Feb 10, 2022 / by Isaac Azim

Apprenticeships in the Industry - A Q&A with Matt Gibbs

Matt Gibbs 2

With National Apprenticeship Week in full motion, Matt Gibbs, Senior Manager (Operational Competence) at Tarmac, shares an insight into the wide range of apprenticeships that are currently available throughout the industry.Matt answers some of the most frequently asked questions about how apprenticeships work and the types of training, qualifications and opportunities offered by Tarmac.


What types of apprenticeships are currently available in the industry?

Apprenticeships are a great opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for the job role associated with the apprenticeship standard.

Apprenticeships are available across all disciplines, whether it’s learning a trade (mechanical and electrical), working in our operations (front-line operators, quality control) or in functional roles (customer services, finance, even HR) – The opportunities are endless.

There is genuinely something for everyone, from Level 2 up to Level 7 (degree level), all funded by the employer.


 How can apprenticeships help pave the way to a long-term career in the industry?

I truly believe that the level 2 & 3 apprenticeships give individuals the foundations to form their career. Tarmac have great stories where an apprentice has progressed their career into senior management positions, and I think these stories will grow with the increasing popularity of apprenticeships. A classic example is Martin Riley, SVP Performance (Strategic Operations) at CRH and IQ President, and former Senior Vice President of Tarmac, who began his career as an apprentice.

As a business, since we started the delivery of the Mobile & Static Operator apprenticeship in 2019, individuals that undertake the apprenticeship progress at a quicker rate than any other associated programme. However, it is not just about stepping through the levels; the apprenticeships can be used to help retrain individuals for new skill sets. The best part is it’s open to all individuals, of any age.

What qualifications/level of education is needed to take on an apprenticeship?

The standard apprenticeship requirements are:
• To be aged 16 or over+ at the time of enrolment
• To be a UK or European Economic Area (EEA), or have lived in the UK or EEA for the past three years
• To not already be in full-time education at the point of enrolment

At Tarmac for a level 2 or 3 apprenticeship, we have removed the functional skills requirement at entry point. We help all apprentices achieve the grades alongside the apprenticeship.

What’s the difference between a Vocational Qualification (VQ) and an apprenticeship in terms of the approach to learning?

Often VQs are more of a check on learning, whereas an apprenticeship delivers that learning and really helps bring out the best in everyone.


What are the benefits of taking on an apprenticeship?
We all know that you earn while you learn with apprenticeships, but it is much more than that. Some of my proudest moments come from seeing an apprentice’s own sense of pride. For some, that is achieving their first formal qualification; for others, it’s getting their English and Math having not felt totally confident at school. For many, it is about making new friends, working with different people and feeling a part of something worthwhile and rewarding.

I genuinely hope everyone on an apprenticeship programme takes gets real value from it. Our role – as employers and mentors – is to support them.

How does the business support individuals completing an apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeships blend on-the-job learning with study towards a qualification. Apprentices at Tarmac receive much of their training, at The Park, which is our award-winning centre of training excellence in Nottingham.

In addition, apprentices receive on-the-job learning opportunities at their place of work. Further support is also offered through bi-monthly reviews, which consist of regular check-ins, to ensure their development is on track and to check the individual feels confident and supported.


What forms of apprenticeship opportunities does Tarmac provide?

Tarmac offers a wide range of apprentice and higher apprentice roles. Currently, our most popular industry-specific operational apprenticeship is Mineral Processing Mobile & Static Operator. We have enrolled more than 150 learners onto the apprenticeship programme, with 90 completions so far. We see this as a vital pipeline in developing the next generation in our sector.

Later this year, Tarmac will start to deliver the following apprenticeship standards at the Tarmac National Skills & Safety Park:
• Mineral & Construction Product Sampling and Testing Operations
• Road Surfacing Operative
• Maintenance Operations Engineering Technician

You can find out more about the apprenticeships and career paths that Tarmac have available here: https://tarmaccareers.com/early-careers/




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