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 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.
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All technicians employed in the Composites sector will need to develop specialist knowledge, skills and behaviours. These will be generic and/or technology specific, but the subject areas indicated below will provide a foundation for development in composites manufacture.
A Composites Technician will require a thorough understanding of the industry in which they are employed. They will be able to understand and apply the following areas :
A Composites Technician will develop skills in the disciplines of design, mould tool making and preparation, part lay-up, curing, testing, inspection, repair and material science. They will be able to:
The behaviour of Technicians in the Composites industry is one of the most important aspects of the standard. Composites Technicians will be expected to:
After completion, learners may wish to progress on to a further Apprenticeship or a part time course, such as the Higher Engineering Apprenticeship or a Degree in Engineering.
Individual employers will set the recruitment and selection criteria for their Apprenticeships. In order to optimise success, candidates will typically have 5 GCSEs at Grade C/5 or equivalent, including Mathematics, English and Physics.