There are around 1,500 companies involved in the UK composites industry. It is estimated that the sector will grow by four to six per cent over the next five years, with the biggest growth likely to be in aerospace and wind energy.
Composite materials (or composites as they are more commonly known) are made from two or more constituent materials with different properties that, when combined, produce a material with different structural characteristics from the original components - stronger and more rigid perhaps.
Carbon fibre composites, resins and glass fibre-based materials are used for buildings and bridges, to make boat hulls, swimming pool panels and racing car parts, and in imitation granite work surfaces. The most advanced composites are used in structures such as wind turbine blades and in spacecraft, and have to be able to withstand incredibly demanding environments.
There are around 1,500 companies involved in the UK composites industry and it is estimated that the sector will grow by four to six per cent over the next five years, with the biggest growth likely to be in aerospace and wind energy.
As the use of composites in industry continues to rise, more skilled workers will be needed to help introduce this new technology, reduce production costs and increase the use of renewables to make the industry more sustainable.
As an apprentice, you are most likely to be employed as a semi-skilled operator. You could learn how to produce any one of a range of different composite materials, using a variety of resins, fibres and other core materials.
You will need to show that you are keen and motivated to work in an engineering/manufacturing environment. As well as having good numeracy and literacy skills, you will also need to be practically minded and willing to work with your hands.
Completion of your apprenticeship could lead to a role as a team leader or supervisor within your company. For advanced apprentices, there may be the opportunity to progress to a higher apprenticeship in engineering at Level 4 or to opt for a foundation degree or HNC/HND.
The starting salary - once qualified - is between £12,000-£25,000 depending on the region and employer.
Further information on composite engineering apprenticeships can be found at www.semta.org.uk [new window].
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