Building the plastics professionals of the future

Responding to global market needs, the College of West Anglia have launched the PIABC Level 3 Diploma in Polymer Processing qualification. The new regulated qualification, created by Solutions 4 Polymers (S4PL) and PIABC Limited (the awarding body of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) will provide a skilled technical workforce for the polymer processing industries.

Dr Alan Wood, Chair of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Polymer Society, said, ‘The lack of availability of structured training in plastics and rubber industries has been widely acknowledged in recent years. The Ofqual regulated PIABC Level 3 Diploma in Polymer Processing qualification is the first major step in redressing the problem. It offers apprentices a clear path in career development and ensures that employers have qualified, proficient staff for the future development of their businesses. This is excellent news.’

Qualification requirements have been specifically designed to meet the demands of the industry, with practical content derived from discussion with employers from across the UK. The qualification comprises of six polymer processing pathways including, extrusion, injection moulding, preform blow moulding, parison blow moulding, thermoplastics and thermoforming.

Plastics students on Apprenticeships must complete a series of assignments and an end point assessment to evidence both their knowledge and skills. However, full support is provided to ensure the apprentice is well prepared to graduate from the programme within a timeframe of 18 to 30 months.

Andy Barnard, Managing Director of S4PL, commented, ‘We firmly believe that qualifications and apprenticeships should equip individuals with the competences for business, and strive to include functional skills needed for a modern manufacturing facility.’

Along with gaining a Diploma and field experience, achieving an apprenticeship can lead to professional membership of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and its technical division, the Polymer Society.
Registrations for the PIABC Level 3 Diploma in Polymer Processing are now open. Individuals can apply via the College of West Anglia website.