Higher Apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Level 4 (England)

Framework status: Archived » Go to current (latest) issue of this framework

Framework details

Framework ID: FR02278
Issue number: 5
Issued: 04 July 2013

Download framework

Higher Apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Level 4 (England)
(PDF document 7.24 MB)

Issued by

Contact name: David George
Telephone number: 0845 6439001
Please download the framework for email contact information.


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 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 Advanced Manufacturing Engineering at Level 4 has been designed to provide the manufacturing and engineering sector with high grade technicians and engineers who have practical skills, combined with a higher education qualification. The programme will facilitate progression to Level 5/6 qualifications and enable apprentices to work towards Incorporated Engineer status.

The manufacturing sector is broader than the remit of any single Sector Skills Council (SSC) therefore, we have worked together as a consortium of SSCs/SSBs  to address this important skills need:

Cogent: chemical manufacturing, nuclear science, oil and gas extraction (also includes process technology, bioscience, polymer and sign making
Improve: food and drink manufacturing and processing
Proskills: printing, mineral extraction and processing, health and safety and process and manufacturing of furniture, glass, ceramics, coatings and paper (also includes glazing, building products, wood and mining
Semta: Science, engineering and manufacturing.

Profile of the advanced manufacturing Engineering sector in England

• the manufacturing sector in England employs approximately 2.4 million people across nearly 120,000 establishments, with an estimated 1.27 million engineers, scientists and technologists working across the manufacturing sectors;
• of these technical roles, around a third (458,000) are employed in higher-level technical roles made up of 67,000 technicians, 174,000 professional engineers and 217,000 engineering managers.
• The main sub-occupations within the higher-level technical occupations are:

o Technicians - engineering technicians, draftsperson, laboratory technicians, electrical and electronics technicians and quality assurance technicians.
o Professionals – mechanical engineers, design and development engineers, production and process engineers and planning and quality control engineers.
o Managers – production, works and maintenance managers, research and development
o Managers and quality assurance managers.

• just over half of this workforce is qualified to NVQ Level 4 or equivalent and above which leaves just under half with qualifications below Level 4 or the equivalent;
• the workforce is predominantly white, male, with around 86% aged in the 25 – 60 range, which means that the workforce is aging;
• there are around 6,600 vacancies per year with employers reporting around 1650 of these vacancies being hard to fill as one third of applicants did not have the required technical and practical skills;
• around 42,500 employees have skills gaps in higher-level occupations in the manufacturing sector made up of 12,400 technicians, 9,400 professionals and 20,700 managers.

Challenges facing the advanced manufacturing sector

• there is a demand from employers to increase the number of employees qualified to level NVQ Level 4 or equivalent and above in order to increase productivity and for them to remain competitive;
• the workforce is aging and 67,300 higher-level technical workers (13,400 per annum) are required over the period 2012-2016 to replace those retiring in England.
• despite the recession, manufacturing employers still show a substantial demand for new recruits. In 2009, 3% of manufacturing establishments in England had vacancies for higher-level occupations. Of those manufacturing sites with vacancies for higher-level occupations:
o 16% had vacancies for technicians,
o 7% had vacancies for professionals
o 12% had vacancies for managers.
o higher-level vacancies totaling 6,600 , made up of 2,200 technicians, 3,200 professionals and 1,200 managers.
• employers experiencing difficulties in filling higher-level occupations report that this impacts on their business by increasing the workload for other staff, increases operating costs, difficulties introducing new working practices and in meeting quality standards, delays in developing new products and services and loss of business orders to competitors.
• the incidence of higher-level occupational skills gaps in the manufacturing sector increases by size of establishment, ranging from 4% of micro-sized establishments, 13% of SMEs and 47% of large establishments.
• the importance of higher-level technical roles to manufacturing is growing. In 2001, higher-level technical roles made up 14% of total manufacturing employment. By 2010 this figure was 19%. This trend is expected to continue, with jobs in medium to low-level skilled craft and operator occupations projected to decrease their share of total employment during 2012 to 2016.
• for those establishments with higher-level technical skills gaps, it is expected that staff would mainly need to acquire new skills or knowledge in the next 12 months as a result of introducing new working practices, developing new products or services, and the introduction of new technologies or equipment .
• between 2012 to 2016, there is expected to be a net requirement across the manufacturing sectors in England for 67,300 higher-level technical roles (15,500 technicians, 20,100 professional engineers and 31,700 engineering managers). This would equate to a total annual requirement for 13,400 people (3,100 technicians, 4,000 professionals engineers and 6,300 engineering managers). The majority of this requirement will be due to retirements (11% of the current workforce in higher-level technical occupations is aged 60 plus).

In order to meet the challenges to fill higher-level occupational skills gaps, manufacturing employers have increased training activity/spend or they are increasing and expanding trainee programmes, such as apprenticeships.

Employers are supporting this higher apprenticeship in advanced manufacturing because it provides a cost effective, comprehensive package of qualifications, rather than using stand alone qualifications, which can lead to Incorporated Engineer status to meet their higher level skills needs.

The Space Engineering Industry is worth a massive £9.1 billion to the UK economy every year and is currently growing at a rate of 7.5%. The Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering will help to sustain this growth – direct consultation with the industry has shown that there is a need for new entrants to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the sector and our programme will deliver these personnel.

Rail is a key economic enabler and is determined to further improve its support for the economy. The Eddington Study1 identified three key transport markets that are crucial to the productivity and competitiveness
of the economy:

• Urban areas and their catchments
• Inter-urban corridors showing signs of congestion and unreliability
• International links via ports and airports showing signs of congestion and unreliability

Rail has a role in each of these markets. It can provide reliable, high levels of accessibility along the main transport corridors in the country and to the locations that drive economic growth. Rail supports the
economies of London and the wider South East region, other towns and cities of Britain, our industries and their markets, our tourist and leisure destinations, and our ports and airports. Rail freight makes a significant
contribution to the economy by supporting key industrial sectors and is also penetrating other markets where it can serve the trunk-haul function for distribution of other products. Rail engineering skills form a vital component of maintaining and improving the rail infrastructure from electrification of the East Coast line to development of HS2.

The competence and knowledge qualifications in this framework contribute to general competence as measured in the Engineering Council’s UK specification and is endorsed by IMechE, IET and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAes).

There are eleven pathways in this framework covering a wide range of job roles in advanced manufacturing and engineering and which broadly fit into the higher-level skills requirements for the following sectors:

  • Aerospace
  • Nuclear Related Technology
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical/Electronics
  • Automotive
  • Maintenance
  • Wind Generation
  • Research and Development
  • Marine
  • Space Engineering
  • Rail Engineering


Download framework

Higher Apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Level 4 (England)
(PDF document 7.24 MB)