Professional Course

Mineral Products Technician Higher Apprenticeship

Course details

Course level

Level 5

Next course date



26 months

Course description

This programme provides the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of new recruits and existing employees to/within the Mineral Products sector to prepare them for initially supervisory roles, and lately more senior management and leadership positions within the industry. The programme provides a structure that recognises learning within, through and for the workplace. It accommodates apprentices’ personal circumstances and provides opportunities for them to acquire higher level knowledge and skills as well as the competence to operate safely and effectively within the workplace. The programme is innovative, reflecting a dynamic and progressive industry and which integrates higher level learning with the requirements of a higher apprenticeship standard and a mandatory competence based QCF/SHE qualification.

Key Characteristics

The programme specifically aims to:

Structure, certificates and assessment

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:


At the end of your first year, you will need to choose (with advice from your employer) one of the following five pathways: 

Whichever pathway you choose, you will study these two core modules:

Then you will study three modules from your chosen pathway. The modules for each pathway are listed below.

Industry Introduction

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.

Blasting Operations

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.

Asphalt Technology

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 Management

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:

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:

Additionally, other assessment methods/activities will also be employed within the wider programme;

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:

Entry requirements

This programme is open to anyone employed within the Mineral Products Sector. However, the programme is specifically designed to provide new skills and knowledge and as such it is strongly recommend that the most suitable recruits should be drawn from new employees such as younger learners from tertiary/6th Form College and/or other new learners with less experience of the Mineral Products Sector.

As employees, apprentices will be recruited by the employer. Dual admission procedures are required in order to ensure that the employer’s recruitment requirements are satisfied, as well as any minimum entry requirements for the academic programme. Selection of apprentices is in England, principally an employer-led activity. It therefore mirrors the recruitment processes operated by employers, which may involve some initial screening and selection process. Interviews will be held jointly between the University and the employer so that the apprentice is clear that they are learning both at the University and in the workplace

It is desirable that the apprentices starting the programme will have a level 2 qualification in English and Maths. Apprentices without level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL. These requirements will be discussed with the employer and apprentice at interview.

The following broad criteria applying for entry:

Every apprentice must hold a Commitment Statement, which sets out the detail for the delivery of their apprenticeship and must also set out what is expected and offered by the employer, higher education provider and the apprentice in achieving the apprenticeship.

Fees and funding

Maximum funding £16,000

How to apply

To enquire about this apprenticeship, students should contact the Apprenticeship Hub directly.

Email the Apprenticeship Hub

Contact us

Higher Apprenticeship - Mineral Product Technician 01332 591066 (option 6)
Programme Leader - David Hindmarsh 01332 597821

If you want to find out more about studying a short course, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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