Apprenticeship standard: Automation & Controls Engineer

Level 4 Apprenticeship Standard

Apprenticeship standard: Automation & Controls Engineer

Level 4 Apprenticeship Standard

Course Code: APL4AC Duration: 3 Years Attendance: Apprenticeship Location: Farnborough Campus Start Date: 09/09/2024    


About the course

This occupation is found in cross sector (e.g. Automotive, Food & Drink, Oil & Gas, Pharmaceutical, Construction), companies involved in manufacturing (discrete or process), logistics or utilities environments.  These employers may be directly involved in these activities or as a provider of services (e.g. systems integration, field service, technical consultancy) to these companies.

The broad purpose of the occupation is twofold.

Where the role is based inside a manufacturing (discrete or process), logistics or utilities environments, a fully competent Automation & Control Engineering Technician will be able to install, maintain, fault find and optimise hardware and software for automation systems. 

Where the role is based in a service provider, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or approved solutions provider in large or SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) companies, the Automation & Control Engineering Technician will be the interface between the vendor and it’s customer and will be able to competently provide high quality, engineering services such as installation, commissioning, fault finding (the activity of testing an installation prior to handover) and support. 

For both iterations of this role, this would involve the above duties across a range of hardware such as on Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Human Machine Interfaces (HMI), robots and Industrial Networks (e.g. PROFIBUS, DeviceNet, PROFINET, ModBus).  Use of physical tools, software tools and instruments (e.g. multi-meter), are fundamental to carrying out tasks associated with building (e.g. control panels), installing (e.g. site cabling) and maintaining of automation systems.

This occupation will give employers the ability to maintain successful operational capability.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation will be part of a multi-disciplinary team for example as a member or leader of a project team, maintenance team, service team that will work alongside other stakeholders for example design, production or coordination that interfaces with internal and external customers alike.  Monitoring of the operation of these systems can be carried out either within in-situ control rooms/offices or remotely via web based/GPRS based mobile communications.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for the ordering, coordination of services, working to established operating procedures for resources such as equipment and software to ensure functionality of automation systems are maintained.  In a large company, they would generally report to an engineering manager whereas they may have greater responsibility and autonomy in an SME. Individuals in service provision would certainly find themselves working in a more autonomous situation.  In either situation they would be responsible for their own actions and to protect those around them with respect to health, safety and the environment.

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If you have any questions about this course then please contact us by phone on 01252 40 55 55 or message us.

Your course

What modules are covered?

What does the apprenticeship cover?

  • The apprenticeship is made up of Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours.
  • Knowledge is taught within college, one day every week.
  • Skills are taught within the workplace. You will need to generate a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate the following skills:
    • Safety Effective – The ability to work safely in an industrial environment and where required, produce risk assessment/method statement documentation. Be able to apply the principles of functional machinery and/or process safety including SIL (Safety Integrated Level) and PL (Performance Level) terminology
    • Engineering documentation – Production and interpretation of a range of technical documentation (device manuals, operating procedures, schematics, fault report etc), and working with company documentation systems
    • Project engineering capabilities – Support of installation, commissioning, shut-down, start-up and maintenance/service/support of a wide range of systems and devices
    • Diagnostic capabilities – Fault finding, diagnosis rectification and reporting of automation control systems and controls applications via the utilisation of formal problem solving and diagnostic tools/software
    • Instrumentation configuration and calibration – Set-up calibrate and commission a wide variety of field level instrumentation that interfaces to automation & control systems
    • Industrial Networks configuration and support – configure, assist commissioning and continued support of industrial network solutions at all hierarchical levels of control system integration using the requisite tools and or software
    • HMI & SCADA configuration and programming – Make changes to existing systems or implement new configurations
    • PLC/Robot configuration and programming – Implement complex PLC/Robot program content and configurations to affect changes to increase availability and or efficiency of automation controlled machinery and the ability to configure PLC and or Robot hardware and program a wide variety of PLC’s and or Robot’s
  • You will be taught about expected behaviours for the industry and general employment.
  • Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths (if required).
  • End point assessment is the final stage of your apprenticeship and you must pass this to achieve your apprenticeship. It is the chance to show the skills, knowledge and behaviours you have gained throughout your apprenticeship.

Find out about the new standard, click on the link:


Your future

What Next?

This standard aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) for Engineering Technician (EngTech)
  • Institutue of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) for Engineering Technician (EngTech)

Entry Requirements

What previous qualifications and experience will I need?

Entry requirements include:

  • GCSEs grade C/4 or above including Maths and Engish
  • Level 3 Qualification in Engineering and Manufacturing

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