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A day to remember for MP Skills apprentices

MP Skills apprentices
MP Skills apprentices at Longcliffe Calcium Carbonates

Cohort of apprentices has memorable ‘off-the-job’ training day at Longcliffe Calcium Carbonates

MP Skills’ cohort of mineral products industry apprentices took a deep, ‘off-the-job’ dive into their Level 2 Mobile and Static Plant Operator training with a visit to Longcliffe Calcium Carbonates’ Brassington Moor and Ryder Point quarries in Derbyshire.

The day-long visit saw the apprentices from companies including Day Aggregates and Hanson experience a wide variety of course-specific information, thanks to the expertise of the Longcliffe Calcium Carbonates team.


MP Skills trainer Andy Cox explained: ‘We have several specific technical processing and operational aspects to cover over the 18-month apprenticeship for our cohort. Seeing a working operation of the calibre of Longcliffe supplements the theory learning in a very impactful way.’

Before the visit began everyone was inducted as part of Longcliffe’s commitment to safety on site.

‘There is no real substitute for seeing this first hand, so we are always clear to supplement what has been seen with discussions on each aspect to reinforce learning and to develop, for example, the interconnective relationship between the processing plant and the geology, rock platforms and the blasting processes,’ said MP Skills trainer Julie Edwards.

Operational efficiencies are also part of the Level 2 apprenticeship, reaffirming the role of basic maintenance and conveyor essentials. Mark Whittaker, Longcliffe Calcium Carbonates’ project engineer and improvements manager, discussed how the company follows key performance indicators (KPIs) to increase the efficiency of preventative maintenance and reduce production delays. His team has also designed a unique system giving visibility of the entire processing operation from the control room, highlighting any issues within the system and the subsequent effects on production.

The cohort also discussed one of Longcliffe’s capital expenditure investments – a wind turbine installed on site. This is a key driver towards net-zero and sustainable improvements, to maximize output while reducing energy use.

Charlotte Richardson, MP Skills apprenticeship co-ordinator, concluded: ‘We are exceptionally thankful to Longcliffe for taking the time to think so deeply about a targeted experience that benefits the apprentices so much. The whole team went out of their way to answer every question and demonstrate best-practice examples. This is the sort of collaborative education that we enjoy, bringing students and industry together in meaningful ways.’

Chris Wainwright, Longcliffe Calcium Carbonates’ operations director, said: ‘We are continually looking for ways to promote the opportunities offered by the quarrying industry. This was a very positive and effective way to give these students an insight into the work that we do here at Longcliffe.

‘Through the involvement and support of many members of the teams at Brassington Moor and Ryder Point quarries, and in other departments, we were able to present a comprehensive picture of the complex processes we manage in order to make over 100 products for essential markets such as animal feeds, glass, and adhesives.’

MP Skills has a new apprentice cohort starting in March with places available for any business wishing to add their new or current staff to the Mobile and Static Plant Operator Level 2 course. For more information, email:


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