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2022 / 2023 Edition

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First students embark on Higher Apprenticeship

Higher Apprenticeship in Mineral Products Technology

Innovative scheme run by University of Derby Corporate attracts new blood into the mineral products industry

THE first students to embark on an innovative Higher Apprenticeship programme, run by the University of Derby Corporate (UDC) and leading construction supplier Hanson UK, got a taste of what is in store for them recently when they attended their induction week, held at the University’s Enterprise Centre and Kedleston Road site in Derby.

The Higher Apprenticeship in Mineral Products Technology, which is supported by the Institute of Quarrying, is a first for the mineral products industry and has been designed to attract and train the next generation of leaders looking to move into the sector.

The flexible two-year course comprises a core foundation year which gives apprentices the opportunity to cover the key elements of the mineral products industry, from health, safety and environmental awareness, to geoscience, blasting, surveying, and quality and process measurement.

The second year allows apprentices to specialize and develop skills relevant to a chosen sector, including extractives, concrete and mining.

Ben Strickland, one of six apprentices on the course, said: ‘I chose to study a Higher Apprenticeship as it has allowed me to travel all over the UK and gain hands-on experience in quarrying, while studying for a high-level qualification. The programme also provides apprentices with the confidence and skills necessary to apply for top professional posts within the sector.’

Fellow apprentice Thomas Emerson added: ‘I originally wanted to study geography and science as a full-time student at university, but the Higher Apprenticeship covered both these subjects and offers the same academic value as a degree.’

The Higher Apprenticeship was recently shortlisted for a prestigious Lord Stafford award, an accolade which celebrates collaborative activity and innovation between businesses and universities.

Julie Harris, Higher Apprenticeship project manager at UDC, said: ‘The Higher Apprenticeship programme has been designed to bring new blood into an industry which has typically found it difficult to attract a young workforce.

‘This pioneering programme helps to secure the future of the mineral products industry and ensures that the depth of knowledge and expertise held by the current workforce isn’t lost.’

For more information on the Higher Apprenticeships offered by the University of Derby Corporate, visit:; or tel: (0800) 678 3311.

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