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Apprenticeship training course

Papermaker (level 3)

Working as a machine operator or an assistant in the overall papermaking process converting raw materials into paper products.

Qualification level
Equivalent to A level.
Typical duration
36 months
Apprenticeship category
Engineering and manufacturing
Maximum funding
Maximum amount government will fund
for apprenticeship training.
Also known as
  • paper maker
  • paper making
  • papermaker
Skills an apprentice will learn
  • Communicate effectively using a full range of techniques: speaking; listening; writing; body language and presentation.
  • Work safely on a paper machine and other specific areas of the mill, maintaining excellent housekeeping.
  • Be aware of environmental controls and impact.
  • Test the paper to site and customer specifications using a variety of testing equipment and methods.
  • Take responsibility for decisions on quality.
  • Prepare fresh water and primary and secondary fibres and test the properties of material.
  • Operate machines such as mechanical pulpers, chemical pulpers, refiners, de-inkers and other such equipment to produce the specifications required for the paper machine for a specific sector.
  • Produce machine stock through mixing of fibres, additives and colours.
  • Control consistency, dilution, screening and cleaning of stock.
  • Control the use of chemical additives to enhance and improve paper properties utilizing sizing, starch, bleaching and brightening agents.
  • Control the use of chemicals to improve runnability such as de-foamers, fixatives and biocides.
  • Carry out in-depth cleaning of chests, vats, silos, pits etc to an acceptable standard.
  • Operate a paper machine for a specific sector.
  • Carry out forming wire changes to the relevant paper machine.
  • Mechanically drain paper by use of presses and by use of heat by drying and rolling of these.
  • Test and evaluate the quality properties measured on the running paper and control any changes required.
  • Carry out fabric and dry wire changes appropriate to the relevant paper machine.
  • Prepare coatings according to formulae and utilize these according to customer paper specifications.
  • Operate reel up systems for optimum reel.
  • Operate slitting systems.
  • Measure temperatures, pressures, speeds, and flows; carry out adjustments for any measurement out of specification.
  • Carry out basic operator engineering maintenance such as lubrication, fitting of parts and changing filters etc.
  • Carry out deep cleaning on a variety of equipment.
  • Use the lean tools and techniques to identify waste in stock preparation, paper machines and finishing.
  • Able to identify areas for business improvement
  • Carry out a continuous improvement project in a specific area to improve a process.
  • Use KPIs as a tool for measuring performance.

Full information on Papermaker (level 3) is available from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

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