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The Aim of Food Process and Technical Apprenticeships

apprenticeship standards are developed ‘by employers for employers.’ Nobody knows better what is needed in a job role than the employers themselves.

“Apprentices bring a new energy to the business, a new way of thinking”

Apprenticeship Information

The food industry is an exciting place to be a maintenance engineer. Food processing in modern food production systems involves using cutting edge machinery to manufacture a wide variety of food and drink products. Maintenance engineers maintain and improve machinery and equipment, find and resolve faults, test and commission – all with the aim of maximising efficiencies on production lines. 

As the food industry is highly regulated, maintenance engineers must also ensure all their maintenance tasks comply with food safety legislation and are conducted safely.

Food and drink maintenance engineers work autonomously but also as part of a wider factory team.

The apprenticeship is set at level 3 and typically takes between 42-48 months to complete, with end-point assessment (EPA) taking place in the last 12 weeks. Apprentices are required to achieve a Level 3 Diploma in Food and Drink Engineering Maintenance before taking their EPA. 


It is also recommended that maintenance engineer apprentices achieve the following additional qualifications during their apprenticeship: 

  • Level 2 Award in Food Safety 

  • Level 2 Award in Principles of HACCP Based Food Safety Systems 

Food companies employ mechanical maintenance engineers or multi-skilled maintenance engineers, depending on the type of products they produce. The apprenticeship will help gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to successfully upskill and enhance the workforce. Both work with mechanical and electrical equipment, but multi-skilled maintenance engineers also maintain highly automated programmable control systems. 

Level 3 Food and Drink Maintenance Engineer

Maintenance engineers are responsible for the upkeep and enhancement of machinery and equipment. They diagnose and rectify faults, conduct testing and commissioning procedures, all aimed at optimising efficiency on production lines.

Food and Drink Maintenance Engineer Apprenticeship Funding

The food and drink maintenance engineer apprenticeship is in band 30, meaning it carries a maximum funding rate of £27,000. Funding for apprenticeships is either via co-investment with government or the apprentice levy.

Large food manufacturers (with a wage bill over £3million pa) fund their apprenticeships through the levy. The levy is collected by HMRC at a rate of 0.5% of a business’s monthly wage bill.

Smaller food manufacturers (with an annual wage bill below £3m) fund their apprenticeships through co-investment with government. Employers only contribute 5% of their apprentices training and end-point assessment costs, with government funding the remaining 95%, up to the funding band maximum. For employers with less than 50 employees that 5% is waived if their apprentice is between 16-18 years or between 19-24 and has a local authority education, health and care plan or has been in the care of a local authority.

All employers are now able to negotiate with their approved training provider to get good value training that suits their business. They are also free to choose their preferred end-point assessment organisation.

Need more advice on the maintenance engineer apprenticeship? Contact us

Learn more about the apprenticeship funding for butchery bands and maximum £ cap

Apprenticeship Funding

Click the button below to learn more about the government funding for apprenticeships.

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