt pavements and develops knowledge of the technology, standards, specifications, and other requirements that apply to bituminous mixtures specifically. In addition, the module will develop knowledge of the technology and principles of designing and testing bituminous mixtures, and of the specific processes and knowledge required to produce, transport, and place the mixtures. The module also provides knowledge of the techniques used to manage product quality to satisfy the needs of the customer and introduces health, safety and environmental aspects associated with asphalt production.
Pavement Solutions & Innovation
The module develops an understanding of specialist asphalt mixtures through a discussion of their specialist applications. The production of specialist binders, such as emulsions and polymer modified binders is described and their fundamental properties and associated test methods are introduced. Sustainability is introduced and considers the needs, resources, and implications of trends before reviewing sustainability in the context of business models commonly associated with the paving industry (circular economy, sustainable products etc). Finally, sustainability in the context of asphalt mixtures will be considered using environmental product declarations, life cycle assessments and various foot printing techniques (carbon, greenhouse gas etc). Furthermore, recycling and the use of alternative mixtures in asphalt will be covered along with cement and unbound mixtures for roads and their place and function within an asphalt pavement. Innovations in asphalt are discussed and considered using case studies from industry and provides a fundamental understanding of innovation origin, management, and application.
Contracts are fundamental to commercial activity. The asphalt industry is a part of the Construction industry which has developed its own forms of contract designed to service the type of exchange with which it is engaged. This module provides the student with an appropriate background to this topic so that they understand the impact and consequences of The Contract on their daily activities. The module also covers techniques of estimation and organisation which underpin the procurement and execution of work by a contractor. The law relevant to the establishment, operation, and maintenance of roads, and as it relates to statutory undertakers, is covered as is the specific construction design and management safety regulations.
Concrete Constituents & Types
This module develops an ability to evaluate the influence of different aggregates, cementitious materials and admixtures on the characteristics of fresh and hardened concrete. It provides a deeper understanding of the properties of concretes and cementitious mortars used for specialist end uses - including self-compacting, precast and fibre reinforced concrete; and mortars for masonry, render and screed. The module also provides knowledge of the techniques used to manage product quality to satisfy the needs of the customer and introduces health, safety and environmental aspects associated with concrete production.
Concrete in Construction
This module develops an understanding of reinforced and prestressed concrete, including its use in concrete slabs, floors and external paving. The particular characteristics of fresh concrete required for specialist end uses such as pumped, sprayed, foamed and underwater concrete will also be studied. The module includes an understanding of the influence of formwork on the surface finish of hardened concrete.
Durable Concrete Structures
This module provides an understanding of the factors that influence the long-term durability of concrete used in structures, including the role of cracks. The student will also develop an understanding of the methods used to investigate and analyse the causes and extent of deterioration in a concrete structure. This will be supplemented by knowledge of the methods used to repair and protect reinforced and pre-stressed concrete.
Clay Evaluation & Investigation
This module provides the learner with an underpinning knowledge of the techniques used to identify potential sources of clay for use in a range of clay products. It covers the areas of practical & scientific knowledge required to understand the environmental & geological factors that can have an impact on the development of a clay extraction site at the appropriate level within the clay technology industry. It considers the methods and techniques used to investigate & evaluate a potential source of clay, including site survey & site investigation methods. It includes the study of the ways of describing the characteristics & classification of clay, including laboratory testing & terminology used in site investigation reports.
Clay Winning, Preparation & Forming
This module provides the learner with an underpinning knowledge of the methods & techniques used to extract, stockpile, process & mould clay into a form that is ready for drying & firing as a clay product. It provides an understanding of the issues & constraints associated with crushing & size reduction of clay lumps & particles. The module reviews the various processes used to prepare the clay so that it can be used to produce clay products in a safe way that also respects the environment. It includes the methods that can be used to adjust & modify the characteristics of the processed clay & includes how the moulded clay can influence the dimensions & shape of the finished clay product. It includes a study of the techniques used to control the forming process. The module will offer knowledge of how surface treatments can be used to create particular surface characteristics & properties in the finished clay product. The module also provides an understanding of how surface finishes can be used to provide resistance to specified ground conditions & end-use environments.
Clay Drying & Firing
This module provides the learner with an underpinning knowledge of the techniques used to dry & fire clay products. It covers the areas of practical & scientific knowledge required to perform at the appropriate level within the clay industry & provides the knowledge & understanding of the drying & firing processes that produce different types of clay products & the influence of drying & firing techniques on their characteristics. It considers the methods used to prepare (set) dried & formed clay products before they are fired & an understanding of different methods of removing moisture, including the rate of drying & associated process controls. It includes the study of the range of techniques & equipment used to fire clay products, including the chemistry & economics of firing; the economic operation of kilns; statistical process control techniques; & safe operation in a way that complies with pollution controls. The module will offer an awareness of the published product Standards that define the characteristics of finished clay products, including the control of product conformity & an understanding of the methods used to stack & pack finished clay products in a way that is appropriate to the method used to deliver it to the customer. The module also examines the management of customer requirements, including quality management systems and an awareness of environmental aspects.
Cement Raw Materials Processing
This module reviews the complex range of activities and processes that are used in relation to the extracted raw materials and other components required to prepare the dry or semi-dry material known as 'kiln feed'.
Cement Process Engineering
The efficient use of a number of fuels is an important factor in the cost-effective production of cement. Recognising the importance of managing the energy transfer aspects of the process this module reviews the range of primary and secondary fuels used in cement production, including waste streams from other industries and outlines the ways that they can be used in a balanced way to optimise the economics of the production process.
Cement Clinker Processing
This module provides an understanding of the processes that grind and blend the output from the cement kiln into a cement that can be sold to the customer in bulk or in packaging. It covers the range of cement types required by customers, including composite cements with additions such as blast furnace slag and coal fly ash.
How you will learn
The programme structure and curriculum are designed to enable apprentices to meet the requirements of the level 5 Mineral Products Technician Standard.
Throughout programme delivery, tripartite review meetings will take place at least every 8 to 12 weeks. These tripartite review meetings will take place online, onsite and at the University. These review meetings will be led by an academic tutor from the Centre and in addition to the apprentice, the appointed mentor/workplace facilitator will also participate (along with attendance from any other relevant parties such as the SHE4 coordinator for example).
The programme is influenced by the principles of work-based learning. As such a flexible range of teaching and learning methodologies are used relevant to particular groups or practices. For example:
- Face to face taught modules combining tutor input with structured opportunities for discussion, reflection and planning for workplace application, offering theoretical underpinning whilst looking for links in the workplace
- Learning opportunities identified and taken directly from the learner’s workplace situation – for example, learner's secondment to their employer’s Geology Department aligned to the on-programme study of topics related to Geology
- Action learning sets and other, facilitated group activities
- Individual reflection on learning
- Technology enhanced learning using online support in the form of the e-portfolio Smart Assessor).
The unique nature of the programme supports the achievement of the Apprenticeship and also recognises the partnerships which exist with the apprentice and her/his workplace as a learning environment and the mentors and work colleagues who will work with them and assist them on their learning journey.
To ensure that apprentices are well prepared for their End Point Assessment, a range of methods of assessment will be employed including activities such as:
- practical projects located in apprentices’ workplaces
- research investigations into academic literature and the apprentice’s workplace practice
- preparation for, and writing management and technical reports
- preparation for, producing and delivering workplace related presentations
- constructing reflective portfolios or collections of work completed throughout the course of the apprenticeship
Additionally, other assessment methods/activities will also be employed within the wider programme;
- undertaking E-assessments via the Virtual Learning Environment
- undertaking assessment related to the apprentices’ workplace
- self, peer and co-assessment
- problem solving tasks related to the workplace environment
- varied writing tasks and oral assessment
- practical assessment of professional workplace competence
These indicative approaches will be used to test attainment of knowledge and understanding as well as skills and behavioral capabilities thereby promoting ‘deep learning’.
End Point Assessment (EPA) Requirements
EPA is independent (separate). The EPA consists of 2 discrete assessment methods. The individual EPA assessment methods have the following grades:
Assessment method 1: Professional discussion (supported by a portfolio of evidence)
Assessment method 2: Project comprising of technical health and safety report, presentation with questioning. (Component 1- Technical health and safety report, Component 2 - Presentation with questioning)
Performance in the EPA will determine the overall apprenticeship standard and grade of: